But wait – there’s more.
Those are the sort of words you might expect a TV pitch person to enthusiastically exclaim as they hock an all-in-one cooking apparatus or the latest works-like-magic cleaning product. Of course, they could just as easily be used to describe Dodge’s strategy for stretching the lifespans of its Charger and Challenger models, both of which have existed in their current forms for what feels like forever. A new paint job here, a bump in output there, and voilà – another year on the market.
Alas, it’s all coming to an end, which means a long-winded farewell tour is underway for this Canadian-made duo after some 15 years and counting. It seems no colour is too radical and no amount of output is too much, with the same old tricks breathing new life into them time and again. In the case of the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak, it’s more of the same – and then a whole lot more.
The Jailbreak name isn’t as Shawshank-inspired as it may seem. Simply put, previously restricted colour combinations both inside and out have been unlocked – for better or for worse. While it means it’s conceivable to order some silly assortment of orange paint, bronze wheels, and red upholstery, remember that there’s a reason you aren’t an automotive designer.
Virtually every automaker has ordering restrictions in place so shoppers with, ummm, unique tastes don’t tarnish their brands’ reputations with questionable colour combinations. It’s the reason Toyota will sell you a Highlander with, say, a red interior, but not with red paint to match.
Graciously, this tester featured a far more palatable, well, palette. Blue brake calipers provide just a splash of colour against the monochromatic scheme of semi-gloss grey paint and matte black touches (stripes, wheels, badges, and spoilers). It continues inside, with new-for-2022 – and Jailbreak-exclusive – black-and-grey leather upholstery and grey seat belts matching nicely with the understatedly menacing exterior.
Those hoping for a docile drive experience are out of luck: this choose-your-own-adventure package is only offered as an add-on to the outrageous Redeye version of Dodge’s modern-day muscle car. That means a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine under the hood that’s of the hilariously named high-output variety – as if the standard Hellcat engine and its 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque just isn’t enough. Instead, this monster of a motor generates 807 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque, which should be deemed disgusting in the best and worst ways possible.
Driving Feel: 10/10
This Challenger is so ferociously quick that, true to its name, it would make an excellent prison escape vehicle – and not just for those serving time in the Prairies. Sure, going fast in a straight line is its specialty, but that’s to be expected when such an obscene amount of output makes its way to the rear wheels with such ferocity. But aggressive cornering isn’t totally outside this muscle car’s comfort zone.
Credit this widebody’s enormous track and wide tires that, while never leading to a sense of nimbleness, allow it to attack a winding road with reasonable swiftness. No, it’s not a sports car, but it’s not a school bus, either. It’s also predictable in the way it performs, with the ability to anticipate what it’s going to do after a brief get-to-know-you period. It’s much easier to control – and counteract – what a car is going to do when you know how and when it’s going to do it, which is part of this supercharged Challenger’s charm.
It’s a surprisingly cooperative and accommodating car to drive – not that it can’t get sideways in a hurry (both literally and figuratively), but there’s an ease to the way it all comes together. It’s also easy to tailor the experience, with all kinds of customizability through the head unit. Engine output, steering feel, transmission tuning, and suspension softness can all be adjusted for a bespoke performance feel.
Areas it comes up short are largely due to the age of the Challenger overall, with no physical controls for seat and steering wheel temperature and horrible back-up camera resolution. Are those issues worth fretting over? Probably not, but they’re frustrating to live with nonetheless.
It’s not as if this Challenger is bereft of features, but it’s not exactly brimming with them, either – especially not before diving into the options list. Sure, heat for the front seats is standard, but to get ventilation (as well as a heated steering wheel) requires a $4,495 upholstery upgrade. Similarly, while an 8.4-inch touchscreen is standard it doesn’t include built-in navigation; that’s another $795.
While it may not be much in the grand scheme of a car that starts at about $111,000 before tax, it’s money that’s better saved anyway, since both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard (although they’re of the wired variety).
This being a car that’s all about unadulterated performance, the features that matter most pertain to exactly that. A line-locker that applies the front brakes while allowing the rear wheels to spin freely to generate heat in the tires for drag runs (or just to do some smoky burnouts); a chiller that diverts air conditioning refrigerant to further lower the temperature of the supercharger coolant; launch control; a cool-down mode; and all sorts of digital performance gauges and timers – it’s all part of the package.
Not part of the package is any kind of advanced safety feature outside of rear parking sensors and rain-sensing wipers. Again, a lot of it has to do with the age of the Challenger, with this coupe coming into existence before stuff like automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance was widely available.
There’s also an argument to be made that performance cars are better off without the added complexity and bulk of such systems. But then any Hellcat-powered Challenger already tips the scales at more than 2,000 kg (4,409 lb), suggesting a few extra pounds of wires and sensors wouldn’t be noticeable anyhow.
Available optionally – and added to this tester – is blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, plus a tech pack that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and forward collision warning. That package is affordable, too, adding just $250 to the asking price.
With front seats that look a bit like your grandfather’s favourite recliner, there’s an impression here that the cabin’s priority is comfort rather than performance. Perception meets reality by plunking down in either chair, with thick cushions and wide bolsters providing plenty of cruising coziness.
Even with the adaptive dampers in their most relaxed setting, dubbed “street,” ride quality isn’t exactly forgiving. The suspension is firm at all four corners and features short rebound strokes that emphasize potholes and road imperfections. Then there’s the steering that can occasionally feel like wrestling an alligator, which is largely due to the incredibly wide contact patches of the optional 305-mm tires (wider 315-mm rubber is standard).
There’s nothing practical about an 807-hp coupe, period. Yes, there are back seats; and they’re arguably more usable than the ones in the rival Ford Mustang, for example. But Dodge will let you delete them for just $1, if that’s any indication of how the brand itself feels about fitting four people inside the Challenger.
Fuel Economy: 3/10
Like practicality, if your purchase decision hinges on fuel consumption then this was never the car for you in the first place. Unsurprisingly, this supercharged coupe goes through gas in a hurry, with an official combined consumption rating of 15.3 L/100 km. Obviously, that’s pricey premium-grade stuff, too. Burning $100 bills by the handful would be cheaper than fuelling this monster, and it would be just as ridiculous – but nowhere near as much fun.
This Challenger – officially known as the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak – starts at a shade over $111,000 before options and taxes. There’s something hilarious about Dodge successfully commanding six figures for a car that dates back to the Great Recession.
Nearly $15,000 in options and extras – don’t forget about the $1,000 gas-guzzler tax, which seems downright cheap – make the tester seen here $126,370, which puts it in prime Porsche 911 Carrera territory. Yes, they’re totally different cars, but it’s worthy of note nonetheless.
Despite all the variants that have been offered over the years, the 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Jailbreak captures the essence of this retro-inspired coupe better than any of them. It’s unadulterated outrageousness meets choose-your-own style. It aims a flaming middle finger at convention in every way imaginable, and it’s amazing for it. There are far better ways to spend six figures on a performance car, but none are as unique as this.
|Engine Cylinders||S/C V8|
|Peak Horsepower||807 hp @ 6,400 rpm|
|Peak Torque||707 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||18.6 / 11.3 / 15.3 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||459 L|
|Model Tested||2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak|
|A/C Tax||$100 plus $1,000 Federal Green Levy|
|Price as Tested||$126,370|
$13,915 – laguna leather, $4,495; Harman/Kardon stereo, $1,495; carbon black aluminum wheels, $1,295; SRT widebody stripes, $1,245; Driver Convenience Group, $1,095; satin black SRT spoiler, $875; Uconnect 4C w/nav, $795; Pirelli three-season tires, $695; carbon fibre interior accents, $650; blue brake calipers, $300; black exterior badges, $250; Technology Group, $250; Alcantara steering wheel, $250; grey seat belts, $125; grey floor mat trim, $100