Conventional wisdom says the graying LX platform should have been put out to pasture years ago. The architecture that underpins the Dodge Charger dates back to the halcyon pre-recession days, when Chrysler had access to the Daimler parts bin and an itch to capitalize on its performance heritage. It’s an anachronism in a rapidly modernizing world. And that’s a huge part of its appeal.
As the auto industry slouches towards Bethlehem, Dodge continues to mostly ignore talk of electrification and autonomous tech in favor of a screaming burnout. Hence the glorious existence of the 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody, in which the company’s taken one of the last classic sedans left in America and doubled down on its muscle car heritage with fat hips and heaps of grip. It’s clear the Widebody is squarely in line with Dodge’s plan to squeeze every last ounce of potential out of that 15-year-old platform.
“One thing we heard loud and clear from [our fans] was that they felt like the Challenger was getting more love than the Charger. We wanted to rectify that,” Dodge’s Senior Manager of Sales Operations Jeff Strauss said, sitting in the paddocks at California’s Sonoma Raceway last week. So after debuting on the 840-hp Challenger SRT Demon and spreading through the Challenger lineup, the Widebody package now makes the jump to Dodge’s four-door.
Thing is, it’s working—they’re not all Scat Packs and Hellcats, but the Charger is up 20 percent in year-to-date sales, making it the only Dodge model besides the Durango in the black for 2019. Although the changes wrought by the Widebody kit aren’t wholly unpredictable, they bring some interesting new elements to the fore in Dodge’s performance sedan, going beyond curb appeal to improve performance without sacrificing drivability or comfort.