Last week, Dodge introduced the 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye with 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque along with announcing that the “regular” Hellcat was getting a bump in power to 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque. The press release stated that the Redeye features the 2.7-liter supercharger and the beefier bottom end bits from the Demon engine, leading many people to wonder why this new muscle car doesn’t offer the full 808 horsepower from the Demon. Many of those people have also questioned where the extra horsepower in the standard Hellcat came from and thanks to a conversation with FCA’s Chris Cowland, we have the answers.

As an owner of a 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, I asked Cowland – the Director of Advance Powertains and the man who led the team that built the supercharged Hemi – where the extra power in the standard Hellcat came from. My goal was to find out if there were any components that could easily be fitted up to my car to grab a few extra ponies and while the answer was no, I got a full rundown on why the power levels vary between the 2015-2018 Hellcats and the 2019 models, along with why the output of the Redeye and Demon vary.

Standard Hellcat Horsepower

The 2015-2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat offers 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, but for 2019, those numbers rise to 717 and 656. The 2019 Hellcat also has a new dual snorkel hood and that is the secret to unlocking the extra power. The newest Hellcat (and the Redeye) both sport the dual-opening hood that feeds outside air directly into the engine. Both of the snorkel scoops are connected to the Demon’s cold air intake setup via a system of channels, and when coupled with the air catcher headlight and an inlet in the driver’s side wheel opening, intake air temperatures (IATs) are 4 degrees cooler.

Four degrees doesn’t sound like much, but that decrease in IATs allows the Hellcat Hemi to make slightly more power while meeting all of the other internal requirements, so without any other changes, the 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat gets 10 extra horsepower and 6 lb-ft more torque.

Redeye Versus Demon

The press release stated that the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye uses a variety of components from the engine of the 2018 Demon, but Chris Cowland explained that it is actually the entire Demon engine. The reason that the Redeye makes less power than the Demon is the same reason that the 2019 Hellcat makes more power than the 2018 models – the hood.

While the new dual snorkel hood feeds more cool air directly to the engine when compared to the original Hellcat hood that feeds no air to the engine, this new hood doesn’t flow as well as the Air Grabber hood on the Demon. In the same way that this new hood increases the output of the Hellcat engine, it effectively decreases the output of the Demon engine by allowing less cool air flow to the engine.

As a result, the ratings of the high output supercharged Hemi delivers 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque on pump gas rather than the Demon’s 808 horsepower and 717 lb-ft of torque.

So why didn’t Dodge just use the hood from the Demon on the Redeye and call it a day with 808 horsepower? There are a couple reasons and while exclusivity might have played a small role, it was really all about function.

Hood Woes

The Air Grabber hood on the 2018 Dodge Demon pulls in the air needed to make 808 horsepower on pump gas, but it is also incredibly inefficient when it comes to aerodynamics. With the Demon being built for drag racing and limited to 168 miles per hour from the factory, high speed aerodynamics beyond 170 really didn’t matter. With the Redeye, Dodge looked to use the extra power for better top end and with 90 more horsepower than the standard Hellcat, they knew that the Redeye should be able to best the original top speed of 199 miles per hour.

The problem is that at speeds nearing 200 miles per hour, the huge hood scoop of the Demon is too effective, grabbing so much air that it leads to serious front end lift. When the front end is pulled up, it leads to changes in the suspension setup that leads to greatly reduced levels of control, so the Redeye couldn’t have the Demon hood and a top speed over 200 miles per hour.

That was where the new dual snorkel hood came into play, as this allowed the engineers to draw in the air needed to feed the Demon engine without running into the troublesome front end lift. As a result, the Hellcat Redeye has an official top speed of 203 miles per hour and as drivers near that speed, there will be far more control than you would have with a Demon at those speeds.

The dual snorkel allowed the SRT engineers to pull in enough air to feed the Demon engine, but it was not developed without some headaches. The dual snorkel design works by means of a channel that travels across the hood, behind the two openings and into the Demon’s open-top cold air intake system. When the team first designed this dual snorkel setup, they found that at high speeds, the air coming in the passenger’s side scoop was working to force the air coming in the driver’s side scoop, leading to unusual front end turbulence and reducing the amount of air making it to the engine.

To prevent this problem, the team designed the channels running behind the scoops in a way that allowed the air from the passenger’s side to make its way to the engine air inlet without disturbing the air entering from the driver’s side. These channels allowed the engine to reap the full benefit of the dual snorkel hood scoop while the external shape prevents the aerodynamic issues at high speed that plague the Demon.

So in the end, the 2019 Hellcat makes more power than the 2018 Hellcat because of the new hood and air induction system while the 2019 Redeye makes less power than the 2018 Demon because of the new hood and air induction system, but in the end, all that matters is the fact that Dodge has a variety of 700+ horsepower performance cars on sale for 2019.