Words: Calvin Chan
Published: April 12, 2017
After what feels like a century of teasers, hints, and spy shots, Dodge has finally released the full specifications of their 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon – think of it like a Hellcat on steroids.
Here are the numbers: 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft from the Hellcat’s 6.2-litre supercharged V8 but with modifications to more than 25 major components, including a bigger supercharger providing more boost, a bigger air cooling system, and a bigger hood scoop. “Big” is obviously the recurring theme here, but that means the Demon makes 133 hp and 120 lb-ft more than the Hellcat. That’s utterly insane, and makes it the highest horsepower V8 production car ever produced. Who would have thought the day would come when even the 707-hp SRT Hellcatappeared underwhelming?
Still not impressed? The Demon goes from 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds, and hits the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds, and certified by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to be the fastest quarter-mile production car, faster than the Bugatti Veyron. So in Fast & Furious talk, that makes it a 9-second car.
NHRA have even gone as far as calling it “too fast for the drag strip” and have banned it accordingly – a statement that even Dodge is proud of, making it their headline for the press release. It’s like that “cool” kid who brags about being suspended from school.
If Demon owners can’t rip their ¼ mile on the strip, wouldn’t that make them tempted to take it to the street? Let’s hope not, because once people find out that the Demon is the only production car that is able to do a wheelie and lift the front wheels at launch, all hell will break loose. Our sources tell us that if you do want to drag your Demon at a strip, you’ll need a special Competition License and extra safety equipment like a roll cage, window net, fire suit and fire gloves. Maybe Dodge will even throw in a parachute.
But I digress, back to the numbers. The rev limiter now tops at 6,500 rpm from the Hellcat’s 6,200 rpm, and it can run on 100-octane fuel with the push of a button. Yes, that’s race fuel. Good luck getting your hands on that at your local Esso station.
The numbers are impressive but how Dodge engineers obsessed over making the Demon the quickest vehicle in a straight line is even more eye opening.
For the powertrain and chassis to cope with the added power, extensive modifications had to be made. This included strengthened pistons and connecting roads to deal with the extra load, and the Demon even uses two fuel pumps to get enough fuel flowing into the V8. The prop shaft, rear differential, and rear half shafts have also been enhanced to handle the increase in torque.
There’s even a Launch-Assist mode. Think of this like Launch Control 2.0. The Demon has sensors that watch for signs that the rear tires are slipping and will automatically reduce torque to said wheel to increase traction. Dodge says that this reduces wheel hop by more than 15-20%.
Even with those revisions the Demon wasn’t fast enough, so Dodge fitted street-legal drag tires specifically developed for the Demon. They also put the Challenger on a diet by removing the front passenger seat, rear seats, audio system, insulators and foams, switched to a manual tilt/telescope steering column, and removed the parking sensors – yes pretty much all the bells and whistles have been torn off and incinerated. Oh, but if you really want those seats, speakers, sunroof, and creature comforts, you can option them back on.
And if you are lucky enough to be one of the 300 Canadians that are able to snatch this limited single model year Demon, you’ll be treated to a full-day session at Bob Bondurant School of High-performance Driving, where you will learn the ins and outs of performance driving so you don't pull a Mustang at your next Cars & Coffee meet. Demon owners will also receive a crate full of tools so they can tinker and customize their Chally for their next pink-slip race.
Speed and record setting are everything here, and the Challenger SRT Demon is willing to sacrifice everything to shave a millisecond off its quarter-mile time, even its damn passenger seat. Nevertheless, we’re head over heels for this new American muscle car, but perhaps more so on what it stands for. In a world of constricting fuel regulations, the SRT Demon is the antithesis to it all – we just can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this maniacal machine.
Prices have not been announced. Expect the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon to go on sale this summer, with deliveries slated to begin this fall. Production is at the Brampton (Ontario) Assembly plant.