Dodge set the muscle-car world on its ear three years ago with the 707-hp Challenger and Charger Hellcat. But those cars are tame kittens compared with the new Challenger SRT Demon (its official name), which debuted with great fanfare last night at a party on Manhattan’s west side.
“We have a duty to unleash Demon,” boasted Dodge’s Tim Kuniskis during the unveiling, when the angry red Demon broke out of a crate and burned rubber down the concrete floor of Pier 94 on the Hudson River. “To go all out, to literally leave our mark on the streets and strips of America in the most technologically advanced, street-legal, production drag car ever.”
The Demon’s list of performance bragging points is like none we’ve ever seen for a street-driving car. Here are just a few highlights:
- Fastest quarter-mile production car in the world, with an elapsed time of 9.65 seconds @ 140 mph
- World’s fastest 0-60-mph time for a production car, 2.3 seconds
- Highest-horsepower V-8 production engine, 840 hp
- Highest g-force acceleration of any production car, 1.8 g
- First-ever production car to lift its front wheels at launch, setting a world record wheelie at 2.92 feet, as certified by Guinness World Records
- The Demon is officially banned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) for being too fast to run at a drag strip without a cage
Clearly, Dodge set out to make not just headlines but history here. And Hagerty makes some history of its own: Dodge has appointed Hagerty as the official insurer for the Demon, the first time Hagerty has established such an association for a brand-new production car.
Dodge engineers essentially transformed the Challenger coupe into a street-legal dragster and the most powerful muscle car ever made. Although the Demon is street-legal, everything about it, from the weight savings achieved by jettisoning all but the driver’s seat (you can add passenger and rear seats back for a dollar each); to the street-legal 18-inch Nitto drag radials; to the ability to run on 100+ unleaded high-octane gasoline; to the TransBrake lock for the output shaft of the 8-speed automatic transmission; to Drag Mode suspension tuning and launch assist; and numerous other engineering modifications is designed for the dragstrip. Make no mistake, this car was invented with one main mission in life: to smoke the quarter-mile. (And rubber.)
The Demon’s new version of the Hemi 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 produces 840 hp and 770 lb-ft of torque. Compared with the Hellcat’s 707-hp Hemi, the Demon Hemi gets 50 percent new componentry and has a larger supercharger (2.7 liters vs. 2.4 liters); increased boost pressure (14.5 psi vs. 11.6, all of it available within six feet of the starting line); two dual-stage fuel pumps rather than one; a 6500-rpm rev limit versus 6200 rpm; and a larger induction box that sucks in air from three sources: the Air-Grabber hood; the driver-side Air-Catcher headlamp; and an inlet near the wheel liner. Combined air-flow rate is 1150 cubic feet per minute, some 18 percent more than in the Hellcat. Dodge boasts that the Air-Grabber hood is the largest functional hood scoop in the industry, at 45.2 square inches.
SRT also developed a Power Chiller, another production-car first, which diverts air-conditioning refrigerant from the SRT Demon’s interior to help get the SRT Demon ready for the next drag run as quickly as possible. Charge air coolant, after being cooled by ambient air passing through a low-temperature radiator at the front of the vehicle, flows through the chiller unit, where it is further cooled. The chilled coolant then flows to the heat exchangers in the supercharger. Drivers can monitor supercharger coolant temperature, plus various other drag-specific performance metrics, via “Performance Pages” in the UConnect display screen on the dash. No word whether the Performance Pages include a driver-talent measurement mechanism.
Demon production begins this summer and is limited to the 2018 model year and only 3000 cars for the United States and 300 for Canada. Buyers receive a full day of instruction at the Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving in Arizona. Pricing will be announced this summer.