1025-hp Demon 170 is Challenger’s tire-melting last call

On the drag strip, the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 receives an NHRA violation letter for running a sub-nine-second quarter-mile without a safety cage or parachute, following in the footsteps of the original Demon, which was also banned from NHRA quarter miles. Stellantis

Dodge turned the automotive world on its ear when the manufacturer launched the 840-horsepower SRT Demon in 2018. In addition to brute power, the drag-race-focused Challenger used transmission tricks and drag slicks (OK, so the radials did actually have tread on them) to deliver a muscle car that served up a nine-second quarter-mile straight from the factory. No mods necessary.

Now, Dodge has turned the dial up to 666 to give the V-8-powered Challenger—now in its final year of production—a whopping 1025 E85-fueled horsepower!

Even on premium E10 gas you can buy at the pump, when running a more conservative tune due to the lower octane rating, the 6.2-liter Hemi in the Demon 170 churns out an impressive 900 horsepower and 810 lb-ft of torque thanks to a host of performance upgrades.

2023 dodge demon 170 hellcat

What kind of performance can we expect from this drag-strip beast? Dodge promises 0 to 60 mph in 1.66 seconds and quarter-mile elapsed times of just 8.91 seconds, making this the first factory production car to dip into the eights.

“To celebrate the end of the Hemi muscle-car era, we pulled off all the governors to reach a new level, a new benchmark of ‘factory-crazy’ production car performance,” said Tim Kuniskis, CEO of the Dodge brand.

The Demon 170 picks up where the last Demon left off but uses a 3.0-liter supercharger that’s based on the unit used on the larger, 426-cubic-inch (6.9-liter) Hellephant crate engine. The Demon 170’s 105-mm throttle body pulls in air and the supercharger crams it into the cylinders at 21.3 psi, 30 percent more airflow than the Hellcat Redeye. That explains why the Demon 170 makes its peak horsepower at 6500 rpm, rather than at 6300, where the Hellcat Redeye maxed out, even though both models’ engines use the same camshaft.

That cam is pretty much the only thing the two engines share, since every other aspect of the Hemi was upgraded to handle the extra cylinder pressure—up to 2500 psi when using full E85 fuel.

2023 Dodge SRT Demon 170 horsepower 6.2 hellcat engine supercharger

Upgrades start at the foundation. The 6.2-liter block, cast from iron from its beginning, was modified to accept new fasteners for billet-steel main caps, which increase clamping pressure* by 44 percent. Likewise, the cylinder heads were machined for head studs that provide 38 percent more clamping force.

(*Educational side note: Imagine changing a tire, and using a breaker bar to twist each lugnut back onto its bolt. As you tighten, or torque, a lugnut, you’re stretching the bolt. As the bolt tries to contract to its original length, it’s resisted by the nut, and voilà: The clamping force that, in this example, holds wheel onto hub. More, larger, or stronger bolts can provide greater clamping force before failure.)

The Demon 170’s engine also uses new connecting rods, and new rod- and main-bearings, to hold up to the intense cylinder pressure. The modifications allow the 6.2-liter Hemi to consume much more air—and fuel. Dodge noted the injectors flow 164 gallons of fuel per hour, more than your average U.S. shower head. That’s to be expected, as the stoichiometric air-to-fuel ratio for E85 is around 9.7:1 compared to 14.7:1 for gasoline.

By the way, the “170” in the name is a callout to E85, as its 85 percent alcohol makes it 170 proof. Dodge teased the ethanol fuel with moonshine jugs shown in previous sneak-peek videos.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 horsepower hellcat

The ethanol is key to making the Demon 170’s full 1025 horsepower. There’s no black key and red key like the last Demon. Instead, the Demon 170’s horsepower output is based on the state of tune and changes depending on what kind of fuel it senses. When the vehicle detects at least 20 percent ethanol, a gas-pump icon in the instrument panel lights up white. When at least 65 percent is detected, the icon changes to blue and all 1025 horses are ready to play. Game on.

It’s not going to be easy to get all that Hemi’s torque to the ground. To keep the drivetrain from grenading after multiple wheels-up launches, Dodge beefed up the Demon 170’s drivetrain with a new differential casting that houses a larger, 240-mm ring gear. Everything that bolts to the diff’s center section is more robust as well, with new, 43-spline halfshafts and a driveshaft that’s 30 percent stronger than the Challenger Redeye’s.

2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 horsepower hellcat
Like its 2018 Demon predecessor, the Demon 170 uses a customizable TransBrake to launch hard off the line and a drag-tuned suspension that quickly transfers weight to the rear wheels. It also packs a “Power Chiller” that routes the air conditioning to the air-to-water charge cooler, lowering intake air temps by up to 45 degrees. Stellantis

Dodge developed a Demon 170–specific set of 315/50R17 Mickey Thompson ET Street R drag radials and tasked them with the most difficult chore: maintaining traction. A narrower set of Mickey Thompson 245/55R18 ET Street front tires sit up front and are hopefully just along for the ride on most track passes. That strange, staggered wheel sizing means there are widebody fender flares on the rear but on not the front, which helps keep weight down. (And is a handy cue for car-spotters.)

The smaller front wheel and tire, plus the single set of flares, shed 17 pounds from the front compared to a Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody, but there are more weight savings to be had with the optional carbon-fiber wheel package from Lacks Enterprises.

2023 dodge challenger demon 170 hellcat carbon fiber wheels
The Dodge brand worked closely over many months with Mickey Thompson Tires to develop applications exclusively for the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 that were crucial to the vehicle achieving maximum traction under extreme acceleration. Stellantis

The lightweight 17×11-inch rear wheels ditch 11.98 pounds while 18×8-inch wheels save a total of 20.12 pounds off the front. With the optional wheels, weight is reduced by a total of 157 pounds when compared to the Hellcat Redeye Widebody, since the passenger seat, rear seats, trunk trim, and noise insulation were all tossed out of the Demon 170 in the name of speed.

All interior trim options, including the premium leather interior option that adds heated/ventilated seats and an 18-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, along with other luxury goodies, allow for the rear-seat delete. Dealer-installed options for the Demon 170 include two necessities that will keep your local tech inspector happy: a harness bar with carbon fiber rear seat delete insert, and a Direct Connection Parachute Mounting System. The NHRA requires a ‘chute on any car that exceeds 150mph in the quarter-mile, and the Demon has already recorded a trap speed of 151.17mph.

A maximum of 3300 Demon 170s will be built, with 3000 destined for the U.S. and 300 bound for Canada. Orders open on March 27, 2023. MSRP before destination and gas guzzler tax is $96,666. Any current Demon owners who secure an allocation for the Demon 170 will have the opportunity to get their Demon 170 with the same serial number as their original Demon.

As sad as we’ll be to see the burly, Hemi-powered Challengers go away, you have to give it to Dodge for giving the Challenger and its 6.2-liter engine a proper sendoff. The Demon 170 has certainly raised the bar for whatever Dodge has planned to take over for V-8 powered muscle.


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    I’m going to make a bold prediction and say that this most certainly will not be the last Dodge ICE muscle car, unless they go out of business after trying to go all-EV.

    Yes, I’m skeptical approaching cynical regarding the ability to provide the infrastructure needed for an EV fleet.

    If they are really ready to go all electric next year, I would have expected teasers if not outright announcements of their next generation EVs to pave the way from Demon excitement to the EV that will “replace” it.

    Case in point: Chrysler said it was never again going to put the 6.2 in its 300. Lacking anything electric to look forward to, it came out with a 300C with — you guessed it — the 6.2.

    My guess: They’re not ready and will keep making ICEs until they are, perhaps in 2005.

    Look for more stuff like Demon-ish Durangos and Grand Cherokees.

    When your best ideas are more than 50 years old, that might be a sign you are in the wrong business. The new Challengers just lack the charm of the originals. But then repops by different companies seldom live up to the real McCoy.

    …this is getting a little ridiculous over at Dodge – do we really believe this is “the swan song” – or is this more like “The Rolling Stone’s NEXT farewell tour”!?! Also – NO CIVILIAN – who is not a professional race driver – needs anything near this kind of insane horsepower to run on the street…

    It’s not a matter of news when it comes to having 1025 hp under your right foot. I’m sure no one is going to attempt driving these on the street anyway since keeping traction would be a futile attempt. Collectors and a handful of people who use it as it’s intended purpose on the drag strip (should they have a roll cage installed) are the only people will be buying them, especially at the MSRP they’ll have. It won’t take long after they’re all swooped up and a few are crossing the auction block for a hefty profit.

    You obviously don’t watch Youtube videos… Someone will be doing donuts in intersections and running from cops in these as soon as they hit the streets

    I WANT ONE! BTW, I have a 70 Challenger Convertible and 74 Rallye. But this one would be the fastest…lol. So it would be nice to have 3 Challengers!

    Wow, I am impressed. Not only by the vehicle specs but also by the price. Out of the reach of some but not so ridiculous as to be unattainable by most. Long live DODGE.

    Well this isn’t your parents’s (grandparent’s) Challenger, that’s for sure. But unlike the days of old, that price is hardly attainable for the average working person. The limited prodution run and certain dealer markups will push the cost of these cars into the stratosphere. Don’t look for any of these to be barn finds 40 years fromnow. They will all wind up in private collections. For the vast majority of auto lovers, these cars will be like Ferraris or McClarens – fun to read about and long for, but not a reality.

    Spot on! Reality eloquently expressed. Not all the “Old Cranks” are confined to the internals of a Hemi, fortunately for the future of common sense

    Your not taking in consideration the insurance, fuel cost and how much this car will actually be used since it’s far from a daily driver. For a car costing around $100,000. The uses are the dragstrip after you install a roll cage and a parachute or a garage queen hoping to make money on your investment at a future auction. Those who purchase one on a normal budget is rolling the dice especially if their budget says No. I Would like to read the warranty information included with this car. Considering Dodge blew I believe 7 engines developing this car. What are the do’s and don’ts in the warranty

    Nobody has milked as much out of a chassis as Dodge I think. The constant special editions, etc. have been fun to watch. The end of an era I guess.

    Unfortunately the various Dealership “mark-ups” (greed) will again show the lack of honesty and integrity of Dealerships. Dodge should sell this car directly to its select customers @ MSRP. I expect to see up to and close to 2X MSRP for this car and this takes away any incentives to take ownership, unless you plan to crate it and leave it untouched for 40-50 years. By that time there might not be any proper fuel to run the full HP.
    I owned the last DEMON. It was fun for a while. I would buy this DEMON too, but probably not with the ridiculous “Market Adjustment” dealerships are going to demand.

    I find it hard to understand those who may not like the styling of the concept Challenger electric as opposed to the concave-nosed Tesla and Mustang which looks like they had a head-on collision. No reason to tell anyone the “engine sound” is not real, keep them guessing at the stop light. I think inside and out it’s a beauty and hope they follow through with production. Sadly, I too will miss the 5.7 and 6.2 Liter engines of the past. I have a sticker on the side view mirror that says “Objects in the mirror are losing”

    Does MOPAR still have the 5-Year, 50,000-Mile Warranty? If so, it will come in handy for this monster, as this car’s performance will not go untested by her owners.

    It was fascinating to read about all of the ways the engineers looked to squeeze more power out of this car. I think this is a first (at least that I’ve heard about) of a production car routing cold air from the A/C to cool intake air. I can’t tell from the photos, but I sure hope it comes with reinforced headrests to support that violent neck snap when doing a sub-2 second 0-60 and sub-9 second quarter mile. Truly insane. 🙂

    Very potent! Can’t even imagine launching that thing! Well, at my age I would be pedaling it from the light!

    Going back to Old School check out Paul Rossi’s wheel standing Challanger, now in Vegas with plans to be in several places this summer. Direct-Connection is involved just showing that Dodge was and will be in the future, involved in performance.

    The average driver would crash this thing in a week. This was probably done under ideal conditions with
    Professional drivers. If you make any mistakes with this power and speed would mean game over.

    Well, where is the “average driver” going to come up with min $100k to buy one of 3300 that will be built? OFC, having an extra 100k doesn’t make you an above average driver.

    100 grand for a one trick pony to go in a straight line. Car should have been called the “Demoron” to aptly describe the buyer of such a travesty. SMH, the world has definitely gone crazy.

    Where does it all end? A 1.66 second 0 – 60 time puts this car solidly in hypercar altitude, except that I am sure it won’t top 200 MPH. But it proves there is no substitute for brute force.

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