Rumor: 909-hp, E85 Challenger on the horizon
After hearing rumblings of a E85-burning Challenger meant as the pony car’s swan song, MoparInsiders.com has done some digging and is claiming that the nameplate’s next big performance trim will pump out 909 hp, making it Mopar’s most powerful factory-built muscle car ever.
Auto critics have taken pot shots at Dodge for keeping the Challenger in production for more than a decade without a major redesign, yet the market has spoken—roughly translated, “I’ll take one with all the horsepower, please.” While the chassis and sheetmetal have been subject to minor tweaks and refinements, the pony car has seen a plethora of special editions and a steady diet of increasingly powerful V-8s that have maintained consumer interest. High-performance models were initially powered by 6.1-liter Hemi V-8s, then came a 6.4-liter version. Things got serious in 2015 when Dodge topped a 6.2-liter Hemi with a big, whiny IHI supercharger to create the 707-hp Hellcat. It wasn’t done, either. The drag-race-prepped Demon debuted as a 2018 model with 808 hp (840 hp on race fuel). When the limited-production Demon had run its course, Dodge gave us a 797-hp Hellcat Redeye for 2019. It’s still in production today.
Dodge knows that it won’t be making supercharged 6.2-liter V-8s forever and has hinted that an electric muscle sedan will replace the Charger. This E85-powered trim sounds like it might be the final sendoff for the Challenger and the remarkable Hellcat V-8. To achieve that kind of output, Dodge would likely use the same simple hot-rodding strategies that modern Challenger tuners employ in the aftermarket: more boost and more fuel. E85 makes for a great budget race fuel, especially for forced-induction applications, because it cools the intake charge and is less prone to detonation than pump gasoline, since it comes with an octane rating of 100–105. The downside is that a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio for E85 is around 9.73:1 compared with the Hellcat’s normal ratio of 13.85:1. The increased fuel demand requires a larger in-tank fuel pump and more robust injectors, which is exactly what Speedkore used when building a twin-turbo Demon than ran in the 8s.
Even if a 909-hp Challenger is coming, and it is powered by E85, questions remain. If Dodge turns up the boost on the supercharger, will E85 or other 100-octane fuel be required at all times? Dodge could design it as a flex-fuel vehicle that limits boost when running regular pump gas. Will it come with the same drag-focused features of the Demon that made it so special? Will it run the quarter-mile in less than 9.65 seconds, the elapsed time set by SRT engineers in the Demon? Not quite as important: What will it be named?
Collectors may be upset if a new Challenger upstages the Demon, but that’s the nature of performance. If this 909-hp version comes to fruition, perhaps Dodge should give Demon owners the first build slots.