New York — Move over 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats. There’s now a more powerful muscle car: the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Dodge performance brand on Tuesday officially revealed the ferocious muscle car it’s worked on for two years. The debut took place on a New York pier ahead of press days for the New York International Auto Show. Dodge had teased the car to fans in a dozen videos garnering millions of views leading up to the show.
The record-setting Demon boasts a long list of fastest and baddest credentials, according to Dodge: 840 horsepower, the most of any V-8 production engine; fastest zero to 60 mph production car, at 2.3 seconds; zero to 100 in 5.1 seconds; and fastest production car in the quarter-mile at 9.65 seconds.
The Challenger SRT Demon also hits the record books as the first production car to lift its front wheels at launch — setting a world mark for longest wheelie for a production car from a standing start at 2.92 feet. The wheelie record was certified by Guinness World Records.
The 2018 Challenger SRT Demon is the latest entry in a Detroit arms race for production drag-strip king. General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet’s 2017 Camaro ZL1 split the timing lights for an 11.4-second quarter-mile at the legendary Pomona drag strip last year. Ford Motor Co. is expected to unveil its own Mustang GT500 dragster soon. In the face of such competition, Dodge wasn’t content with the 10.85-second quarter mile set by the 707-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat which debuted in 2014.
It will be offered for just the 2018 model year, and in limited quantities: 3,000 will be sold in the U.S. and 300 in Canada.
The Demon halo car is intended to be loud and to get the attention of not just performance enthusiasts but the general market, said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat for FCA North America.
“Why hasn’t this been done before?” Kuniskis asked rhetorically at the premiere. “Because no one had the guts. This is the first ever street-legal drag car.”
It comes at a time, he said, “when everybody’s talking about we’re all going to be driving around in soulless, emotionless, driverless pods. We think there’s a lot of people who are not going to go quietly into that new reality.”
Under the Demon’s hood is a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. Dodge says more than 50 percent of components in the Demon engine differ from the Hellcat V-8. Changes include a larger supercharger at 2.7 liters vs. 2.4 liters; the ability to spin at 6,500 rpms vs. 6,200; two dual-stage fuel pumps vs. one; and larger induction air box including the largest functional hood scoop of any production car. It can run on race fuel or high-octane fuel.
The motor is paired with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission with an upgraded torque converter.
Dodge is quick to point out that while the Demon can perform on the track, it’s not a gutted drag car. It’s also capable on the street and is the first street-legal drag car, Kuniskis said.
“My goal is not to get a bunch of car guys excited about this car, because they’re gonna be,” Kuniskis said. “My goal is to transition into general market and get people who aren’t looking for a car like this to hear Dodge and identify Dodge with performance and ultimate performance and ‘Oh my God, did you hear Dodge just did this,’ and ‘Did you hear Dodge can do this?’ That’s the ultimate goal.”
The rear-wheel drive Challenger SRT Demon sheds about 200 pounds, with some 113 pounds coming from removal of the rear seat and passenger seat. But you can add them for $1.
The car features a basic audio system, but you can upgrade. Other creature comfort options include power sunroof; heated and ventilated leather front seats; heated steering wheel; and a painted satin black hood, roof and decklid. The car is available in 14 exterior colors.
Demon buyers also can choose an available Demon Crate, full of Snap-On Demon components and parts aimed to unleash the beast at the drag strip. The Crate is customized with the buyer’s name, VIN and serial number.
Buyers who get their hands on one of the Demons receive goodies including a leather-bound owner’s manual and a full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving in Chandler, Arizona.
Production is slated to begin this summer at Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, with deliveries to dealers starting in the fall.