The Dodge Challenger Demon debuts

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon can hit 140 m.p.h. in 9.6 seconds, 60 m.p.h. in 2.3 seconds, and 30 m.p.h. in one second.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

The demon has descended.

This week at a private party on a Pier in Manhattan, Dodge unveiled the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

The car features a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi Demon V8 engine that gets 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque. It is the fastest production car on the market today: It can hit 140 m.p.h. in 9.6 seconds, 60 m.p.h. in 2.3 seconds, and 30 m.p.h. in one second. That sprint is on the same level as the Bugatti Veryon, which has decidedly more cylinders to play with. The horsepower far outdoes the 600-plus range power of standard-issue Lamborghinis and Ferraris.

Oh, and it has also registered the highest G-force (1.8 g) of any recorded at the launch of a new production car.

This Challenger is so potent that all customers who buy it receive one full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona. Considering the specs on this monster, it’s a wise addendum.

The star of the show
Dodge’s debut set off a New York International Auto Show running slim on exciting new cars, and on the same night as the premiere of “The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth installment of the blockbuster “The Fast and the Furious” series. A Dodge Challenger driven by the hero Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) has featured prominently there in recent years.

As had been reported earlier, the Challenger SRT Demon will run on either premium or 100+ unleaded high-octane fuel (typical gas stations don’t carry the latter, but race tracks do). It’s the first street-legal factory-production car designed specifically to do so.

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It works like this: The Challenger SRT Demon can run on a blend of 100+ octane and premium unleaded fuels, but the high-octane function won’t activate if the combined fuel octane levels are too low. If that happens, the car will default to the premium fuel option until the engine is shut off and restarted.

While the preceding Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat from 2015 had only one fuel pump, this version beats it with two. But like the Hellcat, the SRT Demon comes with two key fobs. The black fob limits engine output while the red key fob unlocks the engine’s full-power output. The driver can activate Eco and Valet Modes with either fob.

The full-power mode can be activated only by accessing the special performance control module that contains the 100-octane capability.

Other significant upgrades include a larger 2.7-liter per rev supercharger; a higher r.p.m. limit of 6,500; a first-ever factory-production car liquid-to-air intercooler chiller system; and the first factory-production system with an “After-Run Chiller” that keeps cooling the supercharger after the engine shuts down. It also comes with a host of aggressive performance upgrades (Nitto NT05R street-legal tires; strengthened connecting rods and pistons; upgraded torque conversion) that make it suited for real drag racing dominance. The many technical upgrades enable the engine to sustain higher output and pressures.

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Demonic persona
The SRT Demon certainly looks the part for dominating roads. In fact, its stated purpose is to rule the quarter-mile sector, which is why it’s been lightened considerably over previous models. More on that momentarily.

The car’s unique squared hood includes the largest functional hood scoop (45.2 square inches) of any production car. It looks so big a Sony TV could fit through the center. Inside, the front passenger seat and rear seat have been deleted to reduce weight. (They can be added back for $1 each, if the customer desires.) The total weight of the equipment removed from the Challenger SRT Demon in pursuit of lightweight glory exceeds 200 pounds.

Other creature comforts, like a Harman Kardon 19-speaker sound system, plus a power sunroof and heated and ventilated leather front seats, are available. But they will slow you down.

This is a legitimate step forward even in a family of cars that has long had limited-production, supercharged variants approaching 700 and 800 horsepower. And while last year the Challenger family sold more than 60,000 units in the United States, Dodge says total production volume for the Demon will be a limited-edition single model year of 3,000 units in the US and 300 in Canada. Deliveries begin later this summer.

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