With 840 horsepower and 770 pounds-feet of torque from a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 engine, the new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is the most-powerful production muscle car in history. It posted the world’s fastest quarter-mile with an elapsed time (ET) of 9.65 seconds and a 140-mph trap speed – certified by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Try that in a factory-made Camaro or Mustang.
There’s irony here. The Challenger SRT Demon is too fast for a drag strip and is officially banned by NHRA under certain conditions. It also has the world’s best 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds for a production car; 0-30 mph – gulp – in 1 second flat.
- Larger 2.7-liter supercharger (nota bene – bigger than many production engines) with increased boost pressure to 14.5 psi
- Higher rpm limit of 6500
- First factory production car with an SRT Power Chiller – a liquid-to-air intercooler
- First factory car with After-Run Chiller that keeps cooling the supercharger/charge air cooler after the engine is shut down
- First factory production car running on 100+ high-octane unleaded fuel or 91 octane
- First factory-production car with so-called TransBrake for quicker launches
- First with Torque Reserve, to deliver increased levels of torque at launch
- First factory-production car with front passenger seat delete
Challenger SRT Demon is protected (sort of) by a FCA warranty of three-years/36,000-miles; with five-years/60,000-miles powertrain coverage. Production of the limited-edition single model year – 3,000 United States, 300 Canada – begins later this summer. Deliveries to Dodge SRT dealers begins this fall. Customers who buy one receive a full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High-performance Driving.
Dodge returned to the high-performance car world in 2014 with the 707-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat and Challenger SRT Hellcat (Driving the 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat), building supercar performance at what then were considered affordable prices – roughly $70,000 or so. They were the most powerful muscle cars ever – until now. Built in the original spirit of the rogue engineering group at Chrysler that became known as the Ramchargers, Chrysler and its Mopar sub-brand – aka running as Hemi-Under Glass – often toasted the competition at drag strips.
The Challenger SRT Demon also is the world’s first production car to lift the front wheels at launch and set the world record for longest wheelie from a standing start by a production car at 2.92 feet, according to the Guinness World Records. The Challenger SRT Demon also registers the highest g-force (1.8g) ever recorded at launch in a production car.
“With Demon, our goal was to build a car that would tattoo the Dodge logo into the sub-conscious of the general market, beyond even our loyal enthusiasts, said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America. (That’s a long tattoo of a title) “To do so, we had to set records that have never been set before, do more than has ever been done before, go beyond even the legendary Hellcat. The result: an 840-horsepower, 9-second muscle car unlike anything that has ever come before it.”
Street-Legal Production Firsts
- Factory-installed wider, Nitto street-legal drag radials for improved grip, 40% more launch force compared with SRT Hellcat tires
- Available Direct Connection engine controller calibrated for 100+ unleaded high-octane fuel
- SRT Power Chiller redirects air conditioning refrigerant to chill the charger air cooler
- After-Run Chiller runs the cooling fan and the low-temperature circuit coolant pump after engine shutdown
- TransBrake locks the output shaft of the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission to hold the car before launch, allowing the driver to increase engine rpm for higher torque and quicker response
- Torque Reserve boosts engine air flow and supercharger rpm before launch, delivering wickedly fast acceleration
- Drag Mode suspension tuning maximizes weight transfer to the rear wheels for better traction
- Drag Mode Launch Assist uses wheel speed sensors to watch for driveline-damaging wheel hop at launch and in milliseconds modifies the engine torque to regain full grip and then continues accelerating the car down the track
- Optional narrow “front runner” wheels for use at drag strips cuts front-end weight
- Wide-body exterior styling, with concealed wheel well attachments house Challenger SRT Demon’s massively wide 315/40R18 tires
- Front passenger seat and rear seat deleted to reduce weight (can be optioned back for $1 each)
The core of the SRT Demon is the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8, rated at 840 horsepower and 770 pounds-feet of torque. The red-painted Demon engine has been certified to the SAE J1349 industry standard for its horsepower and torque ratings. The engine also meets all emissions regulations.
While the Demon V-8 shares its architecture with the 707-horsepowerp 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI Hellcat V8, FCA claims it is not simply a Hellcat engine with more boost. The Demon V8 engine has “25 major component upgrades” from the Hellcat engine, including the supercharger, pistons, rods, valvetrain and fuel injection system.
- Larger supercharger: 2.7 liters versus 2.4 liters
- Increased boost pressure: 14.5 psi versus 11.6 psi
- Higher rpm limit: 6500 rpm versus 6200
- Two dual-stage fuel pumps versus one
- Larger induction air box with three sources of intake air: Air-Grabber hood, driver-side Air-Catcher headlamp and an inlet near the wheel liner
In addition, the Hemi Demon V8 includes a high-speed valvetrain, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, and improved lubrication system. The upgrades enable the engine to sustain higher output and pressures while meeting FCA US durability requirements, it’s said.
The Demon is the first-ever, street-legal production car designed to run on 100+ unleaded high-octane fuel. That fuel is available at a few gas stations, specialty shops and – where else – drag strips. However, the pony car on stallion steroids leaves the factory with a powertrain control module configured for 91-octane premium unleaded pump gasoline. The switch to a Direct Connection controller enables the supercharged engine to extract the maximum power from the knock-resistant fuel at high pressures and optimum spark timing. Drag racers can anticipate improvements in elapsed times (ETs) and trap speeds with the high-octane fuel. The high-octane fuel with the optional Direct Connection powertrain controller boosts engine output to 840 horsepower and 770 pounds-feet of torque.
The high-octane function won’t activate if the combined fuel octane is too low. A message in the gauge display tells the driver the car will use the premium fuel calibration until the engine is shut off and restarted. How does the car know? The controller monitors the engine’s knock sensors.