by John Tallodi
The Challenger sports coupe has proven itself to be one extremely versatile layout, there are few other model lines out there that start off with a 305 horsepower base V6 and end up with a hyper car slaying 840 hp drag strip machine.
The latest SRT Demon is just such a car and while the Challenger layout is the most spacious and practical in its class too, all the 3000 owners of the SRT Demon will be interested in is how to lift the front wheels off the ground from a standing start.
The SRT Demon features much the same interior as the rest of the range with a few unique details to set it apart. Despite it being clearly intended to demolish the quarter mile, it is still offered with an audio system, navigation and power driver seat as standard.
Compared to any other cars in its class the Challenger offers the best interior and cargo space too. Although in the Demon’s case you will have to pay the princely sum of 1 dollar to have the front passenger and rear seats bolted back in.
Visibility is restricted by thick side pillars and a shallow glass area but in the Demon your gaze will most definitely be fixed in the forward position so it is not as big an issue as it would be in city traffic.
The Demon is completely street legal but it is unlikely most owners will be using it for the school run, most trips will be to and from the nearest race track. The drag tires are ultra grippy in dry conditions, small stones and pebbles get stuck to its tread, but they are not going to offer much traction if the road is anything but bone dry. Take a corner and the wallowy dynamics and seemingly disconnected steering wheel make you wish you hadn’t.
It becomes clear that the transmission, suspension and steering are all set up to extract the very best out of the 840 hp engine when pointing in one direction, and when the whole purpose of a car is to pop wheelies and demolish everything else in a straight line then the sloppy handling, obtrusive exhaust note and noisy cabin all become part of its character.
The 2018 SRT Demon is equipped with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that produces 808 hp and 717 lb-ft of torque on premium gas or an even more impressive 840 hp, 770 lb-ft on racing fuel. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a specialized 8-speed automatic transmission.
Claimed acceleration times are 0-60 mph in 2.3-seconds and a quarter-mile time of 9.54-seconds. This is quicker than just about anything else on the road, however to achieve it requires a well-prepared dragstrip, ideal temperatures both ambient and mechanical and of course the mastering of a fiendishly complex launch procedure.
Get it right and owners of multi-million dollar hypercars and those smug Tesla drivers will watch you disappear down the road, get it wrong and you will be sitting stationary eating humble pie.
The fine line between success and failure makes for a far more layered driving experience than one might expect of a straight-line muscle car and even if you get it wrong and just launch off the line without the line lock, trans lock and tire warming procedure and it is still quite capable of seeing off super cars and pumped up European sedans with disdain.
The SRT Demon comes with 18-inch wheels shod with drag rubber, active exhaust system, adaptive suspension and enhanced cooling system. It also comes with an 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation, 2-speaker audio system and power driver seat.
Available leather or alcantara upholstery, sunroof and upgraded audio system help make the trip to the dragstrip a bit more comfortable.
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon brings back memories of those larger than life muscle cars of the ‘60s but this time it delivers on those tall acceleration tales.
With world-beating performance figures and heavy-duty running gear, the SRT Demon is the modern day ultra-muscle car that can back up its big horsepower figures with measurable results to stick it to those who ever doubted that there was a substitute for cubic inches.