10 Ways The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Redefined Performance

Car Culture / 45 Comments

The Demon will go down in history as one of the most iconic cars of our generation.

The very spirit of the muscle car has always been that of one-upmanship; doing better than your rival, adding more power, going faster, making more noise. The muscle car is the automotive definition of excess, where the higher the horsepower and the louder the V8, the more rep you get. But for the most part, that's all been left up to the buyer on the street – that's where the mods happened most and the excessive power and noise were added.


From the factory, muscle cars have been strong, loud, and competitive, but they've largely been a blank canvas – a clean slate, a plain block of marble waiting for the owner to carve out a Michelangelo-esque statue in tribute to the God's of horsepower. Not for Dodge. No sir; for them, too much power is seemingly never enough, so when the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat's arrived with 707 horsepower apiece, we sat up and took notice. Hellcat's dominated the drag strip – the final battle ground where muscle car rivalries are settled – against all challengers, with only the likes of Tesla standing half a chance.


But in the arena of muscle, to merely beat an opponent isn't enough - and Dodge set out to decimate all comers. Of course there's only one master of all Hellcats, it goes by the name of the Demon, and it redefined performance as we know it in 10 ways.


It's an out of the box drag-king. No other manufacturer has set out to build a drag strip monster straight off the showroom floor. Even the most hardcore performance cars are stripped out for track duty, but retain some elements of comfort, or some duality of purpose. The Challenger SRT Demon has one purpose, and one purpose only – equipped with an 840 horsepower, 770 lb-ft 6.2-liter supercharged V8, it's designed to destroy the quarter mile. In fact, out of the box, it'll smash it in a time of 9.65 seconds – officially certified by the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) as the world's fastest quarter-mile production car.


That quarter mile time makes the Dodge Demon faster than the current pinnacle of hypercar evolution – the holy trinity of hybrids. Yes, the standard Dodge Challenger Demon will run the quarter quicker than a Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder – and if that isn't rewriting the rules of performance for a street car, we don't know what is.


But it's too fast for the drag strip… The Dodge Demon is so quick down the quarter mile that it actually can't compete without the addition of a roll cage and a competition license. The cage isn't street legal though, which is why Dodge didn't equip it with one from the factory. However, if you can keep your quarter mile times slower than 9.9 seconds, then the NHRA can't enforce their ruling on the cage and license, but the potential is there – as it is for buyers to equip the cage and get the license themselves. What did we say about muscle cars being blank canvases?

Jon Wong/Roadshow

The Demon is the first and only factory car that can pop a wheelie. Yep, for the first 2.92 feet of a hard launch on a prepped surface, the Demon will be running on two wheels only as the front set lifts off the ground. It took Dominic Toretto a badass Dodge Charger of his own to lift the front rubber, and with the Demon you can live out your own Fast and Furious fantasies too.

Standard Nitto drag radials give the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon some of the highest grip levels of any car ever produced. In fact there's so much grip that the Demon pulls the highest acceleration forces of any production car – pulling 1.8g of accelerative force – 40% more launch force than a Hellcat. That's a muscle car that launches harder and quicker than a Nissan GT-R. Sure, other vehicles can be equipped with drag radials, however the Nitto ones for the Demon have been developed with Dodge to be completely road-legal and come factory fitted – the first street legal drag tires on a production vehicle.


For the rest of the motoring world, the closest you can get to that sort of performance biased tire on the street is a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 track tire – but even that can't come close. Supercars accelerate quick, hypercars even more so, but the Dodge Demon accelerates quicker than any other production vehicle. In fact at 2.3 seconds from 0-60 mph, that places the Demon in the same territory as Rallycross cars with all-wheel drive and nearly half the weight of the Demon. With that acceleration time, the Demon is quicker to 60 mph than a range of vastly more expensive supercars including the Porsche 911 Turbo S, Bugatti Chiron, Nissan GT-R, and Lamborghini Aventador.


High quality fuel is required to run high power outputs. But normally, cars of this sort of performance caliber can only run on the best of the best. But when you take them to a track, even the most exotic performance machines can't run on race grade fuel; and yet the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon can run on both 91 and 100+ high octane fuel. At the push of a button the engine map can be swapped over to run on knock-resistant 100+ octane fuel for maximum 840-hp performance. The computer systems are also advanced enough to detect the average grade of fuel in the tank, and if you're not running on high enough quality, the high octane mode disengages to prevent damage to the Demon's engine.


Reduced weight isn't something new in the performance world. Porsche 911 GT3 RSs have done it for generations, stripping out rear seats, losing air conditioning and radio systems to achieve a low weight figure. However, what other cars don't go to is the extreme lengths that the Dodge Demon does in order to reduce weight – going so far as to remove even the front passenger seat for an extra 58 pound weight reduction. It's a world first for a production vehicle as no others offer a front passenger seat delete option.

Of course there are other weight reduction measures such as the removal of the rear seat, 16-speaker sound system, spare tire cover, trunk carpeting, sound deadening foam, and park sensors, which help the Demon achieve a weight saving of more than 200 pounds. With so much power, the Demon's engine requires a substantial amount of air to feed it. To meet the demands of a high performance engine, the Demon features the largest functional hood scoop of any production car. Covering 45.2 square inches, the Air-Grabber hood scoop is massive, but even that isn't enough to keep the Demon's V8 breathing freely.

The Demon loses the driver side inboard headlamp and replaces it with the Air Catcher design to help feed the engine too. The total air-flow rate between this and the hood scoop is the largest air induction volume of any production car at 1,150 cubic feet per minute. Every 60 seconds, the Demon's engine swallows as much air as 23 Volkswagen Golf's can house in their trunks!


With the Demon, Dodge didn't just want to set the bar high. They just about rewrote the entire rulebook for production performance cars. They didn't do it for a few hundred vehicles, either, but for a production run of more than 3000. In these 10 ways, Dodge redefined the performance game – outgunning not only muscle car manufacturers, but super- and hypercar manufacturer in the process.


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