A Skeptical Engineer
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Is the 840-hp Dodge Challenger Demon Over the Top?

The overly muscled street-legal car is geared toward drag racing, and right off the showroom floor, it’ll do 0 to 100 mph in 5.1 seconds.

Dodge had no problems selling the 707-hp Hellcat, so it upped the ante and designed an 840-hp Challenger Demon for 2018. The overly muscled street-legal car is geared toward drag racing, and right off the showroom floor, it’ll do 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in 5.1 seconds, and roar through a quarter mile in 9.65 seconds with a top speed of 140 mph. That’s quick enough to earn it the title of the world’s fastest production car in the quarter mile. It will also jump off the line with enough torque (770-ft-lb) to lift the front wheels of the ground and generate 1.8 g.

 

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

 

All that power comes from a special 6.1-l Hemi v8 designed specifically for drag racing, so it must get about 105 hp per cylinder. It has a 2.7-liter per rev supercharger that increases boost pressure to 14.5 psi. To keep the supercharger cool and performing at its best, Dodge engineers rerouted the air-conditioning refrigerant to the supercharger’s heat exchanger, creating a Power Chiller. There’s even an After-Run Chiller that keeps the engine cooling fan and the low-temperature cooling pump on to lower the supercharger and air cooler’s temperature down and minimize heat-soak effects between runs down the drag strip. The Power Chiller and After-Run Chiller cut the intake air temperature by up to 45°F. To keep the supercharger well fed with outside air, the large intake scoop (45.2 in2) funnels 1,150 ft3 per minute to it. The Demon is the first production car designed to run on 100+ high-octane racing fuel or 91 octane on demand through its dual two-stage fuel pumps.

 

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI® Demon V-8 engine.

Dodge even gave racers an edge in getting off the line with its TransBrake and torque Reserve features. TransBrake locks the transmission, letting the driver get the engine up to 2,350 rpm without the engine overpowering the brakes or needing to stand on the brake pedal. It also bumps up take-off torque by 15%. Drivers get their Demon going down the track by releasing the paddle shifter on the steering wheel. Twenty msec after they release the “trigger,” torque starts being delivered to the flywheel, and full engine torque is getting to the rear wheels 150 msec after the paddle is released.

Tore Reserve, which becomes active after the engine reaches 950 rpm, closes a bypass valve, letting the supercharger prefill with boost. It also adjusts fuel flow to the cylinders and advances or retards the spark to balance engine rpm and torque. This can give the car an additional 120% more torque and 8 psi more boost on launch, according to Dodge.

Dodge engineers also worked hard to keep the Demon’s weight down (4,280 lb), and they went a little overboard (or over the top). The “standard” Demon has only one seat, no passenger seats front or back. But even they make a nod toward reality in offering those front and rear seats as a $1 option.

In an ironic twist, the National Hot Rod Association, the sanctioning body that sets rules for dragsters, has outlawed the stock Demon for being too quick, despite all Dodge did to make a drag-racing-centric car. It determined that drivers of the Demon will have to install accessories that include a roll cage and racing harness—a smart move.

The car comes with two key fobs. The black one limits the driver to “only” 500 hp, while the red one unleashes all 800+ hp. And if you’re worried the valet will pull a fast one (get it?), the driver can put the car in Valet mode, which limits engine pm to 4,000 and reduces the torque available.

Dodge will sell 3,300 Challenger Demons, 3,000 in the United States, and another 300 in Canada. Buyers will get a one-day driving session at the Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving, but they have to get themselves to Chandler, Ariz. And Dodge has also designated Hagerty the Demon’s Official Insurance Provider. It claims to be a company “for people who love cars.” (For more info and videos on the Demon, click here

I suppose there are enough North American gearheads and car lovers, and maybe even well-heeled drag racers, to account for all 3,300 Dodge Demons the company plans to sell. But I don’t think Dodge is going to cash in with just the sales. The car, which is an engineering tour de force, will also generate a ton of PR for the car maker. I just hope some of that automotive innovation makes it into more practical cars I might one day be able to afford.

Dodge has yet to release price and mileage information and will likely not release it until June. Any guesses as to how much the car might cost and what its EPA rating will be? Send them in to stephen.mraz@penton.com with Demon in the subject line.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon combines the best of both mechanical and electronic tuning to deliver maximum launch force while still maintaining precision directional control.

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