After months of speculation – how powerful is it? Is it a Challenger or something else? Will it really be sold wearing drag radials? – Dodge broke ground (or seared it, actually) by revealing its 840-horsepower Demon drag stripper on Pier 94 in New York, on the eve of the 2017 New York auto show’s media days.
New York seems to have a special place in Dodge’s heart; it was here that not too long ago, it revealed the all-new Viper, too.
As with the Viper, the motoring press knew the Demon was coming. And as with the Viper, Dodge had a few tricks up its sleeve with the Demon.
In a blaze of fire and brimstone, the Demon came bursting out of a car-sized crate and tore down a makeshift drag strip that proceeded to basically light itself on fire. That explains the New York fire department presence around Pier 94: these were fireworks that would have KISS shaking in their boots.
While SRT man Ralph Gilles presided over the Viper reveal, Dodge took a different tack with the Demon, having The Fast and the Furious star Vin Diesel host the Demon’s smoky arrival.
“From that moment on in 2000 [when The Fast and the Furious debuted with that oh-so-classic drag race between Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner],” he said, “I realized I was part of a brotherhood—the brotherhood of muscle that started with the Dodge brothers 100 years ago.” Indeed.
The numbers, for their part, are staggering and well worth a launch as epic as this. The supercharged 6.2-litre V8 is good for 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque, assuming you’re running at least 94- – and preferably 100- – octane fuel. Otherwise you get 808 horsepower and 717 lb-ft using the cars red key; use the black key and you tap into a much tamer 500 horses.
The NHRA-certified quarter-mile time is officially 9.65 seconds at 140 mph (225 km/h), and the sprint to 60 mph (96 km/h) happens in a blazing 2.3 – two-point-three! The McLaren P1 takes 2.7! – seconds. That makes the Demon the world’s quickest production car for that metric.
That quarter-mile time, meanwhile, was quick enough to get the Demon banned by the NHRA; production cars can only trip the clocks at a best of 9.99 seconds and 135 mph on NHRA strips, at least until you install pieces like a full roll cage.
You’d think this would bruise Dodge’s ego; far from it. It practically bragged about the feat, to the point that it included a copy of the ban letter in the press kit.
So, yes, it’s sold at dealers with street-legal drag radials for a reason. That’s a first. They’re by Nitto, and they measure a fat 315 mm at all four corners. Also a first? You can order a Demon without a passenger seat, and the rear seats can be deleted in favour of a roll bar. (But both can be bought back for $1 each.)
It’s also the first production car to be fitted with a trans brake and the first production car to lift its front wheels (didn’t know that was a Guinness-certified thing, but it is, apparently) on hard acceleration.
Thanks in part goes to the adaptive Bilstein dampers, which have been specifically tuned to shift as much weight rearwards as possible for maximum traction.
Keep in mind, however, that you don’t reach those staggering times without paying a price; in order to save as much weight as possible, the Demon’s deleted equipment includes 16-speaker audio (24lbs gone); trunk carpeting and spare tire cover (20 lbs); power tilt/telescoping wheel (four lbs); removed sound insulation (18 pounds) and more. Select all the weight-saving options, and you’re looking at over 200 lbs net savings versus a Hellcat.
In order to better distinguish the Demon from lesser Challengers even before you fire that big ol’ engine, the fenders have been flared, an Air Grabber scoop has been added, and special alloy wheels come standard.
Production – which will be limited to this single model year and to just 3,000 units for the U.S. and 300 for Canada – begins this summer in Bramalea, Ontario, Canada, with deliveries starting this fall. Dodge is staying mum on the price, though.
This is a car that will not be stepped to in any circumstance. Needless to say, we can’t wait to try it.