Dodge Challenger Demon

Drag strip monster from the underworld

BRIAN MAKSE

ENGINE 6166cc V8, OHV, 16v, supercharger / POWER 603kW @ 6300rpm / TORQUE 972Nm @ 4500rpm / WEIGHT 1939kg / 0-100km/h 2.4sec (est.) / PRICE US$86,090 (A$108,482)

STAR RATING 4.5

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Hyper-focused engineering; a straight-line 911 GT3 RS

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Not coming to Australia; ageing platform ARS LIKE the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon donít come around all that often. Itís been banned by the NHRA for being too fast for a production car and has been certified to pull wheelies.

Starting with the infamous Hellcat as the starting point, everything that can make it go quicker has been optimised. The Hellcatís formidable 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI V8 has been overhauled Ė the supercharger enlarged, boost increased, engine internals strengthened, fuel delivery increased Ė to achieve a maximum of 626kW at 6300rpm and 1044Nm at 4500rpm on race fuel. On premium fuel, the Demon still makes a phenomenal 603kW/972Nm. As long as youíre carrying the red Ďpowerí key, all that grunt is at your disposal.

Power isnít the only story, but rather the drag-specific engineering thatís gone into the Demon that makes it as quick as it is unique. In Drag Mode, airconditioning is disabled and, more importantly, diverted to chill the engineís incoming air. Thereís also an after-run pump to minimise heat soak between runs.

Available with an auto íbox only, the familiar eight-speed has a revised torque converter with a higher stall speed, and the propshaft and half shafts are strengthened over standard Hellcat kit. The 3.09:1 final drive and limited-slip diff are unique to the Demon and SRT engineers fixed their tyre choice on the Nitto NT05R street legal drag radial in 315/40R18 sizes at all four corners.

Next on the list was weight, SRT removing 90kg from the Hellcat C starting with the passenger and rear seats (you can add them back in as options at $1 each), hollow sway bars, as well as a smaller Brembo brake package. The necessary Demon Crate, which includes narrow, drag-specific front wheels and tyres, as well as the necessary tools to swap them trackside, also costs a single dollar and is personalised to the owner and the Demon.

Spring rates are softer front and rear and the Hellcatís adaptive dampers are retained, but thoroughly revised for the Demonís purpose with accelerationenhancing settings in Drag Mode.

On the road, the Demon is as comfortable and rides with a little more compliance than any other Challenger, which means you can enjoy it on the street. Burly, boisterous, and broad-shouldered, this Challenger owns the road.

Once at the strip, enabling Drag Mode permits the use of three unique Demon features: Line Lock, Trans Brake, and drag-spec damper settings. Part of drag strip etiquette includes a billowing burnout, and Line Lock makes that a snap.

A fully integrated system, the Trans Brake locks the front brakes, builds boost and pre-loads the drivetrain by locking all first gear clutches and one second-gear clutch. Once the Trans Brake is released, the full fury of this Demon is unleashed.

Itís best you hold on to that steering wheel, because the Demon throws you into the back of your seat. At the same time, the bonnet points up to the sky.

The high-pitched whine and bellowing exhaust dominate your ears. The rate of acceleration down the strip seems impossible, forcing your consciousness to a new level of automotive possibility and even by the quarter mile marker, the Demon is still pulling hard. Itís pure, joyful, sensory overload.

Dodge and the NHRA say itíll lay down a quarter mile time of 9.65 seconds at a speed of 225km/h. It feels faster. The Demon beats all comers to 100km/h and through the quarter mile for a fraction of the price, with the muscle car attitude to go along with those shocking numbers. Itís a shame this one isnít coming to Australia. M

The rate of acceleration down the strip seems impossible Ė Dodge claims itíll lay down a 9.65sec quarter at 225km/h but it feels faster than that