Here's what's in store for the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Article by Christian A., on April 12, 2017

Halo cars are traditionally built by automakers as a way to show off their latest and most high-tech accomplishments, these unique vehicles are a pride to each and every automaker. Even Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger car brands for FCA North America, admits that there is more to these vehicles than for business purposes. With that, Dodge has released the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon – another exotic performance vehicle, or should we say, “halo car”, that will draw customers around the globe towards Dodge’s other, more “attainable” performance cars.

Though it looks like pretty much as if everything about the Demon has been released – what with Dodge’s weekly teasers, spy shots and leaked photos – let’s take a look at how the Demon is prepped for its debut straight from Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. headquarters.

If you’re talking about insanity, well, let’s just say that the Demon is set for a new Guinness World Record for “Longest Wheelie by a Production Car”. And what does that mean? It just means that Dodge’s halo car can travel 2.92 feet from a standstill with its front tires airborne. Not yet impressed? Then get this: apparently, the Demon is “too fast for the drag strip” that even the country’s preeminent sanctioning body for all quarter-mile vehicles, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), has banned it due to its lack of safety equipment required for a vehicle with such performance records.

From teasers and leaked photos, it is apparent that the Demon exudes an aura of power and potential. And it definitely does not disappoint – according to Dodge, the Demon is capable of producing 840 horsepower and by pulling 1.8 times the force of gravity at launch, can sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in only 2.3 seconds. Maintaining throttle will get the Demon across a quarter-mile in just 9.65 seconds at more than 140 mph. With these numbers, the Demon is quite as impressive as Dodge intends it to be.

From the teasers alone, it is obvious that the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon offers more in store than just being a stripped-down Hellcat. The Demon is VIN-ed and fully street legal, and can actually be used as a go-to car for grocery shopping. However, at drag strips, it can also easily wipe out competition.

It took more than two years for a team of around 25 dedicated SRT engineers, plus other Fiat Chrysler employees, to work on the project, leading to its unveiling at a pier in New York City.

Other than relying on grip during super-fast drag launches, the Demon has 35-percent more “launch force” compared to the Hellcat, with a shorter final-drive ratio of 3.09:1 (from 2.62:1). The eight-speed automatic’s torque converter has an 11-percent higher stall speed, providing 18-percent more torque multiplication – meaning, more grunt on the road. Driveline parts have also been strengthened to compensate with the added stress.

Unfortunately, the Demon does not have a manual-transmission option as it will affect its speed and consistency in drag racing. More so, its Drag Mode features requires the eight-speed box only.

Safety systems on the Demon include a backup camera, stability control, and tire-pressure monitoring. A Valet mode is also available, limiting speeds to only 4,000 rpm and disabling launch control.

The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon comes with a three-year per 36,000-mile warranty, even when using the crate parts. The crate parts come with a leather-bound book explaining the mechanisms of the car, how to set it up and how to get the best performance in action.

Dodge also offers a one-day driver training class hosted by the Bob Bondurant driving school, and in partnership with Hagerty Insurance, the car’s official insurance provider.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is a limited-edition model, which will be sold for just one model year. In the U.S., only 3,000 cars are set for production this summer, with an additional 300 units to be shipped off to Canada.

Although we already know more than what we should about the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, it still remains a mystery how enthusiasts will respond (also depending on their use). The Hellcat may have paved the way for the introduction of ludicrously overpowered street cars, but the Demon will show us that there’s more in store for buyer, especially when power is put to good use.

Powertrain

2018 Challenger SRT Demon is a drag-racing variant of the SRT Hellcat – one of Dodge’s most outrageous vehicles. Although the Demon’s 6.2-liter engine shares the same architecture as that of the Hellcat’s, the former has received 25 major component upgrades for which the Hellcat’s engine pales in comparison.

The Demon’s supercharged V8 benefits from dual fuel pumps versus the Hellcat’s single ones. And instead of a 2.4-liter supercharger (from the Hellcat), the Demon comes with a larger 2.7-liter supercharger.

Demon also features an increase in boost pressure, from 11.6 psi to 14.5 psi, and a higher rpm limit of 6,500 rpm (versus the Hellcat’s 6,200 rpm).

Lighter when compared to the Challenger SRT Hellcat

Compared to the Hellcat, around 232 pounds (105 kilograms) of mass have been shed off the Demon (it is actually 215 pounds skinnier except that its widened fenders, new wheels and other enhancements add another 17 pounds).

This significant weight loss is due to the fact that the Demon does away with its 55-pound back seat and 58-pound passenger seat; however, customers may opt to have these back for a reasonable price, which many are expected to do especially for the passenger’s seat.

Dodge has also designed a bolt-in harness bar and special net (to hold a helmet) in exchange for the back seat.

From the six-piston calipers on 15.4-inch discs in the Hellcat, the Demon saves 16 pounds with its four-piston front calipers on 14.2-inch discs. Other weight-saving features include smaller, hollow anti-roll bars (less 19 pounds), new wheels with open log nuts (less 16 pounds), and several pieces of interior trim removed, as well as sound deadening and having only two speakers.

315/40R18 Nitto NT05R drag radials

Sitting on 11 inches wide and 18-inch diameter wheels, the Demon also wears 315/40R18 Nitto NT05R drag radials – a first for production cars to be sold with drag radials from the factory.

A unique compound on the NT05R triple’s the traction coefficient at launch. New rear knuckles help mount the tires with 0.5 degrees less negative camber, improving straight-line traction. Ride quality is also slightly improved due to its more generous sidewalls.

A special dealer-purchased crate

A special dealer-purchased crate is offered to get “the most out of the car”, and comes with a plaque with the owner’s name and car’s VIN, and ultimately transforming the Demon into a “strip monster”.

It contains two super-skinny front-runner wheels that can be used for drag racing (although racers may pick their favorite brand of tire as these are not included in the crate). Snap-on tools such as a jack, torque wrench, and other tools needed for changing wheels are also included in the kit.

The package also includes a new thermostat, air intake, and a computer and new center-stack buttons to control its 6.2-liter supercharged V8. With just a push of a button, it switches to a high-octane map, unlocking the Demon’s untapped power.

Several knock sensors check the fuel blend, and once it doesn’t have a high enough octane rating, it automatically switches off the mode. Note that the car is also emissions-legal on high-octane mode.

The world’s biggest production-car hood scoop

Every race knows that cooler air equates to fuel efficiency and more power, so the Demon features new air-management strategies such as the 45.2-square inch Air Grabber – the world’s biggest production-car hood scoop – and also dual Air Catcher headlights, to produce more power and reduce air inlet temperatures by 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

It also has a patent-pending technology called Air Charge Cooler which makes use of the car’s air conditioning system to cool the supercharger’s intercooler, reducing inlet charges by 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Since running the A/C at a drag strip is a risk, a special foam-lined belly pan is installed on the Demon to catch and absorb condensation drips while using the cooler.

A function called After-Run Cooler brings the supercharged V8’s temperature back to normal by keeping the engine fan and intercooler pump running when the engine is turned off. This brings the underhood temperature back to normal before proceeding to another drag run.

Drag Mode

Kuniskis aims to define “easy driving” with the Demon, and so a Drag Mode was created. Via its infotainment system, the Drag Mode adjusts the adaptive suspension, stiffening the rear suspension while compression damping (and a little rebound damping) is done up front, to allow its nose to lift during a hard launch. Note also, that the Demon’s standard spring rates and anti-roll bars are softer than the Hellcat’s.

This mode also disables traction control, maximizing wheel-slip potential, while stabilizing the car for “maximum wall-hitting prevention”. In the event that the rear axle starts to “hop”, keeping engine output in check is an electronic anti-wheel-hop feature to minimize driveline component damage.

Most importantly, the Drag Mode enables a two-step launch system wherein the driver holds on to the steering wheel paddle shifter to keep the car from moving while stepping on the gas pedal, building engine revs. Once this is done, the paddle may be released and the Demon launches itself in superfast speeds.

Similar to a Ford Mustang, the Demon comes with a factory line-lock feature for standing burnouts – to help warm up tires and for show. However, it is limited to 400 rear wheel revolutions at a time.

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