The Hellcat era is ending the same way it began back in 2015: with an obscene amount of horsepower, a devil-may-care attitude, and almost complete indifference toward handling. The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170—the last of Dodge’s Last Call combustion muscle cars—is a 1,025-hp street-legal drag racer that rolls out of the factory with the claimed ability to rip off a 1.66-second 0-60 time and an 8.91-second quarter mile at 151.2 mph on a prepped dragstrip.
If those numbers hold up, the Demon 170 will be among the quickest production cars ever built, at any price. Its competition, as far as straight-line performance is concerned, amounts to the $111,630 Tesla Model S Plaid and a handful of supercars and hypercars, all of which channel their thrust to the ground through four wheels. Those cars make the Demon look like a bargain propelled by black magic. It starts at $100,361 (a cheeky $96,666 before destination and gas-guzzler tax) and dispatches its 945 lb-ft of torque through only the rear tires.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis is adamant this new car isn’t simply a modified Challenger Hellcat or an upgraded version of the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon. To make the point, he holds up a camshaft and says, “This is what’s left of the Demon engine.” He’s exaggerating, of course, but Dodge engineers replaced more components than they originally planned on just to keep the engines from self-destructing. The list includes new pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, crank bearings, and billet main caps. To cope with the immense pressure in the combustion chambers, the cylinder-head bolts have been replaced with studs.
A new 3.0-liter supercharger draws air through a throttle body big enough to inhale your fist, and the fuel injectors can flow up to 164 gallons per hour—not that you could easily verify that. The Demon 170’s fuel tank drains in less than seven minutes of full-throttle driving.
|2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 Specifications|
|Base Price||50million naira|
|Layout||Front-engine, RWD, 1-pass, 2-door coupe|
|Engine||6.2L/1,025-hp/945-lb-ft supercharged OHV 16-valve V-8|
|Curb Weight||4,300 lb|
|L x W x H||197.5 x 78.8 x 57.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.2 sec (MT est)|
|EPA City/HWY/Comb Fuel Econ||10/17/13 mpg (est)|
|Fuel Range||45 ¼-mile runs or 7 minutes (est)|
|On Sale||Fall 2023|
Dodge leans heavily—maybe too heavily—into E85 as a branding theme for the Demon. The “170” in the name comes from E85 being 85 percent alcohol, or 170 proof in the world of liquor. The words “ALCOHOL INJECTED” are etched on the hood scoop’s bezel, and the engine block and the eye in the Demon badge are yellow in a nod to most of the ethanol in E85 coming from corn. Buyers also get a bar set that includes whiskey stones and a decanter that will terrify their children.
We should mention that you’re not likely to see the Demon’s acceleration performance verified by Our team in the future. Dodge’s times were achieved on a dragstrip prepped with VHT, a sticky, tarlike coating that improves grip. On an unprepared surface like we use, the 0-60 time will likely be in the low two-second range, and the quarter-mile result will be firmly in the nines. Kuniskis also stresses that Dodge’s 0-60 and quarter-mile claims can only be matched under the best possible circumstances. You’ll need a meticulously prepped track, perfect air, and a driver that has mastered the art of launching the Demon.
In other words, the Demon 170 is not a Porsche 911 Turbo S with robotic launch control that will knock out repeatable max-attack sprints to 60 mph all day long. Engineers have, however, included a few new tools to help drivers tame this hellbeast. The reworked transmission-brake launch procedure allows the driver to flat-foot the throttle in the starting box rather than feather it to keep the revs in a sweet spot. If the tires spin on launch, the driver can use the Demon’s infotainment system to dial in a custom torque curve for the first 1.6 seconds of subsequent runs. There are also settings to soften the shifts from first gear to second and second to third if the tires are breaking loose during gear changes.
Although the car can technically run the 8.9-second quarter mile as you drive it off the dealer lot, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a track that will let you do just that. Should you master the Demon’s nuances and slip under a 9.0-second quarter mile, you’ll need both a roll cage and a parachute to run at any NHRA-sanctioned event. It’ll take a fabricator to build a proper cage, but customers will be able to buy the parachute directly from Dodge through its Direct Connection parts catalog. To purchase a Demon, buyers will once again have to sign and notarize an affidavit stating they assume all risks of driving a vehicle that is trying its damnedest to conjure the devil.
A revised suspension is designed to transfer weight rearward more quickly rather than wasting time as the nose rises. Despite that change, Kuniskis promises the Demon still pulls a wheelie at launch.
The 170’s tower of torque routes through an eight-speed transmission and hardened driveline. The driveshaft measures 0.4 inch larger in diameter and 30 percent stronger than the Hellcat Redeye’s. The 3.09:1 rear axle is also 0.4 inch larger with shot-peened gears and a case that’s pressure-cast to eliminate porosity, with the overall effect being a 50 percent increase in strength compared to the previous Demon. The rear halfshafts feature 43 splines (two more than those in the Redeye) and slide into heat-treated CV joints.
The Mickey Thompson ET Street R tires (size 315/50R17 in back and 245/55R18 in front) are supposedly so important to the Demon’s track times that Dodge pushed back the launch of the car when the tiremaker ran into supply-chain issues and tried to bow out of the program. Optional $11,500 wheels combine aluminum spokes and a carbon-fiber rim with titanium bolts. The save 32 pounds compared to the standard aluminum wheels and spin up quicker because the weight is more centralized, giving them a lower moment of inertia.
Unsurprisingly, the Demon 170 looks pretty much the same as every Challenger we’ve seen since Dodge introduced this generation in 2008. The biggest difference compared to the previous Demon is the 170 loses the front fender extensions. The old car needed those flares to accommodate its 315-millimeter-wide front tires. With narrower front rubber, the new car saves 16 pounds. Despite the weight-saving efforts, the additional engine and drivetrain fortifications have pushed overall weight up slightly to a claimed 4,275 pounds.
Like its predecessor, the Demon 170 comes as a single-seat car, but unlike 2018, it’ll cost you more than one or two dollars if you’re going to bring friends along for the ride. The package that adds a passenger seat and rear bench now costs $2,500. Buyers who pay for five seats also have the option to then delete the rear bench at no cost. A sunroof runs $10,000, a price we assume was picked to discourage buyers from choosing it.
Kuniskis says he wants Dodge to build 3,000 Demons for U.S. customers and another 300 for Canadians to match the production run from 2018, but he’s not committing to that number. As he’s saying that, someone in the back of the room shouts out, “2,500!” The Brampton, Ontario, plant that will build the Demon will cease Challenger production at the end of the year.
Dodge is sharing Demon 170 dealer allocations now in the Dodge Horsepower Locator tool at DodgeGarage.com, and ordering opens on March 27. The company is hoping to scuttle dealer markups by prioritizing production for customers who pay MSRP, and repeat buyers who already have a 2018 Demon in the garage get a chance to buy a new model with a VIN that has the same final six digits. Anyone else looking to get their hands on a Demon 170 may very well have to make a deal with the devil.
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