By on February 23, 2017

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Dodge has been parsing out minor details on the Demon, slowly shaping its identity, for what seems like decades, when it has actually only been about a month. In today’s publicity sprig, Fiat Chrysler indicated that — unlike the Hellcat — the Demon will be strip-focused with a suspension setup specifically designed exclusively for straight-ahead speed.

With Dodge claiming that the Hellcat is the “ultimate do everything muscle car” with an intention  “to strike that perfect balance between drag strip brute force, road course competence and street car civility,” I am left wondering just how streetable the Demon could possibly be. Like most purpose-built cars, dragsters are wonderful at doing exactly one thing and absolutely terrible at everything else. For Dodge’s new hype machine, the added forward momentum might come at the expense of hanging a right. 

Converting the new car into a drag queen required FCA to equip the Demon with some fairly unique tuning characteristics. Dodge is bragging that the Demon the first factory mechanical/electronic drag-race-specific suspension setup ever implemented on a production car. My guess is because other companies probably knew better (and I’m genuinely torn between thinking this is a fun or terrible concept).

On the mechanical side of things, the car ups the compression on the rear Bilsteins and softens the front shocks while pairing them with more reactive springs. FCA opted for lower-rate stabilizer bars that still offer some lateral stability. It’s a fairly classic drag setup, optimizing load transfer and improving on-throttle traction. It should work well with the car’s fat Nitto NT05R drag radials.

Meanwhile, electronic wizardry can tweak the shocks’ rebound and compression from slightly firm to mushy and shift weight to the rear at launch, aiding traction. It can also completely disable traction control without abandoning its electronic stability control.

The only thing missing was a line-lock for warming the rear tires in the burnout box, but Dodge might have just omitted that bit. FCA says we would have to wait to find out the rest of the electronic trickery that occurs when an operator presses the new drag mode button and encourages everyone to watch the new Demon hype-video “multiple times” — which I find annoying. While I’m pleased to see some genuine information in this latest update, I’m more than a little tired of the stay-tuned marketing style the company is so fond of.

Someone should tell Dodge that beating a dead horse, even masterfully with a beautiful gilded club, is still beating a dead horse.

One glaring oddity in the announcement (and poorly hidden in the above photo) was the final result of “13.5=575@500” that the carmaker neglected to elaborate upon further. My best guess is that this is a hint of on-boost power in torque or horses at 500 wheel rotations per minute using some unspecified gearing. Someone who is better than I at math, who owns a decoder ring, and is willing to feed into Dodge’s twisted marketing plan, is welcome to speculate and convert this collection of numbers into something more meaningful.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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30 Comments on “Dodge’s Challenger SRT Demon Is an Infuriatingly Marketed From-the-Factory Dragster...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Here’s a chuckle
    I put that equation into Google search and the first page of results is car blogs and websites asking the same question.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Most of these will end up being stored – and restored – like the Superbirds of the past.

    But the Superbird will always be cooler.

  • avatar
    ajla

    No one can do absurdity like Mopar and Fiat.

  • avatar
    MLS

    I find the whining about the slow trickle of details amusing. No one is forcing you to watch the videos, read the releases, or rehash them here on TTAC. Dodge will no doubt issue a fully detailed press release when the car makes its public debut in New York in April. So either shut up and publish one last article then, or shut up and enjoy the clicks that come from publishing weekly updates.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It works because every car enthusiast is wondering what madness SRT is cooking up that could surpass the insanity of the “normal” Hellcat.

  • avatar
    mason

    It sounds like the Demon is Dodge’s answer to the COPO Camaro. Even though I could never afford upwards of 6 figures for a factory spec drag car I love the fact that there are even cars like this available in this day and age.

    Kudos to GM and Dodge for hangin’ it out a little.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Was the COPO ever street legal as a new car from GM dealers? The only one I can see that can be driven on the street was some ebay listing last year.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        They are not supplied by GM with a VIN number therefore they are not street legal. With that being said, this guy found a work around.

        https://www.google.com/amp/www.hotrod.com/articles/first-legally-licensed-copo-camaro-found-2016-hot-rod-power-tour/amp/?client=ms-android-verizon

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Dodge’s retort to the COPO Camaros and Cobra Jet Mustang is the Drag Pack Challenger.

      The Demon is a street car catering to a very specific niche. Pretty cool to see. Everybody seems dismayed that the Demon isn’t some sort of AWD bantam weight road course machine but Ford and GM generally have that locked up with new lighter platforms.

      Frankly here in the flatlands of the mid-atlantic and points south and west were drag racing reigns supreme its a pretty smart gamble of FCA’s part.

      Ford sorta dabbled in this with SN95/New Edge Mach 1. It was more street bruiser/drag car than road course machine.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’m honestly thrilled they’re doing the Demon this way rather than as a ZL1/GT350 competitor. There is not even a pretense that you’ll ever want to turn the steering wheel. If people want sharp handling under the FCA umbrella they can grab an Alfa, keep the Dodges as big-displacement, straight-line focused muscle cars.

        I’d love if Ford and GM made a Challenger-sized Torino and Chevelle but I know the market for that sort of car is basically dead.

        • 0 avatar
          Frylock350

          @ajla,

          I don’t think the market’s dead; in fact I think a GM entry would rapidly grow the market. A new big traditionally styled RWD Chevelle coupe with an LT1 would quickly outsell the Camaro as long as GM didn’t price it into the stratosphere. GM’s A-body fanbase is much larger than Dodge’s Charger/Challenger fanbase. They’ll buy cars.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        @ Raph, your 100% right. I don’t know how I forgot about the Drag Pack.

  • avatar
    Parousia

    Enjoying the posts here. Quick question for the BnB: if the technology and development dollars for the Demon are going to be used only on the Demon, FCA is going to take a financial bath on this. (Even if dealership traffic results in a handful of Challenger GT purchases.) How will the money spent on exorcising a Demon from a Hellcat trickle down to lesser Challenger and Charger models?

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “Converting the new car into a drag queen required FCA to equip the Demon with some fairly unique tuning characteristics.”

    Um, you can’t qualify “unique”. Something either is unique, or it is not. (In that way, it is not unlike “pregnant.”) Unique means, quite literally, “one of a kind”.

    Something cannot be “fairly one of a kind”.

    What you mean is, “fairly unusual”.

    “Unique” is not the ten dollar version of “unusual”. They are not interchangeable.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Perhaps they are somewhat interchangeable terms.

    • 0 avatar
      WrittenDescription

      The word “unusual” alone would be a further improvement. Other words come to mind, too. Words like “unrealistic,” “impractical,” and “absurd.” The Demon looks like something destined for collectors and, perhaps, the very few people interested in drag racing using motors they didn’t build.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    In my mind, it runs a 13.5-second quarter mile at 575′ above sea level… with 500-treadwear non-stick tires.

  • avatar
    AdamVIP

    I sure hope Dodge is working on a next gen successor for the Charger/Challenger. They are milking this platform for all its worth and I fear its because they have nothing else in the works. I ended up with a Chevy SS for the manual mainly, but the Dodge chassis shows a lot of age driven back to back with a more modern design.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    If they GLUE ON the fender flares, I will never look at Dodge the same away again.

    These need to be “in the metal” wheel flares.

    Look at the Mustang GT 350, BMW M3/M4, MB AMG models…. these guys (and especially props to Ford for ponying up the deeper draw stampings) get it right.

    The Challenger looks absolutely gorgeous with blistered fenders rendered in the sheet metal…. but glued on???? Disgusting.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      I very much pro Honda and Acura and have owned and do own them now.

      But, one of my biggest gripes with them is their choice of glued on tacky body kits.

      Honda will never pony up for bespoke fenders/panels for their upper trim models.

      If they would just do a TLX with blistered fenders, 2.7 Twin Turbo, 9 speed DCT with integrated e-motor, and mechanical SH-AWD… I would be in the dealer tomorrow and I NEVER buy new….

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Can’t wait to see the inevitable Youtube footage of two new Demons on a drag strip clowning into each other.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    A drinking buddy of mine traded his 6-speed SRT-392 Challenger for a 6-speed Challenger Hellcat roughly the day one arrived on the east coast. He has a remarkable interest in the Demon’s specs, although he proclaims his disapprobation that the original Demon was a Dodge-badged A-body Duster rather than a high performance Challenger. Personally, I think a set of Yosemite Sam mudflaps would look as good as the ‘Demon’s fender flares. Rumor going around the bar tonight was that it will be a one-seater with small brakes to improve it’s eighth mile time. Yippee.


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