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 “[email protected]” 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]