By on July 23, 2017

dodge demon

Even though we knew the limited supply of Dodge’s SRT Demon would drive up prices astronomically, Fiat Chrysler still made a valiant effort to reduce markups by prioritizing deliveries to dealerships offering the vehicle at (or below) MSRP. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t work as intended.

This was especially true after some dealerships found a workaround by having intermediaries on eBay auction off the right to buy one of their Demon allocations. Instead of selling the car above the $86,090 sticker, which forces Dodge to omit custom nameplates and other Demon perks, they’re allowing prospective buyers to bid on the “privilege” of purchasing a Demon at the manufacturer’s stipulated value — for thousand of dollars. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2017

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat gets a new variant for the 2018 model year, and it just happens to be the widebody model track day enthusiasts have been clamoring for since the car’s initial announcement.

Borrowing the fender flares and front lip from the Dodge Demon, the Hellcat keeps its 707-horsepower supercharged V8 while adding extra room for more rubber. Since the supercharged Challenger is notoriously poor at transferring its power to the pavement, the wider 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires allow for superior cornering and straight-line speed.

Dodge claims the widebody shaves 0.3 seconds off the “normal” Hellcat’s 1/4 mile time for a lean ETA of 10.9 seconds. It also says the 305mm rubber helps the beast claw its way from 0.93 lateral g to 0.97 — while not earth-shattering, it’s still a major improvement. FCA has also changed the steering to an electric unit with selectable presets, claiming improved road feel, precision, and usability at lower speeds. (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - Image: FCA

As Hollywood writes it, when you make a deal with Satan, he bestows onto you whatever you covet most in exchange for your soul. However, there is usually some dark twist that ruins the overall experience long before you can settle into hell’s never-ending torment. If you ask him for money, it’ll be stolen from the mob and they’ll hunt you down. If you ask him for power, he’ll make you the next Adolf Hitler. The devil’s bargain is a well-established trope — you get what you asked for but cannot fully enjoy it thanks to some twisted fine print.

Fiat Chrysler’s SRT Demon Customer Acknowledgment contract functions similarly. Perhaps it’s a necessary evil because it specifically prohibits the brainless activities which would absolutely result in your 800+ horsepower drag car killing you or a loved one. That said, you could ignore all of the rules FCA carefully chose to include within the contract. But, when you do, the manufacturer has itemized and initialed proof where it explicitly forbid you from doing so.  (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2017

dodge demon

Dodge announced pricing for the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon today — not that it matters, as dealers will do everything in their powers to not adhere to its MSRP. However, the starting point for their gouging occurs at $84,995, which includes the gas guzzler tax but not a $1,095 destination fee.

The good news is there are loads of optional extras that only cost a dollar, even though those are gimmick prices already rolled into the vehicle’s initial value. That won’t make it any less fun when you tell your neighbor about it, right before you wrap your freshly minted Demon in a car cover and store it for eternity.

Let’s get into what an extra dollar can get you on this 840-horsepower garage queen!  (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2017

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

After the reveal of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Dodge Demon at the New York Auto Show, I thought all the hooplah would be over. We all did. Little did I know Automotive News’ editorial board would pen a screed calling for the Demon’s banishment from American roads, which then caused others to cry foul at the bylineless editorial, and subsequently triggered Larry Vellequette — the author of the original piece — to double down on his thoughts, name attached.

In the last piece, Mr. Vellequette claims, “It is still a stupid idea for Fiat Chrysler to outfit the Dodge Demon as a high-performance drag racer and then sell it to the motoring public in a form that makes it inherently more dangerous off the track.”

He’s not wrong. Drag radials come fitted to the Demon from the factory, and he claims they’re “prone to lose traction in even a light morning mist under that much torque — regardless of electronic intervention.” I won’t argue with that.

But I will argue with the logic upon which Mr. Vellequette bases his call for exorcising this Demon from America’s roads, and who he thinks should do something about it.

(Read More…)

By on April 28, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Earlier this week, I told you about the fellow who was convinced the Dodge Demon was unsafe at any speed. I did not agree, of course; the Demon has been carefully designed to present considerably less risk to its occupants than, say, a swing-axle Beetle in high-wind conditions.

Which leads to a question: if the Demon is not the deadliest car of recent times, what is?

(Read More…)

By on April 25, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, Image: FCA

Update: We’ve redacted a sentence from this editorial. You can find an explanation here.

Jay-Z and Beyonce got nothing on the marketing people from Dodge. The last low-volume vehicle to get this kind of publicity and raise this kind of ruckus was probably the LaFerrari, which was definitely not based on a $29.99/day rental car. (Trust me, I’ve driven the LaFerrari.) It will also toss, by my back-of-envelope estimation, somewhere between $100m and $200m into the company coffers, even if you don’t take into account all the lower-spec Challengers — even Hellcats — the Demon will sell just by drawing traffic into dealers.

The media response to the Demon has been half predictable and half rather refreshing.

The predictable part is the Motor Trend-style cheerleading, which in this case has spread far beyond MT because — let’s face it — anybody can get excited over a nine-second street car. (By contrast, it takes a seasoned hack, erm, a real pro to get excited about the Bolt.) The refreshing half of the commentary has come from the half of the media that likes to style itself as an un-elected and un-appointed fiscal watchdog of the industry. These are the people who whine a certain car “won’t sell” or “doesn’t make money” as if they are major shareholders of GM instead of underwater-basketweaving-degree-holders sitting in rent-controlled apartments on a mountain of student debt.

Normally, these people would be up in arms that an automaker has taken time off from the critical business of building suppository-shaped RX300 clones to briefly indulge in a bout of misguided enthusiasm about automobiles. In this case, however, the Demon is so obviously going to be wildly profitable that they’ve been forced to shut up and/or join the chorus of approbation. Except, that is, for one crusty old relic of the legacy media who’s found a new tune to play.

(Read More…)

By on April 23, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - Image: FCA

When we announced that the Dodge Demon would have a MSRP below six-figures, the comments section was immediately populated with discussions on how that might not be the case once the strip-focused Challenger arrives in showrooms. The limited supply of early Hellcats came at a significant premium and, for a time, even gently used models were going for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a new one.

Gouging on the Demon seems even more assured since FCA has stated that it will be limited production to a mere 3,300 units in North America. Obviously, there is no way in hell to avoid dealer markup on a vehicle like this one but Dodge seems to think it has found a way to attenuate the matter.

(Read More…)

By on April 19, 2017

dg018_138clk088bg2o992nvdqb704m4tbhuv__mid-1

Dodge’s target demographic for the SRT Demon, which is presumably Hellcat owners with leftover money, will be relieved to learn that the straight-line monster will be priced “well below ” six-figures. That’s a bargain considering that the majority of production vehicles that can approach its quarter-mile time are priced using the phrase “of a million dollars” as a reference point.

While it is a little surprising that Dodge isn’t trying to get excited shoppers to shell out more for the Demon, it has far more value to Fiat Chrysler as a media darling. Even at a much higher cost, it would still be too low volume to be a genuine money maker — but the positive attention it garners for the brand is invaluable.  (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2017

Fate of the Furious

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. The Fate Of The Furious is the eighth installment in what has become a surprisingly important cultural touchstone for an entire generation. With its lack of reliance on old comic books and/or Nicholas Sparks novels, the Fast/Furious saga probably ranks as the closest thing to original, innovative storytelling on the modern silver screen. That’s depressing, because you don’t exactly have to be Joseph Campbell to spot the multiple debts these films owe to everything from Henry James to James Bond.

In my previous reviews of installments five and six, I suggested the odd-numbered movies tend to be better than you’d expect, and the even-numbered ones tend to be worse. The Fate Of The Furious is in no danger of breaking this pattern; it’s a by-the-numbers action flick, half-hearted both in the sense that it’s missing Paul Walker and that it often feels like everybody involved is simply grinding out a paycheck. It’s very far from the worst episode in the series; that would be either the cartoonish 2Fast2Furious or the confusing, needlessly dark fourth film.

The irony, if you can use “irony” within shouting distance of a flick where a Russian nuclear submarine engages in battle with an all-wheel drive, Chevrolet powered, bulletproof Seventies Charger, is that Fate Of The Furious owes both its best and worst moments to the strength of a particular idea, one that has been at the heart of these movies since the very beginning.

(Mild spoilers ahead)

(Read More…)

By on April 12, 2017

[Image: FCA]

We won’t bore you with a rehash of the upgrades and advancements bestowed upon the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, because we already did that last week.

With the ultimate Mopar muscle machine now exposed at the New York International Auto Show, those advancements — and the speculation surrounding the vehicle’s unknowns — fade in comparison to newly released numbers. Power and acceleration figures, to be exact.

This time, the speculation was largely wrong, as the Demon makes more horsepower than we thought. So powerful is this limited-edition beast, it has already been banned from National Hot Rod Association dragstrips. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2017

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

If you haven’t yet heard, Dodge will unveil the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon at the New York International Auto Show on April 11th.

If you have heard, then you’ll be relieved to know that one of the most drawn out vehicle releases in history has reached its end. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2017

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Dodge dropped another unsubtle hint at the drag-focused Challenger SRT Demon’s power output this week, inserting it in a teaser that showcased the car’s unique performance data recorder for its Uconnect infotainment system.

After saying “nothing is a coincidence and everything means something” in an earlier press release, Road and Track speculated that a stamped serial number, reading 0757, was likely the the number of horses hiding beneath the Demon’s hood. Today, FCA let loose another video that showed the “Performance Pages” application in action, with the clock set for 7:57.

FCA has issued loads of cryptic messages over the last couple of months, but with the biggest question seemingly answered, perhaps it will be a little more straightforward when it comes time for the next announcement. I wouldn’t bet on it. As for the performance app, Dodge says the Demon will have graphical interfaces for just about everything a spec-hungry amateur drag racer could want, along with some extra bells and whistles for the strip.  (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

Dodge Demon Driveline

Like a professional dancer performing north of the Arctic Circle, the Dodge Demon’s strip tease is arduous and painful, beginning with a parka, moving on to the moccasins, then the toque, and … you get the idea.

But the latest installment of the Demon’s online strip tease may have just nuked an earlier rumor regarding the new SRT’s driveline.

Subaru fanboys — this angel of rubber-shredding death (probably) isn’t for you.

(Read More…)

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.  (Read More…)

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