We usually loathe long, drawn out teaser campaigns, but we're willing to overlook that fact when it comes to the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. The hyper-Hellcat will debut at the New York Auto Show next week, but a stream of details from Dodge means we already have an idea of what the car will be like. Suffice to say, Demon is an appropriate name.
Step one in the transformation from Hellcat to Demon is, presumably, a strict diet and exercise plan. Dodge has shed 200 pounds (91 kg) from the regular Hellcat, pairing lightweight suspension, wheels and brakes with a single-seat interior. That's right, not only have the standard car's sound deadening, carpet, spare wheel and parking sensors been thrown in the trash, the passenger- and rear-seats have been given the flick too.
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Of course, lighter doesn't necessarily mean smaller or subtler. A wide bodykit has been fitted to make space for a set of 305-section drag radial tires, wrapped around new 18-inch wheels. Given the car is expected to make upwards of 750 hp (559 kW) from its supercharged V8, those tires will need to be seriously sticky if they're to avoid being vaporized whenever the driver goes near the throttle.
As you might have guessed from the drag radial tires, Dodge has given up trying to match the Mustang and Camaro for outright handling honors, instead tailoring the Demon for the drag strip. Hardware tweaks like unique suspension geometry are joined by a raft of software touches designed to build boost in the supercharger, stop the car creeping forward while getting ready to launch and, when in Drag Mode, using the air conditioner to keep the engine cool.
Drivers will be able to keep track of their best times using a new set of Performance Pages on the central touchscreen. The system will actually keep a live record of how much power the engine is making, meaning mechanically-minded owners are able to see if their modifications are having an impact without having to strap the car to a dyno, and constant feedback on supercharger and intercooler temperatures mean there's no excuse for overheating.
As is increasingly common, the touchscreen can be used to track 0-60 and 0-100 mph times, along with eighth- and quarter-mile times on the drag strip. There's also a g-force display, and drivers can test their reaction time using an inbuilt timer. Fun though that sounds, we'd be putting more time into configuring the shift-lights, or fine-tuning the fully adjustable launch control system.
Dodge has remained coy about the drivetrain in the Demon, but we do know it will be much tougher than the standard Hellcat setup. The new prop-shaft can handle 15 percent more torque, and the rear-differential can deal has been hardened to take 30 percent more twist than the standard offering. It'll breathe through the largest cold-air intake ever fitted to a production car, aided by the two Air Catcher headlights.
"Most cars attempt to be everything to everybody," says Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands for Fiat Chrysler USA. "Then there are the rare few that revel in a single objective, rendering them totally irresistible to a subculture. The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is conceived, designed and engineered for a subculture of enthusiasts who know that a tenth is a car and a half second is your reputation."
The Demon will make its debut at a special event on April 11, before landing at the New York Auto Show on April 14. It might not be raising hell yet, but already Hennessey has signaled its intention to tame Dodge's most powerful car with The Exorcist, so the Demon won't be without competition.
Demon vs Exorcist. Now that's a drag race we'd like to see. In the meantime, check out the video of the Demon launching down the drag strip below.