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2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by James Riswick June 2018

"You know, that Hellcat sure is rad, but I don't know, 707 horsepower just doesn't seem like enough."

If that sounds like something you'd say, well, have we got a treat for you. The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon raises the stakes considerably, boasting a massive 808-hp version of the Hellcat's supercharged V8 engine that actually goes up to 840 horses on 100-octane gas. If you need more than that, well, you'd better be prepared to shell out at least $1 million for ultra-exotic supercars or be prepared for the unreliability and voided warranties that come with aftermarket-modified cars of comparably nonsensical outputs. An airplane of some sort is also an option.

It's very important to note, however, that the Demon is intended mostly for drag-strip use -- it even comes standard with drag radials that wouldn't take too kindly to a sudden downpour. Besides its power, it comes with a variety of mechanical and electronic aides to make your trip down the drag strip quicker, easier and safer. Plus, for the mighty price of $1, the optional "Demon Crate" takes things further with special tools, a powertrain control module calibrated for high-octane fuel, and rinky-dink front drag tires sure to help you pop a wheelie. Because, yes, the Demon can totally pop a wheelie.

And if that sounds absolutely amazing to you, well, you won't hear any argument from us.

What's New for 2018?

The SRT Demon is the latest addition to the vast Challenger lineup. This range-topping model boasts the most wildly powerful Hemi V8 yet, and a variety of features intended for drag-strip use.

What We Like

Fastest thing on four wheels (and occasionally two); yes, it can do a wheelie; 840 horsepower; surprisingly large cabin and trunk; the sheer absurdity of it all

What We Don't

Huge dealer markups; huge tire bills; less appropriate for street driving than the Hellcat and other Challenger models; feels as big to drive as it looks

How Much?

$83,300

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy? Seriously?

The Demon has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that produces an otherworldly 808 hp and 717 lb-ft of torque. It goes up to 840 hp and 770 lb-ft with a Direct Connection Controller and 100-octane fuel. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and does the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 mph. It can literally do a wheelie when accelerating. Does that sound like something that would result in good fuel economy? Neither Dodge nor the EPA has even published an estimate.

Standard Features & Options

The SRT Demon is the highest-performance version of the Dodge Challenger, which we review separately.

It comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, drag radial tires, launch control, an adaptive suspension with a special drag mode, automatic HID headlamps, the widebody Challenger body style, proximity entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, a 6-way power driver's seat, cloth upholstery, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, the 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen interface, integrated navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, satellite radio, HD Radio and a 2-speaker sound system.

For $1 each, you can add a front passenger seat, the back seat, a trunk carpet and/or the "Demon Crate," which adds a performance powertrain module intended for high-octane fuel, a conical air filter, a hydraulic floor jack, a cordless impact wrench, a torque wrench and, most notably, razor-thin front-runner drag wheels. Available for considerably more money is leather upholstery, the Comfort Audio Group (an 18-speaker audio system and front floor mats) or the Comfort Audio Group – Leather Seats (18-speaker audio, floor mats, leather-Alcantara upholstery, front passenger and rear seats, heated front seats and a heated power-adjustable steering wheel). A sunroof is also available, although it somehow costs $4,995.

Safety

The Challenger SRT Demon includes stability control, six airbags and a backup camera. The accident-avoidance tech available on other Challengers is not available on the Demon.

In government crash-testing, the Challenger earned 5-star overall, front- and side-impact ratings. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Challenger a best-possible rating of Good in the moderate-overlap and side crash tests, but a second-best Acceptable in the roof-strength test and a second-worst Marginal in the small-overlap front crash test.

Behind the Wheel

The Dodge Demon is intended first and foremost for the drag strip, boasting a variety of mechanical and electronic features designed to maximize those 840 supercharged horses. Drag Mode locks the front brakes and allows the rear wheels to spin up to 200 rotations to clean and warm the tires (and do a rad smokey burnout in the process). The standard TransBrake allows you preload the engine's torque, launch control is included, and both the traction and stability control systems have been calibrated to manage all that power and keep you in a straight line. Even the Bilstein shocks have been calibrated to best handle straight-line blasts. And "blast" is really the optimum word here, because that's exactly the type of time you'll have as you're absolutely flattened into your seat as the Demon hits 60 mph in 2.3 seconds. That makes it the quickest production car in the world.

Even with all this drag-racing technology installed, though, the Demon is a still a street-legal, driveable car. Like the Challenger Hellcat, there are actually two keys: The red one is used to harness the whole 840-horse shebang. The black key dulls things down to 500 horsepower to make it a little easier to drive the Demon on the road and avoid being thrown in jail by the local constabulary. It's also important to note that given its standard drag radial tires, the Demon is not in any way well-suited for poor pavement or wet conditions. If you intend to drive the Demon primarily on the road, getting a proper set of tires is highly recommended.

Otherwise, the Demon is just like any other high-powered, high-end Challenger (well, as long as you specify a full interior). You'll get a surprisingly large and comfortable cabin well-suited for long-distances and even mild family use, while the trunk rivals that of a full-size sedan.

Other Cars to Consider

Bugatti Chiron -- Want to go as quickly from zero to 60 as the Demon, but scoff at its plebian Dodge badge? Well, consider the Chiron. Hopefully you have a few million dollars on hand. Oh, you don't? Aw, shucks.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 -- The ZL1 is the muscle car for those who care more about going around a racetrack than down a drag strip. It too is a serious performance machine, just in a completely different way.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat -- The Hellcat is quite frankly a more appropriate vehicle for the road than the Demon. If you have no intention of going to the drag strip, we'd highly recommend going with the 707-hp Hellcat.

Autotrader's Advice

Unless you really, truly intend to frequent drag strips, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is not an appropriate street car. Get the Hellcat instead -- sure, it only has 707 horsepower, but holy cow, man, that's still 707 horsepower!

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: New Car Review - Autotrader