Watch the Dodge Demon lose to a BMW M5 Competition and yet still win the competition for our hearts.
The thing about the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is that while it’s a brutally impressive car, it’s really only designed to do one thing: go really fast on a drag strip. It also needs a whole bunch of very specific conditions to do that one thing really well. It needs pre-warmed drag radial tires, it needs 100 octane fuel, and it needs a prepped and ready drag strip.
It’s certainly possible to get all those dominoes to line up and actually post quarter-mile times close to the 9.65 seconds that Dodge advertises, but take even one of those components away and the whole thing tends to fall apart.
Take this latest video from Throttle House pitting a BMW M5 Competition against the Demon. On paper, the Demon has a lot more going for it with 840 hp and 770 lb-ft compared to the M5’s 617 hp and 553 lb-ft. But the M5 doesn’t need everything to be perfect in order to access all 617 of those ponies, while the Demon can be a little more… finicky.
Lining up for a series of quarter-mile drag races, the M5 pulls away handily and never looks back. That has everything to do with racing radials that are fine starting from a standstill on cold pavement, while the Demon has drag radials that need a layer of rubber to truly grip off the line. The M5 also has all-wheel-drive to help put power to the pavement far more efficiently than the Demon.
However, things change just as soon as the Demon gets going. From a rolling race, the Demon is the clear winner, pulling ahead by more than a car length by the time the finish line rolls around. That’s because the Demon still has superior power once it doesn’t need to worry about its back tires spinning out.
To appease the Demon faithful, Throttle House did put the Demon and the M5 in proper drag conditions on 97 octane fuel, and the Demon posted a time of 10.46 while the M5 managed a 10.99. So the Demon is still king of its jungle, it’s just a very small jungle that only goes in a straight line.
On the track though, the M5 is king. Around the airport-turned race track, the Demon managed a lap time of 1:25.1, while the M5 did it in 1:19.7.
Despite this, both hosts agreed that they’d far prefer owning the Demon to the M5. They say it has more soul, that it communicates with the driver far more than the dead and computerize M5, and that most of all, it’s just more fun.
And that sort of explains the Demon’s popularity despite being the worse overall car.