First things first: Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is the quickest production car ever made, with the most powerful production V8 ever produced, pulling the most acceleration g-forces any production car has ever achieved. With a list price starting at $84,690 US, it competes with million-dollar hypercars in terms of 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times.
In the quarter mile, the next three fastest cars are the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (which costs $2 million US), the McLaren P1 ($1.4 million US) and the Porsche 918 Spyder ($845,000 US). The Demon is a 4,275-pound beast with an 840-horsepower, supercharged heart and only 3,300 were built for model year 2018 at Fiat-Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario plant. The last Dodge Demon ever manufactured was sold as a pair along with the last Dodge Viper ever built for $1 million.
Owning and driving a monster like the Demon is not like renting the $27,295 base V6 model Challenger at the rental counter in Orlando and driving to Walt Disney World. There are numerous quirks, sacrifices, and considerations to be made before holding hands with this vehicle. Yes, the Demon actually drives like a base Challenger when not prodded into unleashing even a small fraction of its capabilities—but when the goal is ultimate straight-line speed, certain things about a car need to be different than the norm.
And the Dodge Demon certainly is different. The following is a list of 20 weird things that Dodge Demon owners have to put up with when living with the ultimate production drag-racing monster.
20 Supercharger Whine
The heart of the Demon beast is its 6.2-liter pushrod Hemi V8 and the crown on the head of the Hemi is a 2.7-liter rotary-screw supercharger pumping 14.5 psi of boost into the engine. The Demon’s supercharger is upsized from the one used on the plebeian Hellcat’s, a 2.4-liter unit that puts out a paltry 11.6 psi of boost. The increased boost is a big part of the reason why the Demon makes 840 hp vs the Hellcat’s measly 707. Along with all that horsepower, the supercharger puts out a mechanical howl unmatched by anything this side of Hades, even at lower throttle openings.
19 Driving Alone
For the ultimate in drag strip performance, reducing weight is a key factor. For the Demon, Dodge offers the car with only a driver’s seat, with no front passenger or rear seats. Having an 800-horsepower beast is simply not as fun without scaring a passenger or two, so for those who prefer to showboat instead of hitting the ultimate fastest race times, the passenger seats can be added at the factory as a $1 option. For those who simply can’t afford the upgrade because they spent every penny on the car and anticipated fuel bills, they will simply have to enjoy their monster all alone.
18 No Sound Deadening
Along with the lack of passenger seats, another weight-saving measure is the lack of sound deadening anywhere in the car. Dodge engineers removed virtually all of it, with the exception of some on the firewall, which was Swiss-cheesed instead of completely removed. Then end result is a few pounds shed from the weight of the car and a much noisier interior given the enormous engine, as well as the road and wind noise. The combination of supercharger whine, sticky tires, and brick-like aerodynamics makes for NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) levels slightly worse than your typical Lexus. Slightly. For the Dodge Demon owner, it is a small price to pay for all that performance.
17 The Hood Scoop
One of the many boasts that Dodge makes about the Demon is that it has the largest functional hood scoop fitted to any production car, measuring in at over 45 square inches. Part of what Dodge calls the “Air Grabber” system, the scoop feeds air directly into the extra-large airbox, along with not one, but two, hollowed out headlights similarly ducted to the air cleaner. The problem is, with such a large, open proboscis up front, the Demon owner will likely be cleaning small animals like birds, pedestrians, and (presumably) Hellcats out of the scoop after every high-speed run.
16 $1 Crate
It’s bad enough that the Demon doesn’t come with anything but a driver’s seat, but many of the go-fast goodies required to hit sub-10 second drag strip runs aren’t actually included with the car. For those, the new owner must pony up another $1 to purchase the Demon Crate. Imagine buying a new luxury car but the luxury amenities you want are all extra add-ons that you have to install yourself. Your heated and cooled, million-way-adjustable driver’s seat is in a box at the dealer and you have to lug it home and bolt it in yourself. Sounds like too much work to me.
Off the showroom floor, the Dodge Demon makes 808 horsepower. To unleash the full 840 ponies, the Dodge Demon owner must buy the Demon Crate and install an upgraded engine controller. For the maximum weight savings, the Demon Crate includes a pair of narrow, 4.5-inch front wheels that save weight over the “stock” 11-inchers. Also in the crate is a block-off plate to use when the passenger side mirror is removed—again, for weight savings. At least Dodge sees fit to include a Demon branded jack and impact driver and a custom foam holder for the wheels. How nice of them.
One thing Dodge does not include in the Demon Crate is a set of front tires to fit the lightweight 4.5-inchers. The stock tires are 315-section Nitto NT05R drag radials all around, so the trick is to save the stock front 315s to use as rears once the first set of rears wears out. But having to buy a set of front tires to extract maximum performance from your $85,000 Dodge seems like a bit of a bother. Not only that, but the UTQG treadwear rating on the NT05R tires is zero. Zero. So the Demon owner will get to know their tire dealer quite well.
13 Race Gas
So, after buying the Demon Crate and installing the upgraded engine controller and a new button for the center console, the full 840 horsepower still won’t be unleashed until the motor is fed high-octane race fuel. Put some 100-octane gas in there and hit the HO (High-Octane) button on the console and if the car detects that the fuel is suitable, the full 840 raging ponies will be released. The higher octane fuel resists detonation—or knock—and allows the engine controller to use more aggressive ignition timing. The resulting extra kick in the pants is just what Demon owners are looking for.
12 Fuel Bills
The Demon has two fuel pumps compared the Hellcat’s single pump. Dodge claims the Demon has the largest fuel flow rate of any production car. At full throttle, the fuel injectors are flowing about 1.36 gallons per minute. With an 18.5 gallon tank, the car will run out of gas in about 13 minutes at full throttle. Fuel consumption is rated at 17.6 L/100km in the city, fuel economy at 13 MPG city. Thus, if you plan on driving your Demon much, you will need to budget a little more for gas than you did when you bought your Prius.
11 Fender Flare Scrapes
With massive, 315-section tires (almost two inches wider than the tires on the Hellcat), the Demon requires something to cover all that rubber. Instead of re-designing the fenders, Dodge saved a bit of money by simply bolting on fender flares to the Challenger’s bodywork. The result is a distinctive look that keeps the car street-legal (exposed tire is a no-no in most states and provinces) but also makes parking in tight spots and narrow parking garages that much more difficult. The stock Challenger is already a relatively wide car, so adding an extra inch or two of width that's hidden from the driver’s view is a recipe for the odd scrape or two if you’re not careful.
One of the very unique experiences every Dodge Demon owner has to go through is the signing of a special waiver before taking possession of their vehicle. In the modern litigious society that exists today, simply handing over the keys to an 840-horsepower monster without covering all the legal bases could be a very costly mistake, so Dodge created what they call the “2018 Dodge Demon Customer Acknowledgment” form. The waiver includes numerous stipulations, such as not allowing any passengers if the Demon came from the factory without any passenger seats and not using any of the track-focused features on public roads. Talk about harshing a mellow.
9 Can’t Use All The Features On The Road
The waiver stipulation about not using the track features on public roads means the Demon owner will have to putt around in 808-horsepower mode on each and every commute to and from work. How humiliating it must be to only run in the high-tens in the quarter-mile sprint to 7-Eleven. The waiver also states that the Nitto drag radials, although streel-legal, are not recommended for highway use or driving in the wet. Without the race tires, the quarter-mile run to the gas station then slows from the tens to the elevens, or even (gasp!) the twelves.
8 No Winter Driving
One of the stipulations of the waiver is that the vehicle not be driven in colder temperatures (minus-9 Celsius or 15 degrees Fahrenheit) when equipped with the stock Nitto drag radials. Thus, if the owner of a Demon intended it for use as a year-round daily driver in their hometown of Buffalo, NY, they would either need yet another set of tires in the colder months or risk losing any of the stoplight Grands Prix to random Hellcats prowling the roads between December and March. The Demon may be a unique and exceptional car but it still needs winter tires in the snow-belt like any other.
7 Roll Cage Required
Not only is the Demon owner not allowed to use the car’s race-oriented features on public roads, the Demon is also not allowed to run at any NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, since any vehicle that is capable of sub-tens in the quarter mile requires a roll cage. In other words, there’s almost nowhere to drive a stock Demon in full-power mode, since there is no chance whatsoever that a Demon driver would go against the Dodge waiver or NHRA rules. How short-sighted of Dodge to create a car that can’t exploit its full potential on either the road nor the track. Shame on Dodge.
The Dodge Demon is the first and only production car capable of doing wheelies. While this is advantageous in terms of front tire wear, it makes steering quite difficult and renders the sunshades useless when the sun is lower on the horizon. Unfortunately, Dodge does not include a free pair of Blue Blockers in the Demon Crate, as one might expect. Another issue is the jealous stares Demon owners get from motorcyclists as the Demon powers by on its back wheels. Not only does the Demon match liter-class sportbikes in straight-line performance, the Demon can showboat just as deftly, as well.
5 Lack of Amenities
Sure, the Demon can unleash 840 horsepower on its way down the drag strip but for an $84,690 car, it lacks most of the amenities of a $30,000 family sedan. In the name of weight savings and cost-cutting, the Demon lacks adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, sunroof (optional), heated and ventilated seats (optional), and a heated steering wheel (optional). The stock radio has only two speakers and has the bare minimum of features. The wheels are only 18 inches in diameter, smaller than the 20-inch wheels found on the Hellcat. If you are looking for luxury and convenience features, a Toyota Camry might be more appropriate.
4 Lack of Quality
As powerful and capable as the Demon is, it is still essentially based upon a car that sells for less than $30,000. As such, some of the quality of the interior bits is not quite befitting of an $85,000 car. Hard interior plastic surfaces, a relatively small navigation screen, and the same switchgear as the lower-trim-level Challengers do not give the impression of quality the same way that a similarly priced Audi, Mercedes-Benz, or Lexus does. A Golf GTI makes a better impression with a flat-bottomed steering wheel and better use of aluminum accents. But a GTI doesn’t do zero-to-sixty mph in under three seconds (without some seriously expensive mods).
3 All The Attention
Anyone with even a passing interest in performance cars will know that the Demon is something special. Any fan of drag racing will certainly know exactly what it is. The giant hood scoop, fender flares, and super-wide tires attract onlookers and police officers in equal measure. With available colors such as Plum Crazy, Yellow Jacket, Octane Red, and Go Mango, the Demon won’t go unnoticed during the day or night. While some owners will initially revel in the attention, the novelty will ultimately wear off and the incessant questions about horsepower, wheelies, fuel consumption, and races won or lost will be the stuff of nightmares.
2 Stoplight Challenges
Not only will onlookers and the local constabulary take an interest in the Demon, every Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari LaFerrari in town will be issuing stoplight challenges every chance they get. When you’re the best at something, there’s a bullseye on your back and the Demon’s dance card will be permanently full. Sure, picking off modified Civics with a slight twitch of a toe might be amusing but having to press the gas pedal more than 50% to beat a Mustang GT sounds too much like exercise. At least most Hellcat owners will know not to pull up in the next lane.
1 Which Key?
As with the Hellcat, the Demon comes with two red keys and one black key. The identical red keys allow the Demon to unleash its full 808 or 840 horsepower, while the black key only allows for 500 horsepower. This is great when the Demon owner’s daughter or son is tired of their 305-horsepower STI or have outgrown their 469-hp AMG C 63 but aren’t yet ready for the full 800-plus hp the Demon puts out. Or, if the Demon owner is just going out for milk and doesn’t want to be tempted into getting there two seconds quicker, they can take the black key. But we all know they won’t.
Sources: Motor Trend, Road and Track, Car and Driver, Top Gear, and Allpar.