Brutally powerful. That’s the easy way to describe the 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon’s engine output. Packing a supercharged 6.2L V8 that commands 808 horsepower and 717 lb-ft of torque, the Demon is the most powerful factory-built, street-legal muscle car ever made. With a 0-60 mph time of 2.1 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 9.65 seconds at 140 mph, it’s faster than high-six-figure to million-dollar-plus supercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari, and the Bugatti Chiron. But the Dodge Challenger Demon, of which 3,300 will be made, starts at $84,995—a steal when one considers its competition. So exactly how did the badge accomplish this?
Heavyweight V8 Runs Light
Dodge began with a wide-body version of the LA vehicle platform the Challenger has used since 2015. Then it added the heavyweight V8, a transbrake (which allows a transmission to be held in first and reverse simultaneously until the driver wants the car to go for better launches), and ultra-high-performance Nitto NT05R tires. To lower the car’s weight, Dodge removed the Challenger’s premium stereo system, passenger and rear seats (seatbelts included), floormats, as well as trim and sound deadening panels. Because, really, these can be added at a nominal cost if desired. Dodge also installed lighter-weight aluminum wheels, brake calipers, and anti-rollbars.
To help modern enthusiasts enjoy the car at the race track even more, Dodge offers an optional Demon crate, which includes a performance air filter, passenger door-mirror delete, a different engine control module, and the tools required to make any changes in the pits.
Even with all the work done to make the Dodge Challenger Demon lighter, it still weighs a substantial 4,254 lbs. With its 808-horsepower engine, however, the Demon carries a remarkable 5.3 pounds per horsepower. For perspective, that’s better than the incredibly fast 523-horsepower 2007 Porsche 911 GT2! The Demon is so quick that it was banned by the NHRA from competition as it comes delivered from the factory. And since the Demon is capable of running the quarter-mile in less than 10.0 seconds, it’s required to have a roll cage. Considering the badge doesn’t offer a roll cage straight from the factory, the car is technically illegal to run in NHRA events.
Muscle Car Category Alive and Well
What Dodge has made is a modern performance gem. Muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s were built to be attractive, fast, and capable of outstanding performance at the drag strip. In the doldrums of the mid- to late-1970s, some enthusiasts’ genuine, true muscle cars were regulated into extinction. The 2018 Demon is living proof that the muscle car isn’t just alive, for it can punch in the same acceleration category as world-class supercars.