Dodge bids farewell to Hemi muscle cars with $96K Challenger SRT Demon 170
What is it? The last chapter in Dodge’s Hemi-powered muscle car era.
Why should you consider it? As of Dec. 31, they literally won’t make ‘em like this anymore.
Is this the end of fast, fun Dodges? Don’t be silly. The brand has already shown a Challenger-inspired electric muscle car.
How much will it cost? $96,666, plus destination charge.
How many will Dodge build? 3,000 for sale in the U.S.; 300 for Canada.
When can you buy it? This summer.
Note to self: Have Dodge plan my retirement party.
The self-proclaimed “American performance” brand will bid adieu to its legendary Hemi V-8-powered muscle cars with the 1,025-hp, $96,666 Dodge Challenger that does 0-60 mph in 1.66 seconds. The plant that builds them in Brampton, Ontario, shuts down Dec. 31 to convert to production of new, as-yet-undisclosed vehicles.
Called the Challenger SRT Demon 170, the car will be a street-legal exclamation point on the parade of modern muscle cars Dodge inaugurated in 2014 with the supercharged 707-hp 2015 SRT Charger sedan. Since then, a mad skunkworks team of engineers within the Chrysler group have cranked out ever more powerful models that remade Dodge’s image as a rebel with a cause: speed at any cost.
“Hellcats and Demons are the benchmarks of (factory-built) crazy,” Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis crowed as he revealed the alcohol-powered Demon 170 at brand HQ in Auburn Hills. “This is the new pinnacle of factory crazy.”
The Demon 170’s supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 is virtually all new to survive the power it generates, Kuniskis said: Only its camshafts and valve springs are unchanged from Dodge’s previous peak moment of lunacy, the 840-hp 2018 Challenger Demon.
Key new drivetrain components of the Challenger ST Demon 170
Fast-flowing throttle body to provide fuel
Cylinder head to endure 2,500 psi, 25% more than a Demon’s 840-hp V8
Driveshaft 30% stronger than Demon
Differential 50% stronger
0-60 mph in what?
The Demon 170 is street legal, but engineered for drag racing. Its Hemi produces up to 1,025 hp and 945 pound-feet of torque, propelling the big coupe to 60 mph in an almost inconceivable 1.66 seconds. That power and performance requires E85 fuel, 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol.
For perspective, the Tesla S Plaid, the current poster child for electric vehicle acceleration, lollygags its way to 60 in 1.98 seconds, according to Motor Trend magazine tests. The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 exotic sports car does it in 2.6 seconds, per MT, while GM says the electrically assisted Corvette E-Ray will get there in 2.5.
The Demon 170’s other performance claims are equally outré:
Up to 2G acceleration.
Covers a quarter mile in 8.91 seconds, as certified by the National Hot Rod Association.
Hits 151.17 mph in the quarter mile.
At wide-open throttle, it burns 160 gallons of fuel an hour, draining its tank in five minutes.
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To answer the question those figures almost certainly raised: Yes, Dodge will sell a parachute to stop the Demon 170 after those mad dashes.
One for the road
The Demon 170’s Hemi needs alcohol-rich E85 fuel for maximum performance. On conventional E15 gasoline (15% ethanol), the engine produces a mere 880 hp and 800 pound-feet of torque.
In one of several inside jokes about the car’s taste for alcohol, every owner gets a custom decanter and two stainless steel shot glasses.
The Demon 170’s standard tires have barely visible grooves They’re street legal, but even "factory crazy" is too sane to use them regularly. A barely more restrained optional tire is available for drives of more than a few miles, or on days when — heaven forbid — there’s a chance of dew.
The Demon 170’s interior has two seats with a parcel shelf behind. It has 18-inch front tires, 17-inch rear. Optional wheels feature an aluminum center secured to carbon-fiber rims by titanium bolts. Dodge says the unique construction makes them lighter than alloy racing wheels.
Dodge retuned the Demon’s suspension to reduce front-end lift and to keep the rear tires planted under hard acceleration, but Kuniskis says the Demon 170 can still pull a wheelie.
The front end is identical to the regular Demon, except that its small tire made flared front fenders unnecessary. The 170’s more restrained fenders are 16 pounds lighter.
Attention to details like that helped Dodge trim the the Demon 170's weight a whopping 157 pounds compared with the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, despite all the upgrades necessary to generate and manage the 170's power.
Dodge is giving its legendary Hemi V8 muscle cars the sendoff they deserve. The age of gasoline performance cars will end not with a whimper, but the scream and smoke of tortured tires.
Contact Mark Phelan: 313-222-6731 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan. Read more on autos and sign up for our autos newsletter. Become a subscriber.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Dodge's Challenger SRT Demon 170: End of an era for Hemi muscle cars