The day after all the motor journalists left the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Dodge dropped a delicious little tidbit on the internet. It was a brand-new pop-up website——leading to a teaser video hinting at something high performance and evil: The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
UPDATE, APRIL 11TH: It's here! We've got all the specs and info live from Dodge's official unveiling of the SRT Demon. Read all about it right here!
Since then, Dodge has released one tidbit, and one teaser video, every week, revealing tasty details about the drag-racing-optimized Challenger. Each week when that happens, we'll update this post with the latest, all leading up to the official debut of the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon in April at the New York International Auto Show.
This Week's News, April 6:
Yep, it's official! The Demon gets a dedicated High Octane mode to take advantage of 100+ octane unleaded race gas. Dodge says running race fuel—available at most drag strips—will lead to "big changes in elapsed time." The updated Powertrain Control Module (PCM) with the 100+ octane tuning comes in the Demon Crate of performance goodies. To read more about High Octane mode, go here.
Last Week's News, March 30:
In a forced-induction vehicle like the supercharged Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, controlling the intake air temperature is crucial to extracting maximum performance. To accomplish this, Dodge gave the Demon a liquid-to-air charge air cooler. But that's not all: In Drag mode, the Demon uses the air conditioning system to chill the charge air cooler. It's a world-first feature in a production car, and Dodge says it can achieve a reduction in intake air temperature of up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Dodge says it's "enough to make the engine perform like it is running in the cold Alaskan air, even after a day of runs down the strip on a hot summer day." We figure it means you won't have to bring giant bags of ice to put on your car's charge air cooler and intake tract between drag runs or dyno pulls.
The News From March 23rd:
This week is all about the launch. Dodge announced that the SRT Demon will come from the factory equipped with a trans brake, a device that lets automatic-transmission drag cars explode off the line on launch. Don't know what a trans brake is? Read all about it here.
The automaker also released this image, with a license plate that seems to hint at ... something? We can't quite figure it out. But as always, if you've got an idea, Road & Track on , or .
And check out this week's teaser video, "Lock & Load," at the very bottom of this page.
The News From March 16th:
Launch Mode! The Demon, of course, has it, but it's got a little something extra in addition to the launch RPM configuration that most performance cars offer in this mode. See, when the Demon is staged at the drag strip, and revved up in anticipation of leaving the line, the system goes into torque reserve, closing the bypass on the supercharger and altering fuel and spark to the engine. This acts as a rev limiter, keeping the engine spinning at the desired RPM for best launch, but it also spools up the supercharger to build maximum boost pressure for a vigorous launch. It's the first time such a system has been used on a production vehicle, and Dodge promises us it'll sound wicked. You can hear the Demon's launch mode in the video at the bottom of the page, or download the sound at as a ringtone.
Dodge also released yet another cryptic "secret code" license plate image this week. If you think you know what it means, Road & Track on , or .
The News From March 9th:
Performance Pages! The Challenger SRT Demon's got 'em. Dodge announced that the super-Hellcat's infotainment system can display the car's real-time horsepower and torque output, with data logging to track power improvements from modifications (including from Mopar Direct Connection Performance Parts). It can also display intercooler coolant temp (shown above), as part of the car's After Run Chiller—the first production car that keeps the coolant fan and intercooler pump running after engine shutdown to properly cool the supercharger system.
Performance features like Line-Lock, launch control RPM, and individual gear shift light RPM can all be adjusted from the infotainment system, which also displays and records reaction time, 0-60 time, 0-100 time, 1/8th-mile and 1/4-mile elapsed time with vehicle speed. Gauges and post-run graphs for engine oil pressure and temperature, coolant temperature, transmission fluid temperature, intake air temperature, air-fuel ratio, intercooler coolant temperature, boost pressure and battery voltage are also available to help you fine-tune your drag strip runs.
Drive modes! It's got those too. Auto (street) offers three levels of steering and response for both the suspension and steering, and multiple modes of engine performance. Drag mode puts the transmission, traction control, suspension and steering into a bespoke setting, but still offers multiple engine performance levels—allowing for, we assume, the rumored Race Gas mode for even higher output. A Custom drive mode allows the driver to mix and match performance and suspension settings.
As always, Dodge implores us to go searching for clues in everything. See what time the clock is set to in the image above? 7:57. That number has appeared in previous Demon teasers (see below), leading us to believe the car offers 757 horsepower in at least one of its drive modes. Is that the max? We can't be sure just yet, but you can bet your belly button we're working to figure that out.
This week's video is here too, teasing a dyno run. Watch closely and see if you can pick out any particular clues:
The News From March 2nd:
This week's Demon developments are all about the driveline. Dodge revealed today that SRT Demon will pack a beefier, stronger driveshaft capable of handling 15 percent more torque; an upgraded rear-end gearset and differential housing; and stronger half-shafts with lower-friction bearings.
More importantly, the SRT team gave the Demon a special Launch Assist mode to combat driveline-grenading wheel hop. The system can momentarily cut engine output to quell wheel hop and "maximize traction almost instantly," without any input from the driver, reducing driveline overload by 15-20 percent, Dodge says.
Finally, with the Demon laser-aimed at the drag strip, Dodge included a four-point harness bar for track use, available through Speedlogix. With the (assumedly optional) rear- and passenger-seat delete package, the four-point harness hardware mount points are made available, allowing customers to install the harness and bar without any cutting or drilling.
The News From February 23rd:
If you want a car to maximize its grip and acceleration at the drag strip, you have to do some suspension work. Pro drag racers use a suspension setup that's anathema to those of us who like going around corners, ditching their sway bars and switching to softer springs and shocks in the name of weight transfer, letting the body weight shift to the rear on launch to aid traction.
You wouldn't want that on a supercharged, Hellcat-powered SRT Demon making, we suspect, even more than the regular Hellcat's 707 horsepower—a softer suspension would make this thing an absolute handful in anything other than a perfectly straight line, and Dodge is adamant that this drag strip dominator will be daily-driver ready.
So this week, Dodge revealed that the SRT Demon will come with an electronically controlled adaptive suspension to maximize weight transfer at the drag strip without making this big-body two-door a sloppy handler everywhere else.
Dodge started by reducing the spring rates—35 percent softer up front, 28 percent softer in the rear. The swaybars are softer, too, by 75 percent in front, 44 percent in rear. These changes won't help the Demon's cornering ability, but they're all made in the name of weight transfer.
When you switch the Demon into Drag Mode, things get even more advanced. Drag-tuned Bilstein adaptive damping shock absorbers offer Firm and Soft settings; in Drag Mode, the shock absorbers switch to Soft to allow better weight transfer. As long as you're at wide-open throttle, they'll stay in their drag-optimized mode. Anything less than WOT, though, and the shocks will switch to their Firm setting—ostensibly, to firm up the handling if you start going off your line during a drag launch and need to ease off the throttle to avoid going sideways. In Drag Mode, Traction control is disabled, but ESC stays active, Dodge says; assumedly, if you close the throttle and the shocks firm up, ESC will cut in to keep you from spinning.
It's a nifty adaptive suspension trick, allowing the car to become a drag-tuned softie when it's charging ahead in a straight line, then firming back up to improve directional control the moment it's needed. It's the first time a production car has offered an adaptive suspension with tuning specific to the drag strip—and coupled with the Demon's drag radial tires and everything else we've learned so far, it should add up to a seriously quick drag strip ET.
Also in this week's release, Dodge sent out the above image. See the message in the tire smoke? It says "[email protected]" Previous hidden messages included a license plate that read "#[email protected]" Got an idea what they could mean? Drop us a line on , , or .
Below, everything we've learned about the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon in previous weeks:
It's the widebody Challenger SRT Hellcat we've all been waiting for
For months now, rumors have been swirling that Dodge is planning some kind of widebody Challenger SRT Hellcat. Folks speculated that this lateral growth would allow Dodge to fit some seriously wide tires under the Challenger (recall that the regular Challenger SRT Hellcat makes do with a measly 275-width rear tire that can hardly stand up to the power even in normal daily driving).
There was even a guess at the ultra-Challenger's name: Challenger ADR, which, we were told, would stand for American Drag Racer. It would be a nod at another famous Mopar acronym, ACR, or American Club Racer, most recently seen on the most outrageously track-prepped Viper to roll off the assembly line.
Then we seemingly got visual confirmation from, of all places, a Fast & Furious movie trailer. Take a close look: There's a scene in this Fate of the Furious (aka Furious 8) trailer where the entire Toretto family drives a phalanx of flared, hood-scooped Challengers.
Update, 1/19: And then from the Furious 8 set that shows an even clearer view of the silver movie cars and, yep, those sure look like our SRT Demon:
Update, 1/27: Yep, Dodge confirms it's the widebody. Today, the automaker informed us that the Demon will be a full 3.5 inches wider than the regular Challenger and SRT Hellcat, and released the rear image you see above. Wide, indeed.
Holy moly does it have some tires
On January 26th, Dodge dropped its third teaser video, "Body," along with some tasty tire tidbits. The Challenger SRT Demon will be the first factory production car fitted with drag radial tires, and mama mia are they some big'uns: 315/40R18 Nitto NT05Rs, front and rear, the closest thing you can get to a drag racing slick while still having enough tread to be street legal. That gives the Demon the title of widest front tire on any production car, with 12.6 inches of tread width, and makes swapping in a fresh set of tires as easy as rotating the fronts to the back once you've burned through the rears. With 18-by-11-inch lightweight wheels, this thing is wide, necessitating fender flares that add a full 3.5 inches to the overall width of the car. And we suspect the Demon will require bespoke brakes to fit behind those 18-inch wheels—the rest of the Challenger family rides on 20s.
Look! They've even got little demons on the sidewalls:
Update, 2/16: Dodge released an image of the Nitto NT05Rs deforming on a drag strip launch. See how the tall, soft sidewall lets the spinning tire "stack up" tread, lengthening the patch? (Here, we're looking at the driver's side rear tire; the car is driving to the left) That's crucial for aiding grip on a high-horsepower car's drag launch.
Unique gearing puts more torque to the ground than the regular Hellcat
Dodge announced that the dragstrip-ready tires allow the Demon to handle higher launch torque loads, so the automaker added in more torque multiplication. The "regular" Hellcat gets incredibly long-legged 2.62 rear end gearing with the automatic transmission; the Demon, which we assume will be available with an automatic only, will get shorter 3.09 gearing and a higher stall speed torque converter. Between the transmission, the rear end gear, and the big bad tires, Dodge says the Demon will have "more than twice as much grip," with a 15-percent larger tire patch; the transmission gives roughly 18 percent more converter torque multiplication, while the gearing creates an equal boost in rear axle torque multiplication. We leave it to the eggheads to calculate what that all amounts to.
"These upgrades alone enable the Challenger SRT Demon to generate more than 35 percent higher launch force than a Challenger Hellcat," Dodge writes, "and there are seven weeks to go."
It'll be more than 200 lbs. lighter than the regular Hellcat
Alongside the second of what will eventually be 12 Demon teaser videos, Dodge finally gave us a piece of data: The Demon will be more than 200 pounds lighter than the current Challenger SRT Hellcat.
It will also, apparently, benefit from some chassis updates, with improvements to the steering, suspension and brakes promised. Seriously wide wheels and tires front and rear will fill out the stance, while Dodge promises changes to the "interior construction and components" as well.
Alongside the second teaser video, Dodge released a cutaway illustration. Take note of what's highlighted here: The steering system, big brakes hiding behind steamroller-width wheels front and rear, and some under-skin structural components hinting at weight reduction. It's also got a much wider hood scoop, quite similar to the one seen on the Fate of the Furious Challengers. The evidence is stacking up.
Update, 1/24/2017: We have confirmation from someone with knowledge of the Demon project that the car will offer the option of ditching the rear seat and spare tire, as well as the front passenger seat, in order to shave weight. Our source tells us that, in order to get a Demon that's 200 lbs. lighter than the regular Challenger SRT Hellcat, you'll have to be very particular about which options you choose—meaning that not every Demon will be two C-notes lighter than the similar Hellcat.
Oh hell yeah it's got a giant ram-air hood scoop
In Dodge's weekly tidbit-dropping on February 9th, the automaker published a few new Demon photos and a bold (if esoteric) claim: The Demon has "the largest functional 'Air Grabber' cold air intake hood ever installed on a production vehicle, measuring more than 45 square inches," ducted and sealed to feed a larger air box as compared to the regular Hellcat. The Demon also sports twin "Air Catcher" headlamps—the inboard headlights are just LED rings with open centers for better airflow—whereas the regular Hellcat only had one on the driver's side. Dodge claims these upgrades drop the Demon's air intake temperature by 30 degrees compared to the regular Challenger Hellcat.
Hey but wait, hold up: Check out that first picture. Is that a passenger seat next to our helmeted hero? What about the rumor we heard that the Demon would ditch every passenger seat to lose weight? Hmmmm.
It might offer some kind of Race Gas Mode [UPDATE: This is now confirmed, see above from April 6]
We know the Challenger SRT Demon will be built to drag race—the very first teasers warned readers that the Demon is for "a subculture of enthusiasts who know that a tenth is a car and a half second is your reputation." It sounds like they're talking about the quarter-mile, and maybe about the somewhat-illicit practice of racing for pink slips?
Here's where we tiptoe into the realm of speculation. Let's look again at the very first teaser video, "Cage."
Note the moment when they release the Michael Bay-lookin' creature from its cage. The hellish cat-machine stalks up to a racing-style quick-fill fuel can with a hazard label on it.
Our mecha-hell-kitty takes a big bite out of the can, then lines up for some kind of robo-muscle-creature-car drag race.
This, of course, got folks all revved up on the idea that the SRT Demon will offer a specific engine mode for use with high-octane racing gas. It's not an entirely crazy thought: Forced-induction engines like the 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the SRT Hellcat love added octane, and a tune specifically developed to take advantage of race gas could make for a nice boost in power. And, well, just look at the tagline on the pop-up website:
"High octane videos," you say?
And while we can't necessarily trust some random Instagrammers at their word, a few folks on the social media site seem to have caught a glimpse of a wider, fat-tired Challenger of some sort in various stages of uncovered.
Our guy Sinister_Z07, in particular, makes note of a "Race Gas" button, though he doesn't point out which button he's talking about. The other details add up, though. Notice how the wider hood scoop and the add-on fender flares jibe with both the Fate of the Furious cars and the cutaway rendering released by Dodge. And the wheel in Sinister_Z07's close-up looks mighty similar to the wheel in the constantly-looping burnout animation on ifyouknowyouknow.com:
As for the tires themselves? They sure look like Nitto NT05R drag radials to us. Check out the sidewall (of what we assume is a front wheel) in the Instagram post: You can see the Nitto logo.
It'll come with a big crate of parts to tweak it for the drag strip
In the fourth video teaser, "Crate," which you can watch below, Dodge reveals that the Demon will come with a big box of goodies—namely, the tools and parts necessary to set the Demon up for drag racing. Watching the video, we see our helmeted driver pulling out the necessary tools to do a wheel swap, and it seems the box contains two very narrow front-runner-style wheels and tires. Our hunch: The Demon comes off the production line wearing four DOT-approved drag radials so you can legally drive it to the drag strip. Once you get there, you can swap on the front skinnies (which aren't street legal) and have a second set of fresh rear tires for when you burn through the first ones. We wonder what other goodies are in that big Demon box.
It may have 757 horsepower
Dodge insists that nothing in its teaser videos is coincidental or meaningless. If that's true, then the serial number "0757" could point to the Demon getting an extra 50 horsepower over the Hellcat.
It'll debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show
Dodge is calling the Challenger SRT Demon a 2018 model, and has confirmed it will debut at the New York Auto Show in April. That leaves just eleven more weeks for Dodge to keep pelting us with Transformers-style teaser videos, each revealing perhaps a single component of what will be the ultimate Challenger Hellcat.
Here's what it looks like doing burnouts
In a music video for Fate of the Furious, there are some brief shots of a silver Demon doing some gnarly burnouts. They're rather brief, but like we suspected, it can definitely smoke the tires (please read that sarcastically).