Dodge has been on something of a farewell tour for its Hemi V8 muscle cars. It has built a series of “last call” versions of the Charger and Challenger, limited editions with callback paint colors and retro liveries that refer to muscle-packed Dodges of old. Now it really is getting ready to end the car design and is doing so with a bang, via the 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170, a production car so fast it can even show a Tesla Model S Plaid a clean pair of shoes with a 1.66 second 0-60 mph time.
Dodge’s engineers have performed quite a bit of work under that bulging “Air-Grabber” hood compared to lesser Demons. There’s a new supercharger with a larger throttle body and a pulley that increases boost pressure by 40 percent compared to the Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody.
Stellantis, formed in 2021 by combining Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Peugeot, says it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in a scary 1.66 seconds, making it faster than even electric supercars from Tesla and Lucid.
It’s what the performance brand from Stellantis is calling the last of the rumbling cars that for decades were a fixture of American culture on Saturday night cruises all over the country.
There’s also a TransBrake, which allows the driver to rev the engine to build torque while the transmission holds the car in place, and a computer-controlled suspension system that adjusts its stiffness to manage weight transfer to the rear wheels and tires. They are the only ones driving the car, and Dodge gave them special attention.
When the muscle car is running at peak power, Dodge claims the Demon 170 will be able to rocket from zero-to-60 in a bonkers 1.66 seconds. If true, that would instantly make it the world’s fastest production car, and about .13 seconds faster than the current record holder, the all-electric Pininfarina Battista. No top speed was mentioned, but Dodge said it’ll reach 151.17 mph while running the quarter-mile in an NHRA-certified 8.91 seconds. It’s practically a dragster, which might explain why its stripped-down racing-style interior only comes with a driver seat (there’s an option to add more). Despite this, the car is street-legal.
“To celebrate the end of the Hemi muscle-car era, we pulled off all the governors to reach a new level, a new benchmark of ‘factory-crazy’ production car performance,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said in a statement. “In 2015, Dodge shocked the world with the 707 horsepower Hellcat. Then, in 2018, we did it with the 840 horsepower Demon, and now we are doing it again with the 1,025 horsepower Demon 170, the world’s first sustainable-energy, eight-second, factory-production, street-legal muscle car.”
Flex Fuel in Its Future?
The other potential powertrain involves E85 flex fuel and upwards of 909 horsepower. Road & Track has been speculating since July that Dodge is planning to give a Challenger a V-8 with that much horsepower by using E85. It could also better explain why Dodge has had to delay the car for so long.
It was originally supposed to show the final “Last Call” model in October at SEMA 2022. Dodge ultimately scrapped that plan after seven engines exploded during durability testing. “So far, we’ve grenaded seven engines,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis told reporters, as quoted by R&T, during a background event leading up to SEMA.
The Dodge Charger King Daytona and Black Ghost Challenger “Last Call” models both feature a boost in performance. Each ups the power to a Jailbreak-matching 807 horsepower. The pairing is based on the widebody Charger and Challenger’s 797-hp Hellcat Redeye models, with an additional 10 ponies added to the mix.
The other four of the previously announced special editions are essentially just visual packages being sold in limited quantities, but Dodge promises the last will be something special.
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