Dodge unveils one-seat 840-horsepower muscle car

Dodge gets devilishly fast
Dodge gets devilishly fast

The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is not a car for normal people. For starters, it comes standard with only one seat.

Because passenger seats, and passengers, weigh too much and would slow it down. Your friends aren't worth that.

Then there's the engine. The Demon's 840-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V8 is the most powerful V8 engine ever put into a regular production car. That makes the Demon the most powerful factory-produced muscle car ... ever.

That record had previously been held by the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which seems like a house cat compared with the Demon, a car just unveiled ahead of the New York International Auto Show.

The Demon has already recorded the fastest quarter-mile run by a factory production car ever, as officially certified by the National Hot Rod Association. Starting from a dead stop, a Demon made the drag strip run in just 9.65 seconds.

dodge challenger demon hood
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has the most powerful V8 ever offered in a production car.

It also has the fastest zero to 60 time for any production car, according to Dodge, at 2.3 seconds. And the fastest zero to 30 time at 1.3 seconds. All of this leads to it having the most rib-crushing acceleration G-force of any production car. Helping that are the huge buckets of air the engine can suck in through the largest functional hood scoop made for any production car.

Motor Tend magazine has said that the record quickest zero-to-60 run by a factory production car, in its testing, had been by the Tesla Model S P100D. In the hands of Motor Trend test drivers, the Tesla accelerated to 60 miles an hour in 2.28 seconds. (There are various methods for measuring zero to 60 acceleration that can yield different results.)

The Demon is also the first production car able to accelerate so hard it can lift its front wheels off the pavement, a feat that has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. The front wheel can stay up in the air for almost three feet.

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To get that kind of horsepower requires the installation of a performance package, called the "Demon Crate." But the performance figures without that are still close to this, coming in at 808 horsepower, said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger car brands in North America for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

There's more. But it gets fairly technical, like the fact that the Demon is the first factory production with a transmission brake, something that makes for faster drag strip take-offs.

The Demon is, essentially, a drag race car that's legal to drive on public roads. Even its extra-sticky Nitto tires were designed specifically for this car. It's also available with extra-narrow "front runner" drag racing tires that can be bolted at the drag strip in place of the regular front wheels.

Along with the Demon's drag racing credentials, Kuniskis touted the car's capabilities on the street. The Demon can corner faster and stop more quickly than the Dodge's other performance cars, he said.

"On the street it's an amazing handling muscle car," he said in an interview following the presentation. "Then you can go to the track, put your race fuel in it, put your front runners on it and run faster than anybody else, then go back on the street and it's totally compliant."

The Demon comes standard with no passenger seats, front or back. Engineers saved 113 pounds in seats alone by doing that. Not having stereo speakers or an amplifier saved another 24 pounds. Passenger seats and a stereo can be ordered as options.

dodge challenger demon tire
The Demon's sticky tires were created specifically for this car.

Also at the New York Auto Show, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU), Dodge's parent company, unveiled a 707-horsepower SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk which has the same engine as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

Only 3,300 Demons will be built -- 3,000 for the United States and 300 for Canada -- with production beginning late this summer, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Dodge's parent company. Pricing information has not yet been made available.

Whether those 3,300 cars sell as fast they drive remains to be seen.

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