Dodge resurrects controversial Challenger SRT Demon for final year of V8 muscle cars
DETROIT — Dodge is resurrecting its controversial muscle car model, the Challenger SRT Demon, as a final special edition of the vehicle before production of the brand’s current V8 engine cars ends later this year.
The limited-edition drag racing car will be the fastest, most powerful version of the Dodge Challenger ever produced by the automaker. It builds upon a 2018 Challenger SRT Demon model that some criticized for being too powerful and barely street legal.
Dodge says the new car will deliver 1,025 horsepower and 945 foot-pounds of torque on E85 ethanol blend fuel. It can achieve 60 mph from a rolling start in 1.66 seconds. The vehicle’s performance falls slightly when using fuel with lower amounts of ethanol, but even on common E10 fuel it boasts 900 horsepower and 810 foot-pounds of torque.
The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 will start at the diabolically evocative price of $96,666 — the last three figures are a reference to the devil — but it can top $120,000 or more with fees, options and accessories, according to Dodge. Ordering for the vehicle opens on March 27.
Dodge, owned by Stellantis
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis declined to disclose the capital investment for the vehicle, which was revealed Monday, or its expected profit margins.
“These cars are ending on a high,” Kuniskis said. He referred to the Demon 170 as “the new pinnacle of factory crazy.”
When asked about the vehicle’s fuel economy, he said “it’s horrible,” but later called the car “eco-friendly” because fuel with high ethanol levels runs cleaner than traditional gasoline while also burning more quickly. The car will be subject to a $2,100 mandatory gas-guzzler tax.
The “170” moniker is in reference to a high proof of alcohol, as the car can run on ethanol fuel. Each owner will also receive a special glass decanter with their vehicle purchase.
The new car will be capable of popping wheelies, where the vehicle’s front tires lift off the ground due to the amount of power coming from the rear wheels.
Dodge was expected to reveal the car earlier this year, but engineers were “blowing up” engines attempting to get as much performance as possible out of the car, Kuniskis said. The problems led engineers to develop a new supercharged engine for the vehicle.
The 2023 Demon SRT is the seventh special-edition muscle car for Dodge as it celebrates the upcoming end of production of the current Challenger and Charger muscle cars. Dodge has sold more than 2 million of those vehicles since their introductions more than a decade ago.
“You have to celebrate this end,” Kuniskis told CNBC, adding the Challenger serves as a “halo” model for the brand, attracting the attention of customers who go on to buy other vehicles. “We do crazy better than anybody.”