Dodge has revealed the final “Last Call” version of the current Challenger, and it’s a monster. This ethanol-burning, fire-breathing drag racing special boasts up to 1,025 horsepower, 945 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 in 1.66 seconds, and an NHRA-certified quarter-mile time of 8.91 seconds at 151.17 mph. The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 delivers more than 2 g of lateral force at launch, the highest amount for any production car. Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis uses the official industry term “bat-[redacted] crazy” to describe the Demon 170.
I think he might be underestimating that.
Reviewing Demon 1.0
I owned the original 2018 Dodge Demon for more than five years, putting it through its paces on multiple drag strips before pulling an official 9.99 second quarter mile while hitting 133 mph. I think that’s an absolutely insane number for any street-legal car, though it’s a far cry from the Demon’s original potential (and NHRA-certified) 9.65-second quarter-mile time at 140 mph. The original Dodge Demon was the fastest production car in the world at the time, hitting 60 mph in 2.3 seconds and pulling 1.8 g as it lifted the front wheels off the ground at launch.
The Dodge Demon 170 owes its existence to the … plague?
Why did Dodge feel the need to top the crazy numbers of the original Demon? Well, for one thing, they’re not world-beating numbers today. Plaid’s Tesla Model S, along with a slew of supercars, broke the 2-second 0-60 mph barrier since the first Demon appeared, taking the mighty Challenger’s crown from its horned head. That alone won’t spawn the Demon 170, but the global COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the death of Dodge’s LX platform, as supply chain issues put a three-year implementation delay on the Challenger and Charger (and the Chrysler 300).
The delay gave Kuniski time to consider closer to Dodge’s era of large-displacement V8s. Cars that, by the way, still lead their respective categories in sales while spawning massive — and massively loyal — fans. So we have Dodge’s “Last Call” lineup of seven models, culminating in the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170.
What does the “170” mean in Demon 170?
While the original Demon had two horsepower ratings — 808 hp with 91 octane fuel and 840 hp with 100+ octane — the new Demon 170 has multiple potential power ratings based on fuel type. It still features the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8, but Dodge says everything except the camshaft has been upgraded to accommodate the significant power increase. There were actually rumblings of several engine failures during the endurance tests until Kuniskis clarified that with an official statement: “So far, we’ve used seven engines.”
That’s probably not the series of “seven Last Call Avoiders” the automaker had in mind when it first created the marketing campaign…
The engine durability barrier is undoubtedly caused by the use of ethanol fuel to improve performance. The Demon 170 starts with 880 horsepower on 91-octane pump gas. Those numbers increase to 900 horsepower and 810 lb-ft of torque on E10 (a pump fuel that contains a 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol blend) before maxing out at 1,025 horsepower and 945 lb-ft of torque with 85% ethanol race fuel. You can’t buy E85 race fuel at gas stations, but it can be found at performance shops for about $20 a gallon. And because ethanol is alcohol-based, this race fuel is technically 170 proof, hence the “Demon 170.”
Designing the engine to support that range of power and fuel types started by increasing the supercharger’s displacement from 2.7 liters to 3.0 liters. It also requires higher-flow fuel injectors, upgraded valves, and high-strength cylinder head studs, as well as stronger main bearings, rod bearings, and connecting rods. The spark plugs also need to be updated to run at a lower heat range to accommodate ethanol fuel.
Behind the engine is Dodge’s eight-speed TorqueFlight automatic, but in the Demon 170 it features an updated output flange to accommodate the 30% stronger prop shaft. A 240 mm ring gear, 53% stronger differential housing, and a stronger half-shaft send power to the rear wheels. Two other production firsts from the original Demon return on the Demon 170: the Power Chiller air conditioning system, which can cool the engine between drag strip runs, and the trans brake which stops the car at the starting line without using the braking system. Dodge says the new TransBrake 2.0 will be easier to use than the clunky interface in the previous Demon.
Old school muscle meets high tech innovation
Advanced technology is harnessed throughout the Demon 170’s design. It manifests itself in the engine controller and fuel system, which constantly recalibrates the V8’s tune for maximum power based on the percentage of ethanol detected in the fuel tank. The Demon 170 also offers standard forged aluminum wheels or optional carbon fiber wheels – the latter saving over 30 pounds in unsprung weight. Both wheelsets wear 315/50R17 Mickey Thompson drag spokes in the rear and 245/55R18s in the front. These drag spokes represent another welcome improvement over the original Demon’s Nitto tires, which proved difficult, at best, when trying to pull sub-10 second ETs with the car.
Optional carbon fiber wheels, plus available passenger and rear seat dampers, lighter front brakes, hollow sway bars, and deadening noise reduction, give the Demon 170 up to a 157-pound advantage over the Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody. Another weight-saving measure came from retracting the front fender flares, saving 16 pounds while creating the first Challenger with factory staggered width from front to back.
How much, and how can I get one?!
That was my first question after seeing the new 1,025 horsepower Demon 170. Dodge says production will begin in June and continue until the end of the year, with an expected (supply chain permitting) run of 3,000 units for the US and 300 for Canada, just like the last Devil. The starting price is $96,666 before premium and destination options, which range from leather upholstery, the aforementioned carbon fiber wheels, and an upgraded Harman Kardon audio system, to a carbon fiber partition that replaces the rear seats and a parachute mounting system. You know, for those sub-9 second drag strip runs.
Vintage Challenger fans will be pleased to hear the Demon 170 comes in 14 exterior colors, including classic shades like B5 Blue, Plum Crazy and Sublime. Optional Satin Black is available as a contrasting color on the Demon 170’s hood, roof and deck, and every Demon 170 will feature the “Last Call” commemorative plaque seen on each of the seven Last Call models listed below.
Full line of Last Call Dodge models
- Dodge Challenger Shakedown: Featuring a black and red interior and exterior theme, highlighted by a shaker hood scoop. The Challenger Shakedown is based on the R/T Scat Pack and will be limited to 1,000 units: 500 in Destroyer Gray and 500 in Widebody Pitch Black.
- Dodge Charger Super Bee: Based on the Scat Charger Pack and available in narrow and Widebody. The Super Bee features red-painted Brembo brake calipers, functional hood scoops, black exhaust outlets and Super Bee interior and exterior badging.
- Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Swinger: Offered in Widebody form with F8 Green or White Knuckle paint with Sublime rear stripe accents and shaker hood scoop. Gold School exterior badging and a black leather interior featuring contrasting green stitching give it a premium feel. Limited to 1,000 units.
- Dodge Charger Scat Pack Swinger: Offered in Widebody form with F8 Green or White Knuckle paint with Sublime rear stripe accents. Gold School exterior badging and a black leather interior featuring contrasting green stitching give it a premium feel. Limited to 1,000 units
- Dodge Charger King Daytona: The most powerful Charger yet, featuring an 807-horsepower supercharged V8, Widebody exterior, 20-inch satin wheels, orange brake calipers and Go Mango paint. The black leather interior features orange contrast stitching and King Daytona embroidery. Limited to 300 units only.
- Dodge Challenger Black Ghost: Based on the Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody with 807 horsepower (same as last year’s Super Stock). The Pitch Black exterior features a gator skin roof pattern, white accent stripes and retro “DODGE” hood lettering. The interior features black suede/leatherette combination upholstery with Black Ghost badges on the instrument panel. Limited to 300 units.
- Dodge Challenger Demon 170: The most powerful Dodge ever, factory rated at 1,025 horsepower when running E85 race fuel. Features a stepped Widebody exterior (rear Widebody only), carbon fiber wheels, optional passenger and rear seat cancellation, and a Drag Mode that allows the air conditioner to cool the engine. Limited to 3,300 units.