2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon First Look

Under 10-Second Quarter-Miles and Wheelies Right off the Showroom Floor

This year Dodge will sell to the public a car that can do wheelies.

That fact, which is verified by Guinness World Records, overshadows the Challenger SRT Demon's 808 horsepower — the most of any mass-produced V8 on sale — and its sub 10-second quarter-mile acceleration capability.

The Demon is a dedicated drag-racing car that's still street-legal, replete with drag radials mounted on each wheel. The standard equipment list doesn't include front or rear passenger seats; they're optional at $1 each. Right off the showroom floor, Dodge says, the Demon will pass the quarter-mile in 9.9 seconds at 136 mph, wheelie and all.

But it doesn't stop there. The Demon also offers a crate full of tools, spare, narrow front wheels and performance parts that, among other things, allow owners to take advantage of 100-plus octane fuel. Install all these parts and fill the tank with high-octane gas, and the Demon's output rises to 840 hp. In this trim, Dodge says the Demon passes the quarter-mile in 9.7 seconds at 140.1 mph.

This prodigious thrust comes courtesy of a version of the Hellcat's supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that's differentiated both by 50 percent new parts and Demon badging. A larger supercharger provides more boost (14.5 psi), and redline is 6,500 rpm, or 300 rpm higher.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Considering the Demon's drag-strip focus, an eight-speed automatic is the only transmission available. It also has a transbrake function, which prevents the transmission from sending power even when it's in drive. Doing so allows the driver to load the engine (up to 2,350 rpm) without the Demon moving and "breaking" the staging lights at a drag strip. The driver simply releases the transbrake with the paddle shifters. Cue wheelie.

Features such as a transbrake offer owners repeatable quarter-mile passes all night at the strip. Consider, too, a factory-equipped line-lock that, when activated, holds the front brakes and not the rears, making tire-warming burnouts easier. (It also does rolling burnouts.) Consider those two narrow front wheels from the crate that are intended to be used only at drag strips, turning the original front wheels and tires into a handy replacement for worn-out rears. Consider the wheel sensors that monitor for wheelhop during launch and reduce engine power if needed. Consider the Drag Mode setting that, among many other things, adjusts the suspension to promote rear squat during launch, biases steering assist toward high-speed stability, and routes air-conditioning refrigerant to cool the air going into the engine.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Dodge makes it usable on the street, too. After all, this is a production car that still receives Dodge's factory and powertrain warranties. You can option the Demon with all the options of the Challenger lineup, including heated and ventilated leather front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and even a sunroof. Each Demon bears a plaque on the dash showing the car's production number and the owner's name. They also get a leather-bound track tech guide that helps with logging setup notes.

What's the catch? The National Hot Rod Association and the tracks it sanctions require copious safety gear once a car passes the quarter-mile faster than 9.99 seconds or 135 mph. Some of these parts must be inspected every few years. While the Demon has provisions for these parts, it's up to the owners to install them and get a competition license — or be satisfied with running pump gas and taking solace in knowing there's always a little more in reserve.

Further, Dodge claims the Demon is the world's fastest accelerating quarter-mile production car. While this is true when it's been modified with factory-supplied performance parts and run on a prepared surface, its showroom stock 9.9-second quarter-mile pass places it alongside the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 — all of which made similar passes on unprepared surfaces.

That's not bad company to be in. And it's safe to say that unless you come across one of those cars, the Demon remains the fastest stock car on the street. Dodge will produce 3,000 Demons for the U.S., but has yet to announce pricing. We doubt it will be difficult for each one to find a home.