When getting behind the wheel of the 2018 Dodge Demon for the first time, there are two key details the car never let's you forget: It's fast, and it's powerful. Possibly the most powerful motor vehicle you'll ever experience -- after all, the car needs to redirect the air conditioning to the engine to fully realize all 840 horses.
While neither of those factors in theory were surprising before entering the car, it was still nothing short of breathtaking for this reporter and muscle car enthusiast to experience the full devastation the vehicle could unleash on the drag strip at Atco Dragway in Atco, NJ, this week.
But as Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) senior manager of product marketing Matt McAlear explained Thursday at the track, the Dodge Demon, the world's fastest quarter-mile production car, was made to stretch the perception beyond the boundaries of what people think a muscle car can be.
"You don't build the Demon just to sell 3,000 units. You build the Demon to move the conversation from the enthusiasts to the mainstream," McAlear opined. "You build a car like this to get people talking."
With 840 horsepower -- the highest horsepower V-8 production car engine ever produced -- the Demon runs so hot, the engine needs its own air conditioning system.
Sorry boys, if you're looking to stay cool on the drag strip, this isn't your vehicle. Take it from me, though, getting a pass at the 9.65 second quarter mile is well worth the heat.
Add in 770 pounds per feet of torque and the Demon launches you onto the track with such velocity and force that for a second you feel as if you're at Six Flags Great Adventure being rocketed along the track of Kingda Ka.
Admittedly, the Demon's 1.8 g-force acceleration is not quite as powerful as Kingda Ka's 5 g, but it certainly is as close as it gets from behind the wheel of a car.
Take the car off the drag strip and onto the road, and you'd be surprised at how exciting it still is to drive. For a vehicle that MSRPs at $84,995, the average U.S. consumer might expect to feel a bit less of the road. But for the muscle car enthusiast, this shouldn't be a problem.
Flip back on the AC, turn on the vented seats, and sit back in a relatively comfortable, yet daringly powerful automobile with a 70s muscle car feel and little else on the road to stand in its way. "The Demon is spectacular on the drag strip, but it's also spectacular on the road," SRT vehicle development manager Jim Wilder said Thursday. "You are probably king out there."
He wasn't kidding, we felt like kings.
The Demon doesn't take much to get up to 60 mph -- 2.3 seconds by Dodge's claims -- and once it's there, it doesn't feel natural to take the speed down at all.
So maybe this isn't the best car to take through town on your way to Sunday mass, but if you get it on a little bit of open road, you can quickly see how transitioning from between 60 mph and 100 mph happens so effortlessly. Push it beyond there and the engine lets off an oddly delightful scream, not unlike a horse neighing.
Suffice to say, like the $71,495 Dodge Hellcat Widebody, the Demon isn't the most inconspicuous or fuel-friendly way to get around town.
But with Nitto street-legal drag radial tires installed and 100 octane unleaded fuel pumping through its veins, it sure is fun to let loose.
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