Dodge’s long-anticipated final “Last Call” Challenger, the Demon 170, is badass, technically impressive, and fast as hell.
1025 horsepower. 0 - 60 mph in 1.66 seconds. An official 8.91-second ¼ mile time.
That’s hypercar stuff. But perhaps most important for the muscle car and internal combustion faithful, it means the Dodge Demon 170 is a quicker accelerating production car than the previous record holder, the all-electric Tesla Model S Plaid
Additionally, not enough has been said about the 170’s improvements over the standard Demon
— notably that it doesn’t need a crate with drag slicks, skinny front tires and a pile of re-tuned equipment to be installed before it can unlock its full capability.
There’s a sort of vitriol to the Demon 170. CEO Tim Kuniskis' entire reveal speech seemed to centre on a general theme of edgelord, “rebel”, “in your face” attitude. And if you’re into cars, as cringe-worthy as it is, you can’t help but be won over by that sort of thing — you can’t help but want to participate in the vitriol.
The Hellcat has always had that effect. You can’t help but become irrational, even delusional
Even if you’re not into Dodge as a brand or muscle cars, there’s always been something about the attitude and approach to the Hellcat that was difficult to not admire. It conjures certain raw emotions in your gut that you can’t ignore. For whatever reason, you just want to believe “that car can do anything
Like the Porsche 911
, you have to put the Dodge Hellcat in the pantheon of cars that you sort of have to like
as a car enthusiast.
Which is why it’s so damn satisfying to know that there’s at least one Hellcat variant in the Demon 170 which can toss some egg onto the face of a bad-faith billionaire’s bland vision of the future.
We’ve got to come back down to reality a little bit on the Demon 170. Because while this ultimate Challenger is undoubtedly impressive, there are some giant misconceptions about what it is, what it can do, and how it can do it.
Let’s start with the thing muscle car enthusiasts care about the most. Power.
The horsepower is not (necessarily) the horsepower.
The Dodge Demon 170 makes 1025 horsepower… on a 170-proof E85 tune.
On regular pump gas the car makes closer to 900 horsepower. Still amazing. But it’s not as much as a Plaid, and crucially, 91-octane won’t unlock the performance the Demon needs to trounce a Plaid down the ¼ mile or between the lights.
“Well okay, just fill it with E85 then,” I hear you say.
To which I reply, “Good luck finding any in Canada.” There are only four E85 filling stations in the country, and they’re all in British Columbia according to a biofuels industry association.
Yes, you could probably find a way to order some by the barrel, or fill up during a trip to the States, but it’s all pretty inconvenient – and I’m sorry to say — way more inconvenient than charging your EV.
But hey, at least the Demon 170 is a performance bargain, right? Well, no actually.
It won’t cost under $100,000.
You won’t be able to breathe on this car for $100,000.
Dodge has already released the MSRP and it starts at a very plump $134,785 CAD.
That’s before any taxes or additional fees, And of course before any cursed markup. There are rumors Dodge has tried to control the dealers as best they can, but getting our hopes up seems ill-advised.
Oh, and Canada is only getting 300 units, so use your imagination there. We all know the dealers will.
At any rate, the options list will still give your head a shake. If you want your Demon 170 with trick carbon fiber wheels, for example, that’s a cool $19,000 CAD.
Want a set of proper tires instead of those barely street-legal Mickey Thompson ET Street R drag radials? Those will be extra, too. And since those MTs are designed for use only on a prepped drag surface, a more streetable tire might be something you’ll want if you ever plan on just going for a drive.
Of course, you’re a fearless drag racing hero and would never bother with anything other than full launch rips in your Demon 170. Optional extras are for blue-blooded snots, city-slickers and people who don’t listen to Joe Rogan. All you really care about is achieving the best possible acceleration times.
Well, sorry to disappoint again, but there are some disclaimers in that area too.
The acceleration numbers are under ideal circumstances.
The official, NHRA certified time is 8.91 seconds
. But Dodge claims they did one run at 8.61
. Which, if true… wow
However, we have to understand that the sub-9-second ¼ mile time, as well as the eye-melting 1.66 second 0 - 60 mph capability, are only achievable under the best possible circumstances — even by Dodge’s own admission
That means you need the E85 in the tank. It probably also means you need those $19K carbon fibre wheels. And the MT Street R drag radials equipped. And you had better be on a prepped drag strip. And you need to know what you’re doing.
I’m not saying it's not possible. I’m saying it all has to be ideal
. And planned out.
In many ways, the Demon 170 demonstrates why ICE is an outgoing technology. Dodge needed to push the engineering so ridiculously far — to build a race car so hardcore it’s already been banned by the NHRA — and put the car in just the right circumstances, just to barely
edge out the Tesla Plaid.
Something like the Tesla Plaid or Lucid Air
or Taycan Turbo S
, while not being quite as quick, don’t need all the prep to do what they do. You don’t need a prepared surface or special tires or a special kind of electricity
to do 0 - 60 mph in two seconds and a ¼ mile in the 9s.
But… that doesn't mean I don’t want a Demon 170 more than I want literally any EV on the market right now. Hell, I want a Demon 170 more than I want both my kidneys. Because, like you, I am delusional
about this car.
The numbers, while impressive, really aren’t as important as the sensations, the emotions, the sounds, and the identity.
That’s all anybody ever really cared about when it came to the Hellcat anyway. The spirit of it. That’s the thing that always hypnotized us.
As a send-off to the ICE muscle car, that was really the only thing the Demon 170 actually needed to accomplish, and just by existing it already has. No asterisk required.