Dodge unveiled the seventh and final “Last Call” variant of its Challenger and Charger muscle cars with the brand’s most powerful ever. The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 picks up where the first Challenger SRT Demon left off in 2018.
The last breed of Dodge’s iconic gas-guzzling muscle car has turned out to have the ultimate iteration of the automaker’s legendary 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8. It’s a direct descendant of the Hellephant C170 crate engine by Direct Connection (Dodge’s factory-backed performance parts maker) that debuted at the 2022 SEMA Show.
“To celebrate the end of the Hemi muscle car era, we pulled off all the governors to reach a new level, a new benchmark of ‘factory-crazy’ production car performance,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand CEO at Stellantis.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 Engine
Under the hood is a fire-breathing, high-output 6.2-liter Hemi V8 with tons of upgrades. First, it has a new 3.0-liter supercharger based on the Hellephant C170 crate engine, producing 30 percent more airflow and 40 percent higher boost pressures at 21.3 psi. The supercharger pairs a 3.02-inch pulley with an updated 2.68 drive ratio to deliver 14 percent more overdrive.
Other noteworthy upgrades include higher-strength connecting rods with improved pin-bushing support, viscous damper assists to cut torsional vibration, and for the aluminum cylinder heads, aerospace-specification steel studs with steel inserts for a 38 percent increase in clamping load.
Next, the engine received higher-flow fuel injectors (capable of pumping 164 gallons of gas per hour), a 105 mm throttle body (33 percent higher airflow volume), nitride-coated intake valves, copper-lead central rod and bearings, lower heat and ethanol-optimized spark plugs, and an upgraded TorqueFlite 8HP90 eight-speed automatic.
Given a steady diet of E85 ethanol blend gas, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 produces a tire-shredding 1,025 horsepower and 945 lb-ft. of torque, more than the first SRT Demon unleashed in 2018. However, the madness diverts to 900 horsepower and 810 lb-ft. of torque if the engine senses E10 gas. Those numbers make the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 the most potent muscle car in the automaker’s long and cherished history.
How Fast Is The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170?
Dodge claims zero to 60 mph in an unbelievable 1.6 seconds while delivering the highest G-forces (2.004 gs) while at it. It’s also the first production car in automotive history to run an eight-second quarter mile. The Challenger SRT Demon 170 destroyed the quarter-mile in an NHRA-certified 8.1 seconds at 151.17 mph, enough to receive a violation letter for running below nine seconds without a parachute and safety cage.
Ethanol-Sensing Powertrain Control Module
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170’s supercharged Hemi V8 can detect ethanol in the fuel tank. As a result, the Hemi V8 can adjust the horsepower rating automatically based on the ethanol percentage of the gas inside the tank. A recalibrated powertrain control module (PCM) governs the fuel flow and spark timing of the V8 and displays the ethanol rating of the fuel in the instrument cluster.
If the system detects 20 percent ethanol, the gas pump icon in the cluster will glow white. But if the system senses up to 65 percent ethanol, the icon will glow blue, which means the engine could unleash all 1,025 horsepower to the ground.
Underneath is a 30 percent stronger rear propeller shaft, larger CV joints, and a 53 percent stronger rear axle housing with an integrated Direct Connection logo to deliver some proper street cred. Everything connects to a reinforced 240mm rear axle and 43-spline rear half shafts to deliver all 1,025 horsepower. Helping the cause are 18 x 8-inch front and 17 x 11-inch custom rear wheels wrapped in bespoke Mickey Thompson ET Street R drag radials.
Moreover, the Challenger SRT Demon 170 has the necessary drag-ready software and hardware to make heroes out of ordinary drivers at the dragstrip. It features the next-gen TransBrake 2.0, initially featured in the first Demon, allowing drivers to configure or select launch-torque profiles for specific track conditions. The system works with Launch Control and the Torque Reserve feature to improve engine response at any rpm while maximizing acceleration.
Standard for the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 are features from the previous Demon, like Line Lock (enables stationary burnouts at the press of a button) and launch assist. It also has the SRT power chiller function that diverts air-conditioned air to the supercharger to lower the intake temperature while also cooling the engine after an intense run.
Adaptive Bilstein Dampers
Helping the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 shift all that weight and torque are adaptive Bilstein dampers on all fours that react to the car’s drive mode settings. For example, in Drag Mode, the front Bilstein shocks are set for firm compression and soft rebound, while the rear shocks are set for firm compression and firm rebound damping.
Furthermore, the Bilstein shocks enable a 10mm higher ride height in the rear and a 17mm restricted jounce travel to swallow those massive Mickey Thompson drag tires. Accompanying those trick dampers are softer springs (35 percent front and 28 percent rear) and softer sway bars (75 percent front and 44 percent rear).
Don’t mistake the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 for a fast yet practical car. It has no front passenger seat, rear seats, sound insulation, trunk carpeting, or trunk lights, all in an effort to reduce weight. It only has a two-speaker audio system. In return, you get a yellow and red Demon badge on the instrument cluster (that spells out the vehicle’s four-digit VIN), an Alcantara performance tiller, and genuine carbon fiber trim.
However, a premium leather interior option flourishes the otherwise barren cabin with Alcantara and Laguna leather, a heated and ventilated driver’s seat, a heated tiller, and an 18-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, to name a few. Other changes include an SRT badge on the front grille, a custom Demon badge (with a 170 neck tattoo and a yellow demon’s eye), and commemorative “Last Call” plaques.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 Availability
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 is available to order until May 15th, 2023, with base prices starting around $97,000 before destination fees. Dodge will limit production to 3,300 units, with 3,000 destined for America and 300 for Canada. The MSRP includes a Demon decanter set, a Goodwool breathable mesh car cover, and premium car care products from Jay Leno’s Garage.
The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 will be available in all 14 exterior colors for the Challenger, including B5 Blue, Plum Crazy (purple), Sublime (green), and Destroyer Grey. All colors will also be available with an optional unique Satin Black hood or a Satin Black painted hood, roof, and decklid.
Similar to the original Demon, owners must sign a waiver acknowledging the unique characteristics of the Demon 170 as a purpose-built, street-legal production drag car. Purchasing a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 allows owners to participate in a one-day SRT Experience class at Radford Racing School.
We salute Dodge for going all-in on its final “Last Call” muscle car. But before we grab a Kleenex, know that Dodge and the muscle car era will live on with the Charger Daytona SRT Concept, the EV of muscle cars. Of course, from an enthusiast’s point of view, nothing replaces the sheer animosity, vibration, and barrel-chested sound of a tuned American V8, but we’re open to alternatives.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.