For some people, going to 10 isn’t good enough. If you’re going to go all the way, you might as well go beyond what you thought was possible. You know, take things to 11. Well, if we know anything about Dodge, it’s that it likes to take things to 11, and we like it for that very reason. The company did it back in late 2014 with the Hellcat, single-handedly exploding the idea that 700-plus horsepower was reserved for supercars. But now that the Hellcat is a bona fide hit — nearly 12,000 sold in 2016 alone — Dodge is on the fringes digging for more. If the Hellcat is now a 10, what’s the new 11?
Say hello to the new Dodge Demon.
Or don’t, because we hardly know anything about it yet. Other than this Hellcat-esque logo, a unveiling date, and some tantalizing clues, we’re largely in the dark. But thanks to some keen eyes, some quick spy photographers, and a lot of circumstantial evidence (hey, this isn’t a court of law!), we can start to get a picture of what Dodge’s new performance king will look like. For starters:
1. It’ll look pretty familiar
Despite the hype, the Demon isn’t an all-new standalone model. It’s going to be based on the Challenger; the familiar, familiar, Challenger. Still, despite that car being around for nine years now, the Demon could well be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
2. It’ll knock the Hellcat off the top of SRT Mountain
When the Charger and Challenger Hellcats appeared seemingly out of nowhere in 2014, it brought supercar-like horsepower to the masses. The Hellcat’s 707 horsepower is a benchmark that still hasn’t been topped by Chevy or Ford, but with the 640 horse Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 on the way, the street and racing performance division is looking to widen the gap even more. So while we’re sure the Hellcat will still be popular, the SRT/Dodge lineup will have a new horsepower champ in the Demon.
3. You’re going to have to be careful in drive-thrus
For the past few months, spotters have seen Challengers mules with massive fender flares tearing it up on the roads around Detroit. Conventional wisdom was that there’d be a wide-body, all-wheel drive Challenger coming for 2017. Dodge unveiled the AWD Challenger at this year’s Detroit Auto Show as the Challenger GT — but it only comes with a V6, and has no real body modifications.
So through process of elimination, the incredibly loud, incredibly wide Dodges seen in Michigan were most likely Demons.
4. Thanks, Vin Diesel?
Thanks to Vin Diesel, we may have already gotten a pretty good look at the Demon. After the shooting for the eighth installment of The Fast and the Furious had wrapped, Diesel posted a speech that he gave to cast and crew in front of two seemingly modified Challengers. But compared with spy photos and Dodge teasers, the flare-fendered cars with giant hood scoops could very well be Demons.
5. It’s a nameplate with some history
True story: The Demon debuted in 1971 as a Chrysler A-Body car; a clone of the Plymouth Duster, which in itself was a little more than a fastback version of the Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant. Available with the 275 horsepower 340 cubic inch V8, the Demon could be pretty quick. But sales paled in comparison to the Duster, and a campaign by religious groups led to Dodge dropping the name after 1972. Could’ve been worse — the car was almost called the Dodge Beaver.
6. It’ll be one hell of a drag car
According to Tim Kuniskis, FCA’s Head of Passenger Car Brands: “… the SRT Demon is conceived, designed and engineered for a subculture of enthusiasts who know that a tenth is a car and a half second is your reputation.” With the Hellcat already one hell of a heavyweight when it comes to the quarter-mile, the Demon has a lot to live up to. We can’t wait to see the inevitable Hellcat versus Demon races that’ll pop up at drag strips across the country.
7. Don’t get comfortable
One of the few details we know is that the Demon will be around 200 pounds lighter than the Hellcat. That kind of weight loss is impressive, but remember: An automatic Hellcat already tips the scales at 4,448 pounds, so this’ll still be one heavy car. Look to the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R for what to expect: No radio or navigation, optional air conditioning, no back seat, sound deadening, or much of anything in terms of creature comforts.
8. It’ll be ready to handle all that power
We expect most of the Demon’s weight loss to come from the interior, because it looks like Dodge is determined to beef everything else up. It was no easy task building a car that could handle 707 horsepower; expect bigger brakes, a revised suspension and steering. It should all add up to something that feels very different from the Hellcat.
9. Dodge really wants you to want it
To build anticipation, Dodge has launched a teaser YouTube channel, and will be posting no fewer than 12 evil-looking videos about the car between now and its unveiling. With a real-time countdown for the next video at the top of the page, it’ll be enough to keep plenty of gearheads (read:us) checking back every week.
10. We’ll see it in New York in April
While Dodge didn’t have any big announcements at the Detroit Auto Show this year, the Demon will make its debut in April at the New York International Auto Show. Barring some big surprises (ahem, mid-engine Corvette?), Dodge may have the biggest performance car reveal of the whole show. We’re probably not alone in saying that we can’t wait.