Together, the torque reserve and trans brake allow the Demon to launch at higher rpm and with much more torque than the Hellcat.
Kuniskis explained the difference: "A regular Hellcat today, which is an amazing performance car, with drag radials can run 10.80s. We launch that car just barely over idle--1,700 rpm, 1,600 rpm. You're not into boost. You have zero boost at that point because as soon as you get into boost you're going to overpower the brakes and you're going to spin the tires."
The Demon launches at 1,800 rpm, just a bit higher than the Hellcat, but the torque reserve feature allows it to get into boost. And with 8 pounds of boost, the Demon puts 534 pound-feet of torque to the ground at launch. "Compared to the fastest muscle car ever, which launches at 100 pound-feet of torque, this launches at 500 [actually 534] pound-feet of torque," Kuniskis noted.
The Demon pulls 1.8 gs from the starting line and it goes to the full 14.5 pounds of boost within six feet of the starting line. At that point, the full 770 pound-feet of torque can come on as well.
While the Demon launches at 1,800 rpm in stock form, the trans brake's stall speed can be adjusted all the way up to 2,350 rpm, which Kuniskis says is the perfect launch rpm if the car has unlimited traction. He also says that many buyers will opt to set aside the Nitto tires and buy drag slicks, which could provide that traction.
Dodge hasn't tested the Demon with drag slicks, but we are sure that some media outlets will. We'll be interested to find out how much faster the Demon will do with drag slicks and a 2,350-rpm launch.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT DemonEnlarge Photo
"That would be the best burnout machine in the world if we didn't take the next step," Kuniskis quipped.
Why? Because the tires need to hook up and to do that the weight has to transfer to the rear end.
To make that happen, Dodge utilizes the adaptive suspension. Dodge looked at old school drag racing to program its adaptive suspension.
"As kids we'd go to the strip and we'd drill holes in our front shocks, let all that oil drain out. We'd take our front sway bars out. The front suspension would be super loose. It would transfer weight like crazy, put all the weight on the back of the car, allow you to hook up," Kuniskis said.
Of course, that made the cars handle horribly. Today's technology allows the same effect without the drawback.
Kuniskis broke it down: "Today, with electronics I can give you that same weight transfer. I can go to full soft rebound, so I can let the front end lift. Now, normally the back would then dip. I hold the back firm. I take the back tires, which have a sidewall. It crushes that sidewall and allows it to absorb that shock and now spin. When you do that, 2,576 pounds is transferred from the front of the car to the back of the car. It turns it into a teeter totter, puts no weight on the front, makes the front end lift, and carries the front end for 35 inches."
In other words, when that trans brake button is released, 2,576 pounds transfers front to rear, the rear tires wrinkle and bite, and the car does a wheelie and carries it for almost three feet just a couple inches off the ground. That type of launch allows the Demon to put up both the 2.3-second 0-60 mph time and the 9.65 quarter-mile ET at 140 mph.
The work Dodge put into the Demon to turn it into a dragstrip beast has made it the fastest factory car in a straight line in both the 0-60 mph run and the quarter mile. That's quite an accomplishment, and we get the feeling that those numbers are much easier to achieve than they are with the Hellcat.