It’s not as high as you think, but the acceleration is just brutal.
There’s no denying that horsepower junkies have been captivated by the Challenger SRT Demon since Dodge unveiled the barely-street legal drag racer almost a year ago. We know it accelerates like mad – to refresh your memory Dodge says it will reach 60 miles per hour in 2.3 seconds and trip the quarter-mile lights in 9.65 seconds, provided it's set up to run racing fuel. By now everyone knows that time is just too darned fast for NHRA-sanctioned drag strips without proper safety equipment installed, but the folks at Hennessey aren’t bound by such limitations. For that fact, the tuning company doesn’t even need to stop at a quarter-mile.
The Hellcat-powered Challenger is said to top out around 200 mph, so surely the Demon with its extra power can eclipse that number, right? Actually, Dodge puts an electronic limiter on the Demon’s speed to around 168 mph – a barrier the Hennessey team briefly hit at 164 mph in the video above. Granted it didn’t take very long at all to get there, but in the world of cars with 800-plus horsepower, barely breaching 160 seems a bit weak. There’s method behind the madness, however.
For starters, the Demon isn’t built for outright speed but acceleration, and in that role it's certainly a success. Watching the video, the Demon goes from a dead stop to 164 mph in about 20 seconds, at which point the speed bounces back like a tennis ball thrown against a brick wall. It’s clearly still accelerating hard when the limiter kicks in so there's certainly more potential for speed, but Demon's drag radial tires are rated to go any faster. That's the price you pay for having a Dodge Challenger that launches harder than a million-dollar Bugatti Chiron.
With the limiter flashed away – and with tires capable of handling the speed – we’d say the Demon could go quite a bit faster. In this car though, we’d rather pull wheelies on the launch than sweat out a 200-plus mph blast in a softly-sprung muscle machine.