The Nissan GT-R and Dodge Challenger SRT Demon are bred from different philosophies. But the two are similar underneath the metallic veneer and high-octane horsepower. Both ride on ancient platforms – by automotive standards – released before the Great Recession. The GT-R debuted in 2007 while the Challenger debuted in early 2008 — months before Lehman Brothers and the housing market collapsed.
And neither has changed much. They still ride on the same aging bones. Instead of replacing the platforms, engineers have refined both over the last decade, squeaking out more power and performance, turning both into high-powered machines. The 2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo produces 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque from its twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6, sending power to all four wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 2018 Demon makes 840 hp from its supercharged 6.2-liter V8, delivering it all to the rear wheels – wrapped in Hoosier tires. It weighs 4,280 pounds while the GT-R weighs 3,900 lbs.
It’s hard to determine which car has the advantage. The Demon makes more power, but the GT-R is lighter and has all-wheel drive, which helps it put its power to the pavement. If anything, their differences make them unconventional equals. Those two different philosophies deliver similar performance.
The first race has the GT-R getting a lead off the start, but the Demon quickly catches up, crossing the finish line first by half a car length. While the Demon won, it appears the Dodge's 840-horsepower V8 overpowered the brakes. You can see the Demon leave the track before correcting course. A track member called the Demon driver out for the mistake with the driver saying he hit the brakes hard. The second race has the GT-R again getting a jump off the start, but this time, the Demon can’t recover from its slippery start, ceding the win before the race is finished.
The GT-R and Demon aren’t competitors. The Dodge is a drag track-focused nightmare machine that spits out carcasses of lesser competitors. The GT-R is a tuned performance computer. But at the end of the day, they translate to similar real-world performance – and we can all enjoy that.