Cleveland, Ohio – Hey car buyers, I know you’re feeling left out of the auto industry’s current obsession with trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. How about we offer you something a little extra? Would $500 off do it? No? How about 50 more horsepower? 100? 400hp more?
With sales of traditional cars stalled or falling sharply, depending on the model, a pair of automakers is cranking the horsepower way past 11 to generate some excitement. Ford announced Monday that it will extend availability of the factory hot-rod editions of the Mustang – the Shelby GT350 and GT350R (racetrack edition) – through 2018.
But for drivers who sneer at the Shelby 350R’s 4.3-second 0mph-60mph acceleration (as tested by Car and Driver), or its mere 526hp, designers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US LLC) have something with just a hair more performance.
Unveiled last week at the New York International Auto Show, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon adds a supercharger to its 6.2L Hemi V-8, ratcheting horsepower up to 840hp. Estimated 0mph-60mph: 2.3 seconds. A consistent 86-minute engine burn at that max. output level (highly not recommended or even possible given how quickly the engine would go through fuel) would be enough to power the average American home for a month.
“With Demon, our goal was to build a car that would tattoo the Dodge logo into the subconscious of the general market, beyond even our loyal enthusiasts,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat at FCA North America. “To do so, we had to set records that have never been set before, do more than has ever been done before, go beyond even the legendary Hellcat. The result: an 840-horsepower, 9-second muscle car (9.65-second quarter mile, reaching 140mph) unlike anything that has ever come before it.”
With the Demon and GT350R, there are some minor sacrifices to achieve ridiculous performance levels. When you’re squeezing every ounce of thrust out of a muscle car possible, the list of options removed becomes a badge of honor. Air conditioning? Pshaw, who can spare the horsepower.
For the Demon, options eliminated to shave weight and boost performance include:
- Front passenger seat, seatbelt
- Rear seat, restraints, floor mats
- Audio speakers, amplifier, associated wiring
- Trunk deck cover trim, carpeting, spare tire cover
- Mastic, body deadeners, insulators, foam (so it’s noisy but light)
- Park sensors, module
For the Shelby GT350R, sacrifices include:
Both cars also use lower-weight wheels – carbon fiber in the case of the Mustang, aluminum for the Demon.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.