Is more horsepower really better?

The Cleverness Brothers Horace and John never imagined what their company would become a century after they founded the Dodge Motor Company in 1903. Dodge became the go-to car of upright Americans when they were the primary suppliers of vehicles to the military since as far back as 1916. In the 1960s, Dodge started making muscle cars to give enthusiasts some of the sickest Mopars ever. Dodge has since grown in popularity and has a strong fan base thanks to its remarkable products and deeply rooted patriotic history.

Updated December 2021: For those undecided between the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat or the Demon, or even if you just want to learn more about these impressive muscle cars, you’ll want to know the latest details on their performance.

The Challenger has seen quite a bit of trial and error throughout its production history. In fact, Dodge retired the Challenger twice before it became the success it is today. The calling card of the current generation was the use of the body language of the first generation muscle car. Dodge engineers have taken their game to the next level, designing some huge engines that produce insane power, such as the SRT Hellcat – one of the most powerful production vehicles with a sub-$100,000 price tag.

Retro styling and strength is the selling point for the Challenger. But is more horsepower really better with massively powerful models like the SRT Hellcat and Demon?

Dodge and Horsepower: A Love Story

Through Dodge

Dodge grew as a company when they merged with Chrysler and began producing some truly exceptional vehicles. The Hemi engines that are the heart and soul of Dodge, developed in 1966 in a joint venture with Chrysler. The origins of the Hemi engine itself are fascinating. These engines have a hemispherical cylinder head for increased surface area to volume ratio for better combustion with minimal heat loss. This design places the spark plug in the center of the combustion chamber for better ignition.

All of these elements improve power, especially with larger displacements such as the 5.7-liter, 6.1-liter, the 6.2-liter used in the SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon, and the 392 6.4- liter V8 structure. These engines can produce north of 350 horsepower in the smallest 5.7-liter V8 and go all the way to 800-plus horsepower from the 6.2-liter V8 engine. Dodge has announced it plans to go the electrification route, so after 2023 the Hellcat won’t be around.

Related: This is the evolution of the Dodge Challenger

The Demon Vs The Hellcat: Comparing the Horsepower of the Two Muscle Cars

Dodge Demon logo

The Challenger is still available in the SRT Hellcat variant even today, but the SRT Demon was a limited production specific to 2018. Now, since there isn’t much difference between the two vehicles as both share everything from the platform to the engine. These immensely powerful cars use the 6.2-liter Hemi V8 engine producing 717 horsepower in the Hellcat and 808 horsepower in the SRT Demon, so the Demon is much faster than the Hellcat.

The major difference between the two variants is the engine configuration and the supercharger that complements the power unit. It has a compression ratio of 9:5:1 and a bore of 4.09 inches and a stroke of 3.578 inches. Dodge equips the Hellcat with a 2.4-liter supercharger that produces 11.6 psi of boost, while they equip the SRT Demon with a larger 2.7-liter twin-screw supercharger that produces 14.5 psi of boost.

Related: Hear the power-hungry roar of HPE1000-upgraded Dodge SRT Demon On The Strip

Is more horsepower really better?

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Front

The Challenger SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon top the Dodge power charts, as engineers at Dodge have produced massive horsepower from the 6.2-liter V8 Hemi engine. At the price range they offer these cars, it makes them such a great buy. Thanks to the Drag Pak, the Challenger is a wonderful car to drive on drag strips. Even in stock condition, the Challenger is a beast on the strip and has regularly taken the win against heavily modified vehicles.

Because of all the power produced by the Challenger SRT Demon, it is a car with many unique abilities. It is the first production car to do a wheelie, just like Dom’s Charger R/T from Fast and Furious from 1970. It might shock many gearheads to learn that the Demon can generate a whopping 1.8 gs when accelerating – or is ‘launch’ perhaps a more fitting word? When released in 2018, the Challenger SRT Demon was the fastest quarter-mile production vehicle and non-electric vehicle with an acceleration time of 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds.

Drag strips are Challenger territory and where it really excels. However, unlike older models, the Challenger can actually turn and corner now as it handles much better than the older generation. A stock Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat can still run any drag race without a problem, but the SRT Demon was banned from all races monitored by the NHRA because it does not have a certified roll cage. This is required in a car of less than ten seconds.

Is all this power really necessary? Both the SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon are equipped with superchargers that have a larger displacement than the displacement of entry-level hatchbacks and sedans. Such enormous amounts of power is also not something that everyone can handle. According to a study by iSeeCars, the Challenger has a fatal accident rate of 5.8 cars per billion vehicle kilometers, which means it ranks in the top ten in the car fatality rate statistics.

More horsepower doesn’t necessarily translate into a better car, it just offers more power, which isn’t safe if left unchecked. The SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon are great for the track, and while they’re certainly fun, they can be downright deadly in the wrong hands on the street.

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