First Drive: 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock

07/05/2022

First Drive: 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock

07/05/2022

When the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon hit the scene back in 2018 it sent shockwaves through the performance world. The notion that a car that was capable of popping wheelies could be purchased with a factory warranty like any other new vehicle raised plenty of eyebrows on its own, but performance statistics like a 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds and a quarter mile time of 9.65 seconds – both record-setting figures for production cars – turned the drag-tuned coupe into an instant legend.


It also didn’t hurt that the Demon had a unique aesthetic amongst the Challenger lineup thanks to its 18x11-inch wheels and specially-developed Nitto NT05R drag radials. A massive hood scoop and Demon badging also helped to further separate it from the herd, but the wheels were the easiest way to identify a Demon versus another widebody Challenger at a glance.


2022 Dodge Challenger Super Stock front quarter

The 18-inch wheels and Nitto drag radials say Demon, but the tuning generally leans more toward the Redeye.


Dodge built a mere 3300 examples of the one-year-only limited production machine (three thousand for the U.S. and another 300 for Canada), but some of its powertrain hardware made it into the 797-horsepower Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye models that appeared in 2019 and 2020, respectively.


While the Demon was focused on drag strip supremacy, the Redeye models shifted their attention back to toward Jack-of-all-trades performance. But with straight line sprints already a traction-limited affair in standard Hellcats – widebody or not – the Redeye models only yielded negligible performance improvements out in the real world despite the 80 horsepower and 51 lb-ft advantage they offer over their “normal” Hellcat counterparts. It quickly became clear that the limitations were more about a lack of grip rather than a lack of horsepower.


2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock brakes

Like the Demon, the Super Stock ditches the Hellcat’s 20-inch wheels for 18-inchers in order to accommodate the drag tires. Since it’s a square setup, the Hellcat’s six-piston Brembo front brakes had to be tossed in favor a smaller four-piston units to get them to fit behind the smaller wheel diameter. There’s still more than enough stopping power for drag strip runs and occasional back road jaunts, but the car’s weight and ability to quickly pile on speed have the potential to overwhelm them in more demanding situations.


And that’s where the Challenger SRT Super Stock comes in. It would be easy to dismiss the 807 horsepower Super Stock as a Demon which just lacks the latter’s special race fuel mode that unlocks all 840hp if the tank is filled with 100 octane gas, and the fact that the Demon makes just one extra horsepower on pump gas only adds credence to that speculation. But over the course of a week spent with the Super Stock we discovered that the differences run deeper than that. While its assault of the pavement is not quite as savage as a Demon at full song, the Challenger SRT Super Stock is a muscle car that captures even more of the Demon’s drag tech and blends it with tuning that leans more toward the Hellcat territory. The result is muscle car with 800 horsepower on tap that’s more than happy to dispatch the daily commute during the week (weather provided on those Nittos, anyway) and then terrorize the drag strip on Saturday night.


But before we dig deeper into what the experience is like at speed, let’s take a closer look at exactly what this package is – and isn’t.

The SRT Super Stock Formula

Ticking the box for the Super Stock package ($20,600) brings a variety of changes to a standard Challenger SRT Hellcat. For starters, you get the Widebody package, which extends the width of the car by 3.5 inches to accommodate wider wheels and tires. It also brings the optional 8-speed automatic gearbox into the mix, along with the Redeye version of the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 with a unique software calibration that raises peak horsepower from 797 to 807 by moving the shift point from 6300 rpm to 6400 RPM. Also along for the ride is the SRT Power Chiller that debuted on the Demon, a system which diverts refrigerant from the air conditioning system to cool air intake temperatures for better on-track performance.


In terms of chassis hardware, the Super Stock is outfitted with 315mm-wide Nitto NT05R drag radials at all four corners, and they’re wrapped around the same 18x11-inch wheels that the Demon rolled around on. As such, the Hellcat’s front brake setup (which consists of six-piston Brembo calipers that clamp down on 15.7-inch rotors) had to be tossed in favor of the smaller Brembo system that was used on the Demon (14.2-inch discs and four-piston calipers) in order to clear the smaller wheel diameter.


2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock rear quarter

Like the Demon, the Super Stock is equipped with an asymmetrical limited-slip differential with a 3.09 final drive ratio.


The Super Stock doesn’t use the Demon’s drag-tuned spring rates and light weight sway bars, though. The Demon’s tuning is ideal for weight transfer to rear wheels for better drag launches, but it also results in less body control in other situations. The suspension tune is actually much closer to a standard Redeye overall, though the Super Stock does score a set of uniquely tuned Bilstein electronically-controlled dampers that help it make better use of the drag tires than a standard Redeye would. Further aiding in that pursuit is the drag-focused Track drive mode which, among other adjustments, tweaks the shocks’ compression and rebound characteristics to provide better traction out of the hole.


While the Super Stock lacks the Demon’s Trans Brake feature, it does come with a variety of other tricks that are aimed squarely at getting the car to put the power down. Along with a standard launch control system that holds the revs at a specified level until you side-step the brake pedal, the Super Stock also scores Launch Assist, a system that’s designed to detect and eliminate wheel hop, Torque Reserve, which allows the supercharged engine to build boost while the car is stationary, a line lock feature for effortless burnouts, and a Race Cooldown mode that’s designed to minimize the effects of heat soak by keeping the engine fans and low-temperature circuit coolant pump running after the engine has been shut down.


As with the Demon, the rear seat of the Super Stock can be deleted for a dollar to shave off some weight; a cargo net is installed in its place. But unlike the Demon, production of the Super Stock is not capped at a pre-determined amount of cars – Dodge will build as many of these as the public demands.

Behind The Wheel

It’s been seven years since Dodge unleashed the first Challenger SRT Hellcat upon the world, but the civility of these supercharged beasts still continues to amaze us today. Our loaded tester ($97,711 with destination fee) was outfitted with several optional packages that bring suede-like Alcantara and real carbon fiber into the interior, but otherwise it’s mostly business as usual for the Challenger’s cabin.


That’s a sword that cuts both ways in 2022, though. The good news is that the Super Stock is just as comfortable for long stints behind the wheel as any SRT Challenger we’ve come across since 2015, and there’s still acres of head and leg room, even for taller passengers. And if this particular example were optioned with a back seat, it would probably be just as usable as the back seats in other Challenger models that we’ve tested, too.


2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock hood

The Super Stock retains the hood and badging of the Hellcat Redeye.


The flip side is that this interior is starting to feel a bit dated by contemporary standards, especially when it comes to the infotainment system. It utilizes a relatively low resolution 8.4-inch display and an older fourth-generation version of the Uconnect operation system, and that means it still lacks modern features like wireless Apple CarPlay. To Dodge’s credit, the infotainment hardware has been upgraded a few times since the 2015 Challenger debuted, and it still offers an intuitive menu layout and fast response to user inputs. We also love the SRT Dashboard as a centralized pathway into all of the car’s different performance parameters, drive modes, and telemetry data. But even Dodge and its sister brands have moved on to better things for the most part – vehicles like the latest Durango, Ram 1500 TRX, and Jeep Grand Wagoneer are all equipped with newer Uconnect 5 systems with sharper displays and a much wider range of features. And after outselling the Mustang for the first time in history last year, it seems like the Challenger has earned a spot among them. But judging by the direction that the wind is blowing these days, a significant update seems pretty unlikely.


Of course a lot of issues like these seem to vanish when you push the ignition button. The supercharged Hemi roars to life with authority, and a cold start will rattle the stuff that’s sitting on the shelves of your garage. But once the engine comes up to temperature the exhaust settles down to volume that should keep the neighbors at bay, and if you can keep your foot out of it, the driving the Super Stock town in the Auto drive mode can be a surprisingly mellow experience.


2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock engine

The 807 horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi also comes from the Redeye – an engine that was originally derived from the Demon. Thanks to a new software calibration, the Super Stock engine makes ten more horsepower than the Redeye version, but remains a horsepower short of the Demon’s pump gas output figure.


The suspension isn’t quite as compliant as the Demon’s super-soft spring rates were, but the ride quality is arguably better than a Redeye’s thanks to the additional sidewall offered by those big drag radials. Meanwhile the eight-speed automatic works quietly in the background to ensure it’s in the most efficient gear when the car is in its default drive mode, but it’s also quick to downshift back into the powerband when you prod it with some throttle.


On a good surface with the right technique, the Super Stock is capable of rocketing to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.25 seconds on the way to a 10.5-second quarter mile time, and it won’t let up until it hits its tire-limited top speed of 168 mph. But getting those numbers does require some trial and error – even if launch control is set conservatively for the conditions, the Super Stock will mercilessly fry the tires if the road surface or other circumstances aren’t quite to its liking. If you get it right, though, the acceleration rivals some of the quickest performance cars on the market today.


2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock interior

The Challenger's interior is familiar territory. Alcantara fabrics and real carbon fiber bits spice up the otherwise standard Challenger faire. There might be some complaining about lack of updates to the technology present, but you will be hard-pressed to find a better place to sit while putting miles down, especially if you are a taller driver. Like the Demon, the rear seat can be deleted for $1.


It’s also surprisingly good in the corners thanks to the competition spec rubber. The downsized brakes don’t inspire an overabundance of confidence and keep spirited runs through the canyons remain brief, but the Nittos offer quite a bit of lateral grip for a drag tire and actually had us wishing for a more aggressive sport seat that would keep us firmly planted during those maneuvers.


Like most modern Challengers, the Super Stock is truly at its best when you’re out cruising or blasting down the highway. Although the package brings shifts the focus more toward the drag strip, it’s ultimately more Redeye than Demon, and that’s fine by us. The platform might not showcase the most cutting edge tech that’s out there today, but it still exudes personality and remains the most honest interpretation of a modern muscle car that’s on the market today. The clock is ticking for V8-powered beasts like these, and we will definitely miss them when they’re gone.

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