Congrats to Dodge and the boys at DaimlerChrysler for keeping the Dodge Demon Concept completely under wraps until now. As of 12:01AM on 2/12, however, the embargo has lifted and we're allowed to tell you about this Dodge-branded MX-5 killa destined to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
It's no accident that we've invoked the Mazda MX-5 so quickly as a comparison for the Demon Concept, as Dodge freely admits the Japanese roadster was its benchmark when designing the car. The Demon is a smidge shorter than the MX-5, though a bit wider, taller and heavier.
Unlike the concept's shown by DaimlerChrysler so far this autoshow season like the Chrysler Nassau and Jeep Trailhawk, the Demon Concept has been built from the ground up and uses no existing platform. It does, however, use one of DCX's existing engines -- the 2.4L four-cylinder World Engine that sends 172 horsepower and 165 ft-lbs. of torque to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. Dodge officials tell us a number of engines could be used in the Demon, including the 1.8 or 2.0L World Engine. A 300-hp motor, probably the one that powers the Caliber SRT-4, was also spoken of when we were initially introduced to the Demon by DCX.
It's no accident the Demon looks somewhat like a mini Viper, as Dodge designers were trying to capture some of that aspirational vehicle's charisma in an attainable package. Thus, the bold cross-hair grille that's a Dodge staple sits front and center ahead of a long hood and small windshield. The wheel openings on the Demon are assymetrical, which is a bit unusual, as is the characther line that's angled downward from the top of the front fender to brake-cooling ducts placed ahead of the rear wheels.
The rear of the Demon is visually the most complicated with many intersecting lines and planes. We're actually more fond of the Demon's elegantly simple interior than its somewhat convoluted exterior. The driver faces a wide dash comprised of large, simple shapes that make operating the Demon and its systems apparently a breeze.