The Slowest American Car With More Than 500 Horsepower - SUV VEHICLE

The Slowest American Car With More Than 500 Horsepower

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Summary

  • Classic muscle cars were underrated in horsepower for insurance reasons, but modern muscle cars easily hit 500+ HP.
  • The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 may not hit 215 MPH as previously reported, but still boasts impressive performance stats.
  • Top speed isn’t everything – some extreme-horsepower cars are all about quick quarter-mile times and dominating the drag strip.



In the classic era of American muscle, Detroit made some amazingly fast rides with crazy amounts of horsepower. The legendary 426 Street Hemi cranked out 425 ponies and the iconic Corvette 427 added 10 more. Engines at the time were notoriously underrated in terms of power, for insurance reasons, and dyno tests have since proven they jammed a lot more, but those are the official numbers, meaning no classic regular production car had ever hit 500 horsepower.

Fast-forward to the modern era of muscle cars, and there are plenty of rides that make 500 horsepower and more. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques and performance parts, as well as super and turbocharging, engines can generate obscene levels of power, with less displacement. With modern suspensions, chassis, and tires, that power is also more effectively applied to the pavement, which means these horsepower machines are making quarter-mile runs that look like 0-60 times from the old days.


For a car that blasts out 500+ horsepower, the term “slow” doesn’t seem appropriate, but, by process of elimination, one of them has to be the slowest. A hot jump off the line is a measure of quickness, but fastness is gauged by top speed and some cars simply have a higher number. Being the slowest car with 500 horsepower or more is kind of like being the sixth-richest person in the world, as it’s ultimately pretty damn cool. Still, some American cars have this distinction and the answer might be a bit surprising.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Dodge, Car and Driver, and MotorTrend.

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2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 May Be Slower Than Previously Thought


It’s actually quite shocking to see the Earth-destroyer 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 topping the list of slowest 500+ horsepower American cars because everybody knows it has a top speed of 215 MPH, right? Not exactly, as Dodge has never made that specific claim about its fierce 1,025 horsepower Last Call vehicle. It turns out that MotorBiscuit published an article in 2023, saying that the Demon 170 had a top speed of 215 MPH, and they cited a now-deleted write-up from CarHP as the source.

Challenger SRT Demon 170 Power and Performance

Engine

6.2-Liter Supercharged Hemi V-8

Horsepower

1,025 horsepower

Torque

945 pound-feet

Transmission

Eight-speed automatic

0-60 Time

1.66 seconds

Quarter-mile

8.91 seconds

Top Speed

149 MPH/151 MPH?


(Performance stats sourced from Dodge Garage)

From there, everyone simply reported the Demon 170’s top end as 215, without giving any thought as to where the number came from or if it was valid. Doing a Google search for the top speed of the mighty Mopar will return dozens of results that all regurgitate the 215 number, but not a single one is an official Dodge source. Also, authoritative sources like MotorTrend and Car and Driver have never printed this speed, or at the very least, have removed it from their sites. This raises the distinct possibility that the quickest production car ever built, may also be the slowest among the crass horsepower vehicles.

How Fast is the Demon 170?


There is a lot of scuttlebutt in forums and YouTube videos claiming that the actual top speed of the Demon 170 is only 149 MPH. These are clearly not official sources, but one creator, Butter Da Insider, says he actually communicated with Dodge, who confirmed that the Demon 170 does not have a top speed of 215 MPH. They didn’t tell him what the exact top end is, but other sources have put it at 149 limited by a governor, that allows a couple of extra seconds of acceleration in a quarter-mile to hit 151 MPH.

The Demon 170 is a Drag Car

The Challenger SRT Demon 170 was built to be the fastest factory drag car, so power off the line is the most important factor. It’s not a flying mile car or an endurance racer so a freaky top speed is completely irrelevant. Still, the idea that this fearsome beast is actually slower than lesser vehicles can be upsetting to Mopar fans. Especially considering that it was so widely misreported that it was a 200+ MPH car. The good news is that all the other insane numbers like a 1.66 second 0-60 time and a quarter-mile in the 8s are 100% legit.


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The Fastest American 500+ Horsepower Cars

Charger SRT Hellcat
Stellantis

The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 may not be a 200 MPH car, but there are few American cars with 500 or more horsepower that can hit and exceed that magic number. In the Mopar stable, are a couple of 807 pony-producing rides that top out at 203 MPH in the 2023 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak and the 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak. These are manufacturer claims, which means Dodge stands by the numbers, and they weren’t made up by a publication.

2024 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Front 3/4 shot of the new 2025 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
Cadillac


The 670-horsepower 2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is governor-limited to 189 MPH, but GM does have a car, as unlikely as it seems, that can fly past the 200 MPH barrier. The 2024 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing has a 668-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that not only blasts it off the line, but powers it to a 205 MPH top speed. Of all the massive-horsepower American cars, this is the most unassuming, making it the ultimate sleeper car. While it probably won’t win too many drag races against the Mopars, it will edge them out in The Texas Mile.

Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Power and Performance

Engine

6.2-liter supercharged V-8

Horsepower

668 horsepower

Torque

659 pound-feet

Transmission

Six-speed manual

0-60 Time

3.6 seconds

Quarter-mile

11.6 seconds

Top Speed

205 MPH


(Performance stats sourced from Car and Driver)

2015 Dodge Viper GTS

Red 2015 Dodge Viper
Bring a Trailer

The 2015 Dodge Viper GTS had obscene horsepower and an insane top speed before it was cool. Equipped with an 8.4-liter V-10, the discontinued sports car produced 645 horsepower, which is impressive for a naturally aspirated engine. Equally impressive is the 206 MPH top speed capable of this killer ride. Unlike all the other big horsepower American cars, the Viper was actually designed for racing and winding out the top end, though it’s a competitive drag racer as well.


Dodge Viper GTS Power and Performance

Engine

8.4-liter V-10

Horsepower

645 horsepower

Torque

600 pound-feet

Transmission

Six-speed manual

0-60 Time

3.4 seconds

Quarter-mile

11.5 seconds

Top Speed

206 MPH

(Performance stats sourced from Car and Driver)

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The Slowest Of The Fastest 500+ Horsepower Cars

Blue Tesla Model S front quarter
Tesla


Much like the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 being ranked as slow, there’s no shame in being a sub-200 MPH car, because anything with over 500 ponies under the hood is still a mind-blowing ride. The 2024 Tesla Model S Plaid is an EV and maybe doesn’t belong in the same discussion as these gas-burners, but it is American-made, with crazy horsepower. In fact, the three permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors combine to produce 1,020 ponies, making it the second most muscular car in the group. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, it is governor-limited to 162 MPH.

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse

2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse
Ford

At 500 horsepower, the 5.0-liter engine of the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse just makes the elite group of American monster muscle cars. With a manufacturer’s claim of a 166 MPH top speed, however, it is on the slow end of the spectrum. Those who remember the Fox Body Mustangs of the 80s and 90s are probably blown away because their version of the 5.0-liter only made 255 horsepower, but the Dark Horse is a supercharged Coyote V-8.


Ford Mustang Dark Horse Power and Performance

Engine

5.0-liter supercharged V-8

Horsepower

500 horsepower

Torque

418 pound-feet

Transmission

Six-speed manual

0-60 Time

4.1 seconds

Quarter-mile

12.5 seconds

Top Speed

166 MPH

(Performance stats sourced from Car and Driver)

2024 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Chevy 2024
Chevrolet 


Chevrolet has discontinued the Camaro after the 2024 model year, but that doesn’t mean the legendary pony car is going out with a whimper. The 2024 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 continues, and blows away, the iconic ride’s legacy of performance with a supercharged small-block V-8, generating an explosive 650 horsepower. That’s good enough for a blink-of-the-eye 0-60 time and a 190 MPH top speed. For maybe the first time in its history, the Camaro is faster than the Corvette, if by only one mile per hour, but it still counts.

Power and Performance

Engine

6.2-liter supercharged V-8

Horsepower

650 horsepower

Torque

650 pound-feet

Transmission

10-speed automatic

0-60 Time

3.4 seconds

Quarter-mile

11.5 seconds

Top Speed

190 MPH


(Performance stats sourced from Car and Driver)

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Top Speed Ain’t Everything

Red 2023 Dodge Challenger Demon 170
Mecum

TopSpeed is clearly the premier automotive website (slightly biased opinion) but when it comes to the upper limits of a 500+ horsepower American performance vehicle, it’s not all that important. Participants in NASCAR or the 24 Hours of LeMans want to be able to hit 200 MPH, but people who buy extreme-horsepower performance cars are looking to gobble up a quarter-mile in the quickest way possible. The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 is the perfect example of that. The Super-Mopar simply can’t be beat in 1,320 feet, and yet probably has the slowest top speed of any in the group.


The Price of Extreme Horsepower

  • 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse – $61,080
  • 2024 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – $81,995
  • 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Jailbreak – $90,890
  • 2024 Tesla Model S Plaid – $91,630
  • 2024 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing – $94,890
  • 2023 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak – $95,960
  • 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 – $100,361
  • 2015 Dodge Viper GTS – $107,995
  • 2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – $114,395

While it is not official that the Demon 170 has the slowest top end, it probably does, and that’s okay. It’s not a supercar or a grand tourer, it’s an all-American muscle car designed to blow away anything that dares line up against it, and it achieves that goal beautifully. Nobody bought a Demon 170 for top speed and none of those lucky owners are going to complain that it doesn’t go 215 MPH. Top speed can be a bragging right for a vehicle, but when it comes to street machines, the only numbers that matter are on the rear license plate, which an opponent will be staring at the entire time he or she is dragged to Embarrassment Town.


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