840 Horsepower And Revving To Go: A 'Last Gasp' For Supercars? With autonomous cars looming, the New York auto show may be one of the last chances for automakers to show off some cars with muscle. One model sports 840 horsepower. Who needs that much?
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840 Horsepower And Revving To Go: A 'Last Gasp' For Supercars?

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840 Horsepower And Revving To Go: A 'Last Gasp' For Supercars?

840 Horsepower And Revving To Go: A 'Last Gasp' For Supercars?

840 Horsepower And Revving To Go: A 'Last Gasp' For Supercars?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/523890771/523890772" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Dodge head of passenger car brands Tim Kuniskis talks about the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon during a media preview for the New York International Auto Show on Tuesday. Julie Jacobson/AP hide caption

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Julie Jacobson/AP

Dodge head of passenger car brands Tim Kuniskis talks about the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon during a media preview for the New York International Auto Show on Tuesday.

Julie Jacobson/AP

Some auto shows are about fuel economy, some are about design and style. The New York International Auto Show that opens this weekend is about horsepower.

The average Honda Civic, for example, has about 150 horsepower — which is plenty.

Fiat Chrysler just introduced the Dodge Demon. It has 840 horses revving under the hood.

Why do drivers need cars with so much vroom?

"There's that moment when you want to forget your problems, you want to kind of almost transition to another dimension for a while," says Ralph Gilles, head of global design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. "That's what these cars do for people."

Sure, most of the time they're for commuting. But, Gilles says, "It's part of the dream. There's something about it. Even if you never exploit its performance, you know you could."

Jean Jennings, of Jean Knows Cars and the longtime editor and president of Automobile magazine, says: "This is the last gasp of like the 5-mile-per-gallon supercars." She's exaggerating, but only a little.

She says as consumers turn to SUVs, car companies are pulling out the stops when it comes to high-performance sedans.

"It is everyone's last chance to make all those car enthusiasts in the world who are screaming bloody murder about autonomous cars coming — this is the last gasp to make them happy," Jennings says.

"And then after that, you've got to buy a membership to a racing club somewhere. It's not going to be on the road," she says with a laugh.

Clarification April 14, 2017

In the audio of this story, we say the Dodge Demon is the fastest car in production. The Demon has tested fastest on a drag strip. But Tesla's Model S P100D is the current record holder going from 0 to 60 — clocking in at 2.28 seconds.