Dodge Viper

2016 Dodge Viper

The Dodge Viper is tamer but still faster than it has ever been, and if you want one you had better place your order: Production of this all-American sports car is expected to end sometime in 2017.

The Viper once had a reputation for brutish unpredictability, and it is still the wildest car in the segment, but the current-generation Viper is easier to manage than the original version. All are two-door coupes with rear-wheel drive and 8.4-liter V10 engine.

The Viper is balanced in corners, its traction is under control, and its interior is civilized to the point of having a touchscreen in the cockpit. Yet enough bad boy remains that none of your passengers will be under the impression they are riding in a Porsche or even a Corvette. A Corvette feels refined by comparison.

Lets start with Vipers 8.4-liter V10 engine, derived from a truck. After decades of development it makes 645 horsepower, using a Tremec 6-speed manual gearbox. Its 600 pound-feet of torque is more than any non-turbocharged production car on the planet.

The Viper can accelerate from a standing start, heavy on its fat tires, to 60 miles per hour in three seconds, and hit 100 mph in less than 12. It will go 206 mph with the right aerodynamic trim, otherwise you may be mired around 177 mph.

Five different packages are available. The new 2016 Viper ACR gets Bilstein coil-over dampers, carbon-ceramic brakes and Kumho Ecsta rubber, with available aero using a carbon-fiber wing, undertray diffuser, louvered hood and front splitter that extends when you want to go 206 miles per hour. At Chryslers Chelsea proving grounds, we found that it is fantastic fun on a fast autocross circuit and an enjoyable test of driver skill to try to get the most out of it without ever leaving second gear.

The Viper hasnt been crash-tested by the government. They dont do expensive sports cars. They probably figure anyone crazy enough to drive a car that goes 206 miles per hour deserves what they get. Best we can say is dont crash. A rearview camera is available and a good idea because rear visibility is poor and you dont want to back into someone or something. As for fuel mileage, who cares? But you might be pleasantly surprised with an EPA-estimated 15 mpg Combined.

2013 Dodge Viper

An all-new 2013 SRT Viper coupe goes on sale this fall. The 2013 Viper was revealed at the New York International Auto Show. Once known as the Dodge Viper, the Chrysler Groups flagship sports car now flies the flag of its SRT brand.

This fifth-generation of the American hot-rod supercar is intended offer superior craftsmanship, new technologies and ergonomic improvements while maintaining a visceral driving experience and awe-inspiring performance. Champions of the supercar project reported a gut-wrenching period of uncertainty as they wondered whether there would be another Viper. It has indeed survived and apparently in a big way.

The 2013 SRT Viper is powered by an all-aluminum 8.4-liter V10 that SRT estimates will deliver 640 horsepower at 6150 rpm and 600 pound-feet of torque at 4950 rpm. SRT claims thats the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports car engine in the world. Its also an increase of 40 horsepower over the 2010 Viper. Compression ratio is 10.2:1.

The 2013 Viper is equipped with a 6-speed Tremec manual gearbox designed for shorter throws and more precise shifting.

The new Viper chassis boasts a 50-percent improvement in torsional stiffness over the previous-generation version. A rigid chassis is the key to sharp handling, high-speed stability, and ride quality. About 200 pounds lighter than the previous-generation, the new Viper will weigh about 3,200 pounds, the Viper GTS with SRT Track Package will weigh about 3,220 pounds. Weight distribution is reported to be 49.6 percent front, 50.4 percent rear. The front track is wider than on the 2010 Viper. Wheelbase is 98.8 inches, overall length 175.7 inches, width 76.4 inches.

The suspension looks like something out of a race car, and essentially it is. Aluminum unequal-length upper and lower A arms with short upper arms and long lower arms are designed to provide optimum camber to keep tires in maximum road contact, the name of the game in hard cornering. Performance coil springs, gas-charged Bilstein monotube dampers and tubular stabilizer bars front and rear complete the setup. The upgrade Viper GTS will feature a two-mode adjustable suspension for race-car handling sharpness or touring on the street.

Electronic stability control is provided, a first for Viper. The system offers two modes on the Viper: Full On and Full Off. On the Viper GTS the system has four modes: Full On, Sport, Track, and Full Off. The settings affect the Vehicle Dynamic Control and Dynamic Traction Control. Full Off deactivates both but leaves active the ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution.

The new exterior design was sculpted for high-speed stability and a slippery 0.36 drag coefficient, according to SRT. The body is made of carbon-fiber and aluminum. It isnt a thing of beauty but it has a dominating presence with its tough, muscular curves and low stance. The cockpit sits way back behind a hood as long as the deck of an aircraft carrier. Its somewhat evocative of the new Ferrari F12 but looks much less modern with fender gills, hood scoop, splitter air dam and duck-tail rear spoiler, more like a 1973 Chevrolet Corvette or a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO. But it isnt as pretty as those cars. Mostly, it looks powerful. The hood is forward-hinged, so no worries of it blowing open at 200 mph. The exhaust exits in front of the rear tires.

The new interior will set new standards with premium materials and superior craftsmanship, SRT says. The Viper has not exceled in these areas in the past. Unlike on previous models, the interior surfaces of the new Viper are sewn and theres more padding. Sabelt racing seats use a lightweight Kevlar/fiberglass shell and are designed to offer improved thigh support. Deep bolsters are designed to keep the driver in place when cornering hard. The seats are lower than on previous models, but theres more seat travel with more legroom and seat-height adjustability has been added. SRT says the 2013 Viper will be the most spacious to date.

The 2013 Viper will come with a new 7-inch, full-color, customizable instrument display. In addition, the Uconnect connectivity system features an 8.4-inch touchscreen, but also provides a set of hard keys for commonly used functions and traditional knobs for tuning the radio and adjusting the volume. That sounds good. Fussy controls are not good in a supercar. The new Viper will come loaded with Sirius XM Travel Link and Harman Kardon audio.

We have no idea how much these cars will cost but are guessing theyll run slightly more than the 2010 models, which retailed for $83,895. No word on a new roadster.

SRT, for Street and Racing Technology, is the Chrysler Groups performance brand. A new Viper GTS-R race car was also unveiled at the 2012 New York auto show and SRT announced it would compete in the American Le Mans Series.


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