The Viper is back!
Gone is the Dodge name, now it is just the SRT Viper. Just like Ram was spun into its own brand, Dodge’s highline of performance division, Street and Racing Technology (SRT), is now standing on its own. Think of SRT as an absurd attempt at Dodge trying to mimic Mercedes’ AMG. Then again, the SRT Viper is not a bad flagship to try and sail an entire high performance sub-brand.
The 2013 Viper is powered by a 8.4-liter V10 engine that makes 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. That’s the same displacement, but 40 more hp and torques than the last Viper that disappeared in 2010.
So why did the last car disappear? Well, the old Viper was getting a little too raw for its own good. The interior on the 2010 was kind of low rent for a $90k car. Its lack of traction control and stability control also meant the car was in need of an overhaul to remain road legal. So the car went back to the drawing board to put some extra charm in the snake. Even according to Chrysler, the new Viper, “has been deliberately evolved to incorporate superior craftsmanship, a host of new technologies and ergonomic improvements while respecting its visceral legacy of outright performance.”
When taken out of PR-speak, that means the government made us nanny this one down, but don’t be fooled into thinking this snake doesn’t bite (word around the Chrysler campfire is traction and stability control systems can be shut off by those who miss the old car.)
Outside, the new Viper keeps many of the long hood, rounded rear design trademarks of the previous four generations. Chrysler says the carbon fiber and aluminum bodywork help contribute to a 100 lbs weight savings. Although lighter, the 2013 Viper is 50 percent stiffer than its predecessor.
The interior is showing the benefits of Italian ownership. More leather, better plastics, and a stylish layout all contribute to an overall feeling that someone actually spent time designing this car (in contrast, the 2010 car always felt like someone was rummaging round in a Dodge Neon parts bin.)
This is actually not just the return of the regular Viper, but Chrysler also announced the ultra hot Viper GTS at the reveal at the New York International Auto Show. This package will include a two-mode race suspension and lightweight options like “track-ready” wheels.
No pricing has been announced yet, but like the Corvette ZR1, expect the SRT Viper to offer supercar performance without breaking the bank.