All-new 2013 Dodge Viper - it's the rebel soul from Detroit
Storming out of the depths like a bat out of hell, the 5th generation, hand-built Viper returns with an entrance greater than the strength of an ox, faster than a 2-year-old steed, and as agile as a cheetah on the hunt. Its unwavering reputation since 1992 with weekend warriors and race fans is now more defining than ever, with the heightened level of power, technology, and intelligence instilled in its DNA code. This is a snake with what appears to be five lives - each new generation we've thought to be the last. But this new version is a hit - a new breed of American born supercar.
Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brainstormed with Ralph Gilles, Chrysler designer and President and CEO of SRT and Motorsports to unleash one of the baddest and most inimitable raceway ready sports cars on the market. Carbon Fiber, aluminum and composites comprise the high-tech and aerodynamic shell as well as many parts in the cockpit.
The heart and soul of the Viper is its powerful 8.4-liter all-aluminum V-10 engine. It makes 640 horsepower at 6,150 rpm and 600 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,950 rpm. An improved Tremec TR6060 6-speed manual transmission with shorter throws is assigned the duty of transferring all that power to the rear wheels. What does this translate too?
Fanatics will be happy to note that the GTS features a 2-mode suspension for comfortable street driving or firm track racing. Additionally, its stability control/traction control system has four modes as opposed to only two modes in the base SRT model, which starts at $97,395. I didn’t however find the street mode on the $120,395 GTS any more comfortable for a daily drive. I would give myself an hour before cabin fever set in. Inexorably, the Viper belongs on the circuit, in a race environment. Especially when the optional Track Package is selected, which changes the rims, tires and brakes while reducing the weight by 57-lbs. Another key difference between the two models is the amount of sound deadening packaged between the passenger and those extremely wide rear wheels, which are only 5” to 6” away from the seats. Road noise was quite disparate between the two passenger ride experiences.
It doesn’t take long to ascertain that the Viper is just vicious! It's also very tech-savvy, featuring Uconnect multi-media system with 8.4” screen, with big user-friendly icons, making it simple to use. Its navigation now has 3D graphics with landmarks rendered exactly as actual buildings appear. Lastly, the system outputs detailed charts of your SRT performance stats and allows you to send results to your friends. I was curious however, as to why Navigation is not standard in the base SRT model yet comes standard with the GTS. At that price point, I shouldn’t have to pay more for Nav. Lastly, Sprint 3G WIFI can be ordered to allow you to connect external mobile devices for an additional charge. The GTS further separates itself from the SRT with power adjustable seats and a rear view camera. Both share the thick, flat bottom steering wheel which remains the same size as the outgoing model.
Minor quibbles include the shallow door map pockets and the too-close-for-comfort pedals, including the dead pedal that sometimes had me accelerating as opposed to braking. They are more suited for heel-and-toe. So don’t expect to wear boots when driving your SRT supercar.? Other than that, the new Viper is a brilliant sports car that exudes emotional stimulation in every aspect while offering technology of the modern world. It’s a Rebel Soul from Detroit, so what else would you expect?
By Vince Bodiford