2013 Dodge Viper
By Mitch McCullough
On Sale: Fourth Quarter 2012
Expected Pricing: $85,000 - $95,000
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 Group's 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 that's the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports car engine in the world. It's 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 isn't 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. It's 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 isn't 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 there's 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 there's 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 they'll 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 Group's 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.