The 2013 SRT Viper (Credit: Autoblog).
The SRT Viper is not a super car. It's an outrageously awesome, top of the line, incredibly fast, super beast.

Every accolade in the book still doesn't do this vehicle justice.

Once a raw monster of a machine with a rear end squirrelier than Kim Kardashian's, the SRT Viper has finally returned from its two-year hiatus. Before it disappeared -- back then it was the Dodge Viper SRT10 -- it was considered one of the most difficult street racers in the world to control. It lacked electronic stability control, balance and arrived with as much refinement as a 7-11 counter top. It was a blast to drive, all the way up until you plowed into a race wall, guard rail or parked car.

But now, the new Viper arrives with more than just raw power – though its aluminum 8.4-liter V10 cranks out 640 horsepower making it the most powerful naturally aspirated engine around. It's sleek, sexy and something even mortal men and women can control.

This is not merely the best car ever created by Chrysler Group LLC, dollar for dollar, it is one of the best sports car built by anyone, ever. (Though it's starting $100,000 price tag may keep most of us out of it.)

But engineers and designers, by no means, defanged this snake. No, this car still comes with a hair-raising factor calculated with exponential numbers – and at least there's a handle on the center console for passengers to grab while swearing as the driver whips the Viper through a 1-G turn, which is possible at nearly every corner.

This two-faced snake can act brutal and civilized, confident and scary, and vicious and sublime. The two-seater allows space for both the angel and devil who will sit on your shoulders when you get behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel and beg you to speed up or slow down.

Just remember this important phrase when driving this car. "I'm sorry officer, the Viper made me do it."

And the police, no doubt will be seeing a lot of this car. It's exterior is so sharp and stunning, cops can give you a speeding ticket while it's parked.



Attention to detail

While this Viper has similar looks as previous generations, it takes on a much more appealing low-slung stance with crisp clean lines sweeping back.

Every edge, vent and intake serves a purpose on this machine that is the culmination of high art meeting high function. Name another sculpture with a top speed of 206 mph.

SRT designers and engineers had to consult aerospace manufacturers to figure out how to stamp the aluminum doors with hard angles and unique patterns. The hood, roof and rear deck lid are all made of out of carbon fiber, selected for its strength and light weight.

Initially, the Viper arrives with six exterior colors, though more are on the way. The most outrageous of colors is the deep Stryker red that was originally used on the concept vehicle. This color is a $14,600 option – almost the same price as a base Dodge Dart.

But it's the attention to detail even in the painting that makes this Viper stands out. Previous models that included those big Le Mans stripes had problems. Those stripes were added after the initial paint job, thus, they were raised and could be felt if you ran your hand over it. Perhaps not as noticeable to some, but, my guess is that Viper owners hand wax their cars nearly as often as they drive them.

Now, the paint stripe is flush with the exterior paint: Wax on, wax off.



Insane performance

The same attention was given to the car's performance. If something didn't make the Viper better, it wasn't included. The body was made 50 percent stiffer, materials were chosen to cut weight (it has an aluminum flywheel), even the stability control, which was required by law, was carefully crafted to not be too overbearing.

On a race track, this Viper's Z-rated Pirelli P Zero tires hold its line at scary speeds – third gear tops out at 118 mph, meaning I never even needed fourth while testing it on Sonoma Raceway.

More impressive was the Viper on regular roads. The ride, while stiff, was not overbearing. It was comfortable, noticeably quiet and enjoyable. You could drive cross country and never have an ache or pain – though climbing out and falling into this car can quickly remind you how old you are.

Little changes were noticeable over the previous generation. Gone was that raw feeling of power. The transmission tunnel didn't heat up. The door sills, where the exhaust pipes are mounted, don't want to bite your leg every time you exit with overheated teeth.

It's actually very pleasant to drive at low rpms. Acceleration is quick. The Tremec TR 6060 six-speed manual shifter is precise but not difficult. (Engineers opened the gate some to allow for easier shifting.) And the throws are silky smooth.

Then again, if the road is clear and you want a little fun, the Viper can transition from fun to blast off as fast as your foot can mash the aluminum accelerator pedal to the floor. Some stats:

- Zero to 60 mph is somewhere in the low 3 seconds
- Quarter mile time is low 11's.
- It can go from 0 to 100 mph in less than 12 seconds
- It only needs 106 feet to go from 60 to 0.

That's not performance, that's insanity.



Luxurious living

Perhaps the biggest improvements, though, come inside the cabin. Every surface is wrapped in leather making it smell like money when you sit down.

The seats were supplied by the same maker who creates Ferrari seats, but don't let that lull you into thinking this interior is anything but Viper.

A 7-inch full color screen is part of the instrument panel and the digital tachometer will turn red if the engine's rev's get too high. There's also an 8.4-inch UConnect digital screen in the center stack on the dash. The second generation UConnect system is an excellent interface for a driver. It's icons are easy to use and the readout is crystal clear. It can operate your phone hands free via Bluetooth, run apps, provide navigation and do almost anything you ask it.

The screen is also customizable to provide additional readouts such as 0-60 times, quarter mile times, g-forces, and other track oriented information.



Final take

Racing is important to the Viper, but the beauty is, it's no longer the only thing this car can do.
That is really the crux of this car. Yes, the Viper is a total hoot to burn incredible amounts of rubber. It will make you the envy of weekend track days. It can hold it's own with the best.

But now, you don't need a trailer. It's just as much fun on country roads as it is anywhere else. It's simply one of the best supercars around. And let me be the first to warn you, once you drive the new Viper, you'll be snake bit.

Scott Burgess is a senior editor at AOL Autos. He can be reached at scott.burgess@teamaol.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 159 Comments
      wallyboone
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please do your next photo shoot of this car in my driveway.I could look at the still pics and dream all day/night. 1st item on list if I hit the lottery.
      • 2 Years Ago
      is not automatic so forget it
      • 2 Years Ago
      move over corvette new sheriff in town
      lllcln
      • 2 Years Ago
      hope you have deep pockets for all the tickets you will recieve from the police
      shiloh1388
      • 2 Years Ago
      The new Dodge Viper is an incredibly beautiful and alluring asp/machine. Congrats to Chrysler and Fiat. We're Back$$$
        Mr. Sinatra
        • 2 Years Ago
        @shiloh1388
        I guess its' really true.. beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think this thing is about as ugly a car as was ever made. Compare it to the Audi R8, Corvette, any Ferarri (except the new station wagon abomination), Lambo, SLR Benz, 911, etc etc etc. Just no comparison. It's flat ugly man.
          Donny Hoover
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mr. Sinatra
          The last generation Viper was gorgeous. I could probably get behind this one if it weren't for those hideous headlights.
      alwaysacop106
      • 2 Years Ago
      Still a damned Chryslaer product!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ken Miles (driver for Shelby) drove a 1966 427 Cobra 0-100mph-0 in 12.5 seconds.
      • 2 Years Ago
      all you haters need to fessup this is a marvelous machine no matter who made it there is no equal lets be honest
      melondog
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can not believe this is a Dodge. Corvete use to look like this.
      Grapost
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cars like lhis are bought as status symbols, for bragging rights and for the car's bad ass reputation. Yet it still only gets you from point A to point B in comfort and safety just 99% of all other cars. So people spend a ton of money on these cars just for their Snob appeal and to inflate their own ego. People who buy them crack me up with how they are enamoured with what the car CAN DO and WHAT IT HAS. Yeah Man, it can go this fast, can do this, has this, has that and and on. All just stuff to brag about, with a my stuff is badder than what your got, little kid mentality. These guys never outgrow their love of such "toys".
        vlady1000
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grapost
        You just do not get it. A true car guy understands what it takes to make a car achieve what it can on the road and RESPECTS that. Just like I can understand someone respecting great MPG from a boring sedan, there is a whole lot more to a car, that you need to understand (before you start putting labels on people).
        gary
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grapost
        snob has nothing to do with it. i love te feel of a good truck or car while driving, i do not like driving my wifes kia after a few hours on a trip i'm ready to throw it away. but give me my f150 and the trip is comforable and easy. My ranger is powerfull having a v8 in it and drives great and still better on a trip then the kia! i'll never buy another forien car!
        wrxfrk16
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grapost
        You really couldn't be further off the mark. As a status symbol, the Viper has been a complete failure since day one. It doesn't cost as much as its Italian rivals, it isn't nearly as flashy to look at, and the interiors were barely passable as kit cars. And oh right, it wore a Dodge badge. The Viper was and is a car for people who want a powerful, demanding, pure sports car to enjoy. If you don't get driving, don't, stick with your Prius. But standing there pouting and whining about people who do get it is the little kid mentality you speak of.
        tscooch68
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grapost
        I'd say these guys never "lose" their love of such toys. I'm a car guy with a nice classic in my garage and I love tinkering and driving and detailing it almost to the point of obsession. Hey,grapost, lighten up, get into your 15 year old Honda Civic and put-put away to leave us enthusiasts alone with our "little kid" hobby!
      • 2 Years Ago
      So what is the gas mileage???????
      hcduley
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a beauty. I wish I had the cash.
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