2006 Viper New Car Test Drive
So far, there have been three generations of the Dodge Viper. The first was the original low-roof roadster with the terrible top mechanism and fussy side curtains, and later came the dramatic, race-winning, championship-caliber GTS coupe.
The third is the 2006 convertible with a top that works, combined with the new coupe, both called SRT10s. We don't want to heap fault on the previous GTS Le Mans-winning coupe, but the new coupe feels about twice as good on the road and on the racetrack.
The engineers at SRT, Dodge's in-house tuning company, Street and Racing Technology, have tuned up the coupe with a stiffer frame, a more competent, less thumpy chassis and suspension arrangement, and a few more creature comforts, without sanding off all of the Viper's visceral edges.
The Viper SRT10 Convertible ($81,895) comes with a manual top with a glass rear window, leather seating surfaces, power windows and mirrors, interval wipers, remote locking, an alarm system, and an AM/FM/CD sound system.
The Viper coupe ($83,145) comes with all the same standard equipment in a breathtakingly voluptuous coupe body with a steel top. At this time, the few options on the list include red or black paint and either of two alloy wheel options, to keep the manufacturing complexity as low as possible.
The Vipers come with a 510-hp 8.3-liter aluminum-intensive V10, mated to a Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission, anti-lock brakes, and a viscous limited-slip differential. Unlike the less-expensive Corvette, which is available with a sophisticated traction control system and a new six-speed automatic, the Viper is manual only, with little in the way of electronic driving aids.