2009 Viper New Car Test Drive
The Dodge Viper ranks among the fiercest, most raw, visceral machines sold in showrooms anywhere. Only a few cars come as close as the Viper to a street-legal race car: Ferrari F430 Scuderia, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Porsche 911 GT3RS, Chevrolet Corvette ZO6, Honda S2000CR. Only two of these cost less, and none come within 95 hp of the Viper.
For most automotive tasks the Viper is overkill, like using a six-pound sledgehammer to swat a fly. Ridiculously fast and able to slosh your eyeballs about in their orbit rounding a bend or under heavy braking, it didn't really need any more power. But with archrival Corvette Z06 at 505 hp, that's just what Dodge did for 2008. They made the engine just 0.1 liter bigger but added 95 horses to make a nice round 600. The fly would still be dead, but now you have a bigger hammer.
Along with the increased power, the gearbox has been strengthened, the shifter revised, the clutch tweaked for more grip on less effort, and the hood has been reshaped. Almost irrelevant are addenda like a navigation radio.
The 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 is offered in two models, the convertible Roadster ($83,145) and GTS coupe ($83,895). An ACR model is due soon. The government adds a Gas Guzzler Tax to this, however.
Viper comes standard with leather/suede sport seats, air conditioning, power adjustable pedals, tilt steering column, full instrumentation, CD player, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, console, composite bodywork, bi-Xenon headlamps, fog lamps, limited-slip differential, and emergency flat-tire repair kit.
The ACR model is intended for track use and includes carbon fiber front splitter with removable center section for street driving, 'dive plane' front winglets, and a large fixed rear spoiler, lighter wheels with stickier tires, adjustable suspension and fewer interior amenities to save weight.
Options include a navigation system with radio ($1790); instrument bezel trim upgrade ($695); two-tone upholstery ($495); special wheels ($700); cover and mats ($450); and some metallic paint hues ($600).
Safety features include frontal airbags and antilock brakes.