Friday, May 17, 2013

First Impression: 2013 SRT Viper

The original Dodge Viper was revealed as a concept car at the 1989 North American International Auto Show. The concept car received positive reaction to the point that Chrysler decided to turn the Viper concept into a production car. Chrysler's chief engineer selected 85 engineers to be part of Team Viper, which became SRT, or Street and Racing Technology. The first Dodge Viper went into production in 1992, a two-door roadster that contained a 8.0L V10 engine under the hood. Starting in 1996, a second generation Viper started its production run in 1996 and lasted until 2002. The second generation Viper was available as either a two-door roadster or a two-door coupe. The Second generation Viper came with a 8.0L V10 engine under the hood. The third generation Viper was in production from 2002 to 2006. After taking a year of in 2007, the fourth generation Viper was in production from 2008 to 2010. All Dodge Vipers are front-mid engine, rear-wheel drive and came with a six-speed manual transmission. One thing about the Dodge Viper is that it never had any electronic safety equipment like traction control and anti-locking brakes. In 2012, a new Viper started its production run. Unlike previous Vipers, the fifth generation Viper was required to have electronic safety features like electronic stability control, traction control, and an anti-lock braking system. There are controls that allow the driver to turn off most of the electronic safety systems. The new Viper would not be sold under the Dodge brand, but under the SRT brand.

While the new SRT Viper was not on display at the 2013 Houston Auto Show, a local Chrysler dealership brought one to the February 2013 edition of Houston Cars and Coffee. The new Viper attracted the most attention as expected. It shares the same body design as previous Vipers, but more refined. It looks aggressive and sporty. The new Viper continues the Viper tradition of having a long hood, a short rear end and a cabin that is very rearward. This will turn heads on the roads and highways.

The SRT Viper is powered by a 8.4L V10 engine, paired with a six-speed manual transmission. that produces 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 206 mph. One area the Viper succeeds is performance and power. The Viper has 2 more hp than the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and is faster than the Corvette ZR-1 by 1 mph. The Viper is one fast car. Prices for the SRT Viper start at $97,395 and the Viper GTS starts at $120,395. The Viper also has a $1,995 destination charge and a gas-guzzler tax added to the price. This puts the Viper's starting price of over $100,000. The Viper GTS comes with a high-threshold sports mode and traction-control-free track mode along with two-mode, cockpit adjusted shocks. For the price, you are getting a lot of car.

The SRT Viper has been featured on Motorweek, Nitro Circus: The Movie, and Top Gear. The SRT Viper has made a stop by Jay Leno's Garage. The SRT Viper is playable in Ridge Racer: Unbounded, Car Town, Forza Motorsport 4, Forza Horizon, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Nitto 1320 Legends, Car Town EX, Street Racer Police Dodge, Real Racing 3, Grid 2, and Fast and Furious 6: The Game.

Final Thoughts: The SRT Viper is an incredible grand tourer. It shares the same body layout as previous Vipers, but with a more refined look. As with all Vipers, the SRT Viper has a long hood and a rearward cabin. Plus it has a V10 engine, keeping up with tradition. What can turn away some Viper diehards is that the SRT Viper has electronic safety systems that were absent in the previous Vipers. For those that want to feel adventurous in the new Viper, you can turn off most of the electronic safety systems. The New Viper is an amazing car. I am just wandering, why is Chrysler taking away models from the Dodge brand since Ram is now its own brand and the Viper is now under the SRT brand? Whatever the reason is, I hope that there are more models planned for the SRT Brand.

Photo was taken by a digital camera.
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