Worth. Every. Penny.
It's been a couple of years, hasn't it? Many were afraid that the Viper would no longer be with us after Chrysler's most recent near-death experience. Fortunately, they were wrong. SRT has just revealed at the 2012 New York Auto Show the all-new 2013 Viper. And it's never been better. Power-wise, the only option would be a V10 engine and SRT delivers the goods. This state-of-the-art engineering masterpiece delivers 640hp at 6150 rpm and 600lb-ft of torque at 4950.
The 8.4-liter V10 is able to deliver those numbers due to a decrease in weight and the profile of the intake lobes was reworked. There's also a new composite intake manifold featuring longer runners and a lighter aluminum flywheel that cuts weight even further which in turn helps to build revs faster. In addition, there are sodium-filled exhaust valves that help reduce engine temperatures. All told, this updated engine is about 25 lbs. lighter than the outgoing version. Other advances include new forged-aluminum pistons and revisions to the block and head gaskets (which reduces temperatures at the rear cylinders).
What remains is port injection simply because going with a direct-injection system turned out to be too complicated. Mated to a six-speed Tremac manual (the only transmission available), this box has been reworked in order to reduce shift effort and increase accuracy. Engineers also tightened up the gear ratios in order to further improve acceleration. Estimated top speed: 206 mph. And because government regulations now require it, for the first the Viper now has stability control. Fortunately, drivers can turn it off by holding the button for five seconds when the speed is less than 25 mph.
From the moment you first look at it, it's 100 percent clear that this is a Viper. The sheetmetal, from what we can tell, sort of combines elements from the first and second generations, but also adds just the right amount of modern styling. In other words, stylists didn't go too far by making the car too overdone. It's stylistic simplicity at its finest.
SRT was also on a quest to make sure their new Viper was full of modern engineering and building techniques. For example, carbon fiber was used for the hood (yes! clamshell hinged) and hatch. The doors and sills are made from aluminum and the firewall is magnesium. All told, the new Viper weighs in at around 3,350 lbs. with a weight distribution of 49.6 front and 50.4 rear. Unlike previous Vipers, however, SRT wanted to seriously upgrade the new car's interior packaging and overall quality. Starting with the seats from Sabelt (who also produce the seats for Ferrari), they come standard covered in cloth with leather remaining optional.
As always, they will accept a six-point harness. The interior is also more spacious, with SRT chief Ralph Gilles proudly stating that a guy who's six foot five or seven being able to sit comfortably. The seats are a bit further back and down than they were before. Set to go on sale at the end of this year, buyers will have their choice of two trims: base and GTS. What's better about the GTS? You'll be treated to a new driver-selectable two-mode suspension system, even more Sport and Track settings for the stability control system, unique wheel designs and Nappa leather.
Both trims ride on sickeningly wide Pirelli P Zero 295/30-18 up front and (get ready for it) 355/30-19 in the rear. Buyers can also choose between polished, black or even matte-black finishes. There's also an optional SRT Track Package that adds ultra-lightweight wheels. Pricing starts a bit over the last model, coming in just north of $100,000. The GTS begins at around $120,000. So there we have it. The all-new 2013 SRT Viper. On the surface, it appears to be everything we could have hoped for, but we'll have to wait a bit longer to see how it does against some of its biggest rivals. The venomous snake is alive once again.