2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS

Nailul Author

The Dodge Viper is a two-seat sportscar that's been offered as a convertible or as a two-door coupe. Introduced in 1993, the Viper is now in its third generation--and in its final model year, as Chrysler's announced plans to kill the current Viper after the 2011 model year. The latest Viper competes against the Chevrolet Corvette; less likely, with the Porsche 911; and remotely, against the most powerful Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the Chevrolet Camaro SS.

2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS
2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS

In 1988, the Chrysler Corporation still was independent, still the smallest of the Big Three. Its products were about to change forever under the direction of new leaders like Bob Lutz and Francois Castaing. So the company decided to design a concept car--an outrageous two-seat roadster with a monster V-10 engine under the hood, and a plastic-paneled body. The resulting concept car grabbed so much attention at the 1989 Detroit auto show, Chrysler decided to build it--as the Dodge Viper.

2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS
2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS

The Viper's been a brashly styled supercar from the moment it was born. Only two generations old, the Viper has been offered in the original, more kit-car-looking body style from the 1990s (which also came, briefly, as a roofed coupe), and in today's composite-fabricated shape, which is significantly cleaner, more streamlined, and maybe a little less outrageous than before.

2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS
2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS

The first-generation car arrived as a 1992 model, and was significantly updated in 1996. That original RT/10 has been inspired by the Sixties Cobra, but at its heart was a rough, rumbly 8.0-liter V-10 engine derived from Dodge pickup trucks. With 400 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission, the rear-drive Viper proved unbelievably fast--and many reviewers said, notoriously skittish. With so much engine weight on its nose, and such a short rear end sitting over its wide rear tires, the Viper could snap into oversteer very easily. Still, testers estimated its 0-60 mph times at about 4.5 seconds, and the top speed reached nearly 165 mph.

2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS
2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS

Enthusiasts gushed over its race-ready demeanor, and its cartoonish looks drew fans from elementary schools to executive ranks--but the original Viper's pathetic interior spoke poorly for the rest of the car. Its vinyl lock-on roof panel was prone to mis-installation, and so little air circulated in the two-seater's cabin, the Viper could be a stifling, constricting ride.

2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS
2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS

In 1996 Chrysler updated the Viper, adding a coupe model, lifting output to 415 hp, then to 450 hp, and slimmed down the car somewhat to push 0-60 mph times down around 4 seconds. The interior received some improvements as well, and the original "RT/10" and coupe "GTS" badging changed to "SRT-10" in 2003.

2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS
2013 Dodge SRT Viper GTS

In 2003, a new Viper arrived in showrooms, parented by DaimlerChrysler--the corporate result of a merger between the company and the German parent of Mercedes-Benz. The 2003-2010 Viper bears the imprint of that merger: it's more lithe-looking and far nicer inside, but less exuberant than the original. The engine's displacement actually rose, to 8.3 liters, and the Viper chassis grew more rigid and lost more weight. With up to 510 hp, this generation of Viper could accelerate to 60 mph in less than 3.9 seconds, while hitting a top speed of 190 mph. Handling improved greatly, though the rear-drive Viper still kicks out vivid oversteer when provoked.

The final round of changes to the current car brought the 2008-2010 Viper an 8.4-liter V-10 with 600 horsepower. Acceleration times of 3.5 seconds to 60 mph were clocked by enthusiast magazines, and the Viper's top speed was a claimed 197 mph.

No Viper was offered for the 2011 or 2012 model years, but an all-new Viper has been confirmed for the 2013 model year. With a new version of the venerable pushrod V-10 engine (making 640 hp) and Tremec six-speed manual--plus an evolution of its curvy, bulbous supercar styling--the latest Viper should again present a venomous personality. But with traction and stability control, launch control, an adjustable suspension, better seats, a more spacious interior, modern connectivity features, and vastly upgraded trims inside, the 2013 SRT Viper GTS promises less bite--and a far superior experience in most kinds of driving.

Articles Source : carssketches