Packing a Punch: The 2013 Viper Grows Its Fangs

The experience of looking at the deadly and venomous viper snake is extremely frightening.  And with the 2013 SRT Viper, the new Viper has captured that essence and given it wheels and an engine, a quite large one at that.

The experience starts when you open the door.  You slide down into the bright, loud, attention-demanding red seats (assuming, of course, you chose the red car because it also looks stunning in blue with white stripes) and duck your head to get under the carbon fiber roof, which is part of the Viper’s 50 pound weight loss.  It’s a tight fit, with limited visibility out of the window, but you are soon greeted by almost futuristic interior styling.

That futuristic styling comes to life when you push the engine start button. At which point, the dashboard lights up, the engine roars to life, and all the dials numerous features that describe the physical state of the car’s performance are present in front of your eyes.

But enough of all that, you would almost expect this from a $97,395 car.  The real bite behind this beast comes from the insane performance.

That performance starts with an incredibly massive 8.4-liter V10 engine.  Now before you continue reading on, you may want to take a minute and let that settle in just a bit, because these next few digits are staggering.

The huge engine creates 640 bhp at 6,150 rpm, and makes 600 lb-ft of torque at 4,950 rpm.  It will keep pulling up to its redline at 6,200 rpm.

This power is operated by a six-speed manual gearbox with a shorter gear ratio than the previous standard models.  Yes, you read that correctly.  No dual-clutch semi-automated transmission, no flappy paddles.  Instead, the driver is equipped with the good ol’ stick shift.  And, if the shifting is all done smoothly, this power can take you from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.  Weighing in at 3,354 pounds, this car won’t stop going until it reaches an eye-popping 206 mph top speed.

 However, you’re going to need a lot of stopping power in order to slow this car down for tight corners on windy roads or race tracks if you decide to participate in a track day.  Fortunately, the car is equipped with four-piston Brembo brakes, fixed aluminum calipers, and 13.98 inch x 1.23 inch vented rotors.

Now if optimal performance on track days is of great importance to you, you can opt for the SRT Track Package.  With this you will receive StopTech’s slotted two-piece lightweight rotors, ultra-lightweight multi-spoke Sidewinder II wheels covered in Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires (the standard tires are Pirelli P Zero), a loss of 57 pounds, and one great time out on the race course.  This all would cost an extra $3,500 if you check it off on the options list.

The front suspension consists of independent double wishbones, coil springs, and a stabilizer bar.  In the back, the body sits on independent double wishbones, coil springs, and a stabilizer bar as well.  This equates to handling that is direct and immediate in the steering, but in “Race” setting is stiff and makes the car nervous and shaky.

In the past, the Viper was like the actual snake upon confrontation.  It wanted to kill you, or at least hurt you pretty bad.  However, with the new changes and improvements, this feeling has been erased –a bit.  It still needs and demands the utmost respect when you climb behind the wheel, because if you disrespect for just one brief moment, it’ll bite.

The Viper has always been a car that could expose the faults of even the best drivers and manliest of men.  However, this didn’t send many potential buyers running into the comfort of a Corvette.  In fact, it enticed many into buying them.  And with the new Viper, all the car’s fans were expecting that the car would lose none of its ferocity.  And while it has lost a bit of that ferociousness, it’s not enough to lose the car’s lovers.  Instead, it will probably attract more buyers.

So, what happens when you design a car that looks like nothing else, and pack a large engine that’s ripped with American muscle?  The end product is something that is the dream of car enthusiast everywhere, and is arguably one of the best driver’s cars on the market today.  It could also go down as one of, if not the best Viper of all time.  Just don’t let it bite you.  #venomous –B.C.

Images and Information from The Dupont Registry and Edmunds.com

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