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New York Auto Show: New SRT Viper has more venom under the hood

April 04, 2012|By David Undercoffler, Auto Critic
  • Chrysler Group . and SRT unveiled the 2013 Viper at the New York International Auto Show.
Chrysler Group . and SRT unveiled the 2013 Viper at the New York International… (Richard Drew / Associated…)

Lest you worry that auto shows were only focusing on the latest lean and green offerings from automakers, Chrysler Group used the 2012 New York International Auto Show to unveil the all-new SRT Viper.

Although it's no longer under the Dodge nameplate and instead falls under the SRT brand responsible for performance variants of several Chrysler products, this 2013 Viper picks right up where its predecessor left off two years ago.

It's powered by an all-aluminum, 8.4-liter V-10 that produces 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. SRT says no other naturally aspirated car on the planet has more torque.

Those numbers are up from the previous Viper, which had 600 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

Purists will rejoice in knowing that power heads to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission only; no dual-clutch or automated manual funny business here. Other highlights include around 100 pounds of weight savings, a stiffer chassis and, for the first time on a Viper, stability and traction control.

Thank Uncle Sam for mandating that last addition, although if you've ever had the good fortune of piloting a Viper, you know that it is a car that will absolutely bite your head off it you look at it wrong.

You'd also know that the interiors of older Vipers were as charming and refined as a late-night mugging, and SRT aimed to fix this too. Higher-quality materials and more creature comforts welcome the 2013 Viper buyer, and interior space is also up.

The Viper will be offered as a base model and a more upmarket GTS version. The GTS adds to the base model items such as a full-leather interior, an 18-speaker stereo system, unique aluminum wheels and a two-mode (track and street) driver-selectable suspension system with Bilstein shocks.

On the outside, the 2013 Viper's profile is similar to earlier versions, with an ultra-long hood and a double-bubble roof, both of which are now carbon fiber. The front and rear feature a completely new look that's decidedly more refined, as Chrysler and SRT look to expand the Viper's customer base.

The boys at Car and Driver say the base 2013 Viper will cost you a sneeze more than $100,000 with the GTS adding $20,000 to that. Look for this snake to hit the streets at the end of this year. / @LATimes_Driven

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