After a two-year production hiatus, the Viper is back and ready to challenge the Corvette as America’s premier sports car. Ever since it was first rolled out by Dodge, in 1992, this modern-day muscle car was “an unrefined brute of a machine: loud, fast, unruly, and equipped with minimal creature comforts.” Well, no more. Chrysler has handed the Viper to its SRT division and transformed the beast into a far more refined supercar.
Purists should rest easy: “It’s clear that this is undoubtedly still a Viper,” aggressive in its looks and loaded with 640 horsepower. In fact, this fifth-generation model is faster at the track than the last one was, and the engine has “newfound character as well,” thanks to shorter gearing and reduced weight. Throttle response, previously “lethargic and truck-like,” is now top-notch, and the stiffer, lighter chassis heightens confidence in the turns.
“The biggest extra bit, of course, is the interior.” Out is the cheap, poorly designed cabin of old. In are seats made by Ferrari’s supplier and, in the $120,000 GTS edition, leather worthy of a Bentley. But don’t bring your latte to a test drive. The new Viper is “still a raw, track-focused sports car.” That means no automatic transmission option. No cup holders, either.