Fans of the Dodge Viper have done without their favorite extreme-performance supercar for the past two seasons. That loss was rectified at the New York Auto Show with the unveiling of the 2013 SRT Viper, now part of Chrysler’s recently-launched SRT brand (without the Dodge name). SRT stands for Street and Racing Technology and, logically enough, Viper will be the new brand’s flagship. Regular and GTS editions will be offered.
An “all-new,” mid-mounted 8.4-liter V-10 engine cranks out an estimated 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. That’s the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports car in the world, according to SRT.
SRT Viper engine improvements include a new ultra-high-flow, lightweight composite intake manifold, high-strength forged pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves, new catalysts to reduce back-pressure, and an aluminum flywheel to reduce reciprocating losses. The Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission has a shorter-throw shifter, closer gear ratios, and shorter final drive ratio (now 3.55:1).
Chassis enhancements provide a 50-percent increase in torsional stiffness, while overall weight has dropped by about 100 pounds. A new aluminum X-brace goes under the hood. Multi-stage stability control is standard, and new four-channel antilock braking is installed. An available SRT Track Package includes slotted two-piece brake rotors.
SRT describes the fifth-generation 2013 model as having “iconic Viper styling cues with a contemporary execution.” All-new carbon fiber and aluminum skin promises “sculpted high-speed stability and slippery .364 drag coefficient.” Specifically, carbon fiber is used for the hood, roof, and decklid, while door panels are aluminum.
Viper ergonomics have improved, according to SRT, “while respecting its visceral legacy of outright performance.” Legroom has grown, and the 2013 Viper has more rearward seat movement. Sabelt racing seats are built with a Kevlar/fiberglass shell. Seating positions have been lowered by 20 millimeters, and seat height can now be adjusted by up to 40 millimeters. All major interior surfaces are sewn and wrapped with additional padding in comfort areas.
The GTS model incorporates more technology and “creature comforts,” including full leather upholstery on all surfaces. GTS Vipers get a new driver-selectable two-mode active suspension with Bilstein DampTronic Select shock absorbers that include street and track settings.
All 2013 SRT Vipers have a steering-wheel-mounted launch control switch for optimal standing-start acceleration. Each 2013 Viper will be essentially hand-built in Detroit, as they have been since 1995.