See all the live 2013 SRT Viper photos at AutoGuide.comIf there’s one car that we’ve been looking forward to seeing at this year’s New York Auto Show, more than any other, it’s the next generation Viper. Very nearly sold off during Chrysler‘s turbulent years under Cerberus, like any great icon, it managed to endure.
Not only that, but even before the last fourth generation SRT 10 examples were rolling out the door, a plan was underway to introduce a new one; an American super car re-imagined for the 21st century. Now it’s been revealed to the world for the first time.
Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology Brand perhaps summed it up best. “Beyond being the flagship for the new SRT brand, the launch of the 2013 Viper proves that we simply would not let the performance icon of the Chrysler Group die,” he said to raucous reception. Indeed.
The fifth generation car, now called SRT Viper, will be offered in two forms a convertible and GTS coupe. Advancements in material technology mean the new Viper is both lighter (by some 100 lbs) and stronger than its predecessor. There’s a massive X-brace that links the suspension attachment points to the cowl, which itself is a magnesium super casting. The rear suspension has been updated to improve stability while weight distribution is also better than the old Viper.
Under the hood is a 8.4-liter V10, but it’s gained new high strength forged pistons, lightweight composite intake manifold, aluminum flywheel and changes the exhaust. The result is a lighter but more powerful engine. How powerful exactly? Well horsepower is an honest 640 hp and torque a monster 600 lb-ft, ranking the Viper as the torquiest naturally aspirated production car engine in existence.
To help harness the performance, the Tremec six-speed gains a shorter final drive, while the Viper now gets driver aides, including stability control, traction control and a launch control feature to enable those 355 (yes 355 mm wide) tires to hook up. However, it is after all a Viper, so there are four different modes for the driver aids, ranging from full on to non existent; which should still please hard core Viper fans.
On the outside, the clamshell hood reappears, while carbon finer construction for this, the roof panel on the GTS and rear decklid, plus aluminum doors contribute to the overall weight savings.
However, one of the biggest changes concerns the interior. There are a few parts bin pieces, like the Dodge Dart sourced instrument cluster, but the rest of it looks and feels like a high pedigree European hyper car. There’s high quality materials and stitching everywhere while the driver and passenger now get enveloped by a pair of Sabelt racing seats with lightweight Kevlar/Fiberglass shells. Thanks to greater seat travel (some 90 mm) tall people can now actually drive the Viper too.
Techie features include a 7-inch fully customizable instrument panel screen, UConnect Media (offered in two different forms) available Sirius Travel Link and a range of Harmon Kardon surround sound systems.
As has been the case since 1995, the 2013 SRT Viper will be hand assembled in a special corner of Chrysler’s Conner Avenue plant in Detroit. If there was ever something for the Motor City to celebrate, this American supercar, which goes on sale late this year, surely must be it.