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A supercar exotic in all but badge, the Dodge Viper rides off into the sunset, leaving the automotive scene poorer. Whether misunderstood, underappreciated or sidelined by badge-snobbery, its’ gloriously unapologetic, unpretentiously honest and brutally capable qualities are fast becoming the ingredients of wistful nostalgia.
|Engine||8.4L / V10|
|Power||654 Hp / 814 Nm|
|Top Speed||332 km/h|
Built on a rigid tubular steel space-frame, front mid-engine platform and aluminum body, the Viper’s salacious curves, hungry low-slung crosshair grille and urgent demeanor are timelessly evocative. With naturally-aspirated big displacement engine, manual gearbox and emphasis on engineering, analogue engagement and driver connection, it is the antithesis of the tech-heavy, highly processed modern supercar.
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More generously equipped and refined in GTS spec, its’ hunkered down cabin and body-hugging seats are roomier than expected courtesy of a double bubble roof. But wide sills housing hot dual side exhausts make cabin access trickier for larger drivers.
Uncompromisingly engineered from ground up, the Viper’s air splitter, intake vents, side gills, rear brake heat extractors, and bonnet scoop and vents clearly declare its intentions. Under its lasciviously long, reverse-swinging full clamshell bonnet, a compact 20-valve OHV aluminum 8.4-liter V10 engine sits exposed deep behind the front axle for ideal weight distribution and low center of gravity. Meanwhile, an X-shaped cross brace provides added body rigidity.
Abundantly muscular from tick-over to 6400rpm redline, the Viper’s eager and colossal ten-pot powerhouse develops 654HP at 6200rpm and 814Nm peak torque by 5000rpm. Rocketing through 0-100km/h in little over 3-seconds and onto 332km/h, it unleashes its vast reserves as a swiftly progressive torrent. And with precise throttle control, fat sticky tires, and limited-slip differential distributing power, one confidently comes back on throttle hard and early when exiting a corner.
With bass-heavy off-beat gurgles and deep thundering mid-range bellows hardening to high rev wail, the Viper’s engine and tall gearing provide long-legged versatility and consistency to power through sweeping corners. Responsively flexible throughout, it remains firmly planted as revs and speed rise urgently beyond 200km/h. Meanwhile its short-throw 6-speed manual gearbox shifts with heavy, well-oiled and satisfyingly precise lever, and firmly intuitive clutch, movements. Driven on track, brakes proved tirelessly effective.
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A honed, intuitive and devastatingly effective instrument on track, the Viper masterfully snakes its way through fast sweeping corners, tight bends and chicanes. With quick, meaty and direct steering, reserved 1541kg weight, grippy tires and two-mode double wishbone suspension, it turns in with deliberate precision and taut body control, digging in hard into and out of corners. Poised, buttoned-down and agile, the Viper handles with clarity, commitment and composure.
- Eager and abundant engine
- Ssatisfying gear change
- Committed yet agile handling
- Tricky cabin access