Up close with the new SRT Viper
America bites back! How Detroit's scariest sports car sharpened its fangs
Posted: 15 Jun 2012
But before we get to that, you’ll probably want to know what’s under the hood. Powered by an upgraded version of the all-aluminium, 8.4-litre V10, new Viper produces 640bhp and 600lb ft of torque, giving it the most torque of any normally aspirated sports car ever produced. The block itself – cast originally for the first-gen Viper by Lamborghini, then a subsidiary of Chrysler – has been reworked to increase strength and improve cooling, and now features a forged crank, rods and pistons for extra bombproofing.
A lighter intake manifold reduces weight at the top of the engine bay, the valve train has been reworked with sodium-filled exhaust valves and the transmission is a rejigged version of the Tremec six-speed that now features tighter ratios and an ally flywheel for faster blats to the 6,400rpm limiter.
None of this is cutting-edge tech, but it represents a leap for the Viper, which was considered a bit of an engineering thug. And relatively light weight versus decent power do add up to one thing: the Viper still has bite, as 0–62mph in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 208mph will testify. That’s faster than a Merc SLS AMG. Funny that, since the SLS and the Viper were a co-development in the early stages under DaimlerChrysler, before Chrysler’s financial meltdown.