Probably the most teased, and awaited, car of this year’s New York Auto Show has been officially unveiled. The 2013 SRT Viper, as it will be known from now on, was launched earlier today at the Big Apple in two flavors: “plain vanilla” Viper and Viper GTS.
After production stopped in 2010, there were reports that the Viper would not be resurrected, which the group later dismissed. Nevertheless, for a while its future was shaky, a fact acknowledged by the company’s executives.
“Willed to live on by a very special group of performance enthusiasts inside the company and across Viper Nation, this SRT team under our new leadership was challenged to not just continue the legendary Viper, but to create a world-class supercar that would showcase the very best we have to offer.”
Chrysler’s supercar has evolved quite a bit since its first iteration that shook the automotive world two decades ago. The hood, roof and decklid of the 2013 model are made out of carbon fiber, while the doors are aluminum.
Yet the basic recipe remains the same: a large displacement V10 with tarmac-shredding power and torque placed up front driving the rear wheels. It may not have been the most sophisticated supercar in the world, but it sure means business.
The new iteration of the Viper is powered by an all-aluminum 8.4-liter V10 that puts out 640HP and 600 lb-ft (812.6 Nm) of torque – with the latter being the highest figure for any normally aspirated engine in the world.
The latest V10 features lightweight composite high-flow intake manifold, high-strength forged pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves, an aluminum flywheel and new, back-pressure-reducing catalysts.
Power is directed to the rear wheels via a six-speed Tremec TR6060 manual gearbox with a short throw shifter and closer gear and final drive ratios, which enables it to achieve top speed in sixth gear at the 6,200 rpm redline.
As the saying goes, power is nothing without control. The chassis, which offers a 50 percent increase in torsional stiffness, features an X-shaped brace that ties the front suspension pickup points to the magnesium cowl. Many areas of the chassis have been redesigned; not only to increase rigidity, but also to reduce weight by nearly 100 pounds (45kg) and the rear suspension has also been tweaked, with the toe link now being in front of the axle improving stability.
The snakeskin bodywork sports a lower 0.364 drag coefficient. Moreover, standard equipment includes electronic traction and stability control, four-channel ABS and 352mm disc brakes with four-piston Brembo aluminum calipers all around.
The iconic supercar will be available in two flavors: SRT Viper and SRT Viper GTS. Both are identical as far as the design is concerned, retaining the extra-long hood, the huge air-vents (or “gills”) behind the front wheels and the side-exiting exhausts of the original.
Chrysler claims that one area where all previous generations have received criticism, namely the interior, has been taken care of. This has been achieved by using premium materials and additional padding in all major surfaces, with the GTS cabin being fully covered in leather.
The Viper now sports a standard 8.4-inch console-mounted touch screen, touch screen buttons and a choice of infotainment systems with applications. Of more importance to driving-oriented customers, however, is the newly added launch control.
The lightweight Kevlar/fiberglass Sabelt seats are positioned 20mm lower and have their travel extended by 90mm, which along with the ability to adjust their height by 40mm, results in the most spacious cabin ever in a Viper, according to the automaker.
We’ve left the exterior design for last because the 2013 model somewhat strays from its predecessors. Namely, the front bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and turn signals are completely different, the grille is much smaller in size and, if we dare say so, quite a few details remind us more of Modena than Detroit.
The five-spoke, forged-aluminum “Rattler” wheels on the 2013 Viper model are available with fully polished, fully painted Hyper Black or fully painted low-gloss black finishes.
The Viper GTS gets split six-spoke forged-aluminum “Venom” rims with three available finishes: polished face with graphite-painted pockets (standard), fully painted Hyper Black and fully painted low-gloss black. In addition, the GTS gets more technologically advanced solutions, like the two-mode active suspension featuring Bilstein DampTronic Select shock absorbers with both street and track settings.