The new 2013 SRT Viper, officially unveiled at the New York Auto Show earlier today, is looking as voluptuous as ever, perhaps taking some fashion advice from its newly acquired supercar family members in Italy.
This latest creation to emerge from the Fiat-Chrylser union is also the most powerful boasting 600hp and 600lb/ft of torque from an 8.4L V10. 8.4L as in 8,400cc’s, which is just ridiculous. Though not the most efficient engine, putting out numbers around 71hp per litre, it does deliver the most torque of any naturally aspirated engine on the road today. But I digress. Specs are for paper. What I care about more, in this case, is how she looks.
And she does look good. More upscale, more refined but no less eager to let her hair down. This new car looks better proportioned too like it lost weight in all the right places. And it has – a full 250 pounds less than the old car. You’ll immediately notice how the front end has been nipped and tucked handsomely like going under the knife of a skilled plastic surgeon. Its nose sloping ever so gracefully into a mouth-like front fascia and its headlights, like a sexy pair of eyes accented by LED mascara. There’s a definite whiff of Ferrari/Maserati front end styling there too.
Even more at the rear though, where the tail lights look similar to those found on the Maserati GranTurismo.
The profile of the car is more Ferrari 599 than the old Dodge Viper, which is a great thing.
All in all, its looks are more supercar than “super-muscle car.” However, where the Ferrari looks exotic and sophisticated like a high fashion model, the Viper’s curvy body lines make its looks more obvious, its intentions single-minded even at rest like the iconic still image of Marilyn Monroe holding her skirt down in The Seven Year Itch.
The interior is less glamorous, although it’s a tremendous improvement over the outgoing model. Looking well updated, the interior receives an LCD touch screen replacing the column of gauges in the old car. Then from left to right, the dashboard looks like it was actually designed for this car and not pieced together from off-the-shelf parts found in an old Neon factory. In keeping with tradition though, the new Viper retains its cue ball shift knob and layout.
When looking at that double-bubble roof, it instantly reminds me of Zagato – the prestigious car atelier which penned the double-bubble design… back in the day. However, it also reminds me of Zagato’s Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale (below), a car built exclusively to honour their relationship with Alfa Romeo. A lovely idea in theory. The problem though, was that they chose the 2010 Dodge Viper as the chassis on which to build this commemorative “Alfa Romeo”. I wrote a piece on it shortly after it was unveiled last year and talked about how horrendous it was – poorly masking the donor car’s characteristics – aside from being a slap in the face to Alfisti everywhere as Zagato even used the Viper’s engine to power the car. For all intents and purposes, that was Zagato’s go at designing a Viper (albeit in Alfa Romeo clothing).
And then this car comes out. On looks alone, it completely embarrasses the Zagato-bodied car. While this new Viper looks athletic and purposeful, the Zagato “Viper” looks like a fat kid in his Sunday best: all buttoned down but too afraid to run around with the other kids in case he busts open a seam.
My love for American cars has gone up another notch with this release. Here’s to hoping it delivers on the road.
Full specs here.