Check out those huge vents penetrating this test mule’s camouflaged hood, and just try to tell us that the rumors about McLaren working with Chrysler Group to bump the 2008 Dodge Viper V-10’s output to 650 horsepower aren’t true. Compare that estimated figure with what today’s Viper produces – a mere 500 ponies.
Our source contends that the 2008 Dodge Viper will appear in the first quarter of 2007, and that there will not be a 2007 model because of the early launch. We’d bet on a 2007 North American International Auto Show debut of the new mega-horsepower Viper.
When today’s Dodge Viper launched for the 2003 model year, it boasted 500 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque from a 500 cubic-inch engine. But with the recent introductions of vehicles that make similar amounts of motive force for less money, Dodge needs to inject more venom into the Viper to keep its sports car at the top of the heap. Note how small the hood vents are on this 2006 Viper Coupe.
With a supercharged Northstar V8 displacing 4.4 liters and making 443 horsepower, the Cadillac XLR-V isn’t a threat to the Dodge Viper on paper. However, priced at about $100,000 and loaded with luxury features along with a standard retractable hardtop, this crunked-up Caddy is a terrific alternative for people who don’t want the rough and raw Viper experience.
The 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the best American sports car on the market, a beautiful machine equipped with explosive performance but that can also be used as a daily driver without muss or fuss. The Corvette Z06 has a 7.0-liter aluminum V8 making 505 horsepower, giving it a slight edge over its direct rival, the Dodge Viper, though the ‘Vette’s torque rating is lower. At $65,690, the more civilized Z06 also undercuts the Viper by more than $20,000. Chevrolet has long been rumored to be working on a higher-horsepower Corvette dubbed “The Blue Flame.”
Cobra. Viper. Both snakes, but neither on a plane. It’s this striped serpent from Ford that might have the Dodge Boys’ panties in a bunch, since it’s putting 500 horsepower to the rear wheels from a supercharged 5.4-liter V8. Yeah, so what, right? Trouble is, the 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 is expected to start in the mid-$40,000s, about half the price of the Viper. If for no other reason than to save face, the 2008 Viper needs more power.
Witness the birth of the first Japanese supercar to arrive on American shores. The 2008 Nissan GT-R is the next-generation Skyline GT-R, a car known and loved by Gran Turismo gamers for a decade in this country and in other world markets since 1989. The 2008 Nissan GT-R is rumored to have a twin-turbo V6 making about 450 horsepower hooked up to an all-wheel-drive system. Prices are expected to be in Corvette Z06 territory when the car goes on sale, and Nissan will release official details when the production version debuts at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. Perhaps the Nissan isn’t a threat to the Viper, but there’s no discounting eager young buyers looking for the perfect ride to pimp for added power and performance.
Photos Copyright Brenda Priddy & Company; Ron Perry; courtesy of the manufacturers