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What it Is
Dodge Viper SRT10 Preview – 2007 Detroit Auto Show: The 2008 Viper SRT10’s 600 horsepower put it in very exclusive company. While there are a handful of other cars that make 600 or more horsepower, they all cost well over six figures. The Viper joins this club at a relatively bargain-basement price. Its output leaves the Corvette Z06 in the dust, and puts it in the same category as megabucks Ferrari, AMG and other performance cars. Yet the Viper keeps its raw muscle car heritage, and Dodge intends on keeping it that way by refraining from adding all-wheel drive, traction control and all the other goodies found on other competitors.
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Why it Matters
The Viper has brought a lot of attention to Dodge over the years and drawn many curious consumers to showrooms. Keeping this flagship car in the spotlight is important and doing so without changing its iconic nature is important, too. The Viper is a public relations tool that satisfies the enthusiast market and continuing to beef up the horsepower, styling and suspension keeps everybody happy.
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What’s Under the Hood
Here’s where it gets good. For 2008, Dodge has increased horsepower to from 510 to 600 and torque from 535 lb.-ft to 560 lb.-ft. This was accomplished with a larger bore that increased displacement from 8.3 to 8.4 liters, new cylinder heads, larger valves, variable valve timing on the exhaust side and better cooling and breathing. Also new is a smaller-diameter twin-disc clutch that reduces pedal effort and improves engagement feel and an optional external transmission cooler.
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What it Looks Like
Not a lot of changes were made to the exterior of the new Viper. It is still available as a coupe or roadster, which share a dramatic new hood and larger scoop along with functional louvers for improved cooling. Five new colors are available in 2008: Venom Red, Snakeskin Green, Viper Violet, Viper Orange and Bright Blue. Racing stripes continue as an option in six dual painted-stripe colors. The Viper still keeps its slick, muscular image and rides on polished 18-inch wheels up front and 19’s at the rear. Three styles of wheels are now available.
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Keeping 600 hp and 560 lb.-ft. of torque planted to the ground is no easy task and has been an issue for Dodge concerning the Viper. The tail-happy Viper gets an improved speed-sensing limited-slip differential for improved traction. Beefy 14-inch rotors and Brembo dual opposing-piston calipers front and back stop the Viper from 60 mph in less than 100 feet, according to Dodge. Engineers didn’t stop there. A full race-bred suspension resides under the Viper featuring lightweight control arms, knuckles and coil-over shocks.
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What Dodge Says
Dodge touts the Viper as having world-class ride and handling, race-inspired interior and exterior styling and setting a benchmark for braking performance. Dodge lays claim to a 0-60-mph time under 4-seconds and a stopping distance of less than 100-ft from 60. On paper, the new Viper trumps the Chevy Corvette Z06, and we bet Dodge is itching for a shot at reclaiming the title of Baddest American sports car.
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What We Think
With most exotic cars these days getting loaded up with AWD and traction and stability control, it’s good to see the Viper staying true to its roots. We loved the last Viper and can’t imagine another 90 hp and 25 lb.-ft of torque under our right foot. We praise Dodge for keeping the Viper a raw muscle car and look forward to another drive with the additional power. Now where is that number for Chrysler’s press fleet?
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry and Dodge
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