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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Dodge SRT Viper


Dodge exposes SRT Viper in New York

 After months of teasing and gossip, Dodge has just whipped the covers off its most important performance car of the decade - the Viper. And it's all grown up. The 2013 SRT Viper is all-new, from front-to-back and top-to-bottom, from the lightweight carbon-fiber roof right down to its road-scorching wheels. It features less weight, stiffer chassis, a more powerful engine, beefed-up close-ratio transmission, more powerful brakes and new electronic technology. It's all wrapped in aggressive exterior styling with gorgeous interior design, materials and appointments to make Viper more comfortable and capable, better riding, more agile and faster accelerating to a higher top speed.

Well, sort of. There's still an aircraft carrier-length bonnet atop a massive V10 engine, cab-back driving position and a side-exit exhaust. So far, so enjoyably juvenile. But the latest iteration's lighter, stiffer, more advanced, easier to drive and also sight more pleasant inside.

There's a carbon fibre bonnet, roof and boot lid, which has whittled weight down to 1455kg, some 55 kilos lighter than the old car, and a huge 50 per cent stiffer. And there's an upgraded version of Dodge's 8.4-litre V10 producing - in basic form - 640bhp and 812.5Nm of torque. That makes it the torqueiest naturally aspirated engine to be fitted to a sports car... ever.
 
The engine's all-aluminium block's been strengthened, and it gets a lighter intake manifold and a re-jigged version of the Tremec six-speed manual. Not cutting-edge tech, but a huge lunge forward for the Viper.

The characteristically playful handling from decades of Vipers has also been scrutinized. The regular car gets uprated Bilstein dampers, while the more race-focused GTS model gets a two-stage adjustable ‘Damptronic' system that you can switch from ‘Street' to ‘Track' setting.


AGGRESSIVE AND FUNCTIONAL EXTERIOR

The classic Viper look with a new flair. Bodywork on the Viper has been shaped more closely around the structures underneath, to look more compact and purposeful, while evolving the classic earlier-generation Viper form. The side "gill" shape inspired by the original Viper R/T 10 and GTS remains a focal point. The gills are the extraction route for engine compartment heat. The inner surface of the gills is finished with a snakeskin texture, just like the front grille. The front grille opening has a much different and more aggressive race-car shape, breaking new ground for Viper. The intake includes functional brake-cooling ducts.
The new hood, roof and lift gate are made of lightweight carbon fiber. Weight savings are significant, compared to the former sheet-molded compound (SMC) panels of previous-generation Vipers. Stiffer doors are now made of superformed aluminum for more weight savings. The new hood features the classic Viper NACA duct cold-air intake that rams cool air to the engine intake. Air temperature is only 10 degrees above ambient at the intake, compared to 50 degrees above ambient on most other vehicles.

But inside is where there's the biggest surprise - it's actually luxurious. And not just ‘luxurious for a Viper' either. The cow peelings are soft and sumptuous, the stereo is by Harman Kardon, the abundance of screens are TFT, there's not a solitary centimeter of wibbly stitching. There's also 40mm more headroom and 90mm more legroom. This is a car you could feasibly use every day, not just when you fancy peering over the edge of existence.
 
Transmission :
A Tremec TR6060 close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is standard on both the SRT Viper and SRT Viper GTS. Closer ratios make Viper even more responsive, while a new sixth gear, combined with a shortened final-drive ratio of 3.55 to 1, produces noticeably better high-speed performance. New gear manufacturing techniques produce precision-formed teeth for smooth meshing while fine-pitch synchronizers reduce synchronizer travel, giving lower shift efforts and room for 15% wider first, second and third gears for better torque handling. Reverse selection is eased by the use of a double-cone synchronizer. Shift throws are 12.5 percent shorter.
The aluminum housing of the transmission is beefed up with thick flanges and cast-in ribbing to lower stress. It is also strengthened in the shift rail area, and the rails are held in place with shorter spans.This reduces the possibility of rail flex during spirited shifting while improving shift feel.
A new lighter flywheel, aluminum for the first time-ever in a Viper, gives a further tenth-of-a-second improvement in quarter-mile performance. A self-adjusting twin-disk clutch completes the package.


This car represented a tough balancing act for SRT: keeping its essential... Viperishness while attracting a new breed of buyers who loved what the old car stood for but found the reality a little intimidating. Judging by our first meeting, Dodge might just have nailed it. And we can't wait to have a go.




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