New car reviews

2008 Dodge Viper SRT10

Dodge Viper SRT10 pumps up the V10 engine to deliver 600 hp

Bob Plunkett, Sun, 30 Sep 2007 08:00:00 PDT

DANVILLE, Va. -- The awesome Viper SRT10 sports car by Dodge -- excessively long at the prow to accommodate a big-block V10 engine pushing all torque to enormous rear wheels and flashing a paint job in you-can't-miss-this Snakeskin Green -- rips down the front straightaway of Virginia International Raceway at triple-digit speed.

Varoom, goes the deep-throat sound spewing from chrome pipes at the tail.This high-speed Viper romp around the undulating track at VIR definitely ranks as a ride on the wild side with hair tingling, helmet pegged squarely against the leather-capped headrest and one driver's heart rate pulsing way on the high side of lickety-split.

The outrageous Viper -- reworked for 2008 with the hunker V10 aluminum engine block bored slightly bigger to spit out 600 hp through six forward gears of a Tremec TR6060 manual transmission and deliver downright frightening linear speed on pavement -- sets the swift pace for all sporty cars badged by Dodge.Viper SRT10 in the new iteration splits into two versions with a roadster ragtop convertible and a GT-style hatchback coupe sporting a hardtop double-bubble roofline.

We log track time in the driver's seat of both versions and find both offer compelling reasons to stay buckled in the cockpit, hands gripping the sporty leather-wrapped steering wheel, right foot planted firmly on the go-pedal and all 600 ponies pounding down the track.Stomping the pedal in Pit Lane at VIR, we lurch forward in a vehicle that zips to 60 mph in less than four seconds, but by Horse Shoe, VIR's tight right first turn, the speedo needle climbs to triple-digit territory with Viper's rigid chassis riding low to the asphalt in a rock-solid stance.

Then, in swift sequence running through NASCAR Bend and Left Hook, this venomous racer slithers up to the aptly dubbed Snake curves as rubber protests from new Pilot Sport PS2 tires.

We note the Snakeskin Green machine maneuvers with the poise of a Formula racer. Whip, clip, zip -- it charges up the infield hills for chicanes of Turn 7, Turn 8, then the wiggles of 9 to 12.And on the whoop-te-do of Roller Coaster, Turn 14, we're surely flying.

The final turn -- Hog Pen -- swings to the right in a broad downhill sweeper leading into a long Front Straight. We must be patient through this curve before popping the throttle to race down the flats but when the power does cut in there's no stopping this wild thing: We're way north of 150 mph on the speedometer by the time we buzz past the Finish Line in a blur of green paint.

Still, Dodge sets Viper's top speed now at 200 mph.Back in Pit Lane we take a moment to climb out of Viper's tight cockpit and pry off a sweat-soaked helmet, but our pulse continues to race, thanks to our speed-wild laps.And we're convinced: Dodge has built the best -- and quickest -- Viper yet.

Still, Dodge sets Viper's top speed now at 200 mph.Back in Pit Lane we take a moment to climb out of Viper's tight cockpit and pry off a sweat-soaked helmet, but our pulse continues to race, thanks to our speed-wild laps.And we're convinced: Dodge has built the best -- and quickest -- Viper yet.

Viper SRT10 Coupe of 2008 plays off the SRT10 roadster but with refinements.It sports the double-bubble roofline, window glass in the two doors, special wrap-around taillamps and a body color scheme with contrasting race stripes, or there's an arrest-me-red -- Viper Red -- monochrome version.Both the roadster and coupe stock the same V10 engine.The aluminum plant -- measuring at 510 cubic inches, or 8.4 liters -- pushes the power curve up to 600 hp at 6100 rpm for 2008, with torque bumping to 560 lb-ft at 5000 rpm.

A heavy-duty six-speed manual transmission translates all of that power into torque muscle to turn the enormous rear wheels.Dodge SRT engineers retained Viper's Dana M44-4 rear axle but outfitted it with a new GKN Visco-Lok speed-sensing limited-slip differential for the purpose of enhance traction on the rear treads.The SRT10 Viper rolls on polished aluminum wheels which vary in size, front to rear.

In front, the rollers are 18 inches tall and ten inches thick. In back, the wheels increase to 19 inches high by 13 inches wide.Three different styles of wheels are available -- the standard five-spoke wheel, an optional H-spoke wheel or new Razor wheel with five U-shaped spokes.

To rein so many horses, Viper's wheels also carry four of the largest disc brakes ever mounted on a street-legal car. Up front, the 14-inch rotors team with Brembo 44/40 dual opposing piston calipers. Rear ones with 14-inch rotors get Brembo 42/38 dual opposing calipers.All four discs are linked and controlled through an advanced anti-lock brake system (ABS).

And to keep cool air flowing over those discs, Viper has molded brake-cooling ducts up front on the body.The chassis is a backbone tubular steel space frame that's incredibly stiff.

Sheetmetal forms forward of the coupe's windshield are shared with the roadster -- the thick front fascia, distinctive cross-hair grille, a way-long hood, bulging fenders with deep-cut side scallops and two doors at the cockpit.The coupe's double-bubble hardtop roofline is unique in a format which increases headroom inside and permits the driver to wear a helmet or add a safety cage for track work.

Viper's cockpit fits tight like Spandex.There's only a pair of leather-clad bucket seats flanking the center spine.The instrument panel, designed for the performance driver, holds easy-to-read analog gauges with center-spot tachometer and the speedometer notched to 220 mph.

Safety systems include dual multi-stage frontal air bags, three-point seat belts with pretensioners, and a steel cage encasing the cabin plus impact beams in flank doors.These too-quick 2008 Vipers -- roadster and coupe -- carry MSRP tags of $83,145 and $83,895, respectively.



2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 front view

2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 interior shot

2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 guage display

2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 rear view

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