Wednesday, December 26, 2012

MT Tests the 2013 SRT Viper GTS to Find Out How Sharp its Fangs Are

When the third-generation Viper was launched back in April at the New York Auto Show, SRT boss Ralph Gilles had said that the company “simply would not let the performance icon of the Chrysler Group die.”

Love it or hate it, the Viper is undoubtedly an icon. Its two previous incarnations followed the same recipe: aggressive styling, a big-displacement V10 up front with huge torque driving the rear wheels and…that’s about it.

Things like finesse, quality and drivability were not part of its vocabulary. It was all about huge fun and you had better show it some respect, because it would bite you before you could say “Viper”.

You can watch the BMW hoons in the video that follows below.

Enter the 2013 model that, according to Gilles, has a mission “to not just continue the legendary Viper, but to create a world-class supercar that would showcase the very best we have to offer.”

Thus the chassis is 50 percent stiffer, the body work materials include carbon fiber and aluminum, the interior features Sabelt seats like the ones used by Ferrari, an electronic, driver-configurable instrument binnacle, the dashboard is fully covered in leather in high-end versions and there’s even a touch-screen infotainment system.

Add the electronic stability and traction control systems, the 50/50 front/rear weight distribution and the (optional) electronically adjustable suspension and the question if the latest Viper, despite its 640HP and 600 lb-ft (812Nm) of torque coming out of the 8.4-liter V10 has, somehow, lost some of its venom suddenly made sense.

That’s the question Motor Trend sought to answer, too, which is why they picked up a top-of-the-line, US$124,990 as tested, Viper GTS and had associate road test editor Carlos Lago and racing driver Randy Probst test it and lap the Laguna Seca circuit respectively to find out.

You can learn their verdict by watching the video that follows the break.

By Andrew Tsaousis

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