For the past two dozen seasons, the ferocious Viper has reigned as Dodge's bad boy. Nothing on the market possesses anything like its brand of sinewy curves, sinister demeanor, and elemental brute power. Most drivers -- even some hardened enthusiasts -- would consider a Viper a bit too beastly. Of course, that’s its purpose: to attract dedicated club-racing zealots.
What's New for 2016
For the first time since 2010, an ACR (American Club Racer) model is part of the Viper lineup, priced nearly $10,000 higher than the GTS. Dodge calls ACR “the ultimate street-legal race car.” Otherwise, little has changed for 2016 except for new color choices. The SRT base model sees a $2,500 price hike.
Choosing Your Dodge Viper
Even though the Viper has become more civilized over the years, it's still a raucous machine by anyone's measure. The mighty 8.4-liter V10 engine dispatches 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, by way of a six-speed manual transmission. (Forget about automatics.) That’s sufficient to catapult a Viper from a standstill to 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds.
Nobody buys a Viper for its gas mileage, but the EPA highway-driving estimate stands at 21 mpg. Considering what you get, that’s pretty impressive. City driving sinks the estimate to a rapid-guzzling 12 miles per gallon. In combined city/highway use, it’s 15 mpg.
Non-ACR Vipers get Pirelli P Zero tires on 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels. The SRT includes a three-mode multi-stage stability control system, while others get a five-mode setup. Like most supercars, the Viper is strictly a two-seater, yet the trunk holds more than 14 cubic feet.
Befitting its model name, the new ACR edition features a number of aerodynamic enhancements, along with a huge dual-element wing to help keep the back tires securely planted. Brakes are bigger: 15.4 inches up front and 14.2 inches at the rear, with carbon-ceramic pads. Brembo front brakes use six-piston calipers, with four-piston binders at the rear. Kumho Ecsta tires ride on massive 19-inch wheels: 295/25ZR19 front and 355/30ZR19 rear. Those are the widest back tires offered on any production car.
The Viper is available in four trim levels for 2016:
Exclusive to the SRT and GTC are TA 1 and TA 2.0 Packages, which add aerodynamic body components, a track-inspired Bilstein two-mode suspension, carbon fiber components, upgraded Brembo brakes, and ballistic fiber seats.
All Viper models are available with an exotic array of wheels, stripes, and color schemes.
As a new Viper owner, you're eligible to attend the SRT Track Experience at no cost.
Starting near $87,000 even the base-level Viper is a hefty investment for an impractical car that’s wholly contented only on a race track. If you’re truly tempted by its startling performance statistics and unabashedly raucous nature, remember that piloting an unruly Viper on everyday roads may grow tiresome. Controlling it when pushed hard can be a battle. Noise assaults the ears, and despite numerous improvements, it’s still basically unrefined, even uncivilized.