The new Dodge SRT Viper has been revealed at the New York motor show. The new American performance icon is lighter, more powerful and features a much more premium interior that borrows some materials from SRT's Chrysler Group siblings Ferrari and Maserati.
SRT boss Ralph Gilles said that using a Ferrari or Maserati platform was considered for the new Viper, but the right proportions could not be met and instead the outgoing car's high strength steel platform was completely reengineered.
The structure is said to be 50 per cent stiffer than before, partly thanks to the adoption of a magnesium beam and cross frame.
The 8.4-litre V10 engine is 13kg lighter than that of the old Viper's. Peak power is improved to 631bhp at 6150rpm, up 59bhp, and peak torque is boosted to 600lb ft at 4950rpm, up 40lb ft and available 150rpm lower. The torque figure makes the SRT's engine the highest of a naturally aspirated engine in the world.
The bodywork is made chiefly from carbonfibre and weighs 32 per cent less than that of the old car’s. Superformed aluminium is also used for the doors and door sills.
The SRT Viper has been designed and engineered in Detroit and will be built at the re-commissioned Conner Assembly Plant.
Design features externally include side exhausts and 'snake eye' headlights. The front hinged clamshell bonnet also makes a comeback.
The car features bespoke Pirelli tyres, 355mm at the rear and 295mm at the front. The compounds are different front and rear, too.
Launch control is a Viper first, and other electronic aids include traction control and a four stage ESP system that can be switched off completely.
Inside, Gilles said lessons had been learned from Ferrari and Maserati, and customers had complained the old car's interior was "a bit of a joke".
The TFT instrument cluster is borrowed from the Dodge Dart and redesigned, featuring a glowing snake instead of a gear shift indicator.
The seats are sourced from the same supplier as Ferrari and help contribute to a 90mm increase in interior space.
Two versions of the SRT Viper will be offered, including a base model and a pluckier GTS variant. A racing version of the Viper was also shown, which will compete in the American le Mans Series.