What is it?
A track-focused version of the Dodge SRT-10 – still known as the Viper in the USA. Sadly the fire-breathing Yank is no longer officially sold in the UK, but now American punters get a larger 8.4-litre V10 engine with 600bhp, a beefed-up transmission and a more progressive GKN limited-slip diff.
They also get a chance to buy this: the new ACR version. The acronym decrypts as American Cup Racer, adding forged wheels with super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, dampers that can be adjusted for ride height, compression and rebound, two-piece brake discs and an aero kit that delivers 450kg of downforce at 150 mph.
Buyers can even opt to lose the boot carpet, under-bonnet silencing mat, tyre repair kit and stereo for no extra cost, gaining a lap-timing unit with USB download capability instead. The end result is a 1517kg street-legal racer.
What’s it like?
In a word, mega. The ACR looks set to become America’s favourite trackday toy thanks to insane amounts of mechanical and aero grip. The standard Viper is already faster around the track than a Corvette Z06 and the ACR’s the gooey Michelin rubber, trick dampers, and most importantly, the extreme rear wing and two-piece front splitter make for a substantial improvement.
Plus, all these modifications allow you to exploit the insane power from the huge engine – despite the lack of traction or stability control – with the downforce delivering outstanding high-speed adhesion.
The manual gearbox needs a firm hand, but works well enough when you get used to it, although the slightly soft-feeling brake pedal undersells the massive retardation on offer.
Of course, away from the circuit the ACR is as unfriendly as every other iteration of the SRT-10, indeed the ACR bits make things worse: the ride is crashy thanks to spring rates double the hardness of the standard car, noise levels are high and – despite the re-routing of the exhaust pipe to reduce cabin heat – the ACR still needs its air con pumping flat-out most of the time.
Should I buy one?
The weak dollar exchange rate makes the ACR look like a bargain at current prices – and even with shipping, VAT and import duties paid it’s going to be considerably cheaper than any performance rival. If you’re looking for the ultimate American muscle car, this is it.