Back in the 1960s, British sports carmaker AC was struggling to find a powertrain to stuff under the hood of its Ace sports car. While the Ace used an old school Bristol I6 engine for the longest time, production of that powertrain stopped in 1961. Strapped for which powertrain to use, AC decided to seek help from North America. This led them to Carroll Shelby, who gave the Ace a new lease of life with a Ford V8. The resulting car, the Shelby Cobra, is one of the most famous sports cars of all time.

A couple of decades later, Dodge decided to modernize the philosophy of the Cobra. They put together a sports car with whatever they could find, in a bid to create a vehicle with an identical conception. Fittingly, they named it the Viper.

2013-2017 Dodge Viper SRT GTS

7.00 / 10
Key Features
  • V10 power
  • Iconic nameplate
  • Manual only
Specifications
  • Engine: 8.4-liter V10
  • Horsepower: 640 hp
  • Torque: 560 lb-ft
  • Drivetrain: RWD
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
Pros
  • Great driving experience
  • Manual transmission
  • Earth-shattering engine
Cons
  • Catastrophic fuel economy
  • Dangerous if you push it
  • Expensive to maintain

Overview Of The Viper

Front 3/4 view of a red Viper
Dodge

The fifth generation of the Dodge Viper is the final generation, as production ended in 2017. We do think the Viper should make a comeback, however. It's also the most refined, "luxurious," and modern version of one of America's greatest sports cars. When it first debuted, Dodge sold it under the short-lived SRT sub-brand. After that dissolved, they simply called it the Dodge Viper again.

Rear 3/4 view of a yellow Viper
Dodge

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The fifth-generation Viper keeps things familiar as far as the styling goes, but it's overall more modern and more streamlined. LED lights all around, a more aerodynamic profile, and much more modern lines. The front features a more sculpted grille, better cooling components on the hood, while the side featured a massive air vent for cooling the equally massive engine. The signature Viper touches, like the hood that stretches for miles and the side exit exhaust are still present on this generation.

Dodge Viper Powertrain And Drivetrain

The front of a yellow Viper on the move
Dodge

If there's anything people know the Viper for, it's the powertrain under the hood. The first Viper had an 8.0-liter V10, which eventually became an 8.3-liter, and finally in the fifth generation, it's an 8.4-liter. It's the same basic engine as seen in the original from the early '90s, but there are some notable changes in this one. Thanks to that bump in capacity and various uprated components, it makes 640 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. It propels the Viper from 0-60 in around 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 206 mph.

The engine in the Dodge Viper
Dodge

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Part of the Viper's DNA is an analog driving experience. There's no AWD and no dual-clutch automatic transmission; the only way to have a Viper is with RWD and a true, three-pedal six-speed manual transmission. While the Viper does have the basics covered as far as assistance systems, it's still quite scary to drive. If you know how to handle it, however, the Viper is a truly joyous experience behind the wheel.

Dodge Viper Comfort And Quality

The interior of the Viper, from the passenger seat
Dodge

On the inside, the fifth-generation Viper is a far cry from some of its predecessors. While it's not a Rolls-Royce, it has a fair few mod cons that the original from the early '90s could only dream of. Air conditioning, cruise control, a proper infotainment system, keyless entry and start, and even a partial digital gauge cluster. This gauge cluster is rather famous in the car scene, notably for its angry snake graphic that gradually illuminates in red the closer you get to the redline.

The gauge cluster in the Viper
Dodge

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In terms of reliability, the Viper is pretty expensive to maintain, especially as it pertains to the tires. The 295 section rear tires are massive, and a little difficult to replace. The cabin can also get quite warm, and the clutch is pretty heavy. The V10 in the Viper can take a beating, as some devoted enthusiasts have taken these up to 2,000 or even 3,000 hp, all on the stock block. The fuel economy is, perhaps unsurprisingly, appalling, but that's all part of the Viper ownership experience. It seats two passengers, and features a modest 14.7 cubic feet of trunk space.

Dodge Viper Prices

Front 3/4 view of a red Viper next to the coast
Dodge

The fifth-generation Dodge Viper is holding its value very well as of 2022. Most of them have very low miles, and it's difficult to find one for less than $130,000. There are even a few previously unsold examples with delivery miles, but those go for around $250,000. Don't ask about the ACR.

Rear 3/4 view of the Viper on the race track
Dodge

That's a pretty steep amount of money, but the Viper has definitely earned its collectible status. With the likelihood of Dodge bringing it back getting smaller and smaller, the Viper represents the peak of the American sports car. An unapologetically massive engine, a manual transmission, and most of the experience based around the driver's skill.

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