2009 Dodge Viper Long Term Road Test

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2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10: Dyno-Tested

June 10, 2010


It's not surprising, really -- this bonkers orange 2009 Dodge Viper has been in our hands for a few months, and we've kept it busy. Among other activities, it's been road-tripped, tested at the track, heck, we've even tried to set a burnout record in thing.

Really, the one place this over-endowed cornea grabber hasn't yet graced is the dyno. We've now righted that wrong.

Jump with me.


Any enthusiast worth his or her salt knows that Dodge pegs the Viper's output at 600 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 560 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. These numbers alone, however,don't tell the whole story. When you dyno test a car, you can glean insights on its engine's entire torque curve and run-to-run consistency.

So that's what we did. We strapped the Viper down to the rollers of a Dynojet 248 chassis dyno and made 'er sing. Er, blat. Let's be honest -- the Viper doesn't sound the least bit melodic or impressive, but man,is it ever powerful.Hey, it's the automotive equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Case in point --the Viper's torque is simply devastating. The hulking 8.4-liter V10 power plant puts well over 400 lb-ft to the ground from 2,000 rpm all the way to its 6,350 rpm fuel cut (yes, Dodge's literature figures the rev limiter at 6,250 rpm. We measured otherwise.). Nutty.

Below is the Viper's stabilized output. There's a 2% SAE weather correction applied.


See the dip in the torque curve spanning 3,000 to 4,200 rpm?It was present in each of the six pulls we performed, so it's no fluke. You wouldn't know it was there by driving the car,though, owing to theveritableocean of sauce on tap. I did hear a few rattles of detonation during the first pull, so it's possible the Viper is knock-prone in this region, and the brain on board had to retard ignition timing here to snuff the pinging. Yes, California's best pump gas is 91 octane. Yes, it sucks.

Peak power and peak torque arrive right where Dodge said they would, so there's that.

As noted inearlier posts onthe subject, a chassisdyno is best when used in making comparisons like during tuning. Things get sticky when you instead attempt to deriveengine output bytaking the absolute numbers produced by a chassis dynoand then adjusting these results withsome guess atdriveline loss.

viper_whl_717.jpgNow, we're guilty of doing this from time to time, butconsider thatinertia dynos are pretty simple and robust devices.As such there's minimal inherent variation from one to the next. They're even calibrated for life, according to Dynojet. The biggest wildcard is that induced by weather correction, and we're blessed to live in a climate that's nearlyidentical to those conditions outlined by SAE, so rarelydoes weather correction result in any significantadjustment.

We've performed a lot of pulls on the same chassis dyno. In comparing the output of different cars, using the same dyno is theway to go.Of course, you're fooling yourself if you compare results across different dyno manufacturers.

So with that in mind, here's how the Viper stacks up to another 600-ish-horsepower car we tested recently,the Callaway Corvette SC606. For perspective, I threw in our longterm 2002 Corvette Z06 dyno result, too. It's pretty crowded;click the image for a larger version:


The Callaway's supercharged low-end torque really magnifies the hole in the Viper's torque curve. One thing's for certain, though -- the Viper's V10 is stronger above 4,100 rpm, culminating in an additional 16 horsepower compared to the ostensibly more powerful (by just a tick) Callaway.

It takes a hell of an engine to make the '02 Z06's 5.7-liter LS6 look flaccid, and that's precisely what the Viper's V10 does. Despite its trucky character andindifferent soundtrack,it is truly an epic engine, the likes of which we are notlikely to see again.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Dodge Viper in VA is:

$157 per month*
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