2009 Dodge Viper SRT10: Reserved? Yeah, Right.
April 30, 2010
Nothing with stripes, an 8.4-liter V10 andmeats as wide as your inseam could ever be described as "reserved."
At the same time, our longterm Viper's not some undriveable hellcat, either. In fact, it's a good bit more refined than the 1st-gen cars. You don't scorch exposed skin on the sills. The cabin doesn't spew stinky odors like a
Corvette bass boat. Most of its bits and pieces fit together like they were assembled by someone who was at least sober at the time.
Its throttle travel is a mile long, which will no doubt save ham-footed owners from inadvertently unleashing the Viper's billion foot-pounds all at once and sending them sideways across a county. Same goes with the drive-by-wire throttle calibration -- its manipulations in smoothing out the power delivery for your safety are obvious. Unfortunately, the Viper's throttle response is pretty terrible -- our 2002 Z06 is worlds snappier in this regard. Forget heel-toe downshifting this tiger with any kind of verve.
No, there's nothing subtle about the way a Viper wants to be driven. You have to plan way ahead if you want to wood the gas -- triple digits are always mere seconds away. You shove the shifter through its gates. The Viper wants you to bedeliberate with your inputs. Do so, and it delivers a driving experience that is simply staggeringly fast.
Even thoughthere are signs of taming this beast,it's still a freakin' Viper. And that is good.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor