2009 Dodge Viper: Super Cool, But I Wouldn't Buy It
September 19, 2010
For better or for worse, our 2009 Dodge Viper is true to itself. Dodge's sports car has always made performance a top priority. You're getting a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, a quarter mile of 11.6 and a slalom speed of 74 mph. Heady stuff. You can even go by Nurburgring lap times and argue if you want that the Viper (in ACR trim) has the quickest confirmed real production car lap time. All of this for fewer than $100,000.
But if I were going to be buying a $100,000 sports car, a Viper wouldn't be my top pick. Or third, for that matter.
There's a difference between booting our Viper around for a weekend and the concept of actually owning it. This is where the single-minded focus on performance starts to become a liability. The Viper's biggest letdown for me is its interior. I've spent 100K and I'm stuck with Neon-style window switches, lots of hard plastic and dubious build quality? When a Corvette's interior is better in terms of quality, you know there's a problem.
The Corvette also shows how much more practicality you can get from a sports car. It has a roomier trunk, easier ingress/egress and a more functional gauge cluster. The Nissan GT-R has a back seat. A Porsche 911 is nicer than the whole lot. And all have stability control which you can turn off if you want to live your life without a safety net. And it's not like these cars are hugely deficient in terms of performance or fun.
I do admire our Viper. It's a blast to drive and fun to show off to friends. But if I were spending my own money, I'd get a Z06 or a GT-R on the lower end or a 911 GT3 or Audi R8 on the higher end.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor