Used 2006 Dodge Viper
- Neck-straining acceleration, racecar-caliber brakes, track-ready suspension, decent ergonomics for a supercar, exclusivity of limited production.
- No traction control or side airbags, too extreme and impractical to be a daily driver, awkward shifter, exploiting its capabilities requires elevated driver skills.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Still the king of speed, the Viper has softened some of its rough edges without losing its unique character in the process.
Saying a Dodge Viper looks "too wild" is like saying the American flag looks too patriotic. In both cases, it would be impossible for the appearance of said items to overachieve its intended purpose. The American flag is an unmitigated symbol of our patriotism, and the Dodge Viper is likewise symbolic of uncompromised automotive performance.
At least that was its original mission when it arrived in showrooms back in 1992 as a targa-style roadster sporting a 400-horsepower V10 under its cartoonishly long hood. All that tail-wagging power and a lack of electronic driving aids such as traction control and ABS made the Viper a supercar that didn't suffer fools gladly. Eventually, "luxuries" such as real windows (that replaced the clear vinyl side curtains) and ABS made their way into the Viper roadster. But still, the Dodge car was obnoxiously loud and fast, the way fans liked it. The 2003 model year saw a full redesign of Chrysler's icon. Sure, the 1996 release of the Viper GTS coupe was a major upgrade for the line (including many simultaneous improvements to the original RT/10 model), but, essentially, it had been the same car for close to a decade.
The Viper coupe has returned for 2006, featuring the previous coupe's "double bubble" roof and dramatic rear styling. The roadster is a true convertible, with a top that folds down all the way, as opposed to the soft targa panel of the previous RT/10. An astounding amount of power is offered -- 510 horsepower and 535 pound-feet of torque, delivered over a broad range. To handle the V10's immense output, there is a beefed-up transmission and massive brakes. Compared to its predecessor, the 2006 Dodge Viper has a stiffer chassis (with a 31-percent increase in torsional rigidity), a longer wheelbase and a revised suspension, all of which give the car greater predictability when driven at its limit.
Some die-hard Viper fans feel that the current Viper is too refined -- well, compared to the old beast. But compared to the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06, the Viper still strikes us as a crude, blunt instrument. In our "American Exotics" comparison test, the Dodge was beaten by the Chevy in nearly every measurable area of performance, as well as in those that couldn't be measured, such as overall enjoyment and usability. Yes, the Viper has a certain visceral (and visual) charm about it, but savvy enthusiasts should drive a Z06 before making a full commitment.
Trim levels & features
The Dodge Viper comes as a two-seat coupe and roadster. Standard equipment includes racing-style seats; power-adjustable pedals; full instrumentation; power windows, locks and mirrors; tilt steering; keyless entry; and a seven-speaker, 300-watt audio system with an in-dash six-disc changer. The wheels and tires are massive: 18-inch forged-alloy wheels in front, 19s at the rear, clad in Michelin run-flat tires, sized 275/35ZR-18 front and 345/30ZR-19 rear. The Brembo brakes feature massive 14-inch ventilated discs at all four corners.
Performance & mpg
An 8.3-liter (505-cubic-inch) V10 engine sports heroic output numbers: 510 horsepower and 535 pound-feet of torque. The power is transferred to the fat rear tires via a Tremec six-speed manual transmission and a standard limited-slip differential. Its performance numbers are equally impressive, as the Dodge Viper is able to reach 60 mph in just 4 seconds and run the quarter-mile is 12 seconds flat.
Safety equipment doesn't go beyond the basics on the Dodge Viper. There are no side airbags, nor is there traction or stability control. Massive four-wheel antilock disc brakes assure rapid stops and a passenger-side airbag cutoff switch makes it feasible for small children to ride along in a pinch.
The 2006 Dodge Viper is one of the fastest production cars in the world. Its 510-horsepower V10 pushes it to triple-digit speeds in the blink of an eye and it doesn't stop there. Massive rear tires make fast starts easier than you might think, although the shifter is a bit awkward so concentration is required to hit the gates just right. Pushing this Dodge car to the limit still requires the skill of a seasoned driver, but even rookie pilots will admire the car's unbelievable abilities. Ultraquick steering, racing-style seats and powerful Brembo brakes add to the racecarlike feel. It's not comfortable enough to be used as an everyday driver, but for those who can afford to have it on the side, the Dodge Viper is a supercar that answers to nothing.
Although the cockpit was improved with 2003's revamping, it still feels like a Viper inside, except with build and materials quality more befitting an $80,000 car. A large center-mounted tachometer sits next to a 220-mph speedometer. Additional gauges reside between the speedometer and center console, angled toward the driver. Pedals, which are power-adjustable, are placed directly in front of the driver, and there's also a dead pedal. Seat comfort is surprisingly good and the controls are user-friendly; there's even a real center console storage compartment (but no cupholders, as specifically requested by Viper owners). The audio system has a fully integrated head unit, complete with an in-dash six-disc CD changer. Adding to the racecar feel is a red starter button that's used to fire the beast's V10 engine to life.
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I still have nightmares, and I wake up laughing.
Snaking, braking and shaking my head through the 2.2 miles and 11 turns of California's Laguna Seca raceway is just about the surest way I know of to keep my ADHD under control. And driving a 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe around Laguna Seca pretty much scares up 1,000 percent of your concentration. And to be honest, fun doesn't get any more fun than this.
It's especially true that the $83,995 Viper SRT-10 can only really show off its best stuff at a track. The rest of the SRT (for Street Racing Technology — they're the Chrysler Group's in-house performance-tuning nuts) lineup is a blast on the track, but you can also approach their speeding, sticking and stopping limits on your favorite twisty two-lane stretch of public pavement. In everything from the super-Neon known as the SRT-4 to the Charger SRT-8 to the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8, driving at ten-tenths is something you can flirt with. Not so with the Viper SRT-10 Coupe, it's got the same eerie "racecar-for-the-street" outlaw aura that the Ferrari F40 had. No flirting here, only commitment.
Torquing the Torque
That divine commitment starts with the Viper Coupe's showpiece: an aluminum-block 8.3-liter, V10 torque machine. The engine's 510 horsepower recommends it highly, but now it's got 535 pound-feet of pure accelerative torque — the lion's share of which is on tap from as low as 1,500 rpm — that inspires the rear-drive Viper to swallow up straights quicker than anything I've ever driven. Five hundred thirty-five lb-ft of torque. I think that that's enough thrust to throw the planet off of its axis, but I'm not entirely sure. It feels like it, though.
Sifting such ungodly power through the heavy-duty six-speed manual gearbox, with the engine's 10 cylinders sounding like a construction crew speed-hammering overtime at the Gates of Hell, makes it easy to believe SRT's claims of a 0-60 of under 4 seconds and a quarter-mile time in the low 12s.
Checking in at the corners is a lightweight, but beefy, aluminum suspension setup of double wishbones all around, front and rear antiroll bars, and coil-over shocks. And like nearly everything else about the Viper, the wheels and tires are massive: 18-inch forged-alloy wheels in front, 19s at the rear, clad in Michelin run-flat tires, sized — get this — 275/35ZR-18 (front) and 345/30ZR-19 (rear).
It is in this handling arena, that the Viper SRT-10 Coupe acts most like a racecar. It's either on or off, big-league style, with little margin to play with. If you insist on playing tail-out like Gurney or Villeneuve, low- and moderate-speed corners do afford you some throttle-on mitigation thanks to a speed-sensing Dana limited-slip differential. A Viper that snaps away at high speed, however, is pretty much a bad idea no matter what your last name is.
Extra-massive Brembo brakes — 14-inch ventilated discs at all four corners, with dual-opposing calipers at each wheel — suck speed away from the heavy coupe so quickly, you can feel the mass trying to pull free of the bounds of gravity. And the pedal feel is racecar solid, with short travel and immediate, positive response.
The Crowning Achievement
Let's take a moment now, turning our thoughts to the "coupe" part of the Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe. As a convertible, the Viper is a gnashing, angry snarl. But the SRT-10 Coupe's fixed "double-bubble" roof, like that of the Viper GTS Coupe that preceded it, finishes the design. Now, from the Viper's louvered, 10-acre hood to its kick-up rear spoiler and shrouded, wraparound taillights, nothing breaks up the scary, sexy lines formed in composite and steel.
From Where I Sit
The only thing diminutive about the Viper Coupe is its two-seat interior. The topless Viper seemed more accommodating because it offered all the headroom in the universe. The coupe closes that option down. The long-legged especially, will need to adjust the super-supportive form-fitting seats to find an acceptable headroom/legroom balance point. The pedals are set slightly left of center, and they're tightly grouped, so wear your thinnest pair of driving shoes. How tight was it in the footbox? There were times I swore the brake and accelerator were stacked right on top of one another. Made for awesome heel-and-toe work when I got used to it, however.
There was no sweat getting used to the Viper's seats and steering wheel — both were thick, grippy and leather-wrapped. And staring dead-on into the huge center tachometer reminds you why you came here, as do the 220-mph speedo and the red pushbutton starter.
The Last Lap
Laguna Seca never stood a chance. To thread the SRT-10 Coupe through the track's hairpins, uphill/downhill sweepers, and the infamous "Corkscrew," is to turn your adrenaline tap wide open. When you nail a lap, you feel perfect; and when you duff one, you feel like a donkey. The 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe punctuates those feelings, and really brings them home, with its race-bred mechanicals and track-trued specs.
I still have nightmares, and I still wake up laughing.
Used 2006 Dodge Viper Overview
The Used 2006 Dodge Viper is offered in the following submodels: Viper Coupe, Viper Convertible. Available styles include SRT-10 2dr Convertible (8.3L 10cyl 6M), and SRT-10 2dr Coupe (8.3L 10cyl 6M).
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Dodge Viper?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.