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.
Corner Worker 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.
Is the 2006 Dodge Viper a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2006 Dodge Viper and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2006 Viper featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2006 Dodge Viper? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2006 Dodge Viper and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2006 Viper 4.9 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2006 Viper.
Review When first looking at it, it seems to be too wild. I never expected it to be very pleasant and smooth, but it is very, very comfortable as far as the shifter and the way the angles of mechanisms are placed. It has a very nice smooth tone to its speed. The cornering is excellent. I used to have an M3, never felt happy with it, now I am very happy with my Viper. I haven't come across one like my car. It is fast. I went up over 60 miles per hour just in second gear. The critics are wrong, maybe they are too old to drive this beast of the road
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
What options are available on the 2006 Dodge Viper?
Available Dodge Viper 2006 Submodel Types: Convertible, Coupe
Available Trims: SRT-10, RT/10, GTS
Exterior Colors: Viper Black Clearcoat, Bright White, Deep Sapphire Blue/Blue HT, Graphite Metallic Clearcoat, Viper Red / Bright Silver, Viper White Clearcoat
Interior Colors: Black, Black leather/suede, Black/Black, Black/Natural Tan leather/suede, Cognac