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One Month Until The Poison Sets In!

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On: Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 9:29AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


One Month Until The Poison Sets In!

It's only a month away. A mere flip of the calendar, and once again anyone with the credit and/or the cash can wander down the their local Dodge dealership and drive off in the newest version of arguably the most visceral American sports car to come off an assembly line since the Shelby Cobra. That's right, the fifth-generation Viper is only a few short weeks away from showroom floors. Now, that isn't necessarily breaking news, but the newest Viper does give us a headline that may not have been its originally intended purpose. But more on that later…

Before we get to what the Viper brings to the table on a symbolic level, let us deal with what it brings on a tangible level. Beginning from the inside out, at first glance, it almost seems as if the SRT Viper may have gotten soft -- what, with a 12-speaker Harmon/Kardon stereo, sound-deadening material, push button ignition, power adjustable leather seats, and even ... eep ... cruise control! But as you move out from the cockpit (ignoring the stability, traction, and launch control features of course), slowly the fangs of this beast become more and more apparent.

All in all, the Viper is simply a better car than the one it replaces. Torsional rigidity is up 50%, while weight is down by more than 125 pounds. A fifth of that weight savings comes from the putting the big 8.4-liter V10 on a diet. Lighter sodium-filled exhaust valves, forged pistons, a higher-flowing (and lighter) composite intake, as well as an aluminum flywheel all help contribute to the scaled-back scale reading. Those engine mods also give the 5th Gen a bump in power -- up to a sickening 640 horsepower and an even (and equally mind-melding) 600 pound-feet of torque (both specs up 40 of their respective units from the last generation Viper). To help put all that power to the ground (aside from the mechanical nannies of course), the Viper rides on larger, yet lighter aluminum wheels that are shod in 295/30ZR-18 front and steam-roller-like 355/30ZR-19 rear Pirelli P Zero rubber.

The chassis is a compilation of so many precious materials that you could start an IRA. Aluminum, carbon fiber, and high grade steel all combine to help the Viper stay strong through the corners. Of course, a wider track and a retuned suspension also give a little assistance to the improved performance as well. Though performance numbers are not yet available, we can expect the Fifth Gen to outgun the Fourth Gen's performance, which was nothing short of spectacular -- 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds, 0-100 mph in 7.6 seconds, and a quarter mile trap of 10.92 seconds at 127.79 mph, with a top speed of over 200 mph. So even if the new Viper simply matches the old Viper's numbers, it will still be unbelievable.

But the newest Viper symbolizes more than just exemplary American performance. In a world where it seems like around every corner, another car can now be plugged in, or recharged and is heralded as the savior of the Earth, the SRT Viper is a RECON Marine in a gym full of vegans. It is a reminder that not everyone has lost their mind in the race to make the internal combustion engine extinct, and that some red-blooded Americans still care enough about making a car that can force a smile across your face no matter what -- even if it is made the "old-fashioned way". So for making the Viper for the fifth time, allow us to say 'thank you' to you Chrysler folks. And for making the Viper a Viper, and not a battery-operated, hydro-powered, or solar-powered fake version of the baddest snake to slither off a production line in 50 years, allow us again to say and even more heartfelt 'thank you'. Even if we don't have the $99,000 to put down just yet, it is just nice to know if we did, there is still a car worth the money out there, and it's only a month away!


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