From its groundbreaking performance to its unapologetic road manners, the American-built 2014 SRT Viper is truly a supercar for the ages. Available only as a 2-door coupe, the SRT Viper brings to the table a vicious 640-horsepower naturally aspirated V10, astronomical handling limits, and a top speed of 206 mph. To put it another way, the Viper is perfectly outrageous.
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If you’re willing to give up sophistication and prestige for raw performance in your next supercar, the 2014 SRT Viper is worth a test drive. Louder than a jackhammer, unforgiving as a hangman’s knot, and armed with the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in the world, the SRT Viper is also a compelling proposition for those who believe too much is never enough.
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Most modern supercars now come standard with an automatic gearbox or offer one as an option. Apparently the SRT Viper didn’t get the memo. What’s more, the supercharged Ford GT500 produces more horsepower than the Viper and costs roughly half the price.
For 2014, a new limited-edition Viper TA joins the lineup as the most intense street-legal Viper ever produced. SRT plans to build only 33 examples of the TA – which stands for Time Attack – all done in Crusher Orange paint and optimized to showcase the car's formidable potential on a racetrack.
The Viper’s 2-seat cabin remains tight (some optimistic types might dub it “cozy”) but is a major step up from past models. Just getting yourself into the cabin still requires some dexterity, as you must lift your legs over the wide doorsill and then plunk your torso into the low seat. Once hunkered in, the large, 8.4-inch color touch screen in the middle of the dash acts as Mission Control for the Uconnect system. Heavily bolstered seats provide plenty of lateral support to hold you in place during enthusiastic driving, but we found them to be fairly uncomfortable for long trips. When it comes to materials, we favor the leather-lined cockpit of higher-end GTS versions – and their extra 40 pounds of sound insulation.
A long hood, deep side sills and muscular curves help make the 2014 SRT Viper appear menacing even when parked. The Viper is just an extraordinary looking car that struts its muscle at every opportunity. Those six big air extractors atop the carbon fiber hood? Consider that the automotive version of the “six pack.” Those menacing LED light treatments up front mimic snake eyes, and the exhaust outlets spit their fury not from the back, but – in Viper tradition – from the sides. The Viper’s overall length is deceiving. The hood makes this coupe appear long, but at 175.7 inches, the Viper is actually an inch shorter than a Porsche 911.
This 2nd-generation Viper is meant to be more civilized, and it is. But that’s only relative to its past incarnations, the first of which didn’t even have side windows. The 2014 Viper is indeed more comfortable and amenity-laden than its predecessors, but it’s still basically a street-legal racecar. And what makes it work as a track car hinders it as an ordinary one. The interior is tight, visibility is limited, the ride is rough, and there’s the constant roar of the engine and tires. Cargo space, too, is stingy, so you’ll have to plan your shopping trip accordingly.
But the Viper’s performance is simply exhilarating. That massive, naturally aspirated engine just gives and gives, and those wide tires help the Viper cling to the road. We found the 6-speed manual transmission a bit notchy but enjoyed its short throws. And the stability-control system works just as intended, letting you enjoy a slide before it kicks in to tame the tail. As a daily driver the Viper is a compromise, but for jaunts on winding roads or at the track, it’s a blast. Be forewarned, though: The Viper’s violent power delivery and quick steering ratio can make it handful to drive – even for experienced drivers.
Prices for the 2014 SRT Viper start around $102,000 and stretch to more than $140,000 for a fully-equipped GTS model. The Corvette ZR1, by comparison, opens at just over $113,000, while the Audi R8 V10 and forthcoming Porsche 911 Turbo start in the mid-$150,000 range. Looking for budget-friendly bragging rights? The 662-horsepower Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 carries a fully-loaded sticker price of $68,000. Before heading to the dealership, be sure to check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the SRT Viper. On the resale end of the pricing spectrum, the 2014 Viper is expected to retain below average residual values.
The 2014 SRT Viper is available in two trim levels: Base and GTS. For a starting price of around $102,000, the Viper includes push-button start, bi-xenon headlights (xenon illumination for the high and low beam), a tilt-only steering wheel, automatic climate control, Brembo performance brakes, and a 9-speaker audio system linked to an 8.4-inch touch screen. The high-end GTS model adds a power driver’s seat, unique hood and wheel designs, 4-mode stability control, navigation with real-time traffic, a backup camera, leather seats with Alcantara inserts, and a 12-speaker harman/kardon sound system. Safety equipment consists of driver and front-passenger airbags (side curtain and side airbags are not offered), emergency services such as roadside assistance and automatic crash notification via Uconnect telematics, and the Viper’s electronic safety net, stability control.
Available upgrades for both the base Viper and GTS include interior and exterior carbon fiber accents, an Advanced Aerodynamics Package with a 2-piece front splitter and rear spoiler for increased downforce at high speeds, and a premium 18-speaker harman/kardon audio system with Logic 7 surround sound. Designed for hardcore track enthusiasts, the SRT Track Package adds 2-piece brake rotors for better heat dissipation and lightweight wheels wrapped in softer-compound tires. A $7,500 Laguna Interior Package that wraps most of the cabin in high-quality Laguna leather is available on GTS models. And like most exotics, Viper buyers can choose from a dizzying array of interior and exterior colors to suit their particular tastes.
The Viper’s heart is also its headline. As it should be. This is what enables the Viper to rocket from 0 to 60 mph in the low 3-second range and propels it to a top speed of 206 mph. More than an engine, this is an adrenaline factory – and its product output corresponds with your right-foot travel.
The SRT Viper is meant for driving, not fidgeting with electronics. Fortunately, the Viper’s Uconnect system is perhaps the most user-friendly infotainment platform available. From its massive 8.4-inch touch screen to its conversational voice-recognition software, Uconnect is the new standard in vehicle connectivity.
Under the Hood
Just one engine is offered in the 2014 Viper, and it’s a monster: a naturally aspirated (not supercharged or turbocharged) 8.4-liter V10 that sends up to 640 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. A 6-speed manual is the sole transmission. Although high amounts of torque call for a heavy-duty pressure plate, the clutch pedal is surprisingly light and engages beautifully. Fuel economy, on the other hand, is abysmal at best. But as they say in the world of supercars, you have to pay to play.
640 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
600 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg
Between minivans, hybrids and the intensifying domestication of sports cars, one might suppose the automotive industry has gone soft. Enter the 2014 SRT Viper, the antithesis of well-mannered automobiles. On public roads, the Viper’s raucous nature and lack of creature comforts make it one of the least refined supercars on the market, but in a way, that’s part of the appeal. The Viper’s main attraction is its 640-horsepower naturally aspirated V10, which, combined with wide gear ratios and wind-cheating bodywork, enables a dash to 60 mph in about three seconds and a top speed of 206 mph. Although slightly more livable than previous iterations, the 2014 Viper is not for everyone. That said, the similarly priced Corvette ZR1, Nissan GT-R and Aston Martin Vantage deserve a look.