Given the number of times the Viper has escaped being given the ax, perhaps it should have been named after some ferocious cat. Sadly, the 2017 Dodge Viper SRT supercar has no more reprieves and this year the manufacturer will pull the plug on one of the greatest V10-powered beasts ever to run on four wheels.
You'll Like The 2017 Dodge Viper If...
If you’re looking for a supercar that is bold, loud and uniquely American, the Dodge Viper SRT for 2017 is one step up from American muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro SS, Ford Mustang GT and Dodge Challenger SRT 396. The $90,000 starting price might be the only deterrent.
You May Not Like The 2017 Dodge Viper If...
If you’re serious about speed, handling, technology and even fuel economy, there are any number of exotics that can outperform the Viper in almost every category. The less expensive Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is one example, as is the Porsche 911 Carrera.
Fiat Chrysler has announced this will be the final year for the Viper. Accordingly, FCA will offer a series of special-edition 2017 Dodge Vipers: 1:28 Edition ACR, VooDoo II ACR, Snakeskin Edition GTC, GTS-R Commemorative and Snakeskin ACR, all of which reportedly have already sold out.
The 2017 Dodge Viper's 2-passenger cockpit is a cozy place, and we're being euphemistic about that word. Once settled, the seats do a commendable job keeping you in place as you drive with glee but can become uncomfortable during longer commutes. The steering wheel only tilts and doesn't telescope. Thankfully, the pedals are power-adjustable. GT and GTS models have a premium touch thanks to leather seats and an Alcantara headliner in the latter. Just getting into the Viper over the wide sills requires surprising dexterity, even when those sills haven't been heated to cooking temperatures by the side-mounted exhaust pipes.
The Viper SRT's long, curved nose sports six vents on the hood -- think of them as a "six-pack" -- and the hood shakes just a bit as the car's V10 engine idles. The fastback shape looks sinister in a majestic way. The huge scoops behind the front fenders are big enough to stick your arm through, and the twin-bubble dome over the cockpit is a throwback to race cars of days past. Yet, despite its apparent length, the Viper is smaller than you think; at 175.7 inches, the Viper is actually shorter than a Porsche 911.
As smooth as it looks, the driving experience behind the wheel of Dodge’s 2017 Viper SRT is anything but relaxing. The engine is loud, the steering laborious and the acceleration is off the charts, requiring 100 percent of the driver’s attention. The 6-speed manual is tight, but a bit crude, which seems fitting. It funnels a seemingly endless stream of torque to the rear wheels, launching the Viper to 60 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds. A Bilstein-designed adjustable-shock setup allows for street and track settings, accompanied by a 5-mode electronic stability-control system. The systems do help with ride and handling, but are no match for the Magnetic Selective Ride Control on the Corvette. The 2017 Dodge Viper is a thrilling track performer, but on the streets its harsh ride, snug cabin, poor visibility and loud cabin can quickly grow tiring.
For 2017, a base Viper’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $93,000 including destination charge and $2,600 gas-guzzler tax. The plusher Viper GTS jumps to over $112,000 and the track-oriented Viper ACR starts over $120,000. You can get more power and performance for less money in the Corvette Z06, and a range of other performance cars such as the Porsche 911, Nissan GT-R and Aston Martin Vantage can be had for less or near the Viper's price. But we get it: If you're seriously contemplating a Viper, only this Mopar monster will do. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. Down the road, the Dodge Viper's resale value is expected to be below average.
What does $90,000-plus buy you in a 2017 Dodge Viper SRT aside from the intangible attention you'll draw everywhere you go? There's that V10 engine, of course, and all the performance bits inherent to every Viper. Standard amenities are far lusher than previous generations and include an 8.4-inch Uconnect touch-screen system with navigation, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, 12-speaker harman/kardon audio system, cruise control, rearview camera (you'll need it), universal garage-door opener and automatic climate control.
If you're getting the base Dodge Viper, the most important upgrades are the TA packages, which essentially turn your Viper into a race car with special tires, suspension upgrades and other components. Viper GT buyers get leather seats with Alcantara inserts, or they can upgrade to sport bucket seats. GT models also get a 2-mode suspension and a power driver's seat. The Dodge Viper GTS features special "Venom" polished aluminum wheels and a standard 18-speaker audio system. The Viper ACR Coupe adds performance elements (aero wing, carbon-ceramic brakes), and, as a minimalist measure, a 3-speaker audio system and manual-adjust seats.
Beneath that long, seductive hood resides an 8.4-liter engine, a 10-cylinder titan that has been the Viper’s calling card since its inception. With 0-60-mph times in the low 3-second range and a top speed of 206 mph, the Viper’s monster motor represents everything Detroit loves and Greenpeace hates.
While the 2017 Dodge Viper SRT may not have the most sophisticated cockpit, there is one shining star worth noting: the UConnect infotainment system. With its bright 8.4-inch color touch screen, big icons and speedy response time, it remains one of the best factory systems in any car at any price.
Under the Hood
One engine remains for the 2017 Dodge Viper SRT: an 8.4-liter V10 pumping out a whopping 645 horsepower to the rear wheels. There's no supercharger, no turbocharger, just 10 pistons furiously pumping up and down. It sends that power, along with the 600 lb-ft of torque, to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. That's it. No automatic, no all-wheel drive, and the only reason stability control even exists is because it's the law (the old Viper didn't have it). Despite the huge torque loads, the Viper's clutch is surprisingly light and progressive. While the shifter isn't smooth, it's easy enough to use once you get used to its notchy engagement. However, the Viper drinks premium gasoline with a seemingly unquenchable thirst.
645 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
600 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/21 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
Given the number of times the Viper has escaped being given the ax, perhaps it should have been named after some ferocious cat. Regrettably, the 2017 Dodge Viper SRT supercar has no more reprieves, and this year the manufacturer will pull the plug on one of the greatest V10-powered beasts ever to run on four wheels. As stunning today as it was when it debuted 25 years ago, the Viper is a purist’s machine, devoid of too many creature comforts or sophisticated suspension technologies that grace cars like the Corvette Z06 and Porsche 911. The manual-transmission-only Viper is a true driver’s car, maybe the last of a dying breed. Get one if you can, before they’re all sold out.