The 2014 SRT Viper (Dodge nameplate gone) is not for everyone, not only because it is financially out of reach for many people, but the feel of a 10 cylinder, 640 horsepower engine with 600 lb-ft of torque is like breaking the sound barrier or dating that bad boy in high school. The powerful Viper muscle car is not for everyone but for some it feels so good.
When I hear the word Viper I think of the Viperidae, a very dangerous snake, and since I live in the deserts of Arizona I steer clear of trails where such dangerous reptiles might appear. Did you know that the venom of the viper contains proteases? These protein-degrading enzymes subdue their prey by causing pain, necrosis, and coagulopathy while serving to immobilize the prey and ease digestion.
Well, now I know why they named this Dodge muscle car the VIPER. From the moment you sit in the driver’s seat and hear the sound of the exhaust… you’ve been bitten by the need for speed and you are left paralyzed, subdued, and unable to believe your good fortune. Knowing you have the ability to pass a Corvette ZR1 on the freeway or rev your engine while at a stoplight next to a Porsche 911 Turbo makes it worth the bite.
The 2014 model is the fifth generation of the Viper and features some outstanding changes. Obviously a New Year’s resolution, the Viper shed a good 25 pounds (wish I had) from the engine alone. The entire vehicle weighed in about 100 pounds lighter than previous models as they changed to an all-new aluminum and carbon fiber body. I would love to say that the shedding of pounds helped tremendously with fuel efficiency but the VIPER stands at 12 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. That really isn’t so bad for a 640 horsepower sports car.
As to the interior of the 2014 SRT Viper, an area that I am particularly interested in, some changes have been made. In trying to get with the times and maybe to appeal to more women, the latest Viper has a significantly more comfortable, stylish and attractive interior. I don’t want the men to get nervous here as there is a very drive-focused, cockpit-style layout to help owners enjoy getting the most out of their driving experience with minimal distraction. It’s similar to that race car “cocoon” feeling or perhaps the F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet cockpit “hug.”
Additionally, the new Viper offers driver comfort in unexpected areas. In my case, with the rapid acceleration while holding tightly on to the steering wheel, it caused me to experience white knuckles and sweaty palms. I was grateful for the extra padding to grip and perspire on.
If you are interested in every aspect of your driving experience you will be thrilled to know that all the vital information is on a seven-inch customizable instrument cluster display. This includes full time analog tachometer readout in the center to provide performance feedback, which is the Viper philosophy. I should get as much communication from my husband after his golf game as you get from the Viper cluster display. This reptile of a car is so high tech and performance driven you might as well wear a racing jumpsuit when cruising about town.
The Viper is offered in two forms; the SRT Viper and the SRT Viper GTS which offers a more refined approach at harnessing the V-10’s fury. Standard is a nine-speaker AM/FM/CD/Sirius XM stereo system with AUX/USB inputs and an SD car reader. Included as well is Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, U-connect infotainment system, LED daytime running lights and taillights, bi-xenon headlights, and 18 inch front wheels.
The GTS has all those and additional features. Now for the “serious” Viper owners there is the TA (or Track Attack) and those options include race track extras and packaged in the color “Crusher Orange.”
With safety as everyone’s concern, The Viper models come equipped with front airbags in addition to traction control and federally-mandated stability control. However, side and side-curtain airbags, which are standard fare on nearly every other new car on the market, are not available. That doesn’t worry me since there is no room for the grandchildren or the dog anyway.
The Viper isn’t for the masses but if you have $100,000 or more to spend on one of the coolest American muscle cars, I say go for it. Not only will you get the looks on the freeway and a thumb up from every teen driving a Dodge Dart and from every mommy blogger in a Caravan, but you’ll get the respect from the Lamborghini enthusiasts and ZR1 “Vette” drivers that want to race you home.
The 2014 SRT Viper is a lot of muscle car and is an adrenalin rush upon takeoff so be ready for the ride of a lifetime… you will be smitten and bitten for sure.