Viper V-10 Debuts in Dodge Challenger Concept

October 15, 2008
In what promises to be a bragging-rights, smoky burnout extravaganza, Chrysler today announces an all-aluminum 8.4-liter V-10 under the hood of its '09 Dodge Challenger SRT10 Concept headed to this year's SEMA. The engine is the same enthusiastic motivator for the brute-force Viper, and in Challenger guise it supplies 600 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

This kind of fire-breathing concept is quite apropos for SEMA's miles and miles of bored-and-stroked bliss, and a wonderful relief (if guilty pleasure) for us car guys and gals who respect hybrids and E-REVs while pining for the horsepower/cubic inch wars of yore. But we hope Dodge has done something to remedy the V-10's strange, reedy exhaust note, which will sound downright puny next to the glorious, burbling 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 found in the Challenger SRT8. Power is great, but an appropriately ferocious soundtrack makes the experience complete.

Says Dodge: "this new halo concept delivers the well-known SRT credo of benchmark performance." The Challenger already looked good; this version looks like it traveled from straight from the past just to pick a fight with the hi-po versions of the upcoming 2010 Chevy Camaro and current Ford Mustang. Bathed mostly in Tornado Red paint, the SRT10 also features a lightweight carbon-fiber deck lid with the flared nostrils of Dodge's famous "shaker hood," which the company says is a nod to the '70 HEMI Cuda. A brake upgrade and Bilstein shocks all the way around complete the mechanical tweaks. Inside, sport seats, carbon-fiber accents, and (groan) a red engine start button are present. Remind us again what was wrong with firing up eight-plus liters of engine with a satisfying twist of the ignition key?

This concept looks mean, promises to deliver on the track, and is a welcome mechanical splurge from automakers who, in tough times, have resorted to huge dubs and blinged-out designers to lend cred to their vehicles (Toyota Venza SportLux, anyone?). But please, Dodge, figure out a way to add some rumble to that exhaust.--Colin Mathews

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