If you feel the need for American speed, there are two options that stand out from the pack: the Chevy Corvette Stingray and the SRT Viper.
There are plenty of very fast muscle cars that would like to contend with these two, but when it comes to track-carving capability and sheer on-road prowess, the heavier, lazier muscle cars can't compete with these purpose-built super sports cars.
But how do you choose between them? The Corvette Stingray is brand-new, offers 455 horsepower, and brilliant handling, for starting price around $52,000. The SRT Viper is much more powerful at 640 horsepower, but it's also much more expensive, up to $101,309 for the 2014 model year.
The price and the power aren't the only differences between the Viper and the Stingray, however.
The Viper is bred from genes that fall much closer to the racing branch of the tree than the Corvette's. That comes across in its on-track performance, which is brilliant, but also tricky. With 640 horsepower on tap from its 8.4-liter V-10 engine, even the new advanced performance-oriented traction and stability controls can't always keep up. There's massive grip and stopping power, but there's also a tendency to twitch and squirm at the limit that can be unnerving at speeds well over 100 mph.
On the street, the Viper's race-bred genes come through too, though in a more unwelcome way. The cockpit is immensely refined from previous versions of the Viper, with quality materials and attractive, modern design--but it's also loud, low, and riding on a stiffly sprung chassis. Viper GTS models get an adaptive suspension that helps balance the street ride quality, but still tends toward the firm over the
The Corvette's street-first approach makes it a much quieter and more comfortable daily driver, and the updates for the seventh generation of the car push it firmly into the luxury class it has long sought to join. A cleanly laid-out and well-upholstered interior, even in base models, is nearly the equal of the Vipers, and on equal footing when optioned up with available trim and equipment upgrades. With the optional magneto-rheological (MR) dampers, the ride quality ranges from comfortable to track-ready at the touch of a button.
Otherwise, the cabins of the Viper and Stingray are very similar: two low-slung, well-bolstered sport bucket seats offer good head, shoulder, and leg room, by sports car standards. The driving position for both cars is similar, though the Viper is only available with a chunky six-speed manual transmission, while the Stingray offers an optional six-speed automatic to complement its seven-speed manual transmission. Each even offers enough cargo area for a long weekend jaunt for two.
Performance is surprisingly similar in some regards, despite the 185-horsepower difference. The Viper hits 60 mph from a stop in the low-three-second range, while the Corvette gets there in 3.8 seconds. That's a few more ticks of the stop watch, but in the real world, both are blindingly quick. Top speed for the Stingray hasn't been established yet, while the Viper's is known, at 206 mph. The Stingray will likely be close behind, as previous Corvettes have nudged the 200-mph mark with similar power levels.
Despite the Corvette's more street-oriented design thesis, the car is quite capable on track, especially when fitted with the available Z51 package, which upgrades the suspension and electronic control unit tuning.
On the styling front, the Viper is perhaps the more audacious of the two, though that could come down to individual preference; the Viper's lines are more curvaceous and organic, while the Corvette Stingray's look is sharp, edgy, and slightly futuristic.
Gas mileage is one major point of contrast. The SRT Viper's monstrous horsepower output comes at a cost, with EPA ratings of just 12 mpg city and 19 mpg highway for a combined 15 mpg. The Chevy Corvette Stingray is much more efficient, at 17 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with the seven-speed manual transmission. The automatic loses 1 mpg across the board.
For a deeper dive into what makes each of these super-performance sports cars tick, see our by-the-numbers comparison below, and click the model names to read the full reviews.
|2014 Chevrolet Corvette
||2014 Dodge SRT Viper
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray sets a new benchmark for value among well-equipped, comfortable, high-performance sports cars.
The 2014 SRT Viper trades many of its rough edges for refined capability, but it's still a gruff, focused supercar.
|Read moreSharp and edgy, the new Stingray takes Corvette themes into the 21st century. ||Read moreThe 2014 SRT Viper bold and brash, but it's also modern and race-inspired--and it's up to you to love or hate it. |
|Read moreIf this is the base Corvette, we're not sure we need a Z06--this is a seriously fast, fun-to-drive car. ||Read moreIncredible grip, acceleration, and cornering ability mark the SRT Viper as more than a mere brute. |
|Read moreEvery weakness of the C6 Corvette's interior has become a strength for the 2014 Stingray. ||Read moreWhile a vast improvement over past Vipers, the 2014's interior is still loud and compact. |
|Read moreNot yet tested by the IIHS and NHTSA, the Corvette nonetheless offers a strong set of standard safety features. ||Read moreThe 2014 SRT Viper hasn't been crash-tested, and doesn't offer side airbags, but a rearview camera is standard. |
|Read moreEven base-model 2014 Corvette Stingrays are well-equipped, but there are a number of upgrades for the luxury- or technology-minded. ||Read moreHigh-res screens in the instrument panel and Uconnect center display are just the tip of the new Viper's features. |
|Read moreIt's no hybrid, but considering its performance, the 2014 Corvette Stingray is one of the greenest cars available. ||Read moreThe 2014 SRT Viper is a gas guzzler, and pays the price for it--literally. |
|Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway|
|Front Leg Room (in)
|Second Leg Room (in)
Read Full Specs