- Bold, brash styling
- Formidable power
- Buttoned-down handling
- Blindingly fast
- Doesn't like driving slowly
- Uncivilized interior
- Loud and rough driving experience
Though by no means a pick for daily driving, the 2009 Dodge Viper is a fantastic-looking sportscar with winning performance.
The 2009 Dodge Viper has a lot to offer sportscar fanatics. With harsher CO2 and fuel economy regulations coming into play, as well as uncertain corporate futures, however, it may not be long for this world.
The Viper has always been more of a morale-booster than a practical ride—it’s been the stuff of dreams for countless teenagers over the years. Its long, curvy hood and bubble-shaped roofline still look the part. Changes to the Viper's outward appearance are minor overall, as the vehicle continues to benefit from a slight redesign in 2008. At that time, it got a larger hood scoop for better induction and aggressive-looking louvers for improved cooling.
Just last year, for 2008, the Viper’s V-10 engine was pushed out to a super-sized 8.4 liters, for 600 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque; it trimmed the 0-60-mph time to well under 4 seconds. For 2009, the Dana rear axle of the Dodge Viper picks up a new speed-sensing, limited-slip differential for better traction. To match the engine, the 2009 Dodge Viper has a new six-speed manual with a wider range of ratios, improved synchros, and reduced shift-knob travel.
Thanks to Brembo dual opposing-piston calipers front and back, the 2009 Dodge Viper can now brake from 60 mph to a stop in less than 100 feet, and go from zero to 100 and back to zero in just over 12 seconds.
While those numbers are all amazing, the Viper isn’t as much of a thrill to drive in traffic on the daily commute. The gearbox, which feels just right on the track, comes across as stiff and somewhat clunky on the street; the ratios of the gearbox are also tall, meaning that when you're driving around your neighborhood, you'll probably be in second gear as opposed to trolling streets in fourth as you might in more mundane cars. The big V-10, which smoothes out and develops an off-beat growl on hard acceleration, is lumpy at partial throttle, adding to the rough experience when moving slowly with traffic. On the street, the Viper's suspension feels stiff and bouncy, but at the track, these settings enable the chassis to put all of the Viper's power to the pavement. Catch the theme? Drive the 2009 Dodge Viper daily and you’ll need a chiropractor, but it sure is fun for track day.
The Dodge Viper offers more finishes and customization options than it did just a few years ago. Previously, Vipers came in little more than basic black inside, with a kit-car feel brought on by parts-bin components and non-matching surfaces.
Assembly continues at the Chrysler Group's Conner Avenue assembly plant, appropriately located in the heart of Detroit. The plant builds three versions of the 2009 Dodge Viper SRT10: a convertible roadster, a coupe, and a fully track-ready ACR Coupe edition that is race prepared.