- Dramatic styling
- Breathtaking acceleration
- Confident handling
- Price-to-performance ratio
- Gentler manners than previous-generation Vipers
- Jurassic thirst for fuel
- Interior is nice, but still underwhelms
- Expensive for a Dodge
- Outpaced and out-finessed by the Corvette Z06
The 2017 Dodge Viper is blessed with a stunning, seductive shape. Its big-engine, rear-drive formula remains appealing, even as the Viper drives off into the sunset.
In its distant past, the Dodge Viper had a bad-boy reputation—one that it earned with delicate handling and a tendency toward copious oversteer. Even in the right hands, it was still a handful.
Over a few generations, the Viper's grown up a lot. It's become a more balanced machine, with a better interior, better tire choices, and the all-important stability and traction control that make it usable in everyday driving. That doesn't mean it's no longer a bad boy—just one with better manners.
It's still not quite as genteel as a Chevy Corvette or a Porsche 911, and for that, the Viper remains a singular choice.
The Viper ears a respectable 6.8 overall on our ratings scale thanks to its beautiful shape and superlative performance. It's a fitting tribute to the car that has been around for so long. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The current Viper dates back to the 2013 model year, and 2017 will be the car's last model year. To commemorate the end of production, as well as the car's 25th anniversary, Dodge has introduced a series of six special edition models.
The special edition models include:
Viper 1:28 Edition ACR: This model pays tribute to the current ACR's lap record of 1:28.64 at Laguna Seca Raceway. Already sold out, each of the 28 cars features a black exterior, a painted rear wing, red ACR stripes, an aero package, and carbon-ceramic brakes. All 28 models sold in 40 minutes, according to Dodge.
Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR: This special edition sports the color scheme from the 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition. It wears pearl white paint, blue pearl GTS stripes, an aero package, and carbon-ceramic brakes. All 100 units sold out within a few days of its release.
Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR: Modeled after the the 2010 VooDoo edition, this Viper features black paint with a graphite metallic ACR driver's stripe and a red tracer outline, an aero package, and carbon-ceramic brakes. All 31 units sold out in a few hours.
Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC: Inspired by the 2010 Snakeskin ACR, this Viper features green paint with a patterned SRT stripe, an aero package, and a black interior. All 25 were sold almost immediately.
Viper Snakeskin ACR Edition: Also inspired by the 2010 Snakeskin ACR, this model is painted Snakeskin Green with a custom snakeskin-patterned stripe. It comes with the Extreme Aero Package, carbon ceramic brakes, a serialized instrument panel Snakeskin badge, and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and has the customer's name printed above the driver’s side door. A total of 31 are offered, just like in 2010. Those models will go on sale in mid July.
Dodge Dealer Edition ACR: Sold only at two of the top-selling Viper dealers—in Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke, Illinois—this Viper features a white exterior with a competition blue racing stripe, an Adrenaline Red driver stripe, carbon-ceramic brakes, and an aero package. Those editions were sold in roughly five days.
Other than the special edition models, the Viper gets no updates for 2017, though the GT model is dropped.
The rest of the Viper lineup includes the base Viper SRT, the GTC, the GTS, and the track-focused ACR.
Among the Viper trim levels, there are some important handling differences that become important if you plan to drive it daily or track it instead. The base car is a basic canvas for weekend racers. The GTC and GTS models get adaptive dampers and upgraded electronic controls that make them more livable for everyday driving. The ACR model, which was added for the 2016 model year, features Bilstein coil-over racing shocks, carbon-ceramic brakes, and Kumho Ecsta tires. It is also offered with an aero package that includes a carbon-fiber wing, diffuser, louvered hood, and an extendable front splitter.
Pricing starts at about $90,000, including a $2,100 gas guzzler tax and a $2,495 destination charge, and ranges up close to $120,000 for an ACR.
The Viper's design is rippling with muscles, with some threatening vents and intakes scarred along its low-slung body. The menacing supercar details meet up with a cockpit that's the nicest ever installed in a Viper, with touchscreen interfaces and fragrant Ferrari-esque leather seats.
The sole source of power for the Viper remains unchanged since a 5-horsepower bump for the 2015 model year. It's a massive 8.4-liter V-10, with 645 horsepower, fed through a Tremec 6-speed manual, shuttling power to the rear wheels. The massive 600 pound-feet of torque is the most delivered by any naturally aspirated sports car on the planet. Performance is mind-bending: 0-60 mph runs take about three seconds; quarter-miles fly by in the low 11s; 0-100-0 mph takes less than 12 seconds; and top speed ranges from 177 to 206 mph, depending on how much aero is added.
The supercar game is not all about straight-line performance, however, and the Viper shines when it's time to turn, too. This generation of Viper is the first to be equipped with stability and traction control, and, fortunately, they don't kill the fun. In fact, even in full-on mode, the stability control allows for yaw and slip angles suitable to spirited track-day antics. With everything fully off, the Viper is well balanced, transitioning from entry to apex to exit with massive grip and surprising feel through the steering wheel and driver's seat. The ride quality is fair in base models, a bit better with the adjustable dampers, but never really objectionable for a sports car.
The Viper's cabin is surprisingly roomy for such a low-slung coupe. Dodge claims drivers up to 6-feet-7-inches tall should fit within its confines. There's plenty of head room and leg room for most drivers, and the seats are both comfortable and adjustable. The steering wheel and pedals also move to get the best possible fit. You'll want as much physical comfort in the Viper as possible, as it's a very noisy place to be, even cruising at low engine speeds on a smooth country road. Cargo space is fair, at 14.65 cubic feet, but the odd shape under the rear hatch means soft-sided bags will be the best bet for longer trips.
Expensive, low-volume sports cars are often skipped in the crash-testing cycle by the NHTSA and the IIHS, and the Dodge Viper is no exception. Despite the lack of crash tests, the Viper should prove as safe as most modern coupes in an accident. A backup camera is available on the base model, and standard on the GTS.
Gas mileage, as you might expect, isn't one of the Viper's primary concerns; it's rated at 15 mpg combined.