AutoTest - 2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    ONCE BITTEN: NO ONE WANTS AN ANTIDOTE FOR THE VIPER’S VENOM.

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    (20:34:53 June 17, 2003)

    If you're lucky enough to own a Dodge Viper, you already know the car does something to you. It seems to make you want more—as in more than one. Every owner that responded to our AutoFile survey has plunked down cash for multiple copies of the now 11-year-old car, and most garage more than one. As one owner put it, “Once you’ve been bitten, no other snake will do.”

    The Viper SRT-10 certainly makes a compelling argument to that end. With its much-vaunted 500 horsepower and 525 lb-ft of torque out of 505 cubic inches of displacement, no other car under $100K can get within spitting distance of the Viper’s numbers, and you’ll hardly need time at a track to learn how brutally the SRT-10 will perform. But for all its beastliness, what the track will tell you is how amazing the Viper comports itself.

    Our tight, 490-foot, eight-cone slalom tends to punish cars of size. Smaller, more nimble cars tend to do as well as—or better than—larger, sporty cars. For example, the Ford SVT Focus turned in a fastest 47.3-mph run, bettering the 46.0-mph run of the BMW M3. So in most cases we stick to comparing cars of like size when looking at slalom numbers.

    The Viper SRT-10 blows all of that thinking away. At 49.0 mph, the Viper has not only taken over the title of quickest through the slalom, but nothing we’ve tested even comes close. The now-relegated-to-second-best Porsche 911 Turbo only reached 48.1 mph (recently matched by the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution).

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    Sure, its massive, super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sports can take some of the credit for its superb handling, but a car of the Viper’s size and heft (75.2 inches wide, 175.6 inches long and 3357 pounds) must have the right mechanicals to keep that rubber firmly planted. And planted the Viper stays, its stiff four-wheel multilink independent suspension keeping the body almost flat around the cones. Consider, too, that the Viper pulled 0.97 gs on the skidpad, staying perfectly glued to the tarmac and producing negligible body roll. That’s not just the tires at work, folks.

    Believe it or not, it gets better: Thanks in part to the addition of a long-awaited antilock braking system, the SRT-10 requires just 109 feet to stop from 60 mph—and does so with virtually no dive. That puts the Viper into supercar territory, falling shy of the AutoFile record-holder Chevrolet Corvette Z06’s 105 feet but matching the BMW Z8 and 911 Turbo. Not bad company, to say the least.

    Given all that—not to mention its roomier interior, improved build quality, real glass backlight and sub-4.5-second 0-to-60-mph off-the-line—what’s to complain about? Not much, according to Viper owners. We did, however, note a few things.

    First, with 525 lb-ft of torque—450 of which, says Dodge, is available at 1700 rpm (barely over its 1400-rpm idle)—the SRT-10 hardly needs six gears. There’s so much torque available across the rev range that five gears would do just fine and allow 60 mph to be reached in first gear. As it is, you have to shift to second to reach 60.

    The SRT-10 also displays a bit of cowl shake, fit-and-finish is still somewhat lacking, and at full revs it’s downright loud. Not satisfying muscle-car loud, but verging on hearing-loss loud. We probably wouldn’t mind as much if it sounded good. But the V10 still roars like a UPS truck at full bore (don’t bother writing, we know you like that sound).

    Owners, on the other hand, had nothing but glowing things to say about this latest Viper, raving endlessly about its power, handling, braking, etc. Most also liked that this Viper roadster now wears a real convertible top, and many pointed out improvements in things like the stereo, climate control system and interior comfort. Somewhat surprisingly, though every respondent was a self-proclaimed Viper nut, not all were as completely bowled over by its styling as its performance.

    Given all the fanaticism, it came as little surprise that most owners said they considered no other vehicles. Said one: “I could pay less and get less or I could pay more and get less. There are no other choices.”

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    LIKES
    Big power and torque
    Even bigger brakes
    Real convertible top

    DISLIKES
    Split opinions on styling
    Only needs five gears
    Cowl shake

    OTHERS CONSIDERED
    Chevrolet Corvette Z06
    Porsche 911
    Ford SVT Mustang Cobra

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    OWNERS SAY...

    It’s solid and well put together, with super-responsive, predict-able steering. I own both a ’94 RT/10 and ’96 GTS, and this car handles nothing like the older cars, which are twitchy over bumps.
    Ivan R. Ho, via e-mail

    I considered no other car. I sold my ’79 Ferrari GTS and ’95 RT/10 to make room for this beast. It’s light-years ahead of the RT/10 and more refined than the GTS coupe. The power and torque curves are massive, and comfort has been upped.
    Rich Bontempi, Woodside, Calif.

    I own a C5 and the SRT-10 offers better braking, acceleration, handling and a more upscale interior. It costs more, but you get a more capable and better-looking ride. Plus you won’t see one every day.
    Larry Taverna, Naperville, Ill.

    This is my fourth Viper, and it’s a vast improvement over the old car, with more power, better handling, a real convertible top and braking that is as scary as the acceleration. What else could I consider? I could pay less and get less or pay more and get less. Frank Creede, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

    The new Viper is more stunning and handles much better than its predecessor. But Dodge should have pushed the performance envelope more: The Corvette and Mustang are fast enough to breathe the Viper’s exhausts; and a Mercedes-like power top would be nice.
    Lee Fletcher, Spokane, Wash.

    I impatiently waited years for this car. Chrysler engineered this rocket to be even closer to its race car siblings, with more power, better aerodynamics, a lower center of gravity and great brakes. Even with the added power, it’s more predictable and easier to drive.
    Joseph Houss, Colts Neck, N.J.

    Brutal acceleration, great handling and the best brakes anywhere. A great rear profile, too, which is all you’re going to see. I wasn’t excited about the new styling, but it grew on me (though I would lose the hood scoop).
    Dale Naffziger, Bloomington, Ill.

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    STICKER
    Base: $83,795
    As tested (includes $800 delivery and $3,000 gas-guzzler tax): $83,795
    Owners paid; average: $76,784 to $78,589; $77,774

    CHASSIS
    Body-on-frame, two-door convertible

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase (in): 98.8
    Track (in): 57.8 front, 60.9 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 175.6/75.2/47.6
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 3357/3872

    CAPACITIES
    Fuel (gal): 18.5
    Cargo (cu ft): 8.4

    ENGINE
    Front-longitudinal 8.3-liter/505-cid ohv V10
    Horsepower: 500 @ 5600 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 525 @ 4200 rpm

    Compression ratio: 9.6:1
    Fuel requirement: 91 octane

    DRIVETRAIN
    Rear-wheel drive
    Transmission: Six-speed manual
    Final drive ratio: 3.07:1

    SUSPENSION
    Front: Unequal-length upper and lower
    A-arms with coil springs, gas-charged
    adjustable shock absorbers and antiroll bar
    Rear: Unequal-length upper and lower
    A-arms with toe-control links, coil springs,
    gas-charged adjustable shock absorbers
    and antiroll bar

    BRAKES/WHEELS/TIRES
    Discs front and rear, ABS
    Aluminum 275/35ZR-18 front,
    345/30ZR-19 rear
    Michelin Pilot Sport run-flat

    STANDING-START ACCELERATION
    0-60 mph: 4.42 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 4.55 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 12.48 sec @ 116.9 mph

    ROLLING ACCELERATION
    20-40 mph (first gear): 1.4 sec
    40-60 mph (second gear): 1.9 sec
    60-80 mph (second gear): 2.0 sec

    BRAKING
    60 mph-0: 109 ft

    HANDLING
    490-foot slalom: 49.0 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.97 g


    INTERIOR NOISE (dBA)
    Idle: 64
    Full throttle: 92
    Steady 60 mph: 75

    FUEL MILEAGE
    EPA combined: 17.28 mpg
    AW overall: 12.74 mpg

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  2. phatmonky

    phatmonky Guest

    gimme a GTS :)
     
  3. Fast GTI

    Fast GTI New Member

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  4. Dr_Trac

    Dr_Trac doh!@

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    i'd hit it.
     
  5. Thumpin'Ram

    Thumpin'Ram I'll level with you. These bags weren't designed f

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    wtf @ slalom
    :bowdown:
     
  6. guru

    guru Active Member

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    Still has an ugly interior. Look at that hideous steering wheel! :ugh:
     
  7. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

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    Previous gen > that
     
  8. dmora

    dmora Guest

    :dodge:
     
  9. sporff

    sporff We're rotten fruit. We're damaged goods.

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    .97g's on those tires :down:
     
  10. TheProwler

    TheProwler Active Member

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    I'd take that and a Z06.
     
  11. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    One of the few convertibles out there that I wouldn't feel gay being seen in.
     
  12. TheProwler

    TheProwler Active Member

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    :jeepwrangler:
     
  13. Letifo

    Letifo Moderator

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    ugly, but those performance numbers are awesome.
     
  14. Ruiner

    Ruiner Evil Inside

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    Bah...
     
  15. Silent

    Silent New Member

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    [​IMG]

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    :greddy: :greddy: :greddy: :greddy:

    nice #'s though :eek3:
     
  16. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    Looks good from this angle
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    I'd hit it 'till my wang fell off.
     
  17. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    I'd rather prefer a TVR Tuscan S or a Cerbera 4.5, but this car isn't all that bad specwise. It really is america's best. :cool:
     
  18. Possum Stomper

    Possum Stomper The Great Bird of the Galaxy

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    they look way WAAAY better in person
    :cool:
     
  19. Ryuhei

    Ryuhei Oh gawd

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    :rofl: @ hataz. Silly silly silly.
     
  20. SoliDSnakE

    SoliDSnakE Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

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    black for me. :bigthumb:

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  21. matrix243

    matrix243 My body, is ready.

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    That's what I like to see. The GT-40 pulls over 1g with a steel frame and body on skidpad. Not even in contention.:bigthumb:
     
  22. 6SpeedTA95

    6SpeedTA95 OT Supporter

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    TOOOORRRQUE....YUM....BIG BLOCK...525 ft lbs.....ahhh yessss....I want one...although the lingenfelter Twin Turbo Vette would be pretty damn good too...
     

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