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08 SRT/10 Coupe Red / White
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Registered: February 2006
Location: Bartonville, IL
Posts: 4,516
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Registered: February 2006
Location: Bartonville, IL
Posts: 4,516

What? You guys couldn't get 800 horsepower out of it?

By Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit Email

Except for an SR-71 Blackbird or a Saturn V rocket, the Dodge Viper is the absolute last vehicle that needs any more power. So naturally, the sick bastards at Chrysler's SRT unit (that's Street and Racing Technology) have given the 2008 Dodge Viper more power. A lot more power.

When it's unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show on January 8, the already absurdly quick and hairy Dodge Viper will be packing a larger version of its V10 pumping out another 90 horsepower and 25 pound-feet of torque. That brings the underhood totals for the 2008 Dodge Viper to 8.4 liters, 600 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque.

In the words of the great philosopher Tony Montana, "Say 'allo to muy wittle fwend."

Take that Z06

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise. We do, after all live in a time when any Tom, Dick or Dieter can roll into his local Mercedes-Benz dealer and drive away in a sedan with more than 600 hp. Let us repeat that and this time we want you to think about it for a second: more than 600 horsepower!

Still, it wasn't German sedans that inspired Dodge to bulk up the Viper so much as the recently introduced Chevy Corvette Z06. The top Vette's 505 hp comes out of a teeny-tiny little 7.0-liter V8. With 8.3 liters split among 10 cylinders, the Viper should have been making much more than the paltry 510 hp it was putting out. That's only about 400 more horsepower than the Honda Accord we drove in college.

It is the particular problem of the Viper SRT-10 that it must be outrageously powerful � not just very, very powerful. The whole appeal of the cartoonish Viper is its absurdity. And with the rest of the world becoming increasingly absurd around it, well....

So now with an even 600 hp, Dodge says the Viper will be able to rocket from a standstill to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. In truth, Dodge always said the 2007 Dodge Viper could rocket to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. So now, it must be able to hit 60 mph in even less than less than 4 seconds. Think of the extra time owners will accumulate over the years! Dodge also says the 2008 Viper will be able to go from 0-100-0 mph in just above than 12 seconds. This, well, this is illegal.

Still packs pushrods

The secret to all of this is that huge blast-furnace of an engine bolted immediately in front of the car's two passenger seats. The aluminum V10 was bored out by 1 millimeter, raising overall displacement from 8.3 to 8.4 liters. With the help of McLaren Performance Technologies and Ricardo, Inc., the boys of SRT also designed new cylinder heads with larger valves and added variable valve timing to the exhaust side. SRT claims this to be the first use of VVT in a high-performance cam-in-block engine.

Strength was added with forged powder-metal connecting rods and pistons with larger-diameter floating pins. The compression ratio goes up from 9.2:1 to 10.2:1 and maximum engine speed rises from 6,000 rpm to 6,250. A newly designed intake allows for 20 percent more airflow. New headers improve exhaust flow and each cylinder now gets its own coil pack. Chrysler chose not to list estimated fuel economy figures.

All of this is packaged under a new hood that is pierced with so many heat-exhausting vents there's essentially no hood left. This will be the one obvious way Viper club members will be able to quickly identify the '08 model. Air can more easily enter the 2008 model, too, thanks to a larger, more efficient hood scoop.

Power to the ground

With 560 lb-ft of torque to deal with, the Viper's six-speed manual transmission had to be strengthened, too. The gears on the modified Tremec T56 (now called a TR6060, if you must know) are 10 percent wider than those in last year's box. SRT says the synchros are also stronger and should ease shifting. Aiding in that is a new shifter mechanism with shorter throws.

A new twin-disc clutch should improve engagement feel and reduce clutch-pedal effort compared to the big, old single-disc unit. The old unit gave dedicated Viper drivers heavily muscled left legs the diameter of oak-tree trunks (or at least in the areas where the white-hot side exhaust didn't already barbecue most of the flesh off).

A tsunami of power rushes rearward to a new GKN Visco-Lok speed-sensing limited-slip differential. This new diff, SRT claims, will vastly improve the rear-wheel-drive Viper's ability to launch out of corners. The '08 Viper also swaps out its run-flat Michelin tires for conventional Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s of the same absurd dimensions (275/35-18, front; 345/30-19, rear).

The new rubber might make the Viper's ride somewhat less punishing, which we suppose is a good thing. Buyers can now specify between three wheel designs, including the conventional five-spokes, the busy "H-spokes" and the new-for-2008 Razor wheels with five U-shaped spokes.

Color me gone

Five new body colors will be offered on the '08 model, including the predictable reds, oranges and blues. For the owner of truly questionable taste, Dodge offers a color called "Snakeskin Green." Buyers will get a wider range of interior styles, too, with five interior color combinations and a choice of bezel and center console finishes. From what we remember of our last Viper drive, and the heat exhaustion that immediately followed, we would have hoped that Dodge would offer an interior trimmed in asbestos.

No dice. But, if we didn't mention it earlier, the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10 does offer 600 hp. It goes on sale in the summer of '07.

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