Good news, snake fans: according to the Detroit News, Dodge has confirmed the return of the Viper in the summer of 2012, as a 2013 model. Contrary to popular internet rumor, it won’t be based on the limited production Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, and it won’t sport a Ferrari engine. It will be an entirely new and unique platform, and it will retain some of the original Viper’s unique rearward cabin design. Don’t be surprised, however, if the updated Viper isn’t quite as exaggerated in proportion.
There’s no word on what will be under the hood, but Dodge’s Ralph Gilles did hint that no part of the original Viper would be untouched. With the shadow of stricter CAFE standards looming on the horizon, an updated 8.4 liter V10 seems like an unlikely engine choice. I’d expect to see a forced induction V8, capable of comparable horsepower but better fuel efficiency.
Gilles said that Dodge will look to Fiat for expertise in driving dynamics, and told the Detroit News:
“We will use their expertise to open the performance envelope in the Viper. Fiat has an awesome ability to tune cars. I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We’ve never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car.”
Can a kinder, gentler Viper, one with stability control and more civilized road manners, still be called a Viper? Will the Viper faithful embrace a car that is more accessible (and, presumably, more affordable), and can Dodge build such a car with the same level of performance as the current Viper? We’ll have to wait and see, but their engineers certainly have some big shoes to fill.