It’s actually a great time to buy a Viper. No really. They are practically GIVING them away at the “Employee Price” of around 80 grand right now. A further upgrade to the “tame” Viper is the ACR, intended as a street legal weekend racecar. By most estimates, it may be the best such vehicle made in America.
I’m sure some will immediately argue that a version of the Corvette is as good or better than the Viper ACR. The Corvette is very fast, but the Viper has always been a brutal competitor in some sort of other world in terms of driving characteristics. What distinguishes the ACR from the regular Viper is not horsepower, both have the same 8.4 liter V-10 engine that produces 600 horsepower and 560 pound feet of torque. The ACR includes mostly handling, braking, suspension and weight upgrades to enhance its cornering abilities. This is not just lip service. Purportedly at 150 mph, the regular Viper coupe generates 100 pounds of downforce; at the same speed, the Viper ACR generates 1000 pounds of downforce. Therefore, the giant carbon-fiber rear wing is clearly not meant for show. There’s also a new carbon-fiber front splitter that extends way back under the car and incorporates seven steps to diffuse the airflow. The new hood louvers unveiled with the 600-horsepower engine upgrade a year ago play a part, too. Suspension changes include race-style KW shocks all around that can be adjusted for stiffness and ride height, springs twice as stiff as those in a normal Viper, and a larger front stabilizer bar. Forged “Sidewinder” alloy wheels save 30 pounds of unsprung weight, and new two-piece StopTech brake rotors save a further 30. The standard ACR is 40 pounds lighter than the regular Viper coupe. An optional “Hard Core” pack saves an extra 40 pounds through the removal of the audio system, underhood silencer pad, trunk carpet, and tire inflator. The radio is replaced by a lightweight cover that can be configured to mount the lap timer that comes with the package.
All of the upgrades result in the SRT10 Viper ACR getting to 60 mph in around 3.7 seconds, but more importantly stops it in less than 100 feet. Impressive as it is, the Viper will probably go the same way as the RX-7, NSX or anything else that is too expensive and inefficient for the world we live in. With Chrysler on the brink of bankruptcy and the executives having to justify every business decision they make to Congress, we should all enjoy it while it lasts.