We think the arrival of an all-new Dodge Viper will be not only a pleasant surprise, but also a welcome one.
Sports cars are among the most popular and loved vehicles in the automotive industry among gearboxes. Everyone between the US and Japan have seen attempts by manufacturers around the world to make excellence sports cars. But American sports cars have been around for ages and we are spoiled for choice if we want an American track monster, new or used. For every Mustang owner, there is a Camaro enthusiast. And for every bunch of Corvette enthusiasts, we’ll find someone who prefers a sleeper cab in the form of the CTS-V. But we’d bet most gearboxes today had a poster of the Dodge Viper in their room growing up.
The Viper is a two-seater sports car as cool as its name. It first came to life in 1991 then Cleverness wanted to make a real performance car. As a result, the first set of Vipers had no exterior-mounted door handles or even an air conditioner. Dodge instead focused most of its R&D on the big V10 engine that powered it. But eventually from 1994-95 models we got more civilized versions of the Viper with some comfort-oriented features.
The Viper quickly became an icon for its powerful engine and menacing appearance. But FCA stopped production of the model from 2010 to 2012 and discontinued it after 2017. But we think the arrival of a new Dodge Viper will not only be a pleasant surprise, but a welcome one. In today’s world, there are three paths Dodge can take to revive the Viper in 2023. So let’s see.
Why an Electrified Dodge Viper Sounds Interesting
We have now become accustomed to manufacturers converting their traditional gasoline-powered cars into battery-powered vehicles. In addition to hatchbacks and SUVs, we saw electric versions of muscle cars like the Mustang, luxury cars from Genesis and Rolls-Royce, and even grand tourers from Aston Martin or BMW. So it won’t be a first to see the Viper make a comeback with a battery underneath. Now there will certainly be some who will say that a Viper without the iconic growl of its V10 will not be a true Viper. While that’s true, there may be workarounds, such as synthetic engine noise like in the recent Tesla models.
But one of the factors that made the Viper so popular in the first place was its performance. Once it was so powerful that piloting it required tremendous skill. A bit like the TVR Cerbera; it was one of the most dangerous cars to drive fast. Today’s cars are blessed with advanced technologies that limit the loss of control over a vehicle due to lack of traction or instability. So at least we don’t have to worry about possible crashes now and then.
In addition, Dodge is already on the way to making the all-electric Charger Daytona SRT. So at least finding the powertrain won’t be too much of a problem. And Dodge has been killing it lately with the design of their cars.
Combining the speed of an electric car with the power of a V8
Looking at how things stand now, a plug-in hybrid could be a good powertrain option for a new Viper. Those who want to advocate using a renewable energy source instead of just gasoline will find it easier to love. And so are the people who prefer things as they were, i.e. traditional IC motors with a lot of raw power. And the performance department will certainly not disappoint a hybrid powertrain. After all, there’s a reason so many supercars and hypercars have used a hybrid system instead of pure petrol engines for a while now. You get the electrically assisted torque from the line and then the force of a few cylinders to move the speedometer needle even further.
For non-supercar manufacturers, Toyota seems to have found the formula for hybrid cars with sufficient performance and low fuel consumption. The 2022 Toyota Tundra is a great example of well-executed hybrid technology. There are even reports that a new MR2 is in the works with a mid-engine, perhaps with an electric motor supporting a 4- or 6-cylinder engine. The MR2 was a good sports car that the owners loved to drive, and it’s getting quite a bit of hype before Toyota confirms it. Now imagine what kind of noise the resurgence of a car of the status and fame of the Viper would create if it ever happened.
One last hurray for a naturally aspirated V10 Viper
The Viper’s very powerful 8.0-litre to 8.4-litre V10 engine (400-640 hp) is one of its key features, right up there with the iconic red color scheme. Bringing back the pain is easy, but the engine not so much. After using the HEMI for so long, Dodge has since moved on to its supercharged version, the Hellcat engine.
Now, we’ve mostly seen Hellcats in the V8 configuration in Chargers, Challengers, Durangos, and Grand Cherokees. So Dodge would have to make do with a V8 Viper Hellcat (which doesn’t sound bad at all) or get a powerful and robust V10 elsewhere. Building one yourself or adding two extra cylinders to the Hellcat is possible for Dodge, but that will not be feasible for the Viper alone. But if we’re talking purely about the Viper, it would be utopian to see it come back from the afterlife with a new V10 in all its glory.
Nevertheless, if Dodge decides to revive the Viper, the mere fact that we get a new one would be amazing, no matter what powertrain it comes with. After all, we don’t think Dodge could screw up that bad!