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Old 10-30-2007, 02:00 PM
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Arrow 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 coupe

2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Roadster

ALTON, Va. | The promotional pamphlet from Virginia International Raceway quotes Hollywood actor and race car driver Paul Newman as saying, "If there's a heaven on earth, it's VIR.''

I recently had the opportunity to assess Newman's statement with multiple laps around VIR's 2.25nmile, 17-turn North Road Course in the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10.

Viper has been Dodge brand's halo car since it debuted in concept form at the 1989 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Today, the Viper spins out of its second generation with styling honed from the original V-10-powered show car and the giddy-up of an astonishing 600-horsepower managed by a six-speed-manual-only gearbox.

Chrysler LLC's in-house Street and Racing Technology gurus are the masterminds behind the unprecedented power.

Mechanical changes to the powertrain include an increase in engine displacement to 8.4 liters, new cylinder heads with reshaped combustion chambers, variable valve timing, a redesigned camshaft and other components that collectively build 560 pound-feet of pavement-pulling torque.

"With the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10, we've created some very powerful artillery for sports car enthusiasts and have set a new benchmark for the ultimate American sports car,'' said SRT Director Kipp Owen.

My VIR driving experience helped validate Vipers numbers: 0-to-60 mph in less than four seconds, 0-to-100-to-0 mph under 13 seconds and a 60-to-0 mph brake distance less than 100 feet, courtesy of massive 14-inch rotors gripped by front and rear dual opposing piston calipers. Anti-lock brakes are standard.

Viper's race-bred, four-wheel suspension irons out track kinks superbly with little body roll, courtesy of aluminum control arms damped by lightweight coil-over shock absorbers. New tire compounds, developed exclusively for the 2008 Viper, bring noticeably better grip to the pavement.

The special tires and suspension system perform equally well on the interstate, delivering a civilized ride quality for long-distance touring which, when traveling in sixth-gear at 1,300 rpm, garners a quiet cabin and fuel economy of 22 mpg.

Third-gear travel around town yields 13 mpg. Cruise control is not available and there are no cup holders. Adjustable pedals are standard however.

Viper's twin cockpit retains its red, push-button starter and white-face gauge cluster with center-mount tachometer. Center stack instruments are read at a glance, with audio and climate controls within easy reach. Buyers can opt for a basic black or one of four new two-tone upholstery combinations.

Outside, the Viper coupe and convertible feature a functional hood scoop and six large hood louvers to aid engine cooling. The coupe's "double-bubble'' roof provides a racy look, as do optional dual racing stripes.

The 2008 SRT10 coupe stickers for $83,895 with the roadster priced at $83,145. Both models are subject to an $850 freight charge and gas-guzzler tax of $2163.

Source: [url=http://nwitimes.com/articles/2007/10/28/business/business/doc3b9e95fcbd64b0d78625737e0055c800.txt]nwitimes.com[/url]
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