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2013 SRT Viper, Grande Prairie, AB - www.gpautogroup.com

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Published on Apr 6, 2012

From the New York auto show, information on the new SRT Viper, Chevrolet Impala, Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, Lincoln MKZ, BMW X1, Lexus ES

• There isn't an auto journalist worth a damn who hasn't been bitten in the ass by a Viper. Disrespect the snake, even for a second, and—ssssttttrike!—you're toast.
• The Dodge Viper was effective in huge-engine, massive-tire style, with decent balance and weak brakes. Throughout its original 18-year run, it was crude. Some called it second-rate, but if you were expecting an Acura NSX, it's probably you who had the problem. With appropriate skill and judgment, the Viper was more effective—faster—than hero cars that cost substantially more.
• To send the last Viper into history, Chrysler's SRT group sent Dominik Farnbacher to the Nürburgring in a 2010 ACR coupe. Farnbacher drove it around the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in 7:12.13—faster than a Lexus LFA Nürburgring, a Porsche 997 GT2 RS, a Ferrari Enzo or a Maserati MC12. Faster than any road-certified production car sold legally in the United States.
• Now dawns a new era with a fifth-generation Viper, branded SRT, not Dodge, and aimed at a broader swath of wealthy car enthusiasts, and a graybeard who remembers the first launch wonders whether the world needs a Viper for the Audi R8 set. Really. How badly do we want the Viper to be anything other than what it's always been?

• No one will mistake the 2013 Viper for anything else. Its proportions, chassis and dimensions, the cam-in-block V10 and the balance of its powertrain—all are subtly improved but ultimately familiar. The wheel hubs still come from the Dakota. The visual impact is familiar, too, yet the new Viper looks richer, maybe more jewel-like. The production Viper should feel more bespoke, less kit car, and that's the first step toward broadening its appeal beyond the hard-core Viper Nation.
• There's also an infusion of technology. For the first time, the Viper has three-stage traction/stability control with all-off and a launch feature, but that's a government mandate as much as a desire to civilize the car. Mostly, SRT's reach for new Viper owners materializes in the cockpit, through richer design and more space. Designers replaced what Marchionne called Barcaloungers with thin-shell seats from the company that supplies Ferrari. Gilles promises "Bentley grade" leather and an ever-expanding palette of customization options.
• If you want to feel the power stop by Grande Prairie Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, SRT to book a VIP viewing of the 2013 Viper at 11448 Westgate Drive, Grande Prairie, AB, T8V 8L2 or call us at 780.532.3560.

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