2003 Dodge Viper SRT-10

Preview drive

by Dodge Viper SRT-10

The all-new Dodge Viper SRT-10 feels very different from the previous version–namely, it doesn’t want to kill me. If I made a mistake in the original Viper, I could easily put the car in the weeds.

Not that this new Viper’s been emasculated, mind you. With an 8.3-liter 500-horsepower V-10 under the hood, it’s far from sedate. But the driver can now use the entire horsepower stable without risking a stampede. The key is a 100-pound drop in weight and a body that’s 35 percent stiffer. In addition, the overhauled Viper has a 3-inch-longer wheelbase, revised suspension, and a new torque-sensing differential–the latter technology, borrowed from Jeep, sends power to the wheels with the most grip. All this adds up to controllability the previous version lacked.

The new Viper goes on sale this fall; pricing is not yet set.

Technology Quotient: 20 points per category, 100 possible in total

Engine & drivetrain: 13

Suspension: 14

Safety: 12

Electronics: 8

Materials: 15

TOTAL: 62

NOTE: 50 points out of 100 is the baseline score for the expected technology in this vehicle class

Dan Carney
Dan Carney

has been riding motorcycles and driving cars since before it was technically legal for him to do so. Along the way he has picked up automotive journalism awards from the International Motor Press Association and Washington Automotive Press Association for his work, and he wrote books about two significant sports cars, the Honda S2000 and Dodge Viper. He has been a PopSci contributor since 1998.