Make us your home page
Instagram

The Daily Drivers: 2014 SRT Viper GTS Coupe

One thing about the Viper, its reputation — difficult to drive and even unforgiving — precedes it. Having never driven Chrysler's super snake, which returned in 2013 as an SRT brand instead of a Dodge after a two-year hiatus, we were pleasantly surprised by its sophistication and refinement. But it still deserves your respect.

Appearance: The new Viper is part Italian exotic and part American muscle. It's also menacing: "serpent eye" headlights and a bulging, clam-shell hood with prominent air scoops and Viper badge. All the air ducts and vents are functional. Even the "double bubble" roof has a purpose: to give the driver wearing a helmet more headroom. The Viper looks long, but it's actually shorter than a Porsche 911. Our tester's paint — Venom Black Clear Coat — was lustrous. Each Viper is given several layers of paint and is wet-sanded before each coat.

Performance: The only transmission available is a 6-speed manual with a 1-4 skip-shift option. If you're uncomfortable with a manual, this isn't the car for you. The Viper's bite is simply one of raw performance, somewhat refined. The all-aluminum V-10 puts out 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. The 0-to-60 time is 3.7 seconds, and it seems like you need only a few more ticks before you're going twice that speed. The Viper's heavy steering is direct and communicative. Its "wrist-action" shifter has a finicky throw from first to second, but the other gears click through easily. The clutch is firm, and it's best to wear supple shoes to better feel it. The Viper now has a five-mode stability and traction control in the interest of government safety regulations. The car has tremendous grip with its 18-inch front and 19-inch rear Pirelli performance tires. Only under really aggressive acceleration out of a turn did Lyra manage to get the rear end loose on a damp road, but the stability control kicked in to calm things down. Peter drove the Viper in a rainstorm on the interstate and used the rain mode; he wouldn't quite describe the feel as confident. The low-slung supercar's performance suspension allows you to feel every tiny bump in the asphalt. This isn't a ride for a long road trip.

Interior: Like the car itself, it's not for everyone. Peter had difficulty finding a comfortable seating position. Once taller drivers contort themselves into the cockpit, they may have to recline far back so they can look out the narrow windshield. Lyra had the opposite problem. She had to move the seat all the way forward and still had to stretch to reach the clutch despite the adjustable pedal. Once you find a reasonable position, you'll feel like you are "wearing" the car. The GTS had the optional package that brings premium stitched leather that reminded us of European luxury. The narrow and firm Sabelt seats have built-in anchors for a 6-point harness and excellent side bolstering. Because of the cockpit's limited visibility, the car's backup camera and park assist were necessities. Our tester had the optional Harman Kardon audio system with 12 speakers, but the car can be so loud as to make it moot.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Carbon fiber: The roof, deck lid and clam-shell hood are made of the lightweight material.

Leather work: Stitched, rich, sophisticated.

Body style: A head-turning machine. The side exhaust is now better integrated into the design.

Lyra Solochek

Performance: Exhilarating acceleration, deafening roar of the exhaust, equally deafening scream of delight from my son, who is now a Viper fan.

Beauty: Attractive design, too.

UConnect: Easy-to-use 8.4-inch touchscreen.

The bottom line: Chrysler has refined its supercar, but it's still not for the driving dilettante.









2014 SRT Viper GTS Coupe

Price: $102,485 base start, $136,080 as tested (includes $2,600 gas guzzler tax)

Powertrain:

8.3-liter longitudinal front V-10, 6-speed manual transmission, RWD

Horsepower: 640 at 6,200 rpm

Torque: 600 pound-feet at 5,000 rpm

Curb weight: 3,431 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 98.8

Length, 175.7

Width, 76.4

Height, 49.1

Seats: 2

Fuel economy:

12 miles per gallon city, 19 mpg highway

Fuel type:

premium unleaded

Safety features: five-mode electronic stability control, traction control, antilock 4-wheel disc performance brakes, rain brake support, rearview camera

Website:

drivesrt.com/2014/srt-viper/

The Daily Drivers: 2014 SRT Viper GTS Coupe 02/27/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 27, 2014 12:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]