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Dodge Viper 2008


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#1 Mustang: Ride The Horse

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 09:24 AM

Crazy Enough For You? Viper Boosted to 600 HP

When Enough Isn't Enough
The Dodge Viper is widely regarded as the hairiest muscle machine in the known world. It looks mean, it's tricky to drive and it has more power than most people would know what to do with. So, for 2008 Dodge did the natural thing and gave it more power. They didn't just increase the power by 10 or 20 horsepower, as would be normal in such situations, but rather pumped up output by a staggering 90 horsepower for a grand total of 600 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. We can't pinpoint this upgrade as a knee-jerk reaction to the rumour mill that's been on overdrive with the so-called "Blue Devil" supercharged Corvette, but at the very least it should help distance the Viper from the forthcoming Challenger, the current Shelby GT500 and the existing 505-hp Corvette Z06.
So, where exactly did that extra 90 horsepower come from? Dodge contracted two of the top engineering consulting firms in the automotive world - McLaren and Ricardo - to help massage the rattlesnake's engine. The new engine has just 0.1 litre of additional displacement over the old one, from a larger bore, but the majority of the hike came from the adoption of variable valve timing for its exhaust valves. Yes, the Viper's engine is still a pushrod driven unit, but, like the 3.9-litre V6 that can be found in the G6 GTP, the timing system features what is called cam-in-block. Because of this, Dodge pumped up the compression ratio to 10.2:1 from 9.2:1, and capped it off with better breathing cylinder heads. Voila, massive power and torque gains are served.

Mind you, it's not all brute force with no consideration of the driver. Dodge incorporated a new Tremec six-speed manual gearbox that has shorter throws for easier gear changes. The clutch now contains two plates instead of one, which reduces the load on the left foot, making stop and go life a whole lot easier. A new variable-speed LSD should give those brave enough to push their SRT-10s hard a little more traction out of bends, and new Michelin Pilot Sport tires lose their run-flat capabilities, which should give the car a smoother ride. See? They were thinking about you too.

But you still don't get traction control or stability control. Best know what you're doing before you attempt any of those sub four-second 0-100 km/h acceleration runs, or a stab at the 0-160 km/h - 0 dash, which Dodge estimates should take a fraction more than twelve seconds. Other than the engine and mechanicals, the changes made to the new Viper are pretty minimal. It gets a new hood that sports deeper vents, and a new selection of colours and stripes. The revised Viper will go on sale this summer, which should be just enough time to build up the courage needed to purchase one.


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