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New York show: SRT teases next Viper

Once bitten: All-new Viper is a little over two months away from emerging.

Next-gen Viper revealed in first teaser image as Dodge gears up for Big Apple debut

31 Jan 2012

CHRYSLER has released the first teaser image of its next-generation SRT Viper super-coupe, ahead of the all-new model’s global debut at the New York motor show on April 6.

A rudimentary frontal silhouette shot of the fifth-generation American icon, accompanied by the promise “The 2013 SRT Viper is coming”, was posted on the official SRT Facebook page today.

It gives little away, but confirms the first Viper developed under Fiat stewardship will bristle with even more aggressive interpretations of classic Viper design themes, including a concave roof and a beefy bonnet bulge.

There is even a hint of sister brand Alfa in the new-look grille, above a redesigned badge that does away with Dodge’s now-defunct ram’s head logo, while the muscular front haunches look a little similar to the limited-edition Alfa 8C Competizione’s.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne showed US Chrysler dealers a concept version of the next Viper as long ago as September 2010, and the production model was confirmed late last year to make its world premiere in the Big Apple before first US deliveries commence by the end of 2012.

Former Dodge chief and now president and CEO of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand Ralph Gilles last month confirmed it will not wear the Dodge badge, announcing that the new Viper will be the flagship model of a new stand-alone SRT model range.

It remains unclear if the Gen V Viper will be sold in Australia – or indeed produced in right-hand drive configuration – where Dodge’s future remains under a cloud following the discontinuation of the small Caliber hatch and, soon, the mid-size Nitro SUV, leaving the upgraded 2012 Journey crossover as its sole remaining model.

41 center imageLeft: Fourth-generation Dodge Viper.While its sister brands Chrysler and Jeep will release a number of new models this year, including the new 300C large sedan and front-drive/facelifted versions of the Compass, Patriot and Cherokee, Australians continue to be denied fancied Dodge models like the Challenger coupe and Charger sedan.

In November 2009, Dodge promised to release 11 redesigned or heavily revised models by 2014 as part of its product-led resurgence under Fiat control, including a small sedan that emerged at last month’s Detroit show as the Dart, which Chrysler is yet to confirm for right-hand drive production.

At the time, then-Dodge CEO Mr Gilles announced that production of the MkIV Viper would end in mid-2010, but said that a sportscar that draws from Fiat’s Maserati and Ferrari brands was under development for sale in 2012.

Three months after Mr Marchionne presented the Viper concept to about 75 per cent of Chrysler’s 2314 North American dealers, who were told the Viper’s product team had unanimously approved the design within just five minutes of seeing it, Mr Gilles refuted reports the car would lose its traditional long-bonnet profile and look more like the Alfa 8C.

“The new Viper is not based on anything else,” he told The Detroit News in December 2010. “The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions any more.

“I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We’ve never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car.”

Further details on the fifth-gen Viper are sketchy, but some reports have suggested the last Viper’s brawny 450kW/760Nm 8.4-litre V10 could grow to as much as 8.7 litres.

Naturally, even more performance is expected, but should also be accompanied by better fuel economy, thanks to the fitment of Fiat’s innovative Multiair induction technology, while an entry-level V8 engine may also be offered.

Whatever engine powers it should be matched with both manual and automatic transmissions – the latter being the eight-speed self-shifter Chrysler will employ in all its rear-drive vehicles from 2012.

The Viper was first launched in 1992 and the fourth-generation model – built from 2008 - ended production at Chrysler’s Conner Avenue assembly plant in Detroit in July 2010.

Just 50 examples of the ‘Final Edition’ Viper were built in SRT10 Coupe and Convertible configurations, all claimed to sprint to 60mph (97km/h) in just 3.4 seconds on their way to a top speed of 325km/h.

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