Dodge’s iconic Viper is getting a little more venom for 2015, but it won’t be at the Hellcat’s expense.
Road and Track is reporting that the brutal sports car’s 8.4-liter V10 will be tuned to 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque for 2015, up 5 ponies from the previous year. Torque figures remain the same.
Some enthusiasts have pondered whether the 707-hp V8 from the Challenger Hellcat (and upcoming Charger) could improve the Viper, but it just doesn’t look feasible with the Viper’s current design.
The Hellcat’s supercharged engine makes more power than the Viper’s V10, 62 hp and 50 lb-ft more to be exact, but its 180 pounds heavier. Power-to-weight is a big selling point of the Viper, so a bulkier engine for a marginal increase in power just doesn’t make sense. At 3,354 lbs, the current Viper is over 800 lbs lighter than the Challenger.
On top of that, the blower simply wouldn’t fit in the Viper’s current engine bay, and it’s not like there isn’t any room for improvement on the big V10.
Some might say the 8.4-liter Mopar mill is getting a little long in the tooth, as it’s still the same basic Chrysler LA unit that the first generation Viper housed in 1992. The displacement has grown .4 liters, the engine is lighter, and thanks to variable valve timing, larger valves, and electronic throttle bodies, the V10 is much more powerful now, but it’s still the same general layout.
The Viper was Dodge’s most powerful car until the Hellcat, so with Dodge’s increased focus on performance vehicles, the next generation Viper may bring something new to the table altogether. The 650 hp Corvette Z06 recently one-upped Dodge’s flagship sports car as well, so it will be interesting to see how the Viper responds.
It’s a good time to be a muscle car fan.