It’s been less than a year now since Dodge ended production of its iconic Viper sports car, but the sensational beast is coming back from the dead already according to Car and Driver. The Viper will return in 2020 on the 30th anniversary of its original debut, but V-8 engines ares set to be under the hood instead of the traditional V10.
The publication is reporting that the new lineup will start with a relatively sensible 410kW naturally aspirated engine, but the range is expected to have a 522kW V8 at its pinnacle shared with future versions of the brand’s Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. Another interesting new direction will be the all-new V8s being made of aluminum when they replace the Hemi units now being used across FCA products.
What’s not up for debate or change is the front-engine, rear-wheel drive format of the car, and its distinctive shape and styling is also expected to closely mirror Vipers of the past. But less engine power means weight-saving will have to be a priority to achieve the right levels of performance, so aluminum is likely to be used for the spaceframe and carbon-fiber for the bodywork. However, as the Viper’s production facility was retired from service last year with the Viper itself, the building of the car could be done by an outside contractor.
A coupe will be the first body style to be launched but a convertible will inevitably follow sometime later, and after that the most powerful versions are likely to appear in a hardcore form along similar lines to 2016’s Viper ACR.
To appeal to a wider potential audience than some of the current expensive US supercars, a price in the region of $90 000 (roughly R1 125 000) is being suggested for the next Viper.
A move to reintroduce the low-volume Viper seems out of line with the general approach of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ CEO Sergio Marchionne, which is all about streamlining the group’s portfolio where less profitable models have been. In the past Marchionne has spoken enthusiastically about using outside builders for less profitable models prior to axing the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200.
So, maybe FCA has already got a partner lined up for the Viper and that could explain the swift about-face on what is still likely to be quite a niche car. – AFP Relaxnews