For $97000, you would think you would get cruise control and maybe even satellite radio and climate-controlled heating and air conditioning. But not on the Dodge Viper convertible! For me, this is one of the most exciting and least likeable cars I have ever driven.
For someone who loves cars like I do, how do you not fall head-over-heels in love with a hot-looking ragtop that has 600 horses and pumps out 560 lb-ft of torque? I admit, it is not easy to talk too badly about this car.
My test car is Toxic Orange Pearl, which is reminiscent of a metallic burnt orange, with wide black stripes on the hood and trunk. It is beautiful and the 18” front wheels and 19” rear wheels really make this car a head-turner.
The raw power cannot be described. I find it hard to believe this car is even street-legal as fast as it is. The Viper is what I would describe as unintentionally retro, meaning it is a throw-back to the muscle cars of the 1960s, but not because it was intended to be that way, just because it is basically a true race car.
It does have power equipment and air conditioning, and it’s got a kick-butt stereo system, but that is about where it ends as far as comforts. Most of your money goes under the hood and in the gas tank. The 8.4-liter V10 performs and sounds like what you would expect on summer Sunday afternoons at any NASCAR track in America.
It is not for the faint of heart when you consider this car will do 0-to-60 in 3.7 seconds. It takes practice and a LOT of it to keep the rear-end on the ground, as it will cut loose in each of the first four gears of the manual six-speed transmission.
Looks-wise, there is nothing like this car. It is stunning to say the least. The interior is basic, but other than the engine, the entire car is basic.
You need to be a contortionist to enter and exit it, but once inside, it is actually comfortable. Throw your cell phone out the window, you can’t hear it anyway it is so loud inside the car. The side exhaust makes it loud inside the car and causes the inside of the car to be hot.
It rides horribly rough, worse than any car I have ever driven. It has numerous blind spots and gets really lousy gas mileage. The doors shut hard, and the top is manually operated and is not easy to put up and down.
But this car is REALLY something special and like everyone who drives one, I love it.
What I liked most: It’s all under the hood.
What I would change if I could: Just a couple of options to make the car more modern, like cruise control and automatic headlights.
MSRP as tested: $97,410
Fuel Economy: 13 in town, 22 highway, I’m not getting close to either number.
CTS coupe in a few words: A street-legal racecar.