For Sale By:Dealer
Number of Cylinders: 8
Sub Model: Hemi
Exterior Color: Purple
Interior Color: White
Lynnwood, Washington, United States
The Viper wouldn't be the Viper if it wasn't the most powerful model under the Chrysler umbrella. But with the arrival of the Hellcat engine in the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper has fallen behind in the bragging rights department: where the new supercharged V8 produces 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the naturally aspirated V10 offers "only" 640 hp and 600 lb-ft - gargantuan output figures by almost any other standard, but crucially behind on the SRT power scale. Conner Avenue is going to have to do something about that.
Although the Hellcat's engine reportedly won't fit under the Viper's hood, SRT is now rumored to have another trick up its sleeve: supercharge the existing V10. According to the Pentastar performance enthusiasts at allpar.com, Chrysler has already taken delivery of the first such prototype engines so that it can begin the process of fitting it into an upgraded Viper.
The spooled ten-pot is tipped to produce around 800 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. More than that and the Viper's drivetrain, chassis and bodywork would have to be substantially reworked. Though beefier transmissions are available, fitting them would reportedly set off a domino-game of changes required to handle the added torque. Which may be something Chrysler would be prepared to do for the next-generation model, but in the meantime, 800 hp could prove enough to put the Viper back atop the Mopar performance ladder where it belongs, and give it an edge against the new Corvette Z06 to rekindle sales.
What's not to love about crowdsourcing? This idea, after all, has given us Kickstarter as well Local Motors, but automakers are starting to use the social platform to sell more cars (or just drum up a little PR). Both Dodge and Hyundai have used "crowd-funding" recently, and while Automotive News is reporting that neither has racked up big sales with this gimmick, both automakers are pleased with the attention.
For Hyundai, it teamed up with website Motozuma.com to help customers crowdsource money for a down payment, and the automaker matched this amount up to $500. Last year, this helped Hyundai sell an extra 1,600 units, a fraction of its total 2012 sales. That figure is far larger than Dodge fared with the Dodge Dart Registry - it netted only two sales and a small number of individual options. This registry did help University of Southern California fraternity crowdsource $18,000 to buy a Dart for a local Meals on Wheels, however. Despite the low sales figures, Dodge and Hyundai are considering their crowdsourcing programs a success since it helped them connect with younger buyers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.