Motor Trend recently completed it's annual greatest driver's car competition, and the winner, the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S is not surprising. What is surprising is what came in last: The SRT Viper.
We've driven the SRT Viper a few times now, and it's truly a fun ride. What Motor Trend's issue was seems to run deeper than the car being fun to drive. First, they asked for the track focused Viper T/A, but were given a Viper with the track pack, which already starts it at a disadvantage.
There was also the question of quality. The Viper they had apparently broke pretty comprehensively during their figure eight test, with a motor breaking off the adjustable pedals and the brake pedal jamming to the floor.
That's not what you expect in a $114,000 car. And that's not all. Motor Trend says a hood vent flew off on the freeway, seat bolts were loose, paint was being burned by the exhaust, and the car arrived with different tires on the front than on the back.
Finishing in last should reignite the tiff between Ralph Gilles and Motor Trend, because a test at Laguna Seca with Motor Trend is what made the Viper T/A come to reality.
I've also driven the Viper, not on a track, but on a drag strip and some fun roads. We experienced none of the quality issues mentioned my Motor Trend, but I do get the idea that it might not be an ideal "driver's car," especially when compared to the rest of the cars in the test.
The Viper isn't a precision instrument, it's a terrifying monster. On a track, you don't want to be terrified. Getting loose like Randy Pobst did through Laguna Seca's fast turn one is a bad thing. A good driver's car should instill confidence, not make you run for the hills every time you step on the gas.
In this case, it seems to me that the Viper wasn't properly suited to the competition.
What say you? Is the new SRT Viper a proper drivers car or sledgehammer in a gun fight?