The late 90's Dodge Viper GTS, the most Viper of all Vipers, was rated to 11 MPG city and 21 MPG highway by the arbiters of efficiency ratings at the EPA. Let’s see how hard it is to actually hit those numbers in one of these cars today.
You probably recognize automotive internet person Doug DeMuro at the wheel of this 1997 GTS, in peak Viper white-stripes-on-blue livery. (Did anybody not have a toy of this exact car?) DeMuro doesn’t show his work, his methodology, or the number of miles he drove on this test, but his credentials for evaluating vehicular fuel economy include having driven a Hummer and a Honda Insight on separate occasions. You definitely know you’re getting scientific results here.
The ’97 Viper GTS was not egregiously porky at 3,375 pounds (lighter than today’s Acura NSX) but no 8.0-liter V10 is going to leave your house without emptying the fridge. Assuming your house is a gas station and your beer cans are full of gasoline.
That V10 was factory rated to just 450 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque, which makes for a pretty weak displacement-to-output ratio. But the car could go 0-60 in about four seconds, so that energy did more than just make noise.
Speaking of energy let’s get back to the matter at hand: just how much energy does this Dodge Viper need to propel itself.
If you don’t want to sit through seven minutes of DeMuro’s face I’ll help you scrub to the numbers: after crawling through Philadelphia for its “city test,” this Viper hits 5.6 MPG by DeMuro’s calculations. On the highway, being as light on the throttle as humanly possible, he gets 18.7. Both figures laughably shy of the EPA’s optimistic 11 MPG city/21 MPG highway “estimates.”
The takeaway is not much of a shocker: “If you want good gas mileage, do not buy a Dodge Viper.” But as a dork and a white-on-blue Dodge Viper fan I do think the actual numbers are interesting to see. Think it would have done differently without that paint job?