Ever sit down in a giant leather handbag? No? Well, then you should find a new SRT Viper. It's exactly like riding around in a giant purse, only this one isn't covered in sunscreen and 944 offal and seems a bit more organized than my Kate Spade Bottomless Pit.
SRT wanted me to experience the new Viper so badly that they sent me on one of their "Vitesse" laps during ALMS weekend. This was a nice, relaxing, helmets-off afternoon drive around Circuit of the Americas done by a professional driver who was held up by a Panamera with some lights on it.
Either way, the couple times that V10 hit wide open throttle were magical. V10s are magical. You know who doesn't like V10s? People who suck, that's who. Yeah, that's right. Terrorists, bullies and sadists who enjoy kicking adorable puppies are the only folks I can think of who don't believe that V10s are made of grumbly happiness.
The racecar sounded even better. Mmmhmm.
That being said, I expected the engine to sound like God ate lunch at Freebirds and — if we hadn't been held up by the Hunchback of Porsche Dame — pin me to the back of the seat when the gas pedal dropped. It's a Viper. That's what they do.
The real surprise, though? The interior is genuinely nice. Everything is coated in leather. I mean everything. I'm surprised that they didn't find a way to make the touchscreen for the entertainment/navigation unit out of soft, supple dead cow, too.
For once, the Chrysler Group's halo car looks and feels like a halo car on the inside. Maybe the Italian influence hasn't been such a bad thing. So don't blame the interior for the sales slump.
Look, ma! The Nürburgring. Also, some fancy quilting like you'd expect to see on a Lambo—not so much on a former Dodge product.
With the new Viper apparently comes a new Viper club as well. I ran into Maurice Liang, who not only assured me that something was in the works to replace the embattled Viper Club of America, but who also had the best shirt at ALMS:
Lo and behold, that "something" appears to be the Viper Owners Association, which opened up on Sept. 26. Thus, if you're privileged enough to own delicious V10'd goodness, there's a club for you again—sans the drama, we hope.