Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the 2013 SRT Viper Works

        Auto | American

It's What's Inside That Counts
In the higher-priced GTS model, you get standard Napa leather upholstery or optional Italian Laguna leather.
In the higher-priced GTS model, you get standard Napa leather upholstery or optional Italian Laguna leather.
Courtesy of Chrysler Group LLC

The interior of the old Viper had a reputation for being -- How can we put this delicately? -- cheap. More like the plastic chairs in your local auto mechanic's waiting room than the plush interior of a Lamborghini. That might fit the rugged image of a muscle car with a budget price tag but when a vehicle has a sticker price that can easily edge into the six figures, it really ought to offer amenities more like those in the high rollers lounge at a Las Vegas casino. Not surprisingly, SRT has that covered, mostly with leather upholstery, supplemented with soft grain vinyl. The interior color scheme is downright pretty, in the macho sort of way a Viper would warrant. There are color accents on the seats and matching color stitching on the doors, consoles and instrument panel.

Sabelt, the company that makes seats for Ferrari, has designed shell seats for the 2013 SRT Viper. In the higher-priced GTS model, you get standard Napa leather upholstery or optional Italian Laguna leather. The Viper, being a race car as well as a street car, the ceiling is higher to accommodate the driver's helmet (or just a taller driver). And, in keeping with the Viper's transition from the analog era to the digital age, the dashboard has been changed into the sort of electronic wonderland expected these days of luxury (and even a lot of mid-priced) cars. There's an 8.4-inch (21.3-centimeter) console screen with touch controls for Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio and a GPS. You can also choose between 12 and 18 speakers for your sound system (in case you ever get tired of listening to that incredible engine growl). The touch screen includes what SRT calls an electronic vehicle information display, or EVIC for short, with a "high-definition presentation of performance-oriented feedback to the driver" [source: Drivesrt.com]. This feedback includes acceleration times, braking distance and top speeds, the sort of information that a racing driver needs more than a commuter, but you can bet that even drivers who only use their Viper on the street will peek at it every now and then.

There will inevitably be drivers who miss the 'rough edges' of the Viper of old and resent the intrusion of drive-by-wire computer controls on a car that once challenged a driver to take a sharp turn and come out pointed the right way. SRT has gone out of its way to make the new 2013 Viper as familiar as possible for these 'old-timers' while still making it user friendly (yes, and government-safety-mandate friendly) for drivers who came of age in the era of the Prius. Or for those drivers who just want a car that combines European elegance with lingering traces of the American muscle car spirit. It's anybody's guess if this is a car that will please both groups or if this is a compromise that won't please anyone. But either way, you can't say that Chrysler hasn't given it one hell of a try.


More to Explore