The Dodge Viper died a quick and ignominious death shortly after Fiat partnered with Chrysler, though even then there was talk that the car would be revived for 2012. Now a report from Autoblog says Sergio Marchionne showed the 2012 Viper at a dealer meeting this week.
There are essentially no details on the car, except that it was able to roll onto the stage, and that it is in fact the next Viper. The new design is reported to be all-new, with a sharper, newer look.
We'll keep our ears to the ground and our eyes peeled for any more information or leaked images on the 2012 Viper, but for now, all we can do is speculate on what the next Viper might bring.
Reports from within Chrysler have previously said the current Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was originally the next-gen Viper, so we can use that car as a template for the 2012 car, assuming Chrysler wouldn't throw away the years of design work and engineering that went into developing the platform. The proportions are certainly right, though we'd expect a less-luxurious interior and more characterisically Viper bodywork.
As for power, the V-10 of the current Viper could stick around, though it is getting a bit long in the tooth. Tapping Fiat's corporate family for a heady V-8 wouldn't be beyond the pale, nor would taking a hulked-up version of the new 6.4-liter HEMI found under the hoods of the coming Challenger SRT8, Grand Cherokee SRT8, and Charger SRT8. Power output in either case should be expected to approach the 500 horsepower mark at the least, with 600 horsepower a more likely target. Remember, the Viper isn't a volume-seller despite is price-performance ratio, and Fiat/Chrysler can absorb some inefficiency to get the halo model where it needs to be on performance.
Whatever the 2012 Viper brings, we're glad to see it's not dead. We just hope it retains its raw, unfiltered approach to performance. There are already enough nanny-operated mobile video games out there. Give us a race car for the street.