2000 Dodge Viper ACR new car reviews

Fast and brutal: two words that sum up a week in the Dodge Viper ACR. Following their success of the ready-to-race Neon ACR cars, DaimlerChrysler now offer a Viper that's more suited for on-track action, specifically the Viper Days and SCCA Touring 1 competition.

To save some weight, the air-conditioning and audio systems along with the driving lamps have been deleted. Dodge then adds forged aluminum 18-inch BBS wheels, race-valved double-adjustable shock absorbers, 2.25-inch-diameter Hypercoil springs (about twice as stiff as stock), K&N air filters, five-point harnesses for both driver and passenger--and $10,000 to the $69,725 Viper GTS coupe base price.

To actually get on track, all that's needed would be some sticky R-compound tires, race-ready brake pads and the necessary safety gear.

And after a week of bombing around the Southern California area, we can definitely say that the Viper ACR is a bit more suited for the race track. Around town, it's a little more than nervous, thanks to its huge proportions, fat tires, heavy clutch, super-stiff springs, large turning radius and looooong hood. The arrest-me-red paint decorated with two fat silver stripes make it anything but subtle, and the wide sills--super-heated by the exhaust pipes containing within--make a graceful entry and exit next to impossible.

However, up in the mountains and away from stop-and-go traffic, the Viper shines. The 460 horsepower and 500 ft.-lbs. of torque offered by the 8.0-liter V10 engine make mountains--and slower traffic--quickly disappear, while the brakes and tires are so huge that fade and slip never become a problem. If anything, even windy mountain roads are no match for a Viper ACR--this thing needs something along the lines of Road Atlanta or Le Mans to be fully enjoyed.

For most of us mere mortals, the regular Viper GTS is probably more than enough car, however. Although, for those who have the extra scratch, the limited production of the Viper ACR could assure its position as a genuine future collectible.

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