The Viper is back, and looking meaner than ever. The fifth-generation all-new 2013 SRT Viper was unveiled at the recent New York show, and America’s take on the supercar has “evolved to incorporate superior craftsmanship, a host of new technologies and ergonomic improvements while respecting its visceral legacy of outright performance,” Dodge says.

The Viper’s heart is a hand-assembled 8.4L all-aluminum V10 engine with 640 hp and 814 Nm of torque, the latter is the highest among naturally aspirated engines.

Improvements include an “ultra-high flow” and lightweight composite intake manifold, high-strength forged pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves, new catalysts to reduce back pressure and an aluminum flywheel that reduces reciprocating losses. 13 kg has been shaved from the engine alone.

The Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual gearbox has been improved with a shorter throw shifter, closer gear ratios and a final drive ratio that has been shortened to 3.55 from 3.07. 2013 Viper models are claimed to be more engaging to drive and top speed is now achieved through sixth gear with redline at 6,200 rpm.

It was revealed that a Ferrari or Maserati platform was considered for the new Viper, but they couldn’t agree on the right proportions and instead reworked the old car’s high strength steel platform.

The structure is 50% stiffer than before, and there’s a new aluminum “X” brace under the hood that ties the suspension pickup points to the magnesium cowl super casting. A new aluminum impact beam at the front of the car contributes to overall mass savings and improved weight distribution.

At the rear, the suspension has been re engineered with the toe link moved forward of the axle for better tow control and dynamic stability. A new, driver selectable two-mode suspension system, featuring Bilstein DampTronic Select shock absorbers with both street and track settings, is standard on GTS models.

Four-piston Brembo brakes with fixed-aluminum calipers, and vented rotors with a diameter of 355 mm by 32 mm, are used at all four corners. Brake calipers are forged and weight optimised by fully machining all surfaces. They are among the stiffest available with distortion from heat nearly eliminated. The available SRT Track Package features lightweight and slotted two-piece rotors from StopTech.

2013 Vipers ride on standard Pirelli P Zero, Z-rated tyres with improved overall performance. The optional SRT Track Package features Pirelli P Zero Corsa, “soft”-tuned, “racing-type” compound tyres that improve handling and precision further.