Coming 1st in our Best Fun, Frugal and Relatively Fast Cars test, the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth was lowest in fuel economy at 27.6 mpg.
2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Cobra — an 850 horsepower one-of-a-kind Cobra built to honor the late Carroll Shelby.
The 2013 BMW M6 is BMW’s fastest M with a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 that produces 560 bhp and 560 lb.-ft. of torque mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The 2013 Ford Taurus SHO is a genuinely civilized and comfortable luxury sedan that happens to be quite at home on the race track.
Patrick Long of Flying Lizard Motorsports breaks down the difference between the 911 GT3 street car and the GT3 RSR race car.
Paul Gentilozzi of RSR Jaguar breaks down the difference between the XKR street car and the XKR GT race car.
Jaime Melo of Risi Competizione breaks down the difference between the F430 street car and the F430 GTC race car.
Jan Magnussen of Corvette Racing breaks down the difference between the ZR1 street car and the C6. R race car.
Tommy Milner of Rahal Letterman Racing breaks down the difference between the M3 street car and the M3 GT race car.
The Future of Viper
What lies up the road for America’s meanest supercar?
In 2008, Dodge sold 1172 Vipers; in 2009, only 659. Prior to that, close to 2000 Vipers were rolling off dealer lots per year. Over 25,000 of these venomous sports cars have been sold since Dodge introduced it in 1992, making the Viper a success, at least until last year’s dismal performance.
Things actually started going downhill in 2008 when it was announced that the Viper brand was for sale. Within a year Chrysler went bankrupt and then a deal was struck with Fiat that saved Chrysler and, strangely, also the Viper. A quick succession of management changes seems to have worked in the Viper’s favor. In June of 2009, Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne was appointed CEO of Chrysler Group. The next month came news that not only was Viper no longer for sale, but that Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s vice president of product design (and a known Viper fanatic) would be the new CEO of Dodge Cars and be directly responsible for the Viper. He extended production of the 2010 model as far as it could go, which was this past June, because in July it would have to become a 2011 model. While there won’t be a 2011 model, we have reason to believe we’ll see a concept for a new Viper sometime in 2012, destined for production the following year.
The next Viper will use the same 8.4-liter V-10 making 600 horsepower. There’s nothing wrong with this, especially since the pushrod engine is apparently capable, with reasonable modification, of meeting emissions requirements up to 2018. The simple addition of direct injection could see power output rise to 700 bhp. Ilmor Marine sells the engine in 650-bhp and 725-bhp configurations, built at the Viper factory. Interestingly, Ilmor is still selling the engine even though the Viper plant is closed. Could it be the Ilmor folks know that Viper production will start up again before they run out of engines? It’s a safe bet they do. (Read More)