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Discussion Starter #1
Okay I'll be honest with you. There was no smoke involved. My Alfa is behind the Viper in the picture attached and that's where it stayed the entire time on my test drive in a 1995 Dodge Viper.

What I mean by smoking the Viper is that I was underwhelmed by the Viper and feel that the Alfa 4C is faster. When I step on the gas in the Alfa 4C even with my eight-year-old passenger I feel pressed back into the seat firmly as the turbo spool up and I stay there as I accelerate through the gears.

I had heard the Viper was so brutal and intimidating and tail happy and be careful it's a monster infinite power blah blah blah. The only thing intimidating about it was the brakes were very weak so I would be afraid to go too fast in certain situations where rapid braking might be necessary.

Now it was certainly no slouch but again I've never heard people describe a car so dramatically powerful and fast as I've heard people talk about the Viper. It's almost as if they're describing a Tesla in ludicrous mode or something. Apologies if this is a stupid question but keep in mind I don't have any experience in old muscle cars. The oldest car I've ever had was a 2001 Toyota Celica. All sports cars were over 300 horsepower but nothing older than 2005 and no big block engines. Traditional or Flat 6. Actually two exceptions. 2012 Gallardo with a V10 engine and a V12 Lamborghini Murcielago. Ironically the first time I drove the gallardo I felt underwhelmed as well. It was my first time driving a Lamborghini and I had high expectations then I floored it and I was saying that's it? What am I missing here? Why are people describing the Viper as this crazy Beast? To be clear I only went up to third gear but I push the pedal all the way down a couple times. On cold tires I didn't feel like breaking traction was even possible. Would love to hear some thoughts from people that have more experience with muscle cars.



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I've got the same feeling with the 4C . Had a few of (manual) tuned ligthweigth cars Elise s 220hp, Speedster 2.2 turbokit 270hp,Speedster 2.2 supercharged 250hp,Speedster 2.0 turbo 400hp. The 4C is visciuos fast with it's short geared TCT box. Even my Speedster with the turbokit and the supercharger strugled above the 200km/h range , the 4C does not.
Very happy with the 4C oem performance... 4C FTW!💪💪💪💪💪
 

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I've got the same feeling with the 4C . Had a few of (manual) tuned ligthweigth cars Elise s 220hp, Speedster 2.2 turbokit 270hp,Speedster 2.2 supercharged 250hp,Speedster 2.0 turbo 400hp. The 4C is visciuos fast with it's short geared TCT box. Even my Speedster with the turbokit and the supercharger strugled above the 200km/h range , the 4C does not.
Very happy with the 4C oem performance... 4C FTW!💪💪💪💪💪
And to think the first 4C that I test drove I felt it was too slow. The salesman had to put it in track mode to try and convince me otherwise. LOL

Maybe the salesman was a bit overweight. That's the problem with a lightweight car with a small engine. Heavy passengers might just be a problem
 

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that Gen Viper was crazy for its time, 400hp with no stability controls/abs was almost unheard of at the time. It's sort of hard to compared to a car 20 years older. Though I really really want a Gen V viper (way faster but more refined), try driving one of those!
 

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And to think the first 4C that I test drove I felt it was too slow. The salesman had to put it in track mode to try and convince me otherwise. LOL

Maybe the salesman was a bit overweight. That's the problem with a lightweight car with a small engine. Heavy passengers might just be a problem
:D
When i testdrove the Elise S 220 , the car felt slow. Had to think twice about that...... A friend took me with his 4C coupe for a drive. Almost shitted my pants. So i knew it was just fine!
 

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Yeah I had a 660hp supercharged LS3 manual sedan and definitely felt the 4C was “quicker”. Now to be fair being manual makes it slower to get going, and supercharged means the boost is all at the top, so that thing went from slow to losing traction (which is also slow) real quick. But any mid level Audi for example would smoke it, stingers too unfortunately have to admit. The car was also 1750kg...
The 4C feels fast enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've got the same feeling with the 4C . Had a few of (manual) tuned ligthweigth cars Elise s 220hp, Speedster 2.2 turbokit 270hp,Speedster 2.2 supercharged 250hp,Speedster 2.0 turbo 400hp. The 4C is visciuos fast with it's short geared TCT box. Even my Speedster with the turbokit and the supercharger strugled above the 200km/h range , the 4C does not.
Very happy with the 4C oem performance... 4C FTW!💪💪💪💪💪



that Gen Viper was crazy for its time, 400hp with no stability controls/abs was almost unheard of at the time. It's sort of hard to compared to a car 20 years older. Though I really really want a Gen V viper (way faster but more refined), try driving one of those!
I apologize for my ignorance but I'm not sure what the 20 year difference has to do with it. This is the way that I'm thinking and maybe you can correct me where I'm wrong. I look at this as a numbers thing. 400 horsepower 450 ft lb of torque and 3200 lb curb weight. Those numbers to me don't have an age. A car with those numbers built in 19 90 should throw me back in the seat the same way it would if the car was built in 1995 or the year 2000 or the year 2020.

Now I do appreciate that there's more to things then simply horsepower and torque and curb weight. For example how that power is delivered in terms of the torque curve would be significant. You can have an engine design that is more flat versus one that delivers power more down low and there's many different ways that the power can be delivered. However one thing I'm thinking should be the same is the maximum effect of the seat Dino should not matter in terms of when the engine was built.

To put it simply. My expectation is that a car with the same numbers should have the same ability to throw you back in the seat and Brake traction regardless of when the car was built. Assuming you can turn traction control off for sure.

I came from a new 911 turbo so the 4C has never felt fast to me.

That said, a lot of “fast” cars can’t keep up with these little Alfas. I just like how fun they are at any speed.
I don't think handling gets the respect that it deserves. Lots of horsepower and torque is meaningless if your car is dancing around the road.


Yeah I had a 660hp supercharged LS3 manual sedan and definitely felt the 4C was “quicker”. Now to be fair being manual makes it slower to get going, and supercharged means the boost is all at the top, so that thing went from slow to losing traction (which is also slow) real quick. But any mid level Audi for example would smoke it, stingers too unfortunately have to admit. The car was also 1750kg...
The 4C feels fast enough.

This is my first turbo car and I'm Amazed every time as to the effect of those turbos in pushing me along. In particular the effect of just 1/3 throttle is mind-blowing to me. I know part of that is that there isn't much weight to move black The Surge of power from the turbo is undeniable.
 

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Read the comment below. This is a guy from a UK car magazine after driving a first generation Viper in in recent years. Is it that journalist and others I just over exaggerating to an extreme degree? I did find it strange that I don't think I've ever heard of any of the car described as so brutally fast. They always described it as if it has 2000 horsepower. Or 400 horsepower and weighs what my Alfa weighs. Lol

"When you pin the throttle, it feels as though you’ve just been pushed off a cliff. An initial shove in the back is followed by an ever-more urgent gathering of momentum until, knuckles white, you find yourself hoping that whatever comes next is as quick and painless as possible."
 

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I understand your perspective. Keep in mind all of your senses combine in the 4c to create an experience hard to replicate. The size and weight of the car play such a huge role. Where I live there are many back roads that can combine for hours of fun. In reality, many cars smoke the 4c, but they can feel so numb. It's the experience being inside the car that makes it what we all love. I wonder how many people passed on the chance to own this amazing little machine because the numbers didn't impress them. It's not the numbers, it's the experience. Going 55-60ish in 3rd dynamic and punching it never gets old and keeps me from getting old. It's a great feeling verifying what you already knew.....you love the 4c.
 

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I apologize for my ignorance but I'm not sure what the 20 year difference has to do with it. This is the way that I'm thinking and maybe you can correct me where I'm wrong. I look at this as a numbers thing. 400 horsepower 450 ft lb of torque and 3200 lb curb weight. Those numbers to me don't have an age. A car with those numbers built in 19 90 should throw me back in the seat the same way it would if the car was built in 1995 or the year 2000 or the year 2020.

Now I do appreciate that there's more to things then simply horsepower and torque and curb weight. For example how that power is delivered in terms of the torque curve would be significant. You can have an engine design that is more flat versus one that delivers power more down low and there's many different ways that the power can be delivered. However one thing I'm thinking should be the same is the maximum effect of the seat Dino should not matter in terms of when the engine was built.

To put it simply. My expectation is that a car with the same numbers should have the same ability to throw you back in the seat and Brake traction regardless of when the car was built. Assuming you can turn traction control off for sure.



I don't think handling gets the respect that it deserves. Lots of horsepower and torque is meaningless if your car is dancing around the road.





This is my first turbo car and I'm Amazed every time as to the effect of those turbos in pushing me along. In particular the effect of just 1/3 throttle is mind-blowing to me. I know part of that is that there isn't much weight to move black The Surge of power from the turbo is undeniable.
Young people, fresh out of the Universities are brighter and healthier. No question. But I will always listen first to the advice of the elderly. Yeah, the modern cars are quicker, but I understand why the older cars lead the parades. I'll take a Countach any day over anything.
 

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20 years of abuse might have robbed that Viper of much of its bite!

Many cars are faster than the 4C. A lot of those make that speed feel eerily comfortable, especially in a straight line. But the 4C is the whole package. It is fast (enough), nimble, nosy, raw, the brakes are as good as the turbo. Even the stock tires grip to about 1G. And you can enjoy it at sane speeds in everyday life rather than just on the Autobahn or a race track.

I admit to ignorance on Viper generations. But I’ve been tracking with a fairly novice driver in his (I think second most recent) gen Viper. It has a few initials after the name, but is not ACR. At my best, I can gain on him, but even with only a few track days under his belt, I cannot come close to lapping him in a 20 minute session. In skilled hands, that thing will probably lap me! This isn’t even on a horsepower circuit.

You are right that braking is a weak point on those cars. Not sure if it is the tires or the brake setup. But I’m sure that it can be addressed.

It’s not all about being pushed back into your seat. “Straight roads are for fast cars. Corners are for fast drivers” (and quick cars). ;)
 

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I had heard the Viper was so brutal and intimidating and tail happy and be careful it's a monster infinite power blah blah blah. The only thing intimidating about it was the brakes were very weak so I would be afraid to go too fast in certain situations where rapid braking might be necessary.

What am I missing here? Why are people describing the Viper as this crazy Beast?
View attachment 111648
Fair question. I test drove a Gen 1 Viper a while back on a fairly long (about 1 hour drive) drive on both the highway and mountain roads, so got a good mix of straight line speed and handling. I have mixed feeling about it. It was certainly a cool and charming car, and I liked it, but it wasn't a car I'd buy. I haven't driven later generations, or a coupe model from the 90s, so I'd like to drive one as things may change if I get the right vibes from another Viper model.

I was born in 1991, so the Viper is one of my generation's "affordable" dream cars. I always loved the Viper growing up, and I went in to the test drive thinking I was going to buy it as a stable mate for the 4C.

I thought the Viper was very fast, but I also think that, at least for me, the 4C is very fast too. As others have said, the experience of the 4C feels faster though, because you get the surge of the turbo kicking in, the sweet engine noises right behind your head, the shorter gearing and lightning fast shifts, and the visceral sensation of sitting low in a carbon tub. With that said, the Viper I drove felt nearly as fast just due to raw torque and power. I loved the engine and transmission of the Viper. It has such an awesome engine noise, where you could hear the intake seemingly sucking in the entire world around it. Plus it looks so rad, it's like retro cool. That's where the love ended for me though.

As you said, the brakes were terrible. For me though, the handling was too. It was very nose heavy, had tons of chassis flex and didn't seem like it wanted to go quickly into tight turns. It definitely had more of a muscle car feel in the handling. I know they are quick around a track, and I'm sure in the hands of a really good driver would be great, but for me it made me want to be really cautious around corners.

The build quality was a hot dumpster fire of plastic and squeaks. While I didn't go into the drive expecting it to be great, it was awful. Like shoddy kit car awful. It had hella squeaks everywhere from the interior, and there was a ton of chassis flex and cowl shake. I know time takes its toll on a car, but the one I drove was low mileage, looked immaculate, and was well maintained with a lot of service records. I'm sure it was better when new, but not way better to the point of being acceptable. It was still fun though. Maybe when I move back to the US I'll look at some of the newer models, where hopefully these issues have been improved.

To answer your question though, as to why it has a reputation as such an atomic beast, the car was introduced in 1992, and that's where it built its reputation. In a previous post you said that age should not affect how the car feels today given its power to weight numbers. Very true. What it does affect, however, is what competitors it was being measured against at the time. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds is the same as a contemporary Diablo. Again, that is quick, but not blistering today, yet it was about the quickest thing on the roads in the early 1990s. The Viper matched it, and for a much cheaper price. The article I linked below shows the MSRP as $52k, adjusted for inflation, about $97k. Not cheap, but much cheaper than anything else matching the performance. In 2020 we're used to cars with that kind of speed (our 4Cs have quicker acceleration), people back in '92 weren't though, so it felt like something of a revelation in performance for a factory sports car, especially after the doldrums of malaise era performance cars in the '70s and '80s.

The relatively obtainable price gave it access to many more people who had never driven a car with this sort or performance before, and opened it up to a market that would probably use the car a lot more regularly than say a Diablo or Testarossa owner used their cars. I imagine an early 90s Viper buyer to be someone either moving from a C4 Corvette, or base 911, maybe even a Ferrari 308/328/348. While fast for the time, they were not really Viper fast. As the Viper felt more raw than those cars, it probably also exaggerated the sensation of speed to make it feel even faster than it was (kind of like the 4C). To most people driving it at the time, I'm sure it felt like the fastest, most gnarly, raw car in existence.

Couple that with those drivers not being used to something that fast, with brakes that bad, and a giant, nose heavy V10 upfront, and you kind of have a recipe for disaster, thus all the "widow maker" stories of people losing control and wrecking. Kind of like the newer V8 Mustangs actually. For a lot of Mustang owners who crash at, let's say a Car and Coffee (just as a theoretical example, lol) the Mustang is the owner's first car with that much power, and they aren't as cautious with the power as they should be...and those do have traction control!

So while the Viper may not feel insane to drivers in the modern era where a $35k V8 Mustang is putting down more horsepower, and a sub-$100k Dodge Challanger Hellcat is putting out nearly double the original Viper's power, in 1992 the Viper was kind of the closest thing that many people had driven to a Plaid Mode Tesla. Definitely an awesome car for its time, and really seemed to have raised the bar in obtainable performance.

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I apologize for my ignorance but I'm not sure what the 20 year difference has to do with it.
My thought is that you're comparing it to a modern car. If you drove it in 1995, it would've thrown you back in the seats the same, BUT you would have likely not experienced anything else close to that relative power, thus you would've thought it was an extremely fast car for the price. Nowdays a Scatpack challenger will pack close to 500hp.

A lot of journalists to like to exaggerate, but I think the Viper got its reputation partially due how hard it was a car to drive fast (not just in a straight line), and without any driving aids it put a lot of people into walls or side of mountain
 

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I'm a huge Gen 1/2 Viper fan and came close to purchasing one, but I think it's one of those "don't meet your heroes" types of cars. On paper, they seem faster than they would be in a real life setting.

I recently purchased a '91 Callaway AeroBody Corvette with a Lingenfelter 383 stroker that has 447 hp/491 ft lbs of torque. You would think it would be faster than a 4C or even my F-Type with 340 hp, but it comes down to the transmission and gearing, as the Vette has a 3:73 gear ratio. The top speed of my car was apparently 191 mph before the AeroBody kit, which hopefully adds a few mph.

0-60 times are meant to sell cars and test drivers usually have a 5 foot rollout and drive the test cars harder than you would in order to get those perfect times. I have a feeling I would have to launch my car at a much higher RPM, similar to the Viper, and risk breaking the car. I prefer to just enjoy my car for cruising and the nostalgia factor.
 

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The old Widow Maker Porsche 911 Turbo killed you suddenly. It'd feel benign to anyone today, then you'd lift before apex, the revs and boost would continue on after you lifted, and you'd be spun off a cliff.

Anything that goes from 9/10 to 11/10 is terrifying...but not at 9/10. It's terrifying if you've gone from 9/10 to 11/10 and never got to meet 10/10s.

So... yeah... drive at 8/10 and 9/10... and the confidence shown by the OP is the false sense of security that will kill you when you unwittingly skip from 9/10 to 11/10.


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