Marchionne told US radio station WJR-AM Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo was full of praise for the reborn American muscle car after seeing it in the flesh for the first time last week.
“The car is a superb machine," Marchionne said in the interview. "I had the chairman of Ferrari down here for the board meeting last week and he had a chance to look at the car, and he was speechless.
“I mean, for Ferrari to admit that the car is a unique vehicle is a hell of a compliment to the work that's gone on here.”
Ferrari and SRT are both part of the Fiat-Chrysler corporation that is headed by Marchionne, which perhaps gives some explanation for why Montezemolo was so forthcoming with applause for the new supercar, which will go head to head with his own brand’s 458 Italia when it launches in the US in the coming months.
The all-new SRT Viper was unveiled last month at the 2012 New York motor show. The fifth-generation Viper – which has broken away from the Dodge brand into the newly formed SRT (Street and Racing Technology) sub-division – appears to have taken huge strides forward from the old model that was discontinued in 2010 in almost all areas.
While it’s still instantly recognisable as a Viper, the new model shares obvious design links with its Italian cousins, Ferrari and Maserati, giving it a significantly more modern and refined appearance.
Viper fans won’t have any trouble recognising the 8.4-litre V10 engine either, which has been uprated to now produce 477kW of power and 814Nm of torque – catapulting the snake from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 325km/h.
Unfortunately for Australian fans, there are no plans to produce the new SRT Viper in right-hand-drive, meaning we will continue to be forced to admire the stunning supercar from afar.