2015 Dodge Viper GT: Aggressive, Mandatory Lumbar Support
July 28, 2015
Each one of these cars has a similar seat design where the thigh-bolsters continue in a puffy ring around the seat bottom that surrounds your butt/back like one of those foam things that parents dump babies into when they want to protect the baby's soft skull, but also drink wine.
Those poor babies...
Look at that seat and then take a look at this seat from the BMW 235i.
You can see that the BMW has LOTS of adjustment and the Viper has the least adjustments allowed by human decency. You can see how on the BMW the seatback and the seat bottom intersect at a sane angle. See how the intersection on the Viper has a big lump in your lumbar and then a second lump right above that? Spines aren't supposed to bend like that and mine doesn't.
And lest you think it's a "sports car thing!" take a peek at our old Corvette. It's got a little bit of rounding at the bottom of the seatback, but nothing crazy and the pivot point isn't at the bottom of your ribcage.
And speaking of pivot points, when you recline the Viper's seat, the lumbar punch gets worse. It goes from "sitting on the ground leaning against a log" to "lying perpendicular on a beam fence." Putting the seat at absolute vertical is the only way not to feel like your kidneys are being crammed through your navel.
The downside here is that, like the Corvette, the seats are too high and when it's vertical, your vision is 40 percent Viper ceiling, 20 percent hood, and 40 percent road. Also like the Vette, the Viper doesn't have adjustable thigh support and, you guessed it, this seat bottom could stand to be a bit longer (or could tilt back further in the rear to kind of fake it).
Rounding out the experience, the Viper's seats aren't ventilated and don't breathe particularly well.
I get that it's a Viper and it's not supposed to be pleasant, but I keep feeling like Chrysler products are penalizing me because one of their seat engineers has a back that doesn't match mine. After 15 hours behind the wheel in only a few days, I was beat. I got back home, kicked off my shoes and lay down on the floor without moving for about an hour.
I love the Viper, I really do. But for $100,000, I just expect more — and could get it in a Corvette, Porsche, BMW or Jag.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 1,608 miles