The Volkswagen Group has been investing in the technology of 3D printing for years and it is now starting to bear the first fruits of these investments. The VW brand will begin implementing 3D-printed components in production cars very soon, and Porsche, the performance brand of the VAG family, is now offering 3D-print body form full bucket seats for some of its models.
After a select group of Porsche drivers tested the new bucket seats, the automaker applied final adjustments and prepared the product for market release. Available through the new Performance Parts offering from Porsche Tequipment, the seats are now sold at an extra cost for various Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models. Starting from February next year, the 3D-printed seats will be available from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and will also be integrated into the Porsche online new car configurator.
Gallery: Porsche 3D-printed bucket seats
There’s much more to this new product than just the unique look, Porsche proudly says. The highlight of the new seat design is the central section, which is the main component produced with a 3D printer together with the cushion and backrest. The central section is available in three different rigidity grades, meaning the seat can be customised to suit the customer's specific needs. As a side note, the same technology was used for the seats of the Mission R concept from the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich.
"Seats adapted to individual drivers have been available for a long time in professional motorsport,” Porsche test driver Lars Kern explains. “Now Porsche also offers road-approved customisation with different rigidity grades as standard. During the initial test drives, I was impressed by the ergonomics – the slightly lower seat position and improved thigh support are similar to what you get from the seat in a racing car. The passive ventilation is impressive too."
For now, the 3D-printed bucket seats will be available for all Porsche models that are otherwise available with conventional full bucket seats. The automaker also promises it can retrofit the new seats to vehicles that have already been delivered. Probably the best part is that even the passenger seat of some models can be replaced with a 3D-printed bucket seat.