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Porsche Is Developing 3-D-Printed Bucket Seats for the 911 and 718

Prototypes are expected to whizz around racetracks across Europe to help fine-tune the final product.

Porsche 3D printed bucket seats Courtesy of Porsche

Porsche is launching bucket seats that hug its drivers as well its cars hug the road.

These new bucket seats, set to debut in a limited-edition quantity of 40, are more complex than they first appear—because all of them are 3-D printed. The technology, applied primarily to the center section of each piece, will allow buyers to choose between three levels of firmness based on their own comfort. It’s a nod to the company’s racing heritag, as driver-specific fitted seats are the norm in professional motorsports.

“The seat is the interface between the human and the vehicle, and is thus important for precise, sporty handling. That’s why personalized seat shells customized for the driver have been standard in race cars for a long time now,” Michael Steiner, a member of Porsche’s executive board for research and development, said in a press release.

Porsche 3D printed bucket seats

A closeup view of the bucket seat’s unique construction.  Courtesy of Porsche

In addition to an ergonomic fit similar to that found on racing circuits, it also features a lower weight than other seats, improved comfort and passive climate control. The design has its origins in Porsche’s lightweight full-bucket seat and achieves its comfort through a sandwiched construction. The outmost layer has a perforated texture for temperature control while window panels expose the colorful, supportive 3-D-printed lattice design beneath.

Available from Porsche Tequipment as early as May 2020, it will be built into both the 911 and 718 ranges. Until then, 40 prototypes––outfitted with six-point seatbelts––will be used on racetracks throughout Europe. The company will closely monitor user feedback during this trial period in the hopes of improving the finished product. As a next step, street-legal versions in three different firmness levels and colors will be available from the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur from mid-2021. Porsche hopes that the next step in development will be seats custom-contoured to each buyer.

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