Automobile

Porsche 3D-printed bodyform seats increase comfort and options

Last year, Porsche announced a “concept study” of what it called a “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat.” The unit looks like a fancy Porsche bucket seat with pockets where a latticed material shows through, that lattice being the reason for the press. Composed of three layers, the bottom layers is the same expanded polypropylene found in everything from baby seats to airplane seats. The “comfort layer” sits above that, made of polyurethane-based materials that are 3D-printed to be either soft, medium, or hard. This layer is only found in the center backrest and seat bolster. The upper layer is fabric skin called Racetex, cut to leave windows showing off the printed layer below, and perforated for climate control. 

The idea came from the custom seats created for race drivers, the automaker using drivers from Porsche race teams and track days in Europe to evaluate the chairs last year. They got their first public showing inside the cockpit of the Mission R concept at the Munich Motor Show. Porsche says the bodyform seat provides better comfort and passive climate control thanks to the perforated Racetex, and it’s 8% lighter than a standard Porsche bucket in one of their road cars. And because the layers are clipped together instead of held with adhesive, Porsche says they’re more environmentally friendly.

Having passed all of its tests, the bodyform units are now available from the Performance Parts catalog of Porsche Tequipment, another of the sports car maker’s accessories arms. They can replace driver’s seats and sometimes the passenger’s seats in certain Boxster, Cayman, and 911 models. They’re compatible with both seats in the third-gen and fourth-gen Boxster and Cayman with build dates up to November 22, 2020. After that, the new bodyform seat only fits Boxster and Cayman driver’s seat. Both front seats in the entire 991-series 911 can be swapped for bodyforms. In the 992, only the driver’s seat can be swapped.

While we wait on U.S. pricing, each bodyform costs €2,677.50 in Germany ($3,106 U.S.) and takes just a few minutes to install at a dealer. Because this wouldn’t be a Porsche production without options on top of options, the latticework can be printed in one of three colors right now: Black, Guards Red, and Yellow. 

Come February 2022, the custom seats will be available as standard equipment and added to the Porsche configurator. There will also be three more colors: Arctic Grey, Shark Blue, and Ultramarine. If the thrones prove popular enough, the company says it will take the next step of creating 3D-printed bodyform bucket seats shaped to the contours of the buyer.

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