Five reasons you shouldn't spec leather seats in your Porsche 911
Let’s talk heritage and tradition because there’s a lot of it around the Porsche 911. Now, you need to have been around a while in order for things you did first time round to have come back into fashion, and for plain ‘design’ to have morphed into ‘tastefully retro’. Porsche can do this since the 911 has been around 58 years now. There’s a lot of historic levers to pull.
Some of them are big – 2010’s limited run of 250 ducktailed Sport Classic 911s (aping the famous 1973 Carrera RS) is probably the most famous – while others make a smaller impact. At which point I need to introduce the Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition that was launched earlier this year. And you’re going to tell me the Targa is a pretty big historic lever.
However, I’m not talking about that car’s massively convoluted roof. Nor its Fuchs-inspired wheels or decals. No, instead it introduced corduroy into the cabin, the inspiration for that coming from the 356 back in the Fifties.
It was such a hit that Porsche decided to put it on the options list for all 911s. And mine has it. It’s a vastly expensive box to tick - £6,620 for what the literature simply terms Heritage Pack Pure with two-tone Black and Atacama leather – so you’d be forgiven for skipping straight past it. The extra tasty bits that come as part of it don’t amount to a whole hill of beans either. The embossed crests on the headrests are fine, so too the 911 plaque on the dash, but personally I think the ‘Exclusive Manufaktur’ indentation on the armrest is unnecessary and the unique floormats don’t exactly juice me up.
You select it for the trim. The OLEA leather is tanned using olive leaves (more sustainable, apparently) and is designed to gain lustre and richness as it ages. Don’t think it’s going to take that long, as there are already detectable creases on the bolster where I’ve been clambering in and out. But it’s the corduroy that’s really captivated me. Despite the fact it’s, well… corduroy. The word still carries geography teacher overtones to me.
It adorns the seat centres and doors, and brings a welcome warmer tone and texture to the cabin. I’m loving these non-leather upholsteries – I had a Range Rover Velar a couple of years back with a Kvadrat cabin which was lovely, and it’s the same here. In no particular order then, here are the main high points.
- It’s never cold under your arse cheeks, which matters now winter is coming.
- Heat soaks through from the bum warmers unbelievably quickly.
- It’s soft to sit on, has a bit of give in it.
- It holds you in place better than leather so there’s no sliding about.
- It looks and feels more special than leather
In fact besides cost there’s only one drawback, but it is a biggie given how hard I’ve been using the 911 so far. Dirt. It’s mainly come from bike wheels, but I’ve had people (OK, small nephews) in the back, food crumbs and the general dust and detritus of everyday travel. Found an empty flapjack packet under the seats this morning.
Vacuum, then damp cloth is all I’ve dared so far. I’m sure Porsche has put this corduroy through a development process every bit as rigorous as the one the GT3’s dynamics go through, but I don’t want to go spraying cleaning product about until I’m sure it won’t leave unsightly stains. Any advice gladly received.