Bucket Seats v Standard Seats - Report
I went to the local dealer this afternoon, where they had 2 new S3s on the used car pitch - one with Recaro buckets, the other without. So I had the rare opportunity to try out and compare both designs of seats "back to back" in order to try and resolve the only remaining dilemma concerning my new S3 order: would it be head (standard seats) or heart (Recaros)?
I had always wanted to get the buckets if I could, because they look so damned good and undoubtedly make the car feel more special. My main concern about them was the lack of lumbar support, but following a (very) short test drive in the dealer's buckets-equipped demonstrator last week I found the lower back support to be naturally good due to the orthopaedic shape of the seat and the fact that you naturally sit so deep in it. My "static" test of the seat, during which I explored the full range of seat adjustment, confirmed this. I was also concerned about tightness around my thighs due to the extended seat base side bolsters - I am 5'11" and 12.5 stone, so I'm not particularly lardy. However, given the opportunity to prod and poke the seats, I was surprised to find that there was a bit of "give" in the side bolsters, which I had originally thought to be totally unyielding, suggesting that they will "ease" with use. The shoulder support from the "wings" on the seat was excellent and unintrusive. I found that the buckets are seats that encourage you to spend some time setting them up and adjusting them just right, the payoff from this being that they will then make you so much feel part of the car. The obvious practical drawback of the buckets is the poor entry to the rear of the car, but this is not a problem for me as I rarely carry rear seat passengers anyway, and I found that sliding the seat forward on its runners before tilting the seat back with the lever is no more inconvenient than doing the same thing on my sister's TTC.
I then jumped straight into the car with the standard seats. I immediately noticed that the standard seat supported me in all the places the Recaro seat did, but not as much (unsurprisingly). The side bolsters squeezed my thighs more than I remembered from my test drive in an S3 with standard seats last November (perhaps several months of driving a Hyundai runabout with flat seats has desensitised me to this aspect of car seating). The shoulder support was there, but again, not as noticeable as that on the "winged" Recaros. The seats in the car in question did not have electric lumbar support (which I would consider essential) but the lower back support was adequate, and much better than on the equivalent S-Line Sports Comfort Seat which is a disgrace in this regard. The standard seats also have the advantage over the buckets of better functionality, through the easy-entry system to the rear of the car, adjustable head restraints, optional electric lumbar and side airbags.
In summary, and perhaps not surprisingly, I found the main differences between the standard and buckets seats to be the degree of support. The standard seats are an excellent effort in this regard, and have the advantage of the extra functionality mentioned above. However, having already decided that I was prepared to sacrifice the added functionality of the standard seats for the "wow" factor of the Recaros provided my body fitted them, for me it all came down to the issue of comfort and "liveability". After much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the standard seats are not so substantially more comfortable for my body shape/size as to justify dismissing the Recaros in favour of them.
I have therefore decided that it is safe to give the benefit of any doubt to my heart over my head, so I will be amending my order to include bucket seats!
All I need now is a build week....:keule: