I know this has been asked before (2002 was the last Google
listing) but I'm stumped. Are the dashboard, steering wheel,
door panels, etc leather or leatherette/vinyl in a leather trim
I asked a friend who is a BMW salesperson and BMW afficionado.
He did not know. Said no one ever asked before.
Main reason is I want to know how to take care of those areas
and not waste Lexol on them.
Sometimes those areas are leather, sometimes not - it depends if
the original buyer ordered full leather or not. In *both* my cars, the
seats and some of the door panels are leather, the rest is vinyl.
"You were just hit by lightning, you're stark naked,
and you can't remember your own name. You've got a
fairly loose definition of fine."
2003 BMW 325i Black/Black, 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
dashboard won't be leather... i think they did a leather dash in the E32
750 and it didn't handle the sun very well
if the steering wheel looks like leather it most likely is, but don't
put any product on it because it will make it slippery which is
dangerous.. just clean with a damp cloth
door panels will either be all vinyl or part-leather.. you should be
able to tell just by looking at them. i also wouldn't bother putting
conditioning product on these areas as they don't really suffer wear by
contact nor would they be exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged
Agree in part. My 1990 E34 535i, 5spd manual tranny, 105K miles, has leather
SEATS that are real leather. It also has what appears to be "real leather"
on the shift boot and around the hand brake. Not sure about door panels,
appear to be "leather-like". Everything else is plastic or vinyl (except
Very much model dependent, and customer selection dependent.
The E24/635ci had leather seating, the E24/M6 came with lots more
leather including the dash, the E24/L6 had leather covering almost
everything (including the headliner!) It was all model dependent.
Some of the 7 series will have real leather on most of the door panels,
as will the upper ranges of the 5 series.
M3's have been available with full leather seating, leather door panel
inserts, and mixed leather/alcantra, or mixed suede and cloth seating.
All customer options.
Most US delivered models have leather covered steering wheels, at least
once you get out of the economy range (325..)
You can check using your fingernail - if you scratch the surface and
leave a line of little digs - it's probably leather. Of course this also
damages the surface. Or find a way to see the back of the material -
that's the real giveaway. Leather looks like suede on the back, vinyl
has a cloth mesh backing.
I generally can tell by just the feel. BMW is one of the few
manufacturers who does ALL surfaces on the seat in leather when leather
is specified - most other manufacturers just do the seating surfaces
(where your body contacts the seat - sides are usually vinyl.)
Quick answer is - there is no real answer. Too many variables to make a
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