Leatherette v/s Real Leather

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Anyone else have problems with the BMW Leatherette they continue to try to shove down peoples throats in North America. I would rather have good clothe seats than this crap.
Anyone who has bought imitation leather shoes at Payless Shoes at the mall knows how comfortable imitation leather is.
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wiseguy wrote:

Have you ever owned a car with leatherette? Do you have actual first hand (or first-butt) experience or are you just being a, uumm... wiseguy?
I own a mid '90's 325i with leatherette. Every person who has ever got into the car (that was not intimately familiar with BMWs) thought the interior was leather. They are often very surprised when I tell thgem it's pLeather. Unlike the vinyl in most other cars, it feels and looks quite a bit like real leather. But, it looks pristine, even after 10 years and 115k miles of use, including hauling dogs and kids around in the back seat. Leather seats generally look pretty sad after such use, and cloth would likely look very dirty.
Yes, I agree with you that I would like the option of cloth interior as that would be my choice for comfort's sake, especially now that my kids have grown up. But the the leatherette is really not so bad as what you make it sound. It does have its place in the market.
-- -Fred W
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Fred, I'm curious as to what (if anything) you have used to maintain the leatherette. For my cars' leather, I have finally settled on Zymol Treat, although it's somewhat expensive.
Tom
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Tom K. wrote:

That's the "beauty part" of Pleather; You don't really have to "maintain" it. I clean it occasionally with some stuff made for cleaning vinyl interiors made by Lexol. Don't remember the exact name, but it is only a cleaner and doe nothing to extend the longevity of the stuff, if that is possible. I have a feeling the interior of this car will be around a lot longer than I will be.
I have regular black leather in my E34 540i, which sees regular doses of regular Lexol. It looks good for a '94 but there is no mistaking this as anything but real leather. Lots of "character" marks, don't you know... My Z3 is also leather but that interior sees the least use and consequently looks the best of any of them.
-Fred W
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Thanks for the info.

Same with my '99 328i, but I think many of us have "character", some with more marks than others! I started with Lexol & switched to Connolly because I didn't care for the Lexol+leather smell. Have since gone to Zymol for the best smell and feel.

My Z3 ( replaced by a Z4 in 2003) had the extended leather in red. Looked great, especially the custom dash stitching, but if I had known it was going to be $1,200 when I ordered the car ....
Tom
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On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 07:25:11 -0400, Malt_Hound

I still don't know to this day whether my 323, which I bought used, has leather or 'ette.
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dizzy wrote:

The way to tell, is... "How good do the seats look?" If they look nearly perfect, the covers are taught and the outer surface color is uniform, they are Pleather. Leather tends to sag and develop creases in the color layer after just a few years.
You can also tell by handfeel, but you'd have to see both first. The Pleather is a bit softer to the touch, and when you press into it with a finger you can feel the cover stretch ever so slightly. Real leather tends to be a bir sttiffer, the surface of the material is harder and has no stretch.
--
-Fred W
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On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 07:23:59 -0400, Malt_Hound

I must have the 'ette.
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not*yahoo.com"> wrote:

and had made up my mind the leather was not worth the extra dollars. However, when I drove both for an extended period in the Texas heat I bought the leather. When I got out the leatherette car by back was starting to sweat, even with the air con running. The leather was fine and to me it just felt better. If I was only worried about looks and longevity I would have gone with leatherette, but for comfort I chose the leather. Might depend allot on where you live and whether conditions.
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My experience with both BMW and Mercedes imitation leather (leatherette, MBtex, vinyl, pleather, plastic, whatever) has been that they're both of high quality and durability. Cloth has its habitability advantages (neither nasty hot in summer nor ice cold in winter), but it isn't trouble free.
I've been disappointed by the Montana leather in my 5er. It's surface treated (as opposed to vat dyed) and shows wear quickly despite regular care.
R / John
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wrote:

I've always felt luxury car makers are not going to sully their brand by putting in an interior that reflects badly on the make as a whole. The BMWs I've seen had excellent fake leather, and mediocre real leather. Honestly to the point you either can't tell the difference or you will choose the leatherette based on how it looks after a year.
Luxury car makers are the same people who want to charge us $100 for an oil change because "if you have to ask, you cant afford a car like this"..Do you really think these greasy bastards are going to make themselves look bad by putting crappy plastic seats in their cars?
Nah.. Leatherette looks fine IMO and stays looking such a lot longer.
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When I first started looking at BMW's I sat in several and looked at several different colors. It wasn't until I went to discuss options with the dealer that I realized there was a difference. If I hadn't seen it on the sticker and been told about it, I honestly have to say I would not have known. I thought it odd that a car at this price range didn't have power seats as standard, but I don't really care about that either so no big deal for me.
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Jack Dotson wrote:

Some people prefer to spend their money on important engineering rather than power convenience options.
Example: You could go out and buy a fully optioned up Honda Accord for about the same money as a "stripper" BMW 325i. Actually, that's a fallacy in the US since all BMWs imported come with a pretty high level of standard features. Gimme the BMW and I'll manually move my seat into position (and then leave it there)
-- -Fred W
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My understanding is that Imitation Leather was introduced to appears the animal rights activists in Europe. Only died in the wool Bimmermeisters would accept a luxury car with plastic seats. Look at Lexus. Imitation Leather is not in their vocabulary.

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wiseguy wrote:

Nice story. Total non-sense though. Cloth interior is available in Europe on many models not available in the US.

I don't get your logic. To begin with, a 325i is *hardly* a luxury car. Secondly, since the leatherette looks like leather (only better for a long time) and it is equally (un)comfortable, why would it be any more unacceptable to "non-Bimmermeisters"

I've looked at Lexus. I don't care what their vocabulary is... I own BMWs. That speaks volumes.
-- -Fred W
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On Thu, 25 Aug 2005 08:10:31 -0400, Malt_Hound

I must admit I've never seen the attraction with leather seats. Sure they look good, and smell fantastic, but they're cold in the winter, you slide about on them, and if you have any naked skin against them you stick.
In the summer the naked skin welds!
I much prefer the cloth.
I don't know if any of you guys in the USA have ever seen it, but I used to have a Lancia over here in the UK which had seats made of alcantara. Fantastic. Easy to clean (I know this cos someone spilt a pint of cola on mine) and looks kinda like suede.
Dodgy.
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Although we haven't seen the Lancia, all 330i with performance package come with Alcantara.
Floyd
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On Thu, 25 Aug 2005 08:10:31 -0400, Malt_Hound

Well, that depends on your perspective... 8)
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"Cloth" is certainly in the Lexus vocabulary. Leather on the IS300 is a $2K option if you don't like their cheezy cloth.
I'd much rather have the BMW leatherette than cloth. Easier to keep clean, doesn't stain, looks much better. If all three (cloth/leatherette/leather) were equal cost I'd choose the leatherette, since in 10 years it will be the best looking. By the way, you CAN order your BMW with cloth seats if you want, many people do just that.
Only died in the wool BMW enthusiasts would think this way - because only BMW enthusiasts expect to own their car for ten years. If the leather in a Lexus is shot after five years, it's no big deal since it's in the wrecker's yard by then.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

I'm sorry, but I disagree. Well looked after leather will last a great deal longer than plastic. At least, older style "hard" leather will ... this more modern "soft" stuff seems far less abrasion resistant.
I have an older leather interior with 95,000 miles and 11 years on it, and it's frankly like new. Plastic rips, tears, scuffs and thins out far faster, IME, especially in very hot conditions. Leather dries in heat, but you can treat it; plastic softens and tears, which is trickier to fix.
Anything's better than cloth though. Nothing screams "pikey" like cloth. Hideous.
--
Bear
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