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.
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.
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 ....
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.
I followed this thread closely while I was considering buying my new 325i
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.
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
R / John
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.
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.
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)
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
Look at Lexus. Imitation Leather is not in their vocabulary.
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.
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.
"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
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.
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
Anything's better than cloth though. Nothing screams "pikey" like cloth.
"The deep south? Isn't that the place where the black guys are really
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