Originally Posted by flapflapflap
All I can say is to each his own. My personal preference is leather over pleather. You are driving a BMW, not a Toyota or even Acura. Leather is a must of you consider yourself to be an owner of a luxury car.
I guess it really depends upon how you define luxury car. In my opinion, literally any BMW 1 series, X1 or even 3 series before the introduction of the F30 isn't really a luxury car. The owners of these cares are sacrificing a good deal of luxury for driving dynamics/performance. Consumers have to judge for themselves whether those trade offs are worthwhile.
If I really put the most emphasis on traditional luxury such as a comfortable ride, low noise, safey and a luxurious interior/materials, there are other manufacturers that have much more impressive offerings. In terms of interior quality and comfortable ride, I would actually consider vehicles like the Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES/RX etc., Infiniti JX, Hyundai Genesis, Lincoln MKX, Audi Q5 and above to all be luxury cars that can be purchased for under 45k. Acura's new souped up civic may actually have a nicer interior then the 1 series but I'd much rather own a 1 series since it clearly beats the entry level Acura in terms of driving performance. For BMW's, I think there luxury models probably start at the 5 series including the X5 to a lesser extent. It's actually hard for me to come up with a relatively compact luxury car other then then the Mercedes C class and even then I only consider that car to be luxurious for people that aren't that tall/big.
I recently bought an X1 without leather but in all honesty, I wouldn't consider an X1 with every option selected at over $50k, a luxury car. 50k may be somewhat expensive but my definition of luxury is not always that really that closely aligned with the price paid for a car.
Given the strengths of the X1, 1 series or even 3 series, I actually think it makes perfect sense to go without leather seats.
On a more luxurious BMW like the 5 series, I think the case for leather is much stronger.