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      09-21-2012, 06:21 PM   #1
trek8000
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Leather vs. Leatherette

Can anyone tell me if there is a big enough difference in looks and comfort between Leather and Leatherette to justify the $1450 extra cost for leather? I am leaning more towards the leather upgrade when I order my X1 but just want to ask anyone that might be able to comment. Thanks!
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      09-21-2012, 07:59 PM   #2
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I would advise deciding what color interior you want and check out both materials in person in an X1 since you will be the person that lives with the choice. And if you are buying instead of leasing, go to a used car lot and see the looks of BMW leather in a couple of different cars after 6-7 years. In addition, you should think about why you want the X1 since it may help make this decision a bit easier. When I listed my reasons, a luxury looking interior was near the bottom of my list. In my next car, I wanted fun to drive/rwd, good safety, good residual value, > =32 mpg highway, easy to park, decent cargo space, low noise, high tech features all before a premium feeling/looking interior.

In entry level Mercedes and even BMW's , I think the leatherette is nice enough that you really don't need leather. Leather does look a little more premium over the first couple of years of ownership at least but I like the fact that leatherette is very easy to clean and doesn't appear to be affected by the sun.

If Coral Red leather was an option without ordering the sports line, I may have been tempted to buy the premium package and get that color since it does appear to be a fun color.

The general consensus is the black leatherette does a better job looking like leather then the beige leatherette. But the beige leatherette/leather gives more tones to the interior and brightens it up.

The way I figure it is if I regret not getting some of the options I bypassed, I will sell the car in 4-5 years instead of perhaps 6-7 years. The money I save can go to the new car.
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      09-21-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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I had the same question as you and when I had my chance to test drive, I was able to sit in both. The leather is more comfy, looks better, and fits more of the body. I think it also had more adjustable parts, IIRC.
But would I pay extra for it? No.
The leatherette is still a nice looking comfy chair to drive in.
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      09-22-2012, 07:09 AM   #4
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I hated the looks of the beige leatherette. Like weinvest stated, black leatherette does a much better job of pretending to be leather.
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      09-22-2012, 09:59 PM   #5
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In Canada it is a 2000 $ option ... arrrgh !

When I was asking myself the same question I had the chance to sit in some X1 with both interior. I would say the type of seats should also count in your equation. The leather is "sliding" on the standard seats. So, if you can't afford the sport seats, I would recommend you the leatherette. The std seats will keep you in place better with this no cost option.

The sales person had made me realized that the leather was not "ventilated" in the X1 so I would'nt gain anything in the "sweating" side of the thing.

I have my X1 for almost a year now and I have gone through a fantastic and hot summer ... Neither my wife or me had any complain about excessive sweating at all.

But, go and try both. It's not because we like the letherette enough to save 2000 $ that you will too. I'd say save the cash for a sport pkg, a panoramic roof and the light pkg ( directionnal xenon lights ). Those 3 are really upgrading the ride.

Good luck
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      09-22-2012, 11:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by trek8000 View Post
Can anyone tell me if there is a big enough difference in looks and comfort between Leather and Leatherette to justify the $1450 extra cost for leather? I am leaning more towards the leather upgrade when I order my X1 but just want to ask anyone that might be able to comment. Thanks!
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.
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      09-23-2012, 03:08 AM   #7
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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.
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      09-23-2012, 12:13 PM   #8
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I'm very happy with the Nevada leather. That said, I don't understand is why so many manufacturers have moved away from cloth seats here in the US. I would greatly prefer cloth to leatherette, and I think the argument can be made for choosing Alcantara over the leather.
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      09-23-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcinvest View Post
I would advise deciding what color interior you want and check out both materials in person in an X1 since you will be the person that lives with the choice. And if you are buying instead of leasing, go to a used car lot and see the looks of BMW leather in a couple of different cars after 6-7 years. In addition, you should think about why you want the X1 since it may help make this decision a bit easier. When I listed my reasons, a luxury looking interior was near the bottom of my list. In my next car, I wanted fun to drive/rwd, good safety, good residual value, > =32 mpg highway, easy to park, decent cargo space, low noise, high tech features all before a premium feeling/looking interior.
Exactly what I am thinking, but I would like to spend the saving money for personalize my X1. I am searching for the body kit, but it's look like unavailable at this moment...
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      09-23-2012, 07:31 PM   #10
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Had a 2001 BMW 330 with leather and a 2006 Mini Cooper S with leatherette.

The leather showed wear quickly and I had to put seat covers on to keep from destroying the leather.

The leatherette after 6 years looked brand new even though the car sat outside in the Texas sun everyday I owned it.

History as our guide, my new X1 and my wife's x3 were both ordered with leatherette.
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      09-24-2012, 09:40 AM   #11
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My 1999 BMW 323 had the beige Leatherette and it wore very well, however, not sure I kept it long enough to really test. Traded it on a 2001 BMW 325 convertible with beige (I think Montana?) leather. Had that car until 2006 and the leather did NOT wear well. I took exceptional care of the exterior and interior and it still got splits in the seat seams and only had 38k miles when traded. Being it was a conv. may have played a part, but rarely, if ever, did I leave the top down parked in direct sunlight. Very disappointed in that interior. My X1 now has the Coral Red leather and it seems leaps and bounds above the other in quality, so I'm hoping it wears well. If Coral Red came in Leatherette, I would have seriously considered it.

Last edited by Jim2013X1; 09-24-2012 at 12:06 PM.
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      11-28-2012, 12:43 AM   #12
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Ive had 2 335i a 2008 with leatherette and a 2007 with dakota leather... Honestly i couldnt tell a huge difference nor could anyone who got in the car.
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      11-28-2012, 12:48 AM   #13
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I drove 2 Mini Coopers (one for 6 years, one for 3) that both had leatherette. If I didn't know the difference I never would have thought they weren't leather. I never had a single problem with them as far as scratching or showing signs of wear. Not sure if the leatherette here on the BMWs is the same or not...

I wanted the rest of the items in the premium package so I did get leather in the car I ordered. But honestly if I could have ordered all the options individually I really might have skipped the leather based on my past with leatherette...
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      11-28-2012, 12:50 AM   #14
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Leatherette looks ok but it's rubbery and doesn't smell right. No thanks.
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      11-28-2012, 09:04 AM   #15
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Imagine plopping down into the seat on a really hot summer day. First you scorch and then you sit boiling in your own sweat until the temperature is down. I much prefer leather. And not black.
Also, on truly cold winter days (think -40 or thereabouts), leather stays pliable, while pleather becomes hard as wood.
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      11-28-2012, 11:21 AM   #16
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The ol leather vs leatherette thread, it's almost nostalgic since I feel like I've seen it pop up on BMW forums since the dawn of time

It's just one of those utterly subjective things that is best determined with your own experience. One thing is for sure though, not all the BMW leathers are the same and not everyone treats their interiors the same so ymmv when it comes to that. For me I've never been a fan of the hard leatherette, to me there is no mistaking it for a natural material plus the packages I want usually include leather.
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      11-28-2012, 07:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by flapflapflap View Post
Leather is a must of you consider yourself to be an owner of a luxury car.
If this was a Lexus I would agree. But BMW's leather happens to be a pretty coarse and stiff grade of cow-hide. Frankly the BMW leatherette feels softer than their leather to me. BMW's leather is very different from the fine leather used by the japanese and american car makers.
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      11-28-2012, 09:12 PM   #18
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One thing to consider is if you can't get the lumbar support without the premium package and thrrefore leather whether or not that matters to you. I had that issue in the past and found that the non lumbar support seats didn't work for me, the added lumbar made it much more comfortable and that was not a leatherette option
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      11-29-2012, 12:21 AM   #19
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Imagine plopping down into the seat on a really hot summer day. First you scorch and then you sit boiling in your own sweat until the temperature is down. I much prefer leather. And not black.
Also, on truly cold winter days (think -40 or thereabouts), leather stays pliable, while pleather becomes hard as wood.
Yeah -20 is pretty balmy Where do you vacation Nome, AK in Jan?
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      11-29-2012, 12:59 AM   #20
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If this was a Lexus I would agree. But BMW's leather happens to be a pretty coarse and stiff grade of cow-hide. Frankly the BMW leatherette feels softer than their leather to me. BMW's leather is very different from the fine leather used by the japanese and american car makers.
I think depends in how you maintain the car, how many million times you get in and out, how "big' you are and so on...

From my point of view, Lexus leather doesn't stay to the "pinky" of the BMW leather. You might not know, BMW leather is specially treated for sun and UV. The Convertible comes with sun reflective leather on its seats, armrests, head restraints and the gearshift lever which is treated to reflect the sun's rays and thereby reduce the heat that they absorb. Their carpet is also specially treated for fire.
I own a Jaguar as well, different leather, better than BMW in some aspects but the design and stitches matter as well in the way the seat worns out. If it is a plain design it worns out faster than one seat with a certain pattern that will help keep the leather in place.

Leatherete doesn't do for me, itI found it very hard to clean it properly, always the spot comes back. And as a colegue was saying here, try it at -45C and you will see.

An yes, BMW IT IS a luxury car. If others claim to be luxury, then they should have cars that don't have soft steel or rust in 2 years...
I own a nice japanese car, it has 12.000km but the driver seat looks much worse than the BMW after 18600km. Maybe is too "fine"...
However, the luxury doesn't "sit" in leather, there are many other things that matter...
I want the "engine of the year" under my hood and beautiful dynamics... A nice leather, beautiful materials and a nice fit and finish will do just perfect...

Last edited by Tracus; 11-29-2012 at 01:48 AM.
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      11-29-2012, 09:43 AM   #21
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Their carpet is also specially treated for fire.
I am pretty certain this has been required by law in Europe since the early 80s, and can't be considered a selling point.
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      11-29-2012, 10:05 AM   #22
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Having owned just about every color of leather, I find that black doesn't get any hotter than any other color. It does get hotter a little quicker, but it's a very small difference. Window tint makes a much bigger difference than interior color.

As for leather vs leatherette, the X1 leather quality is pretty low, it's highly waxed with closed pores, so no amount of leather treatment will change it. It does breathe better than leatherette though and I find that you can feel the seat heaters a little quicker too. It's a small difference, choose whichever you feel like, it's not going to effect your enjoyment of the car.
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