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BMW 3 Series, Interior
Mar 11, 2003 (6:57 pm)
Chile96, the leatherette actually lasts longer and requires less maintenance than leather. The only issue is resale value...if you are leasing or plan to drive it until the wheels fall off then I'd skip the $1400 leather option.
Mar 12, 2003 (11:20 am)
Most people can't tell the difference and I agree, the leatherette probably will be more durable--of course, if you are fastidious in taking care of the leather interior, and don't have kids and dogs (who will absolutely positively ruin it), then you may get many good years from a leather interior.
Probably the biggest downside of leather is that should you require major replacement panels, this is shockingly expensive.
#16 of 23 leatherette occasionally fools magazine writers too
Mar 14, 2003 (10:06 am)
Occasionally the Audi or BMW leatherette (or sometimes really good fake wood) will fool an unwitting auto reviewer as well - that is how good it can be.
I guess it would be unethical to lie about it when selling it. But you could always put an ad in the paper and let people look for themselves and see it...
But can you get leatherette and cold weather package? Personally, used car buyers seem to want leather, moonroof, and heated seats in that order.
#17 of 23 Gray Leather
Mar 14, 2003 (1:45 pm)
Just realized that the color interior I want, gray, only comes in leather. So much for saving $1400.
#18 of 23 Conditioning Leather
Mar 30, 2003 (10:56 am)
Is it ok to use the same leather conditioner I use for the leather furniture in my home on my car's seats, or do I need to buy something different? Thanks!
Mar 30, 2003 (12:25 pm)
Just recently I was asking about caring for leather around some leather "expert" stores in Houston and they informed me the best way to care for leather, either car interior or home furnishings, is to wash 1 or 2 times a year with saddle soap and then apply a specific type of leather conditioner, I believe they said "lexol" was the best. They said to avoid most store bought brand conditioners including those used at the car wash as they simply coat the surface and trap grease/dirt. The grease is the thing that supposedly ruins the leather quickest. Hope this hodgepodge of info helps - I am even confusing myself as I type!
#20 of 23 one important caveat
Mar 30, 2003 (1:14 pm)
Most home leather furniture is not clearcoated. If you spill liquids on it the leather will absorb it. Since its not clearcoated its OK to use saddle soaps, hide food, and various conditioners. Just be careful with most of these products and test them on a hidden part in case they stain or discolor the leather.
In most cars the leather is clearcoated to provide UV protection. Dribble some water drops on your seat; it should bead up. If so, you've got clearcoated leather. Stuff like saddle soap and hide food are unnecessary for auto leather. Use a leather cleaner made for cars, not horse tack. Personally I like the products made by Pinnacle and Eagle One. Lexol is fine but know that its formulated more for unclearcoated leather.
#21 of 23 Lexol Leather Cleaner / Conditioner
Mar 30, 2003 (8:52 pm)
I just used Lexol products last week to clean and condition the grey leather on my year-old 325. I was very impressed with both the cleaner and conditioner.
My leather is now much softer, and the areas on the bolsters that had darkened somewhat were gently but thoroughly cleaned.
Lexol also doesn't leave any oily or greasy feel. You should let it dry an hour or two before using the car.
I also did the inserts on the doors, but I'm really not sure if they're leather or not. I know that the seatbacks are not leather, but it's hard to tell exactly what the door inserts are made from.
Anyone know if the inserts on a 2002 325 are leather, or vinyl? (On models with the leather option, of course).
Apr 03, 2003 (6:49 pm)
I have used a number of cleaners over the years. Right now I'm using the Lexol products. With the sand interior I find the leather does get dirty and the Lexol products do the trick on the seats. I use the Lexol conditioner only on the steering wheel.
I use Armorall or equivalent on the non-leather surfaces such the dash, and doors. I don't know if there is any leather or not on the doors and I know silicone eventually destroys leather.
Apr 10, 2003 (3:57 pm)
I've got tan leatherette in my 323. All of my cars have had leather, this is the first with a synthetic substitute, and the shocking (or perhaps not) part is that vinyl leatherette in my BMW looks and feels better than the actual leather in my previous Ford Mustang. Absolutely everybody is fooled into thinking it's real, and absolutely everybody thinks I clean it every other day. Neither is true.
$1400 well saved.