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      12-04-2007, 08:06 PM   #1
alpineweissM3
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Durability: Speed Cloth vs. Leather

I'm on the fence as far as choosing my interior upholstery. I really like the Fox Red leather, but I'm concerned about durability. The Speed Cloth is also nice, but doesn't excite me as much as the red leather. It's quite possible the M3 will be the last "commuter" car I purchase. Next up, in about 10 years, will be some sort of roadster with the M3 then becomming my "beater". I'm only 35, so this car will be with me for quite some time. I digress, sorry. Looking back on when I purchased my Alpine White 325i in January '01, sometimes I feel like kicking myself for not getting the Tannin Red Leather. Then again, I look at my 'ette today and it is in perfect shape after 6 years and 80k+.

Bottom line is I don't want a faded and severely cracked red leather interior after 10 years. I religiously treat the leather in my wifes Escalade with Zaino's leather treatment, so maintenance isn't an issue. Then again, with the Speed Cloth, I guess I still need to worry about the bolsters and other leather bits cracking. But, I think after a few years, the Speed Cloth will look better.

Opinions please!!
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      12-04-2007, 09:06 PM   #2
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I've owned my car for around 7 years now. I have gray leather interior and I NEVER have treated it.

The leather is perfectly fine. No cracking at all. I have the slightest bit of wear on the the outside driver side kidney wing, but that is really all the damage I have. So I would say if you treat your leather frequently you won't have any problems going 10+ years.

(However, while my home is Texas I haven't lived there for 5+ years (Ohio 1 year, NY 4 years). So the majority of my car's life has been spent up north where it doesn't get over 100 consistently for days on end too much and the temperature fluctuates a lot more.) Seeing that your in PA though, I would imagine similar conditions.
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      12-04-2007, 09:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateBMW View Post
I've owned my car for around 7 years now. I have gray leather interior and I NEVER have treated it.

The leather is perfectly fine. No cracking at all. I have the slightest bit of wear on the the outside driver side kidney wing, but that is really all the damage I have. So I would say if you treat your leather frequently you won't have any problems going 10+ years.

(However, while my home is Texas I haven't lived there for 5+ years (Ohio 1 year, NY 4 years). So the majority of my car's life has been spent up north where it doesn't get over 100 consistently for days on end too much and the temperature fluctuates a lot more.) Seeing that your in PA though, I would imagine similar conditions.
It has been my experience that the leather in the M3 is less durable than the non-M3.


To the OP, Given that the most wear occurs on the bolsters, its unlikely the speed cloth will wear any better as I beleive the bolsters are leather. Go figure.

-Adam
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      12-04-2007, 10:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoltz View Post
It has been my experience that the leather in the M3 is less durable than the non-M3.


To the OP, Given that the most wear occurs on the bolsters, its unlikely the speed cloth will wear any better as I beleive the bolsters are leather. Go figure.

-Adam
If anything I would have ASSumed the Nappa leather in the M cars would have been more durable than the dakota (?) leather in the regular 3 series.

The Novillo (sp?) leather in the M3 is new..correct? I think the M5 still has Nappa.........
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      12-04-2007, 10:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateBMW View Post
I've owned my car for around 7 years now. I have gray leather interior and I NEVER have treated it.

The leather is perfectly fine. No cracking at all. I have the slightest bit of wear on the the outside driver side kidney wing, but that is really all the damage I have. So I would say if you treat your leather frequently you won't have any problems going 10+ years.

(However, while my home is Texas I haven't lived there for 5+ years (Ohio 1 year, NY 4 years). So the majority of my car's life has been spent up north where it doesn't get over 100 consistently for days on end too much and the temperature fluctuates a lot more.) Seeing that your in PA though, I would imagine similar conditions.
I'm surprised yours is in such good shape after 7 yrs. Although I don't have any first hand experience, I've read alot of complaints about the leather quality over @ bimmerfest.
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      12-04-2007, 10:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateBMW View Post
I've owned my car for around 7 years now. I have gray leather interior and I NEVER have treated it.

The leather is perfectly fine. No cracking at all. I have the slightest bit of wear on the the outside driver side kidney wing, but that is really all the damage I have. So I would say if you treat your leather frequently you won't have any problems going 10+ years.
My Cinnamon Nappa leather seats ('01 M3) are nearly 6 1/2 years old (56k mi.) and are still quite good. There is a little "creasing" on the driver's seat, but that's about it. I found if you are careful about how you enter the car (don't drag across the outside bolster), it helps a lot. I'll get Fox Red in the new car.

No recent pics, but these were the seats at 2 1/2 years. I treat them with Leatherique about once a year.

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Last edited by GregW / Oregon; 12-05-2007 at 04:50 AM.
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      12-04-2007, 11:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpineweissM3 View Post
If anything I would have ASSumed the Nappa leather in the M cars would have been more durable than the dakota (?) leather in the regular 3 series.

The Novillo (sp?) leather in the M3 is new..correct? I think the M5 still has Nappa.........
BMW uses Merino leather in the M5, as they do in some 7-series cars, while dakota leather is used for the regular 5-series/3-series. Merino is a thicker and higher quality cowhide that typically doesn't have any additional surface treatment or graining compared to other types, meaning they have to be selectively picked from good batches. it is one of the softest types available yet maintains durability. Nappa is thinner, not as soft, more prone to scratches, but is often preferred because it feels smoother. Merino does retain more of the leather smell that people like though. I'm guessing they used Nappa for the M3 because it is cheaper, and perhaps because it's lighter?

For what it's worth, over the same period of time, the Merino leather in my M5 has held up much better than the Nappa leather in my RS4. I haven't treated or cleaned the leather on either car yet. The M5's Merino seems more resistant to scuffing, scratching, and especially folding and creasing. Two years and 13k miles later, it still has that strong smell of new car leather when I get in. Not so much the RS4 after 12k miles. Its Nappa smells like butt sweat, looks kinda weathered, and has so more wrinkles and creases than my 45 year old thrice divorced office assistant with 7 kids.

I'm very curious to see what Novillo is like. Hopefully it'll be more like Merino.
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      12-05-2007, 01:02 AM   #8
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Greg, your seats really held up well! I guess if anyone gets leather and you want them to last its best to treat them every once in awhile.
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      12-05-2007, 12:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW / Oregon View Post
My Cinnamon Nappa leather seats ('01 M3) are nearly 6 1/2 years old (56k mi.) and are still quite good. [IMG]http://members.roadfly.com/gregwminmmoregon/Leatherique%20092103-
sm.JPG[/IMG]

MMM...Cinnamon.

I'd be all over that if it were offered now.
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      12-05-2007, 12:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masmole View Post
I'm very curious to see what Novillo is like. Hopefully it'll be more like Merino.

Thanks for clarifying. I too am very curious how the Novillo will hold up.

Is this the first time BMW has used it?
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      12-05-2007, 01:07 PM   #11
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Novillo leather

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpineweissM3 View Post
Thanks for clarifying. I too am very curious how the Novillo will hold up. Is this the first time BMW has used it?
Yes, per the M3 Press Release it's new:
"Wide range of customisation within the interior

The new BMW M3 is available in three exclusive equipment and trim variants differing significantly from the “regular” BMW 3 Series Coupé in their material, colour and finish. The sporting, “basic” trim is a combination of cloth and leather called “Speed”. Newly developed, fully tanned Novillo leather then comes as an option offering a particularly smooth and velvety surface in elegant and sporting style. Apart from classic Black, Novillo leather is also available in Palladium Silver, Bamboo Beige, and Fox Red.

As a further option, Novillo leather can be extended to the lower section of the instrument panel, the cover on the glove compartment, and the side covers on the centre console."
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Last edited by GregW / Oregon; 12-05-2007 at 02:34 PM.
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      12-05-2007, 02:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpineweissM3 View Post
If anything I would have ASSumed the Nappa leather in the M cars would have been more durable than the dakota (?) leather in the regular 3 series.
The Novillo (sp?) leather in the M3 is new..correct? I think the M5 still has Nappa.........
My personal experience agrees with your assumption... the quality and looks of the Cinnamon Nappa in my 2004 E46 M3 held much better than my previous Natural Brown Dakota in a 2002 E46 330i. Both maintained with Spineybeck leather cleaner and conditioner at least every 3 months...

There was not even a comparison: my pants belt simply stained the Natural Brown lower lumbar section permanently, but the same belt in the Nappa did not do anything at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpineweissM3 View Post
MMM...Cinnamon.

I'd be all over that if it were offered now.
That's one of my biggest peeves with this new M3... for me Cinnamon was the interior color that completely separated the M3 in interior looks from the regular 3 Series. It was no Black, no Brown, no Red, no Grey, no Beige/Tan shade... it was Cinnamon.

Now it is back to regular programming (Black, Grey, Red and an off Beige/Pepto Bismol)...
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      12-05-2007, 02:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpineweissM3 View Post
Thanks for clarifying. I too am very curious how the Novillo will hold up.

Is this the first time BMW has used it?
I would assume that Novillo is like Nappa but cheaper for BMW to produce in the M3...

Nappa is available in the X5 and in the Z4 M, though...
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      12-05-2007, 02:50 PM   #14
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This Individual Rust Brown Full Leather could be great with Jerez Black...

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      12-05-2007, 06:28 PM   #15
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Me likey this Rust Brown, especially the stitching.

Reminds me of that awesome baseball glove like interior on the Audi TT.
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      12-06-2007, 06:25 PM   #16
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I'll take speed cloth! My '03 had IR leather, but I didn't have it long enough to experience any cracking. My '05 had the ///M cloth inserts, and I preferred that over the full leather seating surface (...another reason why I'm opting for speed cloth).
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      12-06-2007, 08:06 PM   #17
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Any pics of the cloth interior on the e92 m3?
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      12-06-2007, 08:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sedan_Clan View Post
I'll take speed cloth! My '03 had IR leather, but I didn't have it long enough to experience any cracking. My '05 had the ///M cloth inserts, and I preferred that over the full leather seating surface (...another reason why I'm opting for speed cloth).
Would you mind elaborating a bit on why you prefer the cloth? I don't mind cold seats in the winter or hot seats in the summer. I'm more concerned about comfort and durability than aesthetics.

I'm really on the fence and need some good food for thought!
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      12-06-2007, 11:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
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This Individual Rust Brown Full Leather could be great with Jerez Black...

That Piano trim is pretty amazing looking.
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      12-07-2007, 12:25 AM   #20
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That Piano trim is pretty amazing looking.
+1 with tears in my eyes...
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      12-07-2007, 09:49 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leakybimmer View Post
piano trim sucks....finger prints are not my friend
do you have kids? because most people that are in my car usually touch the doors handles, not the dashboard...i don't imagine it will be too hard to keep clean. i'm saying +2, piano black is sexy and its a shame its not offered.
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      12-07-2007, 10:53 AM   #22
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Piano Black trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by redmtclimber View Post
do you have kids? because most people that are in my car usually touch the doors handles, not the dashboard...i don't imagine it will be too hard to keep clean. i'm saying +2, piano black is sexy and its a shame its not offered.
It's available as an Individual option--fairly spendy, though.
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