Luxury's Leather Fetish

mjk

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I seriously wonder how it's come to pass that Leather seats have come to be the only option on high-end cars. Sure it looks sleek, but it gets too hot in the summer and wears rather quickly if you're not careful. While I'll admit that bad cloth seats are terrible, GOOD cloth beats leather any day... Or it would if you were actually allowed to buy it.
 

argatoga

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It looks shinier and is more expensive. The last part being a significant factor. This is why carbon fiber accents are popping up as well.
 

JipJopJones

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I agree with you. I'm not big on leather myself. I'll take a nice fabric over leather any day. That being said, some people like it. It is generally easier to clean (unless you have fancy cloth seats like my Jeep) and it doesn't stain or rip and wear as easily as cloth.
 

Interrobang

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[...] Sure it looks sleek, but it gets too hot in the summer and wears rather quickly if you're not careful.
Those are practical or value for money concerns. You clearly do not understand "luxury" ... where none of these things matter. On the contrary, often "the less practical, the more fragile - the better" is law when it comes to luxury.

And a lot of actual luxury/high end car-companies put "climate seats" into their cars. Making sure your backside is always in the comfort zone temperature-wise.
 
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Brother Michael

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If I never have to have cloth/fabric seats in my car, I will be over the moon. Yes I prefer leather any day of the week to the point it is becoming one of criteria for any car I consider to buy - no leather, not an option.

Leather is easier to clean and maintain than any fabric seat (save it for some special wipe down material etc.) To me it looks a lot better, much more comfortable and when taken care of much more long lasting and durable than cloth. As far as getting too hot in the summer, this is true but the quality of the leather plays a big part in this. For instance the elephant skin grade leather I had in my W124 was painful to the point I didn't want to get in it if the car had sat for long in the sun. It was like sitting on a hot stove. However both my Audi S8 and E39 5-series had leather seats of very high quality and I never faced these issues once. Sure the seats are warmer than cloth but good quality leather makes all the difference in the world.

The quality also directly associates to the ease of maintenance. I always cleaned and conditioned the leather twice a year with good quality products and with my E39 having over 320.000km on the odometer (+200.000miles for the metric illiterate) you'd think the seats were torn to shreds. Nope. Not a crack, scratch, open seam or mark. The seats were as pristine as they are in a car with 1/10th of the mileage. Not only is leather easier to clean but high quality leather also responds to care much better than cheaper stuff.

Also with a couple of hours and some elbow grease, anyone can revive a set of worn, beaten up leather couches. Not possible with cloth - you will need special equipment which nobody has. Sure rental is always an option but as someone who used to work in the cleaning industry, these things are a pain in the ass to use compared to some leather wax and a cloth.
Think about that next time your kid throws up in the car or spills their ice cream all over the backseat...

For me leather is superior to cloth in every conceivable way.

As far as luxury goes, sure there are other materials out there such as silk or high quality alcantara for instance which can often be as or more expensive than leather but very few things (if any) have the feel, the look, the variety, versatility and the quality of what leather has to offer thus it is the benchmark material.

I can see why it is not to everyone's taste...for one thing you can't, or at least shouldn't, just leave and forget leather like you can do with cloth - it needs upkeep and maintenance. Also as mentioned the warmth can be an issue but quality of leather does play a part as do where you live, where and how you park your car etc. But there are very valid reasons to want leather over cloth outside "because rich people". I for one can only recommend leather seats for anyone with small kids or if you transport your dog in the cabin for instance. Makes life a whole lot easier in many ways.
 

Andeh

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Leather isn't that hot.

Not if you drive a greenhouse with vinyl seats, anyway.
 

Posmo

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For instance the elephant skin grade leather I had in my W124 was painful to the point I didn't want to get in it if the car had sat for long in the sun. It was like sitting on a hot stove.
Are you sure that the "leather" wasn't in fact MB-tex vinyl? I've had similar experiences with that stuff.
 

Andeh

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Artico isn't that bad, I prefer quality artificial leather to god-awful cheap leather.

Look at what passed as leather in a Fiesta a decade ago:


Artico any day! Interestingly in the UK Artico has now been binned from the E-Class, and from the facelift they all come with real leather.
 

Perc

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Lether gives you a sweaty ass and back in summer, and is nut-freezingly cold in winter. Yet, I love it. It looks awesome and is easy to take care of.

I've got cloth seats now for the first time since 2005 or so and I miss leather. :(
 

captain_70s

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andeh said:
Leather isn't that hot.

Not if you drive a greenhouse with vinyl seats, anyway.
Vinyl is where it's at, if you enjoy back sweat and burnt legs on any day the sun comes out. The 1300 was nigh on un-bearable on hot days, even with windows down, quarter lights open and fresh air vent wide open I must have lost pints of water directly out of my back...

Bri-Nylon is far superior...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1pZ3c_Hvq6k/UUyMKDZ4s7I/AAAAAAAAAN8/NJ238Uxekdo/s1600/dollomite+interior.jpg[/img]
 

Andeh

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I wasn't aware the 1300 had vinyl? I thought both of your cars were velour or cloth.
 

mjk

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Those are practical or value for money concerns. You clearly do not understand "luxury" ... where none of these things matter. On the contrary, often "the less practical, the more fragile - the better" is law when it comes to luxury.
I would think that comfort would be a luxury issue. Then again, I guess if you have money for a high end luxury car, you also have the money to always park in a garage where the sun won't heat the seats.
 

captain_70s

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I wasn't aware the 1300 had vinyl? I thought both of your cars were velour or cloth.
Toledos and early none HL-spec Dolomites got vinyl seats, HL-spec cars got bri-nylon seats with vinyl sides, towards the end of production the whole range got the bri-nylon seats. Only the 1500SE got velour instead of bri-bylon if I recall correctly.

I think the pre-Dolomite 1300/1500 models just got vinyl but I may be wrong...
 

Matt2000

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Half leather is the way for me, hence I have just bought a Discovery XS interior to upgrade mine by downgrading from the full leather. :|
 

Bretton Woods

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I've only recently come into leather upholstered motoring. Yes, they get a bit hot (it was 40C yesterday), but they're so much nicer than cloth seats.

Especially old cloth seats. They seem to absorb stuff. I can't comfortably sit on old cloth seats anymore after I cleaned my old ones. The sheer amount of gunk they was leeched out of the fabric by the steam cleaner was vomit-inducing.
 
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LiveToWin

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Leather ages better than cloth seats. My car's leather was pretty gross when I first laid hands on it, but after a few hours with a rag and some leather cleaner (and later conditioner) all was well. If it had a cloth interior, it would have been a crap shoot, at best.
 

rickhamilton620

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I prefer cloth but if something's gotta be non-cloth, i'll take leatherette over real leather any day. It's virtually maintenance free isn't it?
 
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