Originally Posted by JMAX
To the OP and others:
I have to say, the M Performance SW (alcantara) does look really nice. Too bad about the airbag, huh? Trust me, I spent hours researching this and comparing airbags while at the dealer.
To the "untrained" eye
, the "no-line" airbag looks like the sport/luxury/modern airbag module, which looks "hexagonish," where the no-line one is "squarish" with curvy sides.
From what I've heard, the airbag module will run you around $750 (the M "round" airbag module is more expensive).
Once my car arrives, swapping the SW will be my first (and probably only) mod. I was set on the M round one, but having seen your picture of the alcantara one, I'm beginning to wonder if the alcantara is the way to go.
First, any idea if the M Performance (Alcantara) one is the same diameter as the M Package (round) one? The Alcantara looks pretty small in the picture, which is nice, whereas the M Package one looks definitely smaller than the sports/luxury/modern one, but a tad "larger" than the Alcantara one?
Also, in the long run, what will "wear" better, the leather or the alcantara? How does the Alcantara feel to the touch?
(Man, I wish there was a BMW accessories "store" you could walk in and try all these things before buying.)
At the end of the day, the deciding factor might be the red stripe at the top. I don't think it will match my venetian beige interior.
If wear is a concern, I would say go with the leather option. If you don't take care of it, alcantra can wear pretty quickly. If you go the alcantra option you'll have to make sure moisture touches the material as little as possible - including any oils/sweat on your skin. In fact, many recommend always using gloves with an alcantra wheel.
I went against the advice of all my friends and went alcantra anywho. Just doing my best to keep my hands extra clean when driving
Bringing up the part numbers for the airbags it's a pretty clear difference. I sure had my fingers crossed though! At this point I don't regret the decision but damn, $750 for the airbag plus you would need to purchase the different steering wheel controls!