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      07-09-2012, 04:01 PM   #1
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Question BMW Dakota Leather quality?

Hi, Ive been reading the forums for a while now and thought Id take the plunge and join in the discussion. I hope you can help with my query.
Ive ordered a 320i xDrive in Luxury trim. Im about to change this to the M-Sport package and tweak some of the options. Ive read a lot of comments on this forum about the apparently poor quality of BMWs Dakota Leather that comes as standard on these trim levels, and as were likely to keep this car for a while and weve young children this is causing me some concern.

My dad has an S-Class, and the quality leather in it is outstanding. It doesnt squeak, you dont slide on it and it feels really good. I know its a different class of car, but I wonder if its possible to get this quality in a 3 series. Ive also seen cheap leather in other vehicles after a while it takes on a certain shine, its very slippy, and it can even start to crack. It looks and feels awful, and Id really want to avoid these problems down the road if I can.

Some have said the BMW Individual leather seats are made from much better quality material. However, theyre a 1215 (about $1900) option, with the Individual Leather trim costing a further 375 ($580) making 1590 altogether. Not cheap, but is it worth it?

Please note Im in the UK where leatherette is not an option nor of interest, so lets leave that discussion to one side please.

So my questions are twofold:

1. To those whove got it, honestly (and I know its subjective but a range of opinions is definitely of value), how good or bad is the Dakota leather? How do you feel it will hold-up over time? Is it 'slidey' as we'd say here in Glasgow?

2. Has anyone ordered the BMW Individual Leather? Do you feel it was worth the extra outlay? How does it compare to the standard Dakota stuff?

Any other helpful responses would also be very much appreciated. I have a bunch of other questions too, but Ill save those for another thread. I'd prefer the focus here to be just on the leather if possible.

Thanks!
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      07-09-2012, 04:08 PM   #2
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I feel that Dakota leather is good quality, in sense that it will last a good amount of time and is durable, but I do not find it to be soft, smooth, or particularly comfortable.

In my mind, the Novillo (in the M3), Nappa (in the 5-series and above), and Merino (Individual) are MUCH better than Dakota. I would pay several thousands more for it in the F30. The best way I can describe Dakota is that I ordered leatherette instead of paying $1,450 USD for Dakota leather because I found the difference to be so small.

Compared to the S-class, I would put Novillo just under it and Nappa equal to it. I've only seen and touched, but never sat in or owned a car with Merino, so I do not have much experience with it.
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Last edited by Mahzari; 07-09-2012 at 04:18 PM.
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      07-09-2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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dakota is just correct, that 's it, acceptable and you might be disappointed when shifting coming from a merco S.. but you will get used to it.. over time it should be fine, we don't hear so many negative stories from owners as the leather is not so thin. but again don't expect luxurious or upscale feel.... not should worth paying extra for individual though, you do not get extended leather (or am i wrong ?), thus paying so much more for different color and perhaps slightly better looking leather is not something worth ?
but why don't you go to your dealer and check individual samples ????
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      07-09-2012, 04:24 PM   #4
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You mention two conflicting things, durability and quality. As a general rule, soft, supple leather is not terribly durable.

Dakota is durable. It's a waxed leather and doesn't have a particularly soft hand, and the door trim, seat backs and sides are vinyl, not leather. My M Coupe had Nappa leather and it was semi-aniline, meaning it was not waxed and it was much softer of hand than Dakota. It is very similar to the base leather in S-Class cars, and it showed wear much quicker than Dakota.

However, since it was not as heavily processed as Dakota, it was very easy to maintain and actually responded to leather treatments, something a waxed leather will not. Both have their advantages, but you mentioned bairn and they'd probably beat the snot out of a higher quality leather, Dakota would be more tolerant of milk, snot and other general effluent.
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      07-09-2012, 06:46 PM   #5
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Of the two options I preferred the Dakota leather over leatherette. It was thick and durable feeling to me like the leather in the E60 I recently sold. I feel it makes the seats feel firmer and more supportive. I was surprised with the leatherette though it felt really nice. It is a preference so check them both out at the dealer and make your own choice.. You won't go wrong either way
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      07-12-2012, 01:27 AM   #6
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I have recently received my F30. My leather has been retrofitted as I preferred the Nappa leather. It is so much smoother and nicer. I paid 1k extra compared to the OEM Dakota. The Nappa leather is also original BMW quality. When retrofitting you also have the option to choosing your own preferences, for instance I chose silver stiching, no lining, etc.







Good luck!
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      07-12-2012, 01:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CasZy NL View Post
I have recently received my F30. My leather has been retrofitted as I preferred the Nappa leather. It is so much smoother and nicer. I paid 1k extra compared to the OEM Dakota. The Nappa leather is also original BMW quality. When retrofitting you also have the option to choosing your own preferences, for instance I chose silver stiching, no lining, etc.

Good luck!
Did you get this done at the dealer, or somewhere else? Getting Nappa in there for 1K seems pretty cheap! Where did you get the BMW Nappa leather?
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      07-12-2012, 01:45 AM   #8
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Did you get this done at the dealer, or somewhere else? Getting Nappa in there for 1K seems pretty cheap! Where did you get the BMW Nappa leather?
I ordered the car without leather. Leather normally costs around 2k here, I paid 3k for the Nappa. It was done by a company called Cools in Eindhoven, Netherlands. They have an agreement with BMW Netherlands/BMW AG and do many cars.

www.coolsbekledingen.nl
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      07-12-2012, 01:45 PM   #9
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What is the difference between Nevada leather and Dakota leather? our X3 has Nevada leather and I think it is just fine, very comfortable. It isn't as nice looking or soft as Nappa but its just as comfortable. I assumed Dakota was at the same level. I have Nappa in my C63 and love it, have 30,000 miles over the last 3 years and its holding up great, would easily go with it again. Have 1-2 kids in the back a few times a week (in car seats) and haven't had any issues.

I am going back and fourth between getting a 335xi and Audi S4, I like both and the cost is nearly identical except that with the BMW the brakes are covered under maintenance and the S4 they are not (with Audi Care they are not), BUT the Nappa Leather for $1,000 is really nice and when spending $55K on a car I would expect that type of quality. I really wish Nappa was an option on the 3 series and X3, should be a $1,000 option like on the 5 series, I would easily click that box.
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      07-12-2012, 02:42 PM   #10
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I first wanted the Individual extended leather Merino, it is $1300 more here in Sweden.
But you also had to add the new trim and something else that cost just as much so I said no. I am changing the trim to the M Performance trim so I won't pay $1000 extra for something I will throw in the trash.
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      07-16-2012, 08:10 AM   #11
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Hi guys, sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I really appreciate your help and responses, thank you. You guys !

I did a fair amount of research and reading, and I think Red Bread summed it up best regarding the trade-off with durability vs. feel of the leather. I suppose I had been thinking that better quality leather would be both softer and more durable, but I've realised now that that's not the case.

As suggested by patrice I also went back to my dealer to see the Dakota leather first-hand (when I had originally placed my order, they didn't have any leather interiors in the showroom but now had some in). I'm definitely no leather expert, but to me the Dakota actually seemed pretty good which is contrary to what the majority opinion seems to be on this board. I was very tempted by the Merino option, but the durability factor of Dakota won over for me, given that I didn't find it to be particularly offensive in any other way.

Given I'm buying this car and will be holding onto it for a while, durability is important. And I honestly couldn't find any fault with the Dakota, I actually quite like that it feels a bit 'tough' and sturdy. Particularly soft leather just wouldn't hold up in a car, and the salesman said that'd been his experience too. Although my Dad's S Class is about 6 years old now, with no signs of wear on the leather, the Dakota didn't feel, to me, noticeably worse than what's in the S.

So that's about 1600 saved!

All that said, CasZy NL's custom interior is nothing short of stunning - would love something like that! Great job!
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      07-16-2012, 08:14 AM   #12
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Id pay for this leather but I wouldent pay for the Dakota vs the Leatherette, since its coated with vinyl anyhow.

If this interior was a $3k option on an F30 I imagine they would have no problem selling it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CasZy NL View Post






Good luck!
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      07-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #13
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I have dakota lemon leather in my UK E90 325. I think its superb. Its got more texture to it than the leather on my old E46, it doesnt go as shiny and slippery and has a lovely matte look to it. Its also very thick and very durable. My car has done 64k and the lemon leather which is very pale, looks almost new.

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      07-16-2012, 11:32 AM   #14
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That looks amazing, shrink! I had to do a double-take there before I realised that wasn't a photo of a brand-new car. I wonder if the quality of Dakota leather used in the US is different from that used in the UK? I wouldn't have thought so, but judging by the split of comments on here something must be up...
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      07-16-2012, 11:37 AM   #15
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I think u can relax over the quality of Dakota leather as it's also the standard leather on 5er, 6er & 7er. If it's good enough for the 7er it's good enough for the 3er.
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      07-16-2012, 03:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrink View Post
I have dakota lemon leather in my UK E90 325. I think its superb. Its got more texture to it than the leather on my old E46, it doesnt go as shiny and slippery and has a lovely matte look to it. Its also very thick and very durable. My car has done 64k and the lemon leather which is very pale, looks almost new.

Impressive!
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      07-16-2012, 03:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teefaf View Post
That looks amazing, shrink! I had to do a double-take there before I realised that wasn't a photo of a brand-new car. I wonder if the quality of Dakota leather used in the US is different from that used in the UK? I wouldn't have thought so, but judging by the split of comments on here something must be up...

if you're anywhere near edinburgh, you're welcome to come have a look at some reasonably well used Dakota
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      10-09-2014, 01:49 PM   #18
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I'd like to provide some insight from my own experience. The leather is far too soft and feels cheap; specifically in the f30 BMW, the coloring comes off within a week of extremely light wear. It scuff very easily, gets damaged very easily. I don't like it and it's one reason why I wont buy a BMW again. I've experienced in two different brand new f30 cars a defect in the leather that happens over time. It starts to crease, but it's unlike cracking. I'll post photos. I don't like how loose and flabby the leather looks brand new; mercedes benz leather is very uniform, nice and tightly sown; it look and feels much tougher and less prone to scuffing. I am a unsatisfied customer with BMW
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      10-09-2014, 02:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teefaf View Post
Hi, Ive been reading the forums for a while now and thought Id take the plunge and join in the discussion. I hope you can help with my query.
Ive ordered a 320i xDrive in Luxury trim. Im about to change this to the M-Sport package and tweak some of the options. Ive read a lot of comments on this forum about the apparently poor quality of BMWs Dakota Leather that comes as standard on these trim levels, and as were likely to keep this car for a while and weve young children this is causing me some concern.

My dad has an S-Class, and the quality leather in it is outstanding. It doesnt squeak, you dont slide on it and it feels really good. I know its a different class of car, but I wonder if its possible to get this quality in a 3 series. Ive also seen cheap leather in other vehicles after a while it takes on a certain shine, its very slippy, and it can even start to crack. It looks and feels awful, and Id really want to avoid these problems down the road if I can.

Some have said the BMW Individual leather seats are made from much better quality material. However, theyre a 1215 (about $1900) option, with the Individual Leather trim costing a further 375 ($580) making 1590 altogether. Not cheap, but is it worth it?

Please note Im in the UK where leatherette is not an option nor of interest, so lets leave that discussion to one side please.

So my questions are twofold:

1. To those whove got it, honestly (and I know its subjective but a range of opinions is definitely of value), how good or bad is the Dakota leather? How do you feel it will hold-up over time? Is it 'slidey' as we'd say here in Glasgow?

2. Has anyone ordered the BMW Individual Leather? Do you feel it was worth the extra outlay? How does it compare to the standard Dakota stuff?

Any other helpful responses would also be very much appreciated. I have a bunch of other questions too, but Ill save those for another thread. I'd prefer the focus here to be just on the leather if possible.

Thanks!
After 200 000 km and almost over 5 years the dakota interior is almost as good as new. Just the lower part of the driver's seat (where ur ass is ) is a little bit wavy. Keep in mind that the leather interior is not cleaned with some fancy products just leather wipes Actually it amazes me how durable this leather is and yet comfortable, not slippery just perfect. I guess up there in the north is not a big deal if you dont have seat ventilation but in Bulgaria it is hot like hell during the summer.
Anyway, enjoy your car you wont be disappointed by the leather thats for sure
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      10-09-2014, 02:39 PM   #20
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You European folks get so many more cool options!
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      10-09-2014, 03:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CasZy NL View Post
This is a great photo angle for the F3X interior; I'm surprised more people don't use it. It really emphasizes the driver-orientation of the design.

Your custom leather job looks fantastic.
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