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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 08-31-2005, 11:40 AM
Charly Brown Charly Brown is offline
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Talking ‘Sensatec’ vs. Leather – X3 2.5 (again!)

Hi all!!

I just go my new X3 2.5, Alpine White, sand ‘Sensatec’ interior, premium package. The vehicle drives as impressive as it looks. It is really a great design that lives up to the expectation of a BMW. A bit pricey, but I think it has to do with brand positioning and price vs. value in this car has to do more with the second piece of the equation.

Anyway, I wanted to go a bit around and ask about other X3 owners about the Sensatec and the leather. Although I already went for Sensatec, main reason because I have a two month old daughter, I wanted to know if someone else that went for Sensatec also did it because of the look, feel and quality of the leather itself, particularly on the X3, being that the second reason that made me not to pay an extra $1,000+ for the leather

I test drove an X3 with sand-leather, and the quality of it didn’t impress me at all. It felt rough and hard as opposed to the soft, plush feeling I’ve sensed in some series 5 or 7 I’ve ridden, or even X5’s. It is not that Sensatec look and feel as leather as I’ve read some say, but just that the leather didn’t impress me as of to pay extra for it. My other car is a Mini Cooper S and the leather quality is far superior from the one in the X3 I tested or other X3 with leather I’ve ridden, even 3.0s. Not sure why BMW didn’t pick this type of leather for the X3

I am a bit disappointed because Sensactec looks and feel very artificial now that I’ve driven more the X3, and it is also a bit too hot for South Florida weather. Anyway, it looks very resistant to a baby’s endeavors and the combination with a material that looks like cloth (it is probably just another type of vinyl) gives it a nice set-up in general. In the other hand, I didn’t like the leather either to pay extra for it, so I ended up getting something OK, but not what I wanted. The option I wanted didn’t exist.

Any comments? Thoughts?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 08-31-2005, 03:52 PM
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stangmatt66 stangmatt66 is offline
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How did you get the Premium package with Sensatec? I thought the premium package included leather?
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2007 X3 3.0si - ED 07/30/07 :: Montego Blue :: Sand/Black Nevada Leather :: Brushed Aluminum :: Steptronic :: Premium :: Heated Steering Wheel :: Heated Front Seats :: Premium Audio :: Navigation :: Xenons :: 18" Wheels

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07/30 - Picked up in Munich, 08/02 - Dropped off in Munich, 08/16 - Set sail aboard the Boheme, 09/09 - Boheme arrived in Port Hueneme, CA, 09/18 - Redelivery

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  #3  
Old 08-31-2005, 08:12 PM
Rob V Rob V is offline
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I also got the Sensatec because I just didn't see the need to pay the extra $1k for the leather. But, unlike yourself, I really like the look and feel of the Sensatec. The parts that are clearly vinyl (smoother parts) are a little questionable but I don't even notice it anymore. My previous car had leather and after a while it starts to crack and look unkept despite it's comfortable feel. I found that the Sensatec stays surprisingly cool as long as there isn't direct sunlight beaming on in. Leather gets pretty hot even with out direct sunlight. Overll, I'm very happy with my choice.
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  #4  
Old 08-31-2005, 08:47 PM
thebutlerdidit thebutlerdidit is offline
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I drive an X3 2.5 with Sensatec. My wife drives one with leather (and the Premium package plus the cold weather package and other stuff).

I definitely wouldn't have gone for cloth seats. I settled for the Sensatec because I just couldn't bring myself to pay not only for the leather but also power seats - those two options alone, that's $2,500 right there.

The BMW X3 leather is nice - it's grippier and looks to be sturdier than the leather in my old Lexus RX300 (which didn't hold up over the long haul). And it smells sweet! But if I want to smell the leather, I can always go sit in my wife's car.

I think the Sensatec is going to look and feel new longer than the leather, but it's never going to feel quite as nice as the real thing.

The conventional wisdom on this forum is - it's a BMW, spend the bucks and get it WELL equipped. My practically stripped X3 (just cruise control, sunroof, privacy glass, heated seats) doesn't follow that line of reasoning. But I couldn't justify the $6k difference in price to get the fog lamps and the headlight washers and the ski bag, etc. etc. etc.

The Sensatec's not as comfortable when your car's been parked in the hot sun. But unless you're naked it's about as comfortable as leather the rest of the time, it's easier to care for than the leather and will probably hold up better for you, especially with crumb-crunchers riding with you.

There's so much to like about this car (especially the seats!) compared to other SUVs. The upholstery's not that big a deal. A bad day in my Sensatec X3 is still a better drive than a good day in my old leather RX300. Not even close.
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  #5  
Old 09-14-2005, 10:08 AM
Brent P Brent P is offline
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We took the Sensatec in our 2.5 rather than the leather (going on 1 1/2 months of ownership).

I typically don't like leather because of the tendency to slide around when cornering hard. In the past, I've gone with the cloth seat option wherever possible. I find the Sensatec is a nice compromise. It has the look of leather with an interesting 'nubby' texture that provides some grip when you're sitting in it.

We have received compliments on the seats from virtually everyone who has sat in the vehicle, particularly regarding the interesting mix of the Sensatec and the nylon fabric inserts along the edges. The nylon fabric seems to be virtually identical to the nylon fabric used on the exterior of some Prada purses, and should be virtually indestructible. I also like the way the same texture is carried over to the dashboard and door panels. It gives everything a very rich, tactile feel.

All in all, we couldn't be happier with the vehicle. I think it strikes the perfect balance between performance, handling, and utility..... with an unexpectedly roomy interior that turns out is about equal to our previous Grand Cherokee. Kudos to the engineers.
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  #6  
Old 09-14-2005, 12:55 PM
Tayrum Tayrum is offline
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Like everyone else responding, I just couldn't pay the price for the leather when the Sensatec looked as good as it did. I am overall happy with it except it punctures easily. I have two kids - 11 & 8 who sit in the back and on long drives bring lots of kid stuff to occupy them in the car. Something must have sat on the seat and they put the back arm down making a small hole in the Sensatic. I was hoping it might have some self healing properties to it but it doesn't. Oh well, hopefully the dealer won't notice and ding me for it when the lease is up.

My only other comment is that having just left a Saab with leather, I find the Sensatic doesn't breath as well as leather which of course is a natural material. In the heat (and we had a very hot summer) it seems to retain a lot of it in the seats even when the air has brought the cabin temp, down.

All in all I really like it and the cleanability. Still worth the savings....just watch out for kids toys!
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  #7  
Old 09-14-2005, 01:59 PM
Brent P Brent P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayrum
I am overall happy with it except it punctures easily. I have two kids - 11 & 8 who sit in the back and on long drives bring lots of kid stuff to occupy them in the car. Something must have sat on the seat and they put the back arm down making a small hole in the Sensatic. I was hoping it might have some self healing properties to it but it doesn't. Oh well, hopefully the dealer won't notice and ding me for it when the lease is up.
You can get it easily and cheaply repaired by anyone who does vinyl and/or dash repair. Probably a $25 job. You won't even be able to tell where the hole or tear was. With leather you'd be hooped.
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  #8  
Old 09-14-2005, 06:25 PM
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SilverX3 SilverX3 is online now
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I have just bought a X3 2.5 Senatec and going to a leather retrim (can be cheaper that way as I can get a full set of leather trim (more colour and style choices) from asia for $550 Aust Dollars or $420 (USD) at today rate ... I am sure BMW source their leather trim in asia as well and wack on premium price...

Has anyone tries to retrim an X 3 ?????
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  #9  
Old 09-27-2005, 02:12 PM
srwdc1 srwdc1 is offline
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Bought Sensatec-- wish I had bought Leather-- any way to change?

I did buy sensatec, (on my X3 3.0), because my limit was mid-$30s, not $40s.

Now I kinda wish I had leather, but on my purchase, I think it would have cost $2k extra. When I test drove, I could barely tell the difference. And the sensatec and the X3 leather did look remarkably similar. Now I wish I had an upgraded leather, since I like the car so much.

Question: any way I can now get leather? (1) go to a local auto upholsterer/aftermarket refitter, (2) look for "used" auto parts from a crashed X3, (3) go to dealer?

Thanks.
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2005, 02:25 PM
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There is aguy on ebay selling leather retrim DIY X3 for about $500 USD
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  #11  
Old 09-28-2005, 08:33 AM
srwdc1 srwdc1 is offline
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Do you have a link to that ebay auction? thanks
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  #12  
Old 09-28-2005, 11:23 AM
Brent P Brent P is offline
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Not really leather

I found it, but it's actually "leather like" covers. In other words, synthetic. You would simply be changing the look from a nubby synthetic leather like surface to a smooth synthetic leather like surface. They're nice enough looking and appear to be good quality, but they're not leather.

Go to eBay and search for item # 4576995159
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2005, 02:53 PM
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Apparently I was told the same material is now widely used in many car company for their Leather seats as they feel and look like leather and lasts longer... better than sansatec
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