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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #26  
Old 02-09-2013, 09:46 AM
namelessman namelessman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreddyG View Post
I said tied for the best seats because we had a 2007 BMW X5 4.8i that had the Active cooled, ventilated multi contour seats in it, and those were Absolutely Incredible! If I could fit those in this car, I'd have no complaints (my wife says that I'd still find something to complain about though, but that's a whole different story )
I believe multi-contour seat is only offered in 5 series and up(as usual), so no luck to get it in F30.
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  #27  
Old 02-09-2013, 11:34 AM
inChargeOfIT inChargeOfIT is offline
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I am pretty sure the different trims come with different options right? I have the sport line 335i F30 with dakota leather, and I really find them conformable. On long trips (I did a 12 hour road trip not too long ago), and my only real complaint is the the lower back lumber support does not go low enough for me. But I also spent 11 years in the Army and the last 7 years in front of a computer for up to 15 hours a day... So some part of my body is always hurting.

I have the 'Premium Package' with the sport seats so I am not sure if it is the same. Mine has: lumber support (can move up and down about 6 to 8"), adjustable side bolsters can be fully extended or feel like a pair of vice-grips have got you, and little leg extension piece, seat warmers (I also got the cold weather package), and are very comfortable for being a sport seat-- a good balance between firm, supportive and sporty).

I think seat comfort is pretty subjective and will depend greatly on your height, weight, body and butt size, etc. From my experience in my last few cars:

350z: felt like riding in a go cart. A 3 hour trip to Houston from Austin would sometimes require a stop at a rest area to stretch.
2005 Pathfinder SE: You could drive it for 10 hours a day and feel great
2005 Porsche Boxster: Awesome seats, but a 3 hour trip to Houston would involve some back pain for me.
2007: Audi S4 (best friends car) very similar comfort feel to my 335i. His has the suede/leather seats which look beautiful in my opinion, but the ride is also firmer and bumpier so you feel the road a bit more (which can be good and bad)
2013 F30 335i: 12 hour road trip to Big Bend resulted in a little lower back back. The leather is definitely not 'soft and supple', but it really does feel like a high quality grade leather.
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  #28  
Old 02-09-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namelessman View Post
My old E39 also had Montana leather, which IMO is softer than Dakota. The Dakota does look thicker and more durable than Montana, but only time will tell.
Agreed. The Montana leather in e46s felt much, much better than the Dakota leather I've had in 3 BMWs (including my current 2013 F30). The Dakota feels almost as cheap as the stuff from my Mazda. Wife's Audi had leather that was just giant steps beyond our BMWs.
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  #29  
Old 02-09-2013, 01:28 PM
Pappy Pipes Pappy Pipes is offline
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Originally Posted by krash View Post
Unfortunately, seats are the one thing you really can't get a good feel for in a typical test drive. You really need to drive the car for about an hour or more before you can either appreciate them or dislike them.

During the test drive, they felt very nice, but would I have thought so after 3 hours of non-stop driving?

To be honest, that's the one concern I do have with the car I ordered.

I never had any issues with the seats in the E90, but this time I'm getting sport seats, so i guess i'll find out if I like them or not after my first 3 hour trip.
Didn't care for base, lux, or modern trim seats but sport seats felt like my Herman Miller chair, very supportive... Will report back once I've done drive time.
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  #30  
Old 02-12-2013, 12:49 AM
bmw_or_audi bmw_or_audi is offline
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I think this is how they make Dakota leather: take some vinyl, glue a 0.01mm layer of leather underneath and call it a day

Last edited by bmw_or_audi; 02-12-2013 at 09:20 AM.
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  #31  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:43 AM
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This weekend I went to the dealer to try the seats. I found that the leatherette seats in the no line that they had on the lot were actually softer than either the luxury line or the modern line which both had leather. The M-sport with leather was a bit a better in terms of padding.

I also tried the seats in the C-class and MB-Tex is definitely softer and the seats have better padding than any of the F30 seats.
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  #32  
Old 02-15-2013, 05:28 PM
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FreddyG FreddyG is offline
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Thanks Guys for your opinions and thoughts. I Appreciate it.
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  #33  
Old 02-15-2013, 07:20 PM
hans007 hans007 is offline
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I drove a 2010 a4 sport. Good seats but not great. Had it for 3 years did a lot of 400 mile drives up and down California. I guess the only thing not great about them is actually they are not my f30s sport seats. Better bolstering yet softer on the seat part.

Also the Dakota leather really isn't any better. Unless you have to have leather or are buying premium package anyway i think it is coated in plastic anyway and regrained so its pretty low end leather. Nappa on a 5 series OK might be worth it
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  #34  
Old 02-16-2013, 07:08 AM
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A while ago I actually wrote a summary of different leather types as even my dealer
was confused on what options/types are available and which items are covered in leahter
etc ....
It is geared towards the F10 M5 but still applicable to other cars
So below is the note I put together which might be of use for folks to see the difference
between Dakota/Novillo/Napa and Merino leathers .

First there's no real difference (as far as I've found) between "Finely structured Merino leather"
and regular Merino leather. It is just the color (hence marked as "Individual" option)

There's also a difference in leather coverage. When a customer is buying Individual Extended leather,
you also get the seat backs and the lower part of the dashboard in leather too.
(See attached chart for further details).
Basically everything except upper doors, lower doors and dash is leather with Individual Extended leather.

Dakota leather it is coated in a colored vinyl or polyurethane topcoat and these synthetic plastic finishes don't crack.
Then they have a fake synthetic grain pattern printed onto the coated leather to make it look real.
This is why the cheap Dakota leather in base 5 series and 3 series models feels a lot like the synthetic leather, and less
like the high end Nappa and Merino leathers. Even Nappa has a light clear coating, but is not as protected as Dakota.
Merino in the M5 is a natural leather. No coating. Therefore more vulnerable.

Summary of leather types used :

1) Merino (M Cars and Individual Cars) - proper natural grain natural leather. It is dyed but not coated.
2) Nappa (optional on 5, 6 and 7) - semi-aniline leather. Has a light clear coating. For protection.
Also natural grain and soft. Grain is not as high quality as Merino. Nappa is also used on the dash and upper
door arms of the M5.
3) Novillo (M3) semi aniline with a synthetic grain
4) Dakota (3, 5 and 7 sedans) lower grade leather (not top coat leather like the others) and coated with a synthetic
paint polymer. Embossed with a synthetic grain.

For leather care I have been using Swissvax leather cleaner and Zaino Leather in a bottle (conditioner).
The Zaino though does leave a very slight sheen so some people prefer Zymol or Swissvax Leather Milk.
What I like about Zaino leather in a bottle is it contains genuine leather oils and smells like leather so it maintains that natural
new leather scent.
I also have a product called Swissvax leather gloss corrector matte which I use every few years to restore the new matte
finish to the steering wheel if it ever picks up a shine as a result of continuous use.
Other products I've heard good things about are Leather Masters Foam Cleaner and Leather Masters Protective
Cream Matte (Conditioner and Protectant with matte finish)

- Jan
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  #35  
Old 02-16-2013, 09:46 AM
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FreddyG FreddyG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmh View Post
A while ago I actually wrote a summary of different leather types as even my dealer
was confused on what options/types are available and which items are covered in leahter
etc ....
It is geared towards the F10 M5 but still applicable to other cars
So below is the note I put together which might be of use for folks to see the difference
between Dakota/Novillo/Napa and Merino leathers .

First there's no real difference (as far as I've found) between "Finely structured Merino leather"
and regular Merino leather. It is just the color (hence marked as "Individual" option)

There's also a difference in leather coverage. When a customer is buying Individual Extended leather,
you also get the seat backs and the lower part of the dashboard in leather too.
(See attached chart for further details).
Basically everything except upper doors, lower doors and dash is leather with Individual Extended leather.

Dakota leather it is coated in a colored vinyl or polyurethane topcoat and these synthetic plastic finishes don't crack.
Then they have a fake synthetic grain pattern printed onto the coated leather to make it look real.
This is why the cheap Dakota leather in base 5 series and 3 series models feels a lot like the synthetic leather, and less
like the high end Nappa and Merino leathers. Even Nappa has a light clear coating, but is not as protected as Dakota.
Merino in the M5 is a natural leather. No coating. Therefore more vulnerable.

Summary of leather types used :

1) Merino (M Cars and Individual Cars) - proper natural grain natural leather. It is dyed but not coated.
2) Nappa (optional on 5, 6 and 7) - semi-aniline leather. Has a light clear coating. For protection.
Also natural grain and soft. Grain is not as high quality as Merino. Nappa is also used on the dash and upper
door arms of the M5.
3) Novillo (M3) semi aniline with a synthetic grain
4) Dakota (3, 5 and 7 sedans) lower grade leather (not top coat leather like the others) and coated with a synthetic
paint polymer. Embossed with a synthetic grain.

For leather care I have been using Swissvax leather cleaner and Zaino Leather in a bottle (conditioner).
The Zaino though does leave a very slight sheen so some people prefer Zymol or Swissvax Leather Milk.
What I like about Zaino leather in a bottle is it contains genuine leather oils and smells like leather so it maintains that natural
new leather scent.
I also have a product called Swissvax leather gloss corrector matte which I use every few years to restore the new matte
finish to the steering wheel if it ever picks up a shine as a result of continuous use.
Other products I've heard good things about are Leather Masters Foam Cleaner and Leather Masters Protective
Cream Matte (Conditioner and Protectant with matte finish)

- Jan
Thank You Jan for all of the info!

That was a Very interesting read with quite a bit of info that I didn't know.

My problem is that I'm comparing our F30 seats to the active ventilated, multi contour seats that we had in our 07 X5. That's not really fair to compare a broken in seat that has every type of adjustment that you could want to these "leather" seats.

I'll bet those seats in your M5 are Nice!
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  #36  
Old 02-16-2013, 01:41 PM
inChargeOfIT inChargeOfIT is offline
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Thanks for the info Jan.. for a second there I thought I had nice seats.. turns out my $60k car has plastic seats

I kid.. but really, what cleaning products would your recommend for the Dakota leather? I was assuming the leather was stiff simply because it was new (and of good quality :/) and would wear in like all my other cars' leather seats, getting softer over time. Do you think that will happen?

On a side note, it would be super nice if the coating does indeed prevent the leather from cracking over time. My porsche seats lasted about 3 years before they started to crack and were pretty tore up after 5. I took care of them frequently, but i also had the top down any chance I could.

thanks for the great info!
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  #37  
Old 02-16-2013, 02:33 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inChargeOfIT View Post
Thanks for the info Jan.. for a second there I thought I had nice seats.. turns out my $60k car has plastic seats

I kid.. but really, what cleaning products would your recommend for the Dakota leather? I was assuming the leather was stiff simply because it was new (and of good quality :/) and would wear in like all my other cars' leather seats, getting softer over time. Do you think that will happen?

On a side note, it would be super nice if the coating does indeed prevent the leather from cracking over time. My porsche seats lasted about 3 years before they started to crack and were pretty tore up after 5. I took care of them frequently, but i also had the top down any chance I could.

thanks for the great info!

The Dakota Leather Seats in my 335i have no cracks and no noticeable wear at 5 plus years and 42,000 miles. I use MeGuiars, Zymol and Zaino products.

CA
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  #38  
Old 02-16-2013, 03:20 PM
hans007 hans007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inChargeOfIT View Post
Thanks for the info Jan.. for a second there I thought I had nice seats.. turns out my $60k car has plastic seats

I kid.. but really, what cleaning products would your recommend for the Dakota leather? I was assuming the leather was stiff simply because it was new (and of good quality :/) and would wear in like all my other cars' leather seats, getting softer over time. Do you think that will happen?

On a side note, it would be super nice if the coating does indeed prevent the leather from cracking over time. My porsche seats lasted about 3 years before they started to crack and were pretty tore up after 5. I took care of them frequently, but i also had the top down any chance I could.

thanks for the great info!
My dad has a 2004 x3 3.0 with 135k miles on it. When he got it new it was his first German car and he got the higher engine and moon roof and Dakota leather since he wanted it premiumed out. Anyway he had an rx300 and an mdx which had much softer leather previous but hated how they felt like boats

We all noticed how hard the leather was and didn't really feel but its been 8-9 years and the leather more or less looks new. There are other parts of the car that have worn more than the leather by a lot. Like the roundel logo even but I'd that is how Dakota wears I'm figuring it'll last as long as leatherette. He never ever put any leather cleaning or preserving products on it..

Anyway the first gen x3 was not BMWs finest product but its been great other than the sunroof squeaks. Dad bought a new 2013 x3...xdrive28i with leatherette and no moon roof to replace it. Problem solved (he said something along the lines of the fake leather in your f30 feels softer than my x3 so I'm not paying the money)

Last edited by hans007; 02-16-2013 at 03:23 PM.
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  #39  
Old 02-16-2013, 04:13 PM
Bimmermeupscoty Bimmermeupscoty is offline
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I am really interested in what cleaning products to use on the F30 seats. If the Dakota leather is sealed in a vinyl coat, then I assume leather cleaning products are ineffective and a waste. Seems vinyl cleaning and protective products may seem the best.
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  #40  
Old 02-16-2013, 04:43 PM
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Yes. Treat them as plastic. They will essentially last forever.
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  #41  
Old 02-16-2013, 07:31 PM
Pappy Pipes Pappy Pipes is offline
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Proprietary names like "Dakota Leather" have such a hinky connotation to begin with that this enlightening expose isn't surprising. But I still believe certain configurations like heated sport seats with lumbar support are more comfortable, supportive, and commendable than base seats regardless of the trim.

What I don't get is Leatherette.
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  #42  
Old 02-16-2013, 07:32 PM
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I personally prefer the Zaino leather conditioner/Leather in a Bottle (http://www.zainostore.com/Merchant2/...oduct_Count=15) as it gives a nice leather smell even to Dakota leather seats (used on all my previous E90s)
For cleaning I used the SwissVax Leather claner (http://www.swissvax.us/merchant.mvc?...e=LEATHER-CARE)
On the M5 I use the SwissVax Leather Matt kit as it keeps the leather fresh but does not make it shine/glossy (http://www.swissvax.us/merchant.mvc?...e=LEATHER-CARE)
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  #43  
Old 02-16-2013, 07:44 PM
Bimmermeupscoty Bimmermeupscoty is offline
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Those sound great, but if the description of the Dakota Leather is correct, I am not sure that the surface that we can get to is not sealed in a vinyl Coating and thus we are not able to treat the leather underneath.
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  #44  
Old 02-16-2013, 07:48 PM
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Precisely. There is no benefit to covering vinyl in oil, no matter how nice it smells.

(I do however like Zaino products a great deal, including the leather conditioner. It just does not get used on my F30.)
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  #45  
Old 02-17-2013, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmermeupscoty View Post
Those sound great, but if the description of the Dakota Leather is correct, I am not sure that the surface that we can get to is not sealed in a vinyl Coating and thus we are not able to treat the leather underneath.
You are 100% right thats why you have to read between the lines on these posts as well as other posts because many of them are BS. Good luck
cheers
vern
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  #46  
Old 02-17-2013, 06:31 PM
bmw_or_audi bmw_or_audi is offline
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For anyone interested, here is a small bit on leather types on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather. That's why Dakota leather is so hard to distinguish from vinyl. It is AFAIK just split leather. And it is unbelievable to me tht they charge so much just for the seating surfaces. You can probably get much higher quality leather from an aftermarket shop for the same price (includes labor).
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  #47  
Old 02-17-2013, 06:34 PM
bmw_or_audi bmw_or_audi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans007 View Post
I drove a 2010 a4 sport. Good seats but not great. Had it for 3 years did a lot of 400 mile drives up and down California. I guess the only thing not great about them is actually they are not my f30s sport seats. Better bolstering yet softer on the seat part.
Do you have the Premium package in your F30? I understand it adds lumbar support to the sport seats. Is that correct?

Quote:
Also the Dakota leather really isn't any better. Unless you have to have leather or are buying premium package anyway i think it is coated in plastic anyway and regrained so its pretty low end leather. Nappa on a 5 series OK might be worth it
The 2013 A4 now comes with upgraded "Fine Nappa" leather.
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  #48  
Old 02-17-2013, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bmw_or_audi View Post
The 2013 A4 now comes with upgraded "Fine Nappa" leather.
The A4's seats are pretty hard...and surprisingly even the S4's. Tried those last weekend.
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  #49  
Old 02-18-2013, 01:06 AM
hans007 hans007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_or_audi View Post
Do you have the Premium package in your F30? I understand it adds lumbar support to the sport seats. Is that correct?



The 2013 A4 now comes with upgraded "Fine Nappa" leather.
i have premium plus and sport.

don't know what the differences are now, but i had a 2010. don't have it anymore either (got the f30). i had friends with C class "sport" and i guess i've sat in all the current german cars. and i'd say mercedes seats were the worst. harder, didnt have the leg extensions audi / bmw had and they didn't have as good side bolstering. audi was allright, but the seat wasnt as side bolstered. and yes the audi seat did have the lumbar.
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  #50  
Old 02-18-2013, 09:29 AM
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FreddyG FreddyG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
The A4's seats are pretty hard...and surprisingly even the S4's. Tried those last weekend.
We have a 2011 Audi S5 Prestige and the leather and feel of those seats rivals Anything out there (including the Italian exotics).

The leather is buttery soft and the cushions hug you, while still providing Excellent support (both on a track and off).

I know that BMW won't put a seat like that in a 3 Series (trying to keep cost down and profits up), but I'd pay for a seat like the multi contour seats that have every adjustability in the world. If you can't find a comfortable position in those seats, then there's no hope for you to find one!
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