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Old 01-24-2001, 11:26 PM
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I stopped by the local MB dealer today to pick up some parts. I decided to take a stroll through the showroom and check out the 2001's.

I was surprised and disappointed at the quality of the leather I saw on a E320. It looked like water buffalo, very stiff and grainy. (BMW has been using water buffalo for years).

In the world of leather, water buffalo is considered much lower quality than cow hide. Primarily because it comes from Asia where processing and hide quality are sub standard. Recently, it's gotten much better, but in a $50K Benz?

If it is cow hide, it's pretty crappy and heavily embossed.

They did offer a "desinior" leather, (I think that's what it's called), for $6500. It was pretty nice, but $6500?

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91 300E 120K
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Old 01-25-2001, 06:31 AM
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What is water buffalo hide? I dont know if I am talking about the same thing as you, but when I got my Acura Integra, the model I bought came with cloth but Acura threw in leather for free and sent me to a place that put the leather on the seats. They let me choose the color, leather, texture, etc. etc. out of about a thousand samples, well I chose this one that felt real nice and smooth and chose it. Well when I got the car back 2 days later the leather on the seating surfaces of my seats was this really hard and rough leather that I personally hate. The sides and areas that dont get high wear are covered in the leather that I actually chose that is soft and smooth. Nothing the less it has held up real well and there is absolutely no holes wearing into it (from where you slide into the car) but I really hate it, it is very hard, very uncomfortable and very rough. It looks real nice though cause it hasnt worn out a bit since I got the car.
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2001, 09:20 AM
LarryBible
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The leather in my 300E is very smooth grain, but very stiff, in spite of the fact that I keep it treated. I get the idea that it is very thick.

The leather in my '96 with Premium leather was much more supple with medium grain.

The leather in my '01 C Class with Premium leather is supple, but heavier grain.

I believe that much of the life of a leather interior is determined not only by the skin itself, but the seat construction.

Have a great day,
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Old 01-25-2001, 01:30 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Springfield, MO
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Buffalo from Africa is very soft, although can endure a lot of ware. It is very expensive, and would cost many thousands to do a car interior in. A small handbag or purse made of buffalo is in the $400 range, and it is very supple. However, it depends on how the hide is tanned to how supple it can be. In my E320, hte interior is not buffalo, as buffalo has a distinctive grain pattern to it. A new CLK I am possibly thinking about purchasing at the dealership has somewhat heavier grained texture than my '96, but still the same grain pattern as cow. The supple textures of the designo is due to the longer tanning process of the leather. Diffrent techniques require more work, therefore more money. I don't know if the designo is worth 7k, but they make some exterior changes as well as interior I do believe.
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Old 01-25-2001, 08:11 PM
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Actually, what determines the price to the consumer for leather is the cosmetic appearance of the hide. It's a lot like diamonds, the fewer flaws, the more expensive it is.
The process of tanning and finishing has very little to do with price.

I was referring to water buffalo, the beast you see standing in a rice patty with a plow attached to it. They are nasty compared to cow or a real buffalo.

I've made my living selling leather for the past 15 years, so I have become a bit of a snob.
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91 300E 120K
90 300SE 275K (sold)
92 BMW 525iM 120K
90 BMW 525iA 175K
85 300D 175K (sold)
84 300SD 245K (sold)
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