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2000 ML320 1987 560SL
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Discussion Starter #1
The new ML350 comes standard with cloth in the US. Why they do that is a mystery because is seems like to add any other option requires leather seats. So you step up to the bar and order leather, but be careful because what you are getting is partial leather (leather inserts). If you want full leather you have to bump up to the premium package (ML500's, you too). Big step back. On the 163 if it looked like leather, it was leather. Even the seat back pockets were leather (not that it mattered, the elastic was soon to stretched out). Just a strange place to cut corners. Retail upholstery leather is about $5/sq. ft. MB’s cost is likely half of that, probably much less (on the 163 they cut corners and used a 2nd tier leather supplier). The difference between partial and full leather probably 3 sq. ft. per seat or $7.50. Times 5 seats you come to $37.50 to get full leather, and it is far likely to be far less. A strange place to cut corners.
 

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ML550, W212 E350 4 matic, 1966 Corvette C2 convt.
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In the 98 and I believe the 99 ML's the seating was "leather Seating area" Thats leather surrounded by plastic. Leather is available and it just costs a few bucks.
 

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2000 ML320 1987 560SL
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231 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
My ML had full leather, at least on the upholstery that I have replaced was all leather. The replacement seat covers have a bit of canvas instead of leather, but it doesn't show as it is below the plastic trim. In any case the cost of leather for an OEM is so low ($2 / sq. ft.) that they should always have full leather. Also, in 2000 there was only one leather option, no upgrades.
 

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2004 G500 (gone)
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1,100 Posts
Leather or Leatherette? My 1996 C220 came with leatherette, although leather was available.

The current M-class (W163 ML350) can be ordered with cloth only if the customer desires. However, if you want any other option, you must have leather seats.

I asked myself the same question you're asking everyone else. One of the reasons is Mercedes Benz still makes their own seats. In any Mercedes Benz with leather, you always get power driver's seat. Power to the driver's seat means an addition of wires and additional changes in the wiring of the electrical system. When any other extra option is ordered, it is based on the wiring schematic of the vehicle with a power driver's seat.

So Mercedes probably figured it would be easier to wire the car with leather seats and modify the car using that electrical schematic. If you take away the leather seats, you take away these additional wires which lead to an absence of the additional options you wanted.

The partial leather (leather inserts) is probably for cosmetic reasons, but in reality I bet it is probably part of the new cost cutting program DC is employing within "new Mercedes".


Go figure, it's Mercedes way of Engineering and designing their vehicles. We, the customers, are just supposed to purchase the vehicle (we lose money). Mercedes doesn't care about our opinions (they gain our money).
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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There seems to be a move toward MB-Tex. The 2005.5 E320/350 comes standard with leather inserts for the front seats only. The entire rear seat is MB-Tex unless you upgrade to a full leather interior. On the one hand, I’d say it’s a cost-savings issue, but as others have noted, the price for full leather is not that much. On the other hand, some buyers actually prefer MB-Tex since it will not absorb liquids and stain like leather and also is (in some case) more durable.

- RODNEY
 
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