Second-guessing the tan leather interior... help?

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Hello all! I'm close to finalizing my spec with my dealer and I'm having second thoughts about all sorts of things. The biggest being the interior.

I'll be doing Magma Red, and I like the concept of the Tan Nappa leather interior to lighten and richen the experience inside a bit... but every time I look at the configurator again I start to second-guess myself. I think it's just that the peanut butter color they use on the rendering is simply too smooth, because on screen it looks like plastic. And the weird spy shot "seat on a platform in the factory, but it's a cellphone shot of an image on a computer screen" that was posted online hasn't helped matters because it looked awful there.

The images released thus far of the Lotus seats in recent prototypes make the "leather" look like the vinyl Sensatec material that BMW uses on their lower-end seats, and the Lotus test swatches I saw at the roadshow just don't look like premium leather to me either, they were too smooth/uniform and felt too thin. Maybe it's the size of the sample, or maybe it's just not the same leather they're actually using on the seats. Ultimately I just don't want to take delivery of the car and then feel like I'm surrounded by an acre of thin, soft, peanut butter flavored vinyl with no visual or tactile interest.

1647417101673.png


My struggle is that what I want out of a tan or brown leather is an actual leather appearance, either with some surface grain or some dye variation or something to indicate that it's a hand-crafted piece of animal hide that's been expertly formed into a seating surface. I want it to approximate the look and feel of an expensive piece of luggage, like a nice leather bag, and gain some patina over time through use and contact. That's what gives good leather a large amount of its beauty. Usually the term "Nappa leather" indicates that it's full grain, high quality leather stock. In the absence of more info about what Lotus is using though, it seems like it could be just a marketing term in this case.

At least the Dakota option leather in my BMW has surface grain texture, perceptible thickness to the cut, and some slight variation in color as it wraps around edges. In the automotive world, the best visually high-quality leather I've ever seen in a non-exotic production car was the original Audi TT with one of the "baseball stitch" leather options... truly amazing tan leather seating. I mean, guys... we're now in a world where the Nissan Sentra is winning Ward's 10 Best awards for the quality of its quilted tan leather seating. It even has the black stripe like Lotus is doing, and the leather along the top of the seat has visible grain texture. I don't get what Nissan is thinking with that kind of investment in the Sentra, but it's a useful data point as we consider what Lotus is doing with the seating in the Emira.

Has anyone actually sat in or touched any of the colored leather options on a real seat in the Lotus facility at Hethel? @TomE ? Can you tell anything about the real-world appearance of the leather in the finished product? Is it visually identifiable as leather, as opposed to a synthetic?

And does anyone else have these doubts about the tan? Should I switch to Alcantara just to get some visual satisfaction out of the materials contrast, even if it's ultimately just recycled soda bottles?

Thanks, y'all.
 
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Here is the only other image I've found of actual tan leather seats in a car... not a rendering or a sample swatch. I screenshot this from the International Women's Day video on EDP24.

I believe we have yet to see any photo of a tan leather-equipped dash or door card. It would be great to see that.

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Thank you!
That was also my concern for the most part.
As much as a combination with tan leather appeals to me, I also fear that the leather is too similar to what is shown in the configurator and that "Nappa" is only used here as a marketing term.
Alcantara is at least a trademarked term/brand name that you can count on for its texture.
 
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I mean, "Nappa" is supposed to mean a very soft Full Grain natural leather. And definitely NOT a bonded leather or other manufactured material.

If it really is proper Nappa leather, and the issue is that the dye is just too painfully uniform and bland, maybe the solution to what I want from it is a decent leather cream or oil treatment to darken it slightly and bring out the natural richness of the material. Any such approach would be done very cautiously at first in a hidden spot, of course.
 

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I don't know that I have doubts, but I want tan leather either way. I for one just don't like Alcantara. I hope the texture and feel is truly Nappa. This is one of the things I'll be looking for in the early reviews of actual production cars, how the leather looks and feels to the reviewers.
 

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I went all in on Tan Leather + Nimbus. The rendering on the config does look very plastic but it would be hard to render an accurate colour + texture. I think it will be fine. The few shots of the car in the factory recently look less saturated and more of a tobacco tan colour to me. Not worried. I would choose the same if I had the red car I think that will look epic.
 

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The Nappa leather is considered top spec, soft and supple. The pic above is representative. The stitching is impressive.
 

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If you have doubts about tan then go with red!
 
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The Nappa leather is considered top spec, soft and supple. The pic above is representative. The stitching is impressive.
I agree, that's what it's supposed to be. And the sample disc was soft, certainly, but didn't feel thick enough to be the actual leather used on the seat. It was maybe 2oz weight (0.8mm). I would want something more substantial on a sport seat, personally... 4oz or 5oz weight (2mm) at least so it has some structure and durability for the expected 30+ years of use.

What I want to avoid is getting a seat that looks and feels like the leather on an Acura TLX. I have one of those right now as a lease and the leather is soft, but thin and obviously cheap. No way to tell if it's actually leather or some thin/stretchy grade of soft plastic. They have the gall to call it "Sport Seats with Perforated Milano Premium Leather," which is quite a joke. The contrast to my BMW is dramatic. The BMW Dakota leather has weight and structure to it, while the Acura stuff is thin and over-soft and feels cheap. Acura does have a "Full Grain" upgrade leather which I can only hope would be better to the hand.

This is why I'm asking for input from anyone who may have been to Hethel, or who has any further info. I'm wondering if the "Nappa" seat leather is actually full grain as advertised, and if it's appropriately firm to the touch or gooey soft without structure.


I sent Lotus UK an email on this today and I'll report back if they provide any info.
 
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