Mercedes is one of those brands that aim to offer the highest levels of luxury in the executive premium segment. However, we are all aware how German brands are more than willing to charge huge sums of money on options and that without them, these cars are not what they should be.
Brands like Audi and BMW still offer cloth seats in their cars for the very base-level trim levels. This is not really something you want from a luxury car because cloth is something we typically associate with cheap economy levels cars. The good thing is that Mercedes does not offer cloth seats at all, yet they offer MB-Tex as the entry-level option.
MB-Tex comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks such as lower costs, better looks, and easier cleaning. However, it also isn’t real leather so anyone who knows what a true Designo Mercedes interior feels like is likely going to notice that MB-Tex is not on the same level. Furthermore, MB-Tex is not necessarily as durable.
Leather is the standard go-to upholstery for luxury cars which means that Mercedes leather, especially the Designo leather both looks and feels better than MB-Tex. It does come at quite a premium, of course, so you have to decide what you value more.
Mercedes MB-Tex – Benefits and drawbacks
As mentioned in the beginning, Mercedes does not offer cloth in any of its cars these days because they use MB-Tex as a more premium-feeling replacement. MB-Tex is a synthetic vinyl designed to look and feel like real leather which means that most people will not be able to tell the difference if you don’t point it out to them.
This means that MB-Tex costs less to make and therefore is the entry-level option that saves you money. MB-Tex should also be more durable than leather, but many customers have complained about the vinyl wearing out after a decade of use. MB-Tex also does not have that juicy leather smell nor is it as soft to the touch as true leather.
Finally, MB-Tex simply does not look as nice as some Mercedes leather packages do, especially the Mercedes Designo package. The good things about MB-Tex are that it costs less, looks decent, should theoretically be more durable than untreated leather, and is easier to clean.
Mercedes Leather – Benefits and drawbacks
Everyone knows what leather is, what it feels like, and why people love it so much. Luxury cars have been offering all sorts of upholstery materials such as vegan-friendly fabrics, Alcantara, vinyl, and cloth, but none of these have ever felt as good as high-grade leather.
Mercedes leather is soft, smells great, and is able to last a really long time if properly treated. It comes in a variety of colors and seat options including sports seats, comfort seats, touring seats, and even race seats. The highest levels of Mercedes luxury are synonymous with leather and no fake leather could ever match that.
However, Mercedes leather is expensive and is not the best option for vegans. The Mercedes Designo leather package costs a few thousand dollars which is not cheap by any means. If you don’t take proper care of your leather, it could crack prematurely and is really difficult to fix.
Conclusion – Leather is better
What Mercedes did here is clever because it makes the brand feel more premium while not spending all that much money. MB-Tex is undoubtedly better than cloth you tend to find in various premium executive brands, and there is no question about it. If you are someone who prefers cloth over any kind of leather, you are in a minority.
However, nothing was ever able to replace the luxurious feeling you get with high-grade leather. The smell, the feel, the looks, and the appeal simply can’t be matched by vinyl material. If that truly is the case, Mercedes would not be the only luxury car brand that does this on a larger scale.
Moreover, if you are used to driving high-end luxury cars, you are definitely going to tell the difference. MB-Tex is available with Mercedes entry-level seats that simply don’t get the same amount of attention as far stitching, design, and finishing are concerned. Leather is better, and there is no way around that but MB-Tex is better than cloth and is likely to fool many people.
Why do people love leather in cars?
People prefer leather over most fabrics because it smells nice, it looks nice, it feels nice and is incredibly comfortable. Leather is also durable and if you treat it well enough, it should easily be able to last as long as the car does. There is nothing that oozes that premium feeling inside a car as much as leather.
Even though there are many alternatives to leather out there and many carmakers have been busy developing a worthwhile replacement, none of them are as premium as leather is, and they are likely never going to be.
What is Alcantara?
Alcantara is also a synthetic material that originated in Japan and consists of polyester and polystyrene and is the preferred choice for sports cars and supercars. The reason why some people prefer Alcantara over leather is that leather is slippery and being slippery is not something you want on a race track.
Many race cars, track cars, sports cars, and supercars use Alcantara on the steering wheel and the seats to provide more grip. Some people love the combination of leather and Alcantara because that offers you the best of both worlds, grip, and comfort.
What are the advantages of cloth seats?
The advantages of cloth seats are typically value-oriented as cloth is a cheaper material. So, if you go for a car with cloth seats you are likely going to pay a lot less money. Upholstering the entire car In high-grade leather costs thousands of dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars for the most premium luxury cars on the market.
Cloth is durable, easy to take care of, easy to repair, and is the preferred choice for commercial cars and cars that take lots of abuse on a daily basis, such as taxi cars for example.