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Our interior, magnified!

Hello everyone, Just wanted to share a little bit of information in regards to the material used in our cars, hoping it will be useful to maybe someone. I own

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Old 07-15-2014, 02:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Our interior, magnified!

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to share a little bit of information in regards to the material used in our cars, hoping it will be useful to maybe someone. I own a 40th anniversary and wanted to detail my Z this past weekend so I was searching around forums trying to figure out what our interior material is actually made of. Many seem to believe it’s made of leather for the seats and Alcantara for inserts for the seats and doors.

After many hours or research, I couldn’t find a 100% definite answer with hard evidence or proof of said claims. The reason I wanted to figure this out indefinitely was for the purpose of using the right chemicals for the appropriate material, not wanting to use a nubuck or suede cleaner on Alcantara or vice versa in fear of discoloring or damaging the material.

The actual brand “Alcantara” usually has a visible tag indicating it to be such just like seats have the “SRS” logos to indicate that the vehicle is equipped with such feature. The reason they have this tag on genuine Alcantara equipped car is mainly for prestige but also to authtincate, this was the first “red flag” that made me question the authenticity of our “Alcantara” material.

At first I figure I would stop by a local high end detailing shop here in my city and speak with the owner that has 30+ years detailing countless exotic cars to see if he would know what materials are used in the car. Long story short, he said the leather portion most definitely looks and feels like leather but he would be shocked if Nissan used really genuine leather in a sports car where they are trying very hard to stay competitive from not only a performance level but also a from a price point perspective as well and he also added even his own Lamborghini also isn’t 100% genuine leather either and he felt the same way about this Alcantara material too in my 40th.

He was also the one to tell me about the Alcantara tags. This sounded like a legitimate answer to me and begged the question, “how will I know for sure?” The only answer was to take the material and examine it under a microscope 200x and go from there…

After using a microscope on the leather, it revealed not to be leather at all but a synthetic plastic compound or it seems anyway? The “Alcantara” also was not real Alcantara or nubuck/suede but also a plastic material I believe. So the whole purpose of this post is to shed some light on the topic and hopefully save someone serious cash in premium detailing products! You don’t NEED to opt for that high end leather cleaner/conditioner or that special Alcantara cleaner if you don’t want to as they are simply not necessary and may damage these plastics if the wrong products are used in the long run.

For the faux Alcantara material, a simple solution of woollite and water will work great since it is a plastic fiber material much like many articles of clothing that woollite was originally developed for providing a deep clean to remove body oils and dirt. Using a cleaner designed for the other materials like nubuck or suede can cause the plastic fibers to become stuck together and nappy looking, and can even cause deterioration of the plastic material causing it to lose that fuzzy texture and fading of color.

Also, the same goes for the plastic “leather” conditioner and cleaner made for real leather can possibly also damage this plastic material due to the oils and detergents causing the coloring material on the seat skin to flake or peel over time, even possibly weakening the material allowing it to snag and rip much easier from every day average use and color fade or so I’m told. I’m not sure what you can use for faux leather, maybe a vinyl cleaner possibly? I’ll probably just use a good leather cleaner when I can get it on sale, because I’m not sure if it actually will harms anything, I’m just going off of what the “experts” are saying.

Hopefully I’ve contributed some useful info for everyone which hopefully saves someone some money! Or at least cool magnified pictures of our interior material LOL. Thanks for reading!

As you can see below, no pores that real leather would normally have...






This table below, shows what different genuine leather looks like when magnified like I did with my interior.



This is the faux Alcantara magnified, also what Alcantara, suede and nubuck do not look like when magnified.





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Old 07-15-2014, 02:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is on Nissan USA website of what the seats are:

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File Type: png Interior.PNG (44.6 KB, 545 views)
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ahh, ok so that confirms the faux suede. Basically just plastic fibers, "leather appointed"...I'm guessing that means faux leather too? This will also proves it's not really Alcantara like most believe it to be.

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Old 07-15-2014, 03:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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For comparison here are the GT-R seat details:

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Old 07-15-2014, 11:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My previous M3 had genuine Alcantara bolsters. I ordered the fabric from BMW main dealer and it did not have the alcantara tags or name on it, however it was genuine. In fact, the color was specifically a charcoal olive black that the manufacturer made especially for BMW. Hence why I had to pay the bucks to purchase it from main dealer when I ended up putting a hole in the seat due to my smoking days LOL.

You can contact Alcantara.it support and they will tell you if they supply to Nissan.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My previous M3 had genuine Alcantara bolsters. I ordered the fabric from BMW main dealer and it did not have the alcantara tags or name on it, however it was genuine. In fact, the color was specifically a charcoal olive black that the manufacturer made especially for BMW. Hence why I had to pay the bucks to purchase it from main dealer when I ended up putting a hole in the seat due to my smoking days LOL.

You can contact Alcantara.it support and they will tell you if they supply to Nissan.
If they did use really Alcantara they would have mentioned it in the features break down for the seats that thedreamer posted earlier. Did you by sheets of fabric or pre cut skins? I can see them not using a tag if it was just sheets of the material. It's more their final finishing touch if you will.

Edit: I just noticed in the features break down they actually do use Alcantara and call it so for the Nismo steering wheel, so that further does confirm our interior is not Alcantara. Nice to finally know for 100%

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Old 07-16-2014, 11:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I assume you talked to Troy then? We should tell him to sell the Lambo and get a Bentley!
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I assume you talked to Troy then? We should tell him to sell the Lambo and get a Bentley!
It would be interesting to see if a Bentley has all genuine leather too lol.
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If they did use really Alcantara they would have mentioned it in the features break down for the seats that thedreamer posted earlier. Did you by sheets of fabric or pre cut skins? I can see them not using a tag if it was just sheets of the material. It's more their final finishing touch if you will.

Edit: I just noticed in the features break down they actually do use Alcantara and call it so for the Nismo steering wheel, so that further does confirm our interior is not Alcantara. Nice to finally know for 100%
BMW had to order it directly from BMW Germany for me at the time. It was sold by the yard.

I do not remember the price as it was approx 10 years + ago, however it was much more expensive than the straight genuine Alcantara. BMW was clever they made their color exclusive shade hence why I had to purchase it from them.

My interior.. 1st one is of my actual previous ride, last two the doner vehicles interior.





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Old 07-16-2014, 12:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just looking at the steering wheel in your first pic, you can tell it's Alcantara, compared to what's used in our cars, I can't explain it but it looks smoother for a lack of a better word. I've always loved those M cars!
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Just looking at the steering wheel in your first pic, you can tell it's Alcantara, compared to what's used in our cars, I can't explain it but it looks smoother for a lack of a better word. I've always loved those M cars!
True. I was actually looking at the seats and noticed how the grain flows and wears. Nothing like the Z.

Beauty of real alcantara. Just wipe with damp cloth and use a soft brush and its as good as new.

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Old 07-17-2014, 11:18 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Limeybastard View Post
True. I was actually looking at the seats and noticed how the grain flows and wears. Nothing like the Z.

Beauty of real alcantara. Just wipe with damp cloth and use a soft brush and its as good as new.

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Agreed, great stuff. Here's a pic of the real alcantara material used in the Nismo for the steering wheel, looks like the BMW!

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Old 07-17-2014, 11:52 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Alcantara is a brand made in Italy.Sorta like Formica is a brand of a covering
primarily used for countertops.Other materials are laminates of different
content.Material other than Alcantara is basically called "ultra suede".
I can attest from experience from Alcantara seats I had in a Alfa that there is
a major difference in quality&price.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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OP the steering wheel in the 2014 and up nismos is as cheap as they get. its def not real alcantara.


also why are you tripping about the materials in our car? no where did nissan say the material was real alcantara?
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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OP the steering wheel in the 2014 and up nismos is as cheap as they get. its def not real alcantara.


also why are you tripping about the materials in our car? no where did nissan say the material was real alcantara?
Not sure what year the build sheets posted above are from, but if you read it, it clearly says ALCANTARA, maybe the build sheets are from the 2013 and older Nismo?

Who's tripping playa!? Not me home boy! But seriously, no where did I say, Nissan said it has real Alcantara. I was just stating the common misconception among owners is it's real Alcantara and leather. My post was to clear the air on the topic and maybe save some people a buck or two by not spending a premium on the Alcantara or leather cleaners or possibly damaging their interiors using the wrong products.

Hope that's ok with you...
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