Space Gray Cloth Unavailable after 01/06

We’ve heard this rumor for a few days now but neglected to report anything until we saw some official confirmation. Well, we have our confirmation. The following is from an official dealer bulletin sent out by MINI USA:

As of right now…. S4PN-Space Gray/Panther block cloth interior is UNAVAILABLE. This is because we have just received news that the fabric supplier is closing their factory. Efforts are underway to find a new supplier, but until one is found S4PN will be blocked in the ordering system

So there will be no new orders of this upholstery.

HOWEVER, all orders for S4PN made with a production date in JANUARY or earlier are unaffected. Order made for cars with products dates later than January will have S4PN removed.

  • Frank

    Another great reason to order the no cost and sensational quality standard leatherette!

  • Bilbo Baggins

    Hopefully they will find another source fo the same or better quality. I really like the Space cloth interior the best.

    Thank goodness I have mine already. I’d be really bummed to find out I couldn’t get it after already ordering. The decision process is already so long, but to have to revisit it. Aaaaurrggghhhhh!!!!

  • petsounds

    Frank – while MINI should be highly commended for offering leatherette, it is not very high quality (the same goes for the leatherette used in BMW’s other model lines). The leatherette Audi used to offer was much more supple and breathable.

  • Brendan

    Will this affect the checkmate interior?

  • Frank

    Since I haven’t seen the Audi’s version of the leatherette, really I have nothing to compare it to. I have owned 3 MINIs all fitted with std leatherette and have been pleased with the looks/quality/durability of the material. My ’05 MCS leatherette seems to be more supple/softer (More leather like) than the leatherette I had in my ’04 MCS and the wife’s ’02 MC.

    I personally detest cloth seats in a car. I also have a phobia of carpets, rugs, you name it. To me all of these are allergy/dust/odor traps.

    My house is clad on pergo laminate floor from end to end. That tells you how much I dislike cloth upholstery.

  • What happens if something goes wron with your seat, two seats will not be the same…lol

    They would have to order the whole new set. But how many have that seat combo, when they can have fake leather?


  • CraigE

    This will not affect any other cloth or cloth/leather interior options since both the black and silver portions of the seat are unique to the Space Gray/Panther Black (S4PN) seats.

  • ChrisW

    Mmmmm, sweaty vinyl seats. Not. Heh Frank, so you like plastic leather seats and plastic wood flooring? (kidding, but…)

    Love my space gray. Would prefer that same fabric in a solid black though. My ’94 Miata cloth seats were the best. Ever.

    After going with leather in my last two vehicles, I think I’m back to cloth for good. Warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer. Especially in a convertible. Hopefully they’ll get this issue ironed out quickly, or at least offer more choices in cloth seating (I had only two choices of cloth seating for my MCSc – space gray or that orange/blue stuff. And since I ordered a red car, I didn’t have any real choice. Lame…)

  • Ian

    Why call it ‘leatherette’? – Let’s just call it for what it is.. Vinyl.

  • Pet, I think just the opposite. I find the BMW/MINI leatherette the best out there. My seat in my MINI never get to hot, or to sweaty. And my old A4 would. Plus I think the MINI stuff holds up better. My Audi started to tear around the seams, that are on the bottom part of the seats.

  • KE3VP

    I, too, like the cloth.

    To me, the leatherette is just to slick in the twisties, even with the seat belts snug. I feel more solid in the seat with the cloth.

    I also like the feel of the cloth in the summer better than the plastic.

    I suppose one of the other colors might be ok, but the gray went with everything.

  • Frank

    I live in Florida and never had a problem with “Sticky” or “hot” vinyl. This is an impressive material overall.

    Yes I love my plastic seats and fake wood floors. Much better than the nasty cloth dust traps.

    (Just kidding)

  • Frank

    I never understood the claim that the leatherette seats are slippery. That is pure balooney. Come and take a ride with me to see if you slide out on the turns. We have owners in our local MINI club that autocross and race thier MINIs on the track all equipped with “plastic” seats. Never heard a complaint.

    I think some of you have never put enough “butt” time in the MINI’s leatherette seats and then come here to mock up the most silly statements to defend their choice of upholstery. And perhaps some still believe that the MINI’s vinyl is the same smelly, slippery, hot and shiny material that so many American cars of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s wore in their interiors.

    Cloth seats have their advantages, but they are very few and far in between. I have had many vehicles with cloth seats and I still contend that no matter how nice the fabric material maybe, cloth seats are disgusting dust, sweat, body odor, stain traps…Yuck!

    There is a reason why we frequently wash the clothes we wear 😉

  • Dust mites cannot be seen without a microscope. They thrive in warm and humid conditions. Because they feed on skin scales, they love bedding, carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing, closets and car seats. They usually survive ordinary vacuuming because they burrow deep and are equipped with sucking pads on their feet.

    People become allergic to the proteins in the mite faecel pellets. As many as 3000 mites have been counted in a gram of dust, although the average is around 250-300. Each mite produces 10-20 faecal particles per day. Their lifecycle from egg to adult is 30 days and each egg laying female mite can increase the population by 40-80 every six weeks!

    Studies in London show that mite populations peak from December to March, ie times of high household humidity.


  • JK

    Welcome to group therapy at MotoringFile. Does anyone have a response to what Frank has shared with us? Perhaps one of you has had some experience with OCD…what suggestions do you have for Frank?


    P.S. Frank: This is supposed to be friendly joshing. Please don’t take offense 🙂

  • Tim

    I like my leatherette. I find it’s fine even on a 100 degree day. I have 2 kids so cloth seats would be stained in no time. The leatherette at least stays clean.

  • Evan

    I find the leatherette to be the best option for the car. The cloth is too shiny for being cloth and the leather tends to the baggy side. Leatherette also holds up the longest (it is plastic…) and is of very fine quality, better than the leather in most car models. I have had several people ask about my leather seats- then I tell them that it’s leatherette. My parent’s ’93 BMW has leatherette and only the driver’s seat bottom is starting to show some wear after 230k miles of seat time.

    In the end, the leatherette is an attractive, long lasting option. But is an option so others can have their cloth and leather too! Thank you MINI!

  • Why does the image of Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson’s character) from “As Good As It Gets” come to mind while reading Frank’s posts? … Anyway, I had cloth seats in my last vehicle (2001 Honda Accord) and the only advantage I found was they were warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer. I only had that car for 28 months and put less than 25k miles on it. When I sold it the seats were already showing wear. My MINI is now 24 months old and has 31k miles and the leatherette, plastic, vinyl, whatever you want to call it still looks as good as the day I picked up the car. I love the feel of the real leather but decided to spend my extra dollars on the JCW instead!

  • My MINI is now 24 months old and has 31k miles and the leatherette, plastic, vinyl, whatever you want to call it still looks as good as the day I picked up the car. I love the feel of the real leather but decided to spend my extra dollars on the JCW instead!

    I totally agree. I had my previous MINI for 45k miles and the leatherette showed little signs of actual wear. I have a feeling this stuff will be floating in space when the earth is long gone.

    I now have the cloth/leather combo so it’ll be interesting to compare the two over the years.

  • Timothy

    “FOR SALE: 2004 MINI Cooper S. 12,000 miles, cold weather package, extra brake light modification, transparent bonnet stoneguard, cubby added below switches (like ’05s), multifunction steering wheel, white roof, white wheels, official rubber floormats, indi blue metallic exterior, silver dash, space gray cloth interior, minimal dust mite population (no weight penalty). Must sell! Best offer or trade for a plastic bubble, loofa, and case of Nair.”

  • modboi

    My 6 years-old BMW black leatherette looks newer than my one year-old MCS Cordoba beige leather.

    Back to the subject, I’ve seen the space gray cloth in many MINIs and it looks really great, so it’s too bad for the miniacs that wanted this option in their 06s.

  • Bilbo Baggins

    My ’02 MCS with the Space cloth had 36,000 miles on it and the seats looked like new when I traded it in.

    The leatherette that they use in the “Courtesy Cars” at my dealer is cold and stiff in the winter and hot and sweaty in the summer. I’ll stick with the Space Cloth, thank you very much.

  • Percy

    Cloth seats are more comfortable and more environmentally friendly. Do you have any idea how many Vinyls they have to kill to make leatherette seats?

  • mb

    I will never be convinced to buy leather or vinyl if cloth is an option. Especially a durable, high quality cloth like the space gray! I guess I’d go with a leather/cloth combo for the right price.

    Sorry it’s gone:(

    Salute to space gray*


  • O(=^=)O Capn
    Percy Dec 15th, 2005 Link Cloth seats are more comfortable and more environmentally friendly. Do you have any idea how many Vinyls they have to kill to make leatherette seats?

    Thats exactly why they don’t make records anymore, They turned them into your seats! I hear that the local corner used book/record store in Oxford was raided and the only thing that was left behind was the Open sign, the harlequin novels, and foot prints in the snow. You’re now riding around on old Beatles albums. I for one feel guilty.

    BTW Frank, do you sleep on leather sheets and blankets? Also, did you know that eColi is found in your large intestine? Stay away from that, it is Dirty.

  • Trick

    Whew. Being Production week 50, I don’t know that I could have cut it any closer.

  • Andy


    i hope i can make the cut. the cloth is my favorite. i really dislike the feel of leather. i always sweat when sitting on leather. and its always too hot or too cold. this is very annoying. i could put up with a nice leather but i also dont want to pay 1500 or so

  • man, i love space grey cloth. I wish i had it in my car, i HATE leaterette with a passion!!!!

  • The Blue Canary

    Wow, my MINI is even more unique! Space Grey in my MCS 06! I just like grey better then the leatheret. I just hope I never have to replace it! I know I will never get the colors to match again. =(

  • MiniShagz

    My experience with leatherette will start tomorrow when I take delivery of my MCS. I’m sure I won’t be disappointed! 🙂

    I’m a little disturbed by the recent trend of removing options (albeit this one was out of their control). While I’m sure that some of this is a cost-cutting measure, the customization is one of the cool features of owning a MINI. It is makes your MINI….yours! Let’s hope that there will be more colors and interior options to make up for the recent deletions.

  • Badburro

    Having had leatherette seats in my Toureg and cloth seats in my Honda, I have to say that leather feels best on my behind. In the cold, cloth is best. But in hot weather, I tend to sweat no matter the material. In the end, I like the suppleness of leather.

  • Ken

    I was a little worried when I first read this article the other day as I had just ordered my ’06 MCS with the Panther/Space Gray cloth. Luckily mine is scheduled for production already and got in before the deadline. Very glad to be able to get the cloth again. I would have preferred leather but just can’t see paying an additional $1300 for it.

  • Joe

    This is too bad; however, I suspect they should find a new supplier to provide comparable quality. I have the space cloth and love it. Personally, I detest leatherette, especially in the Texas heat. I’ve had an Audi leatherette interior and while it wears like iron, it simply doesn’t breath or hold one in place as does cloth. Just my 2 cents.

  • You are all crazy. I replaced my seats with hard plastic ones from an old city bus!

  • I guess that makes my car even more unique too. No more Liquid Yellow MCS, or MC, and no more Space Gray. I’m very glad I didn’t go with leather or vinyl. The best part was that you could get Space Gray cloth seats with seat heaters. There are not many car companies that have that option. Everyone I looked at you had to upgrade to leather.

  • Erik Sharp

    I had a BMW with leather for 13 years, that I took on the track many times. Regardless of the weather and even with 5 pt harness, my butt would not stay put. I had sheepskins (removed during track events) over them most of the time to save them for resale. I ordered my 06 MCSC (delivered 10/14/05) with space gray cloth, and it’s the best. I’m considering seat covers (also cloth – easily removed and washable) to keep the seats looking new for future resale, and hopefully making future repair unnecessary.

  • Drew

    How about a tartan cloth option instead? Something similar to VW’s interlagos cloth on the GTI…

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