MB Tex Interior Explained
Many people have no idea that the brand new $60,000 SUV they just test drove at the Mercedes dealership probably doesn’t have leather seats. Most Mercedes-Benz interiors are upholstered with Mercedes’ proprietary faux leather, a vinyl material called MB Tex. It looks a lot like leather, and is often mistaken for real leather, but is much more durable and lasts, seemingly, forever without cracking or wearing. They’ve been making MB Tex and using it in all kinds of Mercedes since the mid 1960s.
MB Tex has been the standard interior material for many Mercedes vehicles for many years, at least since the early 1960s. My 1965 230 SL Roadster was equipped with MB Tex interior. 50 years later, that car had its original interior and it was in pretty good condition. Had it been equipped with optional leather there is no doubt it would have cracked and dried out long ago requiring re-upholstery of the interior.
MB Tex has evolved over the years. It’s texture has changed, and changes depending upon the model. Below you will see various models from the 1960s to present day that are equipped with MB tex interior upholstery with close ups of the seating surfaces.
MB Tex in Modern Mercedes Models
Most recently, say, in the last 15 years, MB tex has been the standard interior material in the C and E class sedans, the GLK, M and GL class SUVs, and now – since they switched the names of all the different ‘classes’ – the GLC, GLE and GLS model SUVs and still, C and E class cars, among other models.. Imagine, an $80,000 GLE SUV, doesn’t come standard with leather interior?! That’s right. Higher end models, like the S class and CLS class as well as SL roadsters come standard with leather.
More durable and easier to care for than leather
If MB tex gets dirty, you can spray it down with most any cleaner and scrub off whatever is on the seat. Leather interior requires regular conditioning to keep it in good shape and is prone to drying out and cracking over time.
Most classifieds I see with used Mercedes for sale, whether dealers or private sellers, wrongly call the interior of the car they’re selling ‘leather’ when it’s really MB tex. They just don’t’ know any better and assume that what they’re looking at is, indeed leather.
There is no shame in having a car with MB tex, in fact, for an everyday car that hauls the family and the necessities of life, it might actually be a better long term choice than leather.
Scroll down for an illustrated study of MB tex interiors over the years.