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All E38s produced until 09/94 had upholstery codes consisting of four numbers (i.e. 0551 = Standard Montana Leather, Black). From 09/94 onwards, BMW changed to a somwhat more intuitive system of four characters, with the first two denoting the upholstery type and seam pattern, and the last two denoting the colour (i.e. N6SW = Standard Montana Leather, Black). However, with upholstery codes created from 09/98 onwards, BMW no longer distinguished between basic, extended, and full leather. An example of this is L7 or V1, both of which were used in V12 and non-V12 models.

Additionally, when looking at Individual Data, it is important to note BMW specified the “seam pattern” of the upholstery, where applicable. For example, if a customer ordered Nappa leather, but wanted it to look like a Montana leather seat, the seam pattern was specified as N6/N8. Likewise, if a customer ordered a seat with Montana leather, but wanted it to look like Nappa, the seam pattern would be specified as N9/P1 or P4/P5 depending on the type of seat.

This upholstery page is divided in three sections:

Upholstery Codes – Regular Production

These upholstery codes were regularly available without a special order, but not all codes were available in all markets.

Upholstery – BMW Individual (Special Series)

These were special series with a pre-determined specification that were similar to the current ‘Individual Composition’ often available in modern BMWs. Think of them as something slightly more special than regular upholstery, but not as much as a full custom order. Some Special Series had very small production runs, such as the ‘E38 Limited Edition – Canada’, whereas others had several hundred cars produced, such as the ‘US High Line’.

Upholstery – BMW Individual (Custom Orders)

This indicates a full special order via BMW Individual, and could range from a different upholstery not regularly available in a certain market at a certain time (for example, full black Nappa leather for a UK market E38 in 2001, to a one-off interior in Porsche Star Ruby with Amethyst carpets. The possibilities were almost endless, and a few thousand customers took full advantage of the BMW Individual catalog at the time! This is where you will find the wildest interiors.