Visual Upholstery Guide

This page contains all of the regularly available upholstery codes of the E38. It also contains many examples of what was available through BMW Individual. 

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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.

Non-V12 upholstery codes, with vinyl dashboard, vinyl centre console, vinyl door cards, and vinyl front seat backs (“Standard Leather”):
Non-V12 upholstery codes, with vinyl dashboard, leather centre console, vinyl door cards with leather armrest, and vinyl front seat backs (“Extended Leather”):
V12 upholstery codes, with leatherette dashboard, leather centre console, leather/leatherette door cards, and leather front seat backs (“Full Leather”):
V12 & non-V12 upholstery codes (full leather, extended leather, or standard leather, varying by model and selling market):


Z1XX – Sonderpolsterung, Special Series.

There were a number of E38s produced through BMW Individual, but as part of a ‘Special Series’, such as the well-known ‘Highline Carbon’ package, and other not so well known packages such as the ‘E38 Middle East Fashion Edition’. There were 2440 E38s produced under ‘Special Series’, with almost all of them having some form of special upholstery.

The only exception is the ‘E38 “Holz/Leder-Lenkrad” Hongkong’. That was a Hong Kong Special Series that added a wooden steering wheel, but included no other upholstery modifications. There were 209 E38s produced under this special series; as it does not have any special upholstery, it’s not listed here.

Z1XX – Sonderpolsterung. This is a code to designate “Special Upholstery”, seen in BMW Individual models. There were 8802 E38s produced with this upholstery code. Here are some of them. Additionally, there were 2 E38s with code (9990) “Special Upholstery”. They were pre-production models.

Important Note: The table with number produced counts the number produced with seating surfaces in the indicated color. Because of the nature of BMW Individual, very few are absolutely identical down to every last detail; as such, when compiling the numbers, if two different E38s have, say, Champagne Nappa Leather seats with Amethyst Nappa Leather piping, but one has black carpets and the other has amethyst carpets, both are counted under the same page. The production numbers in this section do not include E38s produced under a “Special Series”; those are listed above.