When it launched in 2023, the new BMW 7 Series showcased an interior design that emphasizes luxury and modernity. One of the standout features of this model is its cashmere interior, which marks a significant step in BMW’s approach to high-end, luxurious car design. BMW positioned its cashmere-covered seats as a top shelf option for the 7 Series and an absolute premiere for their brand. But how did the idea of cashmere in a BMW to life and what is the durability of such material on high contact areas?

Why Cashmere?

Steve Saxty, the author of “BMW by Design” books talked to several designers in Munich about that exact topic. Designer Julia Clottu works in the BMW’s color, material and trim team, explains this brave step in the new 7 Series. “How could we get back to loving fabrics, not on a base model, but at a premium level?”, she wondered. The answer laid in a trip back in the days of horseless carriages when the driver was positioned outside the car and sitting on weatherproof leather, while the owner sat inside on luxurious materials.

That thought process led the BMW design team to exploring unique fabrics, including cashmere. But of course, the fabric needs to meet the BMW’s standards for durability and wear and tear, especially in an expensive product like the BMW 7 Series. Cashmere, known for its softness and warmth, offers a tactile experience that is likely to be more plush and comforting compared to traditional automotive interior materials like leather or synthetic fabrics. This could enhance the overall sensory experience within the vehicle, contributing to a more luxurious feel.

How Does It Feel?

As for durability, while cashmere is a high-quality material, its longevity in an automotive environment could be a point of interest. Typically, cashmere is more delicate than other common interior materials, which might raise questions about its wear and tear resistance, especially in a setting that is prone to frequent use and exposure to different elements. However, it is plausible that BMW has treated or reinforced the cashmere in a way that boosts its durability, ensuring that it withstands the demands of everyday use in a car.

To get a more accurate sense of the feel and durability of BMW’s cashmere interior, it would be ideal to physically experience it, perhaps through a showroom visit or a test drive. In our first experience with the new 7 Series and i7, we noticed that the cashmere/wool blend felt absolutely wonderful to the touch and highly luxurious. I recall the plush, supple seats cradled me, and felt somewhat at home in this cozy rear seat.

“You don’t see the difference with cashmere at first, you touch it,” Clottu says in the book. “We would have never done something like that five years ago.” It’s indeed a valid observation that high-end customers often prioritize luxury materials like fine leathers in their vehicles. Leather has been a symbol of luxury in car interiors for many years, known for its durability, comfort, and aesthetic appeal. Customers who invest in luxury cars expect a certain level of quality and exclusivity in the materials used.

A Way To Differentiate The 7 Series From Others

Introducing cashmere as an option by BMW is an innovative step that aligns with these luxury expectations. It offers a different kind of opulence and comfort that could be appealing to those looking for a unique and plush interior experience. However, it also represents a shift from the traditional choices and might be seen as a move to diversify the luxury elements available in high-end cars. This approach acknowledges that luxury car buyers are looking for options that are not just high-quality but also distinctive and cater to their individual preferences. BMW’s decision to offer cashmere could be seen as an effort to cater to a broader range of tastes and preferences in the luxury market.

Image provided by Steve Saxty

If you’re interested in more BMW design behind-the-scenes stories, then the three-volume boxed set will be available soon – at a pre-order price of $299.95/€270/£78.11. Alternatively, the principal book, “BMW by Design” is available immediately for $99.95/€90.02/£88.10; all with free shipping in USA, UK and EU.