What is Alcantara suede? Is it worth it?

If you’re in the market for a premium car, you might have stumbled across a material called Alcantara. Widely used in the industry, you’ll find manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes using this suede-like material in their premium and high-performance models.

Here’s a guide explaining where it comes from, its uses and whether it’s worth ticking on the options list. For more info, check out our car materials guide. Don’t forget to use our car configurator to get you the best deal on your next new car, direct from the UK’s top dealers.

What is Alcantara?

Alcantara is a suede-like material that you’ll find covering seats, interior trim and steering wheels. It was developed in the 1970s as a durable and long-lasting synthetic alternative to animal products. A patented product, the material is named after the company itself.

What are the benefits of Alcantara?

Despite having a similar appearance to suede, Alcantara can endure much harsher environments without spoiling its soft and silky characteristics. This makes it an ideal material to use inside cars – it’ll brush off light scuffs and marks with ease, where other materials may be damaged.

Another obvious plus-point is the looks – many performance and high end cars use this material for its grippy texture and premium appearance. While it is more durable and resistant, to keep it looking its best (and your resale values high) you’ll want to keep it clean.

What cars come with Alcantara?

You’ll find Alcantara in lots of high-end cars, but it features in some more mainstream cars in top-range trims – Skoda’s Business and Laurin & Klement models, for example, come with Alcantara-wrapped seats.

It’s available on many cars in Mercedes’ AMG Line, BMW’s M-Sport and Audi’s S-Line ranges. It’s standard on most Mercedes AMG and Audi RS models. You can spec sports cars such as the Toyota GT86 and the Megane Renaultsport with swathes of Alcantara, too. It offers an equally opulent feel to leather, but adds a somewhat sportier edge.

Is Alcantara worth it?

It’s a fantastic-looking, durable product, but Alcantara comes at a price – unless your car of choice gets it as standard, you’ll generally add between £1,000 and £2,000 if you tick it on the options list – a similar amount to most leather packages. Which one you prefer is up to you…