It is a common question that people ask if the leather is real or not. Maybe this has been posted before but i've never seen a sticky for it.
First and foremost, PREMIUM Pkg does NOT promise leather. SPORTS pkg does NOT promise leather.
YES, you can tell by looking at it!
Please read the text above each picture indicating what you are looking at.
First, Take the basic front seat. There is a fold in the LEATHER. leatherette does not have this fold. Please examine the difference between the two photos. The first one has leather, the second does not.
The same exact thing goes for the back seats. As follows, the first one has leather, and the second one does not.
On a sport seat it is difficult to tell. The below picture does have leather. If looking to see if a car with sports pkg has leather, it is important that you look at the rear seats as it is much easier to tell on the back seat.
This is accurate information for any year e46. This is according to the Sales manager at Kuni BMW in portland, OR. It's the same on any recently made BMW. He assured me that this is accurate and true information. Many times leather will not show up on the history report, and unless you can get a hold of the original invoice, this is the easiest fastest way to determine real leather. I hope this helps.