Project E46 M3: Part 9 – Interior Upgrades Kept Simple

Upgrades from Coby Wheel, Wet Okole and!

Project M3: Part 9 – Interior upgrades kept simple

Enhancing the overall driving experiece in one afternoon.

by Pablo Mazlumian

If you’re reading you’re probably like us in the sense that driving a performance car for you is a real, visceral experience that excites all your senses.  A large chunk of that is arguably from the senses aroused by the car’s interior, and despite what might come from the engine and overall performance.

When it comes to interior upgrades, two senses are really stimulated, including vision and tactition (touch).  And, depending on the upgrade, a third sense can come into play, which is olfaction, or smell, but stimulating it from passing more gas (through the motor!) isn’t what we’re talking about.  We’re talking the sights, feels and smells from new interior parts that we’ve installed on Project E46 M3.  Let’s check them out.


Coby Wheel offers Alcantara® upgrades for your factory BMW parts, including for E82 1 Series; E36, E46 and E90/92 3 Series; as well as E39 and E60 5 Series BMWs. For our E46 M3 we had our steering wheel, arm rest, shift and E-brake knobs and corresponding boots all wrapped in Alcantara®.

While Alcantara® is often referred to as “suede” or “suede leather”, it’s really an artificial substitute that is more durable.  The stuff pretty much created its own category.  Alcantara® is actually a tradename for what was discovered by a Japanese scientist, Miyoshi Okamoto, in 1972.  The product doesn’t fade nor will it bleed its colors like suede can, and for the automotive enthusiast it provides incredible grip with a soft touch, but also without heating up in the summer or cooling down in the winter.   

On steering wheels and shift knobs, Alcantara® has been known to last for years in a car if properly cared for.  The first line of defense is to not drive with dirty hands.  But in the case of needing to clean it, using a nailbrush and a few drops of dish soap with warm water can do the trick.  You get the full details on Coby’s website.


Wet Okole offers aesthetically enhancing Neoprene seat covers to not only protect your car seats from further wear and tear, but also to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter.

Neoprene, the same material you find wet suits made of, was invented in 1930 by Dupont scientists, and was originally marketed by Dupont under the trade name, Duprene, but it didn’t excel commercially because it disappointed the olfactory senses—oh whatever, it smelled like crap, okay?

In 1937, after the product was enhanced to smell better, it was decided that the trademark was to be dropped and replaced with the name neoprene, and sold as an ingredient instead of as a finished product.

Compared to natural or synthetic rubber, neoprene is better at resisting degradation and burning (it’s rated at 500F!), so there are a variety of uses for it, including in the cooking, sports, medical and music industries, to name a few, but in the automotive industry you can find it used in gaskets and hoses, and of course seat covers.

Originally started in Hawaii, Wet Okole is one of the best-known seat cover manufacturers, and it claims to have glove-like fitting seat covers for every popular car, truck van or SUV.  These seat covers are also washable and water proof.

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