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Hi,

What's the difference between Milano Leather and Valcona Leather as the Valcona is £350 more expensive yet on the pictures I can't see what the difference is?

Thanks
 

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The difference is how the leather is produced.

Milano is corrected (or split) grain. Valcona I believe is top-grain.

When making leather from a single hide, it's ofen sliced into several thin seperate pieces of leather. Only the outermost top layer is 'top-grain'. This has natural characteristics of the animal shown and is a 'less engineered' leather than split-grain.

The other layers of leather are heavily treated and forced to display a pattern to resemble the top layer of the hide.

Corrected grain leather tends to be rougher/bumpier in appearance than top-grain leather.

However the quality of a split-grain can still be better than top-grain - it all depends on the process and selection.

I am not clear on Audi's source of leather nor it's actually 'category'.

I've had split-grain on my current car that's lasted well.

However on the A5 that was test-driven and on my order it had the top-grain 'Valcona'. It was perceptably softer and smoother than the split/corrected grain in my current vehicle.

As an aside:-

It's a shame more education doesn't go into 'leather'. The same sofa/couch could cost either $1000 USD or $10000 USD depending on the category of leather (and where the leather comes from). The majority of sofas/couches are split-grain.

Shoes are also commonly split-grain. Those shiny black shoes with the chemical gleam that crack and look horrible after a year or two. Top-grain leather shoes are only moderately more expensive, don't get such a top shine but last and develop a lovely petina with time.

However both the sofa/couch and shoes aren't applicable to the interior of your Audi - their leather selection whether top or corrected grain are certainly going to last and keep looking good.

Anyone able to chip in with their own personal experience concerning durability, care, feel etc?
 

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I asked my dealer about this when I ordered, and he pretty much said the same thing in that the Valcona was a much softer, smoother leather.

However, he did say his experience was that;
- Being a smoother leather, you were more likely to 'slide' in the seat
- Valcona was not as durable as the Milano

Don't know if this is true, but since he was effectively pursuading me not to spend extra on the leather upgrade, I'd no reason to doubt him..
 

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Worth noting:

I've not found a reliable source that actually demonstrates the above - it's just my thoughts on Milano vs. Valcona.

Audi does however state that rhubarb is used to tan Valcona (pioneered in 2000 for the A8).
Audi also states Valcona is pigment-dyed and not 'painted' on (meaning more breathability).

Also to clarify:-

Top grain - top upper most part of the leather
Corrected grain - also top upper most part of the leather but sanded back and patterned (required in lower grade animals with scars / blemishes)
Split grain - all layers other than top, also corrected.

The first message wasn't clear and the terms used interchangably.

Surely someone from Audi must know the facts and not just my rumour and innuendo?
 

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Milano:-

Chromium-free gegerbtes, covered leather. The complete By staining and surface protection provide high quality and ensure durability, ease maintenance and light fastness. The expression of leather accentuated the exclusive appearance of the vehicle interior.

Chromfrei gegerbtes, gedecktes Leder. Die komplette Durchfärbung und der Oberflächenschutz vermitteln Hochwertigkeit und sorgen für Langlebigkeit, Pflegeleichtigkeit und Lichtechtheit. Die Ausprägung des Leders akzentuiert die exklusive Anmutung des Fahrzeuginnenraums.

Valcona:-

Chromium-free gegerbtes, Integrally, not embossed semi-aniline leather.
The lightfast pigments provide a uniform color, the absence of a strong protective coating layer for increased respiratory activity. The very fine and pleasantly warm surface stresses the luxurious character of the vehicle.

Chromfrei gegerbtes, durchgefärbtes, nicht geprägtes Semi-Anilin-Leder.
Die lichtechten Farbpigmente sorgen für eine gleichmäßige Farbgebung, der Verzicht auf eine ausgeprägte Lackschutzschicht für erhöhte Atmungsaktivität. Die sehr feine und angenehm warme Oberfläche betont den luxuriösen Charakter des Fahrzeugs.


(auto-translated from German)

Therefore, presumably:

Milano = corrected, pigmented (less maintenance, firmer, even colour).
Valcona = full-grain, semi-aniline (softer, breathable, natural looking).

Both however seem to be top-grain - at least in the seating areas - and should last similarly with care.
 

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Not sure what it is in the US. On the Audi Germany site the only thing under Milano is alcantara/leather and cloth/leather. Is this what's offered?
Base leather is black or pale gray. Milano appears to have less texture in the web site swatch in black, pale gray, or cinnamon brown. S-line package is Perlnappa black.
 

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The difference is how the leather is produced.

Milano is corrected (or split) grain. Valcona I believe is top-grain.

When making leather from a single hide, it's ofen sliced into several thin seperate pieces of leather. Only the outermost top layer is 'top-grain'. This has natural characteristics of the animal shown and is a 'less engineered' leather than split-grain.

The other layers of leather are heavily treated and forced to display a pattern to resemble the top layer of the hide.

Corrected grain leather tends to be rougher/bumpier in appearance than top-grain leather.

However the quality of a split-grain can still be better than top-grain - it all depends on the process and selection.

I am not clear on Audi's source of leather nor it's actually 'category'.

I've had split-grain on my current car that's lasted well.

However on the A5 that was test-driven and on my order it had the top-grain 'Valcona'. It was perceptably softer and smoother than the split/corrected grain in my current vehicle.

As an aside:-

It's a shame more education doesn't go into 'leather'. The same sofa/couch could cost either $1000 USD or $10000 USD depending on the category of leather (and where the leather comes from). The majority of sofas/couches are split-grain.

Shoes are also commonly split-grain. Those shiny black shoes with the chemical gleam that crack and look horrible after a year or two. Top-grain leather shoes are only moderately more expensive, don't get such a top shine but last and develop a lovely petina with time.

However both the sofa/couch and shoes aren't applicable to the interior of your Audi - their leather selection whether top or corrected grain are certainly going to last and keep looking good.

Anyone able to chip in with their own personal experience concerning durability, care, feel etc?

WoW!!!! What an awesome response. Never read or understood this before. Thank you for this insight. It's info like this that makes this site so great!!!
 

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Milano:-

Chromium-free gegerbtes, covered leather. The complete By staining and surface protection provide high quality and ensure durability, ease maintenance and light fastness. The expression of leather accentuated the exclusive appearance of the vehicle interior.

Chromfrei gegerbtes, gedecktes Leder. Die komplette Durchfärbung und der Oberflächenschutz vermitteln Hochwertigkeit und sorgen für Langlebigkeit, Pflegeleichtigkeit und Lichtechtheit. Die Ausprägung des Leders akzentuiert die exklusive Anmutung des Fahrzeuginnenraums.

Valcona:-
M
Chromium-free gegerbtes, Integrally, not embossed semi-aniline leather.
The lightfast pigments provide a uniform color, the absence of a strong protective coating layer for increased respiratory activity. The very fine and pleasantly warm surface stresses the luxurious character of the vehicle.

Chromfrei gegerbtes, durchgefärbtes, nicht geprägtes Semi-Anilin-Leder.
Die lichtechten Farbpigmente sorgen für eine gleichmäßige Farbgebung, der Verzicht auf eine ausgeprägte Lackschutzschicht für erhöhte Atmungsaktivität. Die sehr feine und angenehm warme Oberfläche betont den luxuriösen Charakter des Fahrzeugs.


(auto-translated from German)

Therefore, presumably:

Milano = corrected, pigmented (less maintenance, firmer, even colour).
Valcona = full-grain, semi-aniline (softer, breathable, natural looking).

Both however seem to be top-grain - at least in the seating areas - and should last similarly with care.

Good explanation! With what I understand, many of the higher end leathers are actually less durable. Example, Natuzzi makes higher end sofas with 'softer' leather that is hand stretched and conditioned. These leathers aren't as stiff and end up stretching more through use. In essence, more money for less durability. Having said that, the higher end leathers look great. Guess its a trade-off?

What's odd is that car manufacturers throw out words like Milano and Valcona without much explanation as to why you'd want one over another.
 

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Good explanation! With what I understand, many of the higher end leathers are actually less durable. Example, Natuzzi makes higher end sofas with 'softer' leather that is hand stretched and conditioned. These leathers aren't as stiff and end up stretching more through use. In essence, more money for less durability. Having said that, the higher end leathers look great. Guess its a trade-off?

What's odd is that car manufacturers throw out words like Milano and Valcona without much explanation as to why you'd want one over another.
Some higher grade leathers are less durable, others are very durable. My own Natuzzi (by coincidence) couch is in a full grain leather complete with scars and 'characteristics' from the hide (the animals are from South America - not the 'best' place for cow leather as it's not as fine as France etc.). I chose it for its sincerity (and waited 9 months for delivery!). Price wise it's on par with a fine, no scar, french veal full grain but I like the extra character. 12 years on and it looks as good as new if not better than when delivered. It works with a stark modern interior or rustic country look. Some things are timeless...

Your point is however very valid. Most full grain higher-end leathers are more fragile from a day to day point of view. I guess the question is Stone Italiano, Caesor Stone, etc. better than marble (or granite)? Both have their place... they can' t be directly compared. Marble looks more beautiful and will almost always last longer. The manufactured stone will however not stain and be easier to look after day to day.

Neither is the right choice - it comes down to individual preference.
 

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After a little sleuthing on the Web, I came up with an article about Audi leather. The leather supplier is Wertleder, in Zug, Saxony. As stated, the leather is tanned chromium-free. Audi is concerned about heavy metal by-products from the tanning process, and stopped using chromium in 1990. So at least in the A8, rhubarb is used! Otherwise, synthetic substances and vegetable extracts - from fruits, leaves and tree bark - are used as tanning agents.
 
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