The aftermarket world sees lots of supercars being rewrapped with matte or satin finishes, but automakers have also learned to take advantage of such stylistic “cravings”.
For example Audi offers among the myriad of customization options for their latest and greatest R8 supercar a patented technique that etches symbols into the vehicle for an effect that one might mistake for a decal – though it’s actually an integral part of the paint. The etching process includes a template superimposed on the desired area and a special powder being blasted over – to clear just thousandths of a millimeter from the transparent topcoat of lacquer. “Light hitting the surface is then reflected diffusely by the individualized surface areas. This makes it appear matt,” commented project manager Dr. Erhard Brandl. Since the image is in the paint, it won’t fall over time like a decal.
Audi says it can use the etching process on an area as large as 10.8 square feet (one square meter). However, Audi Exclusive clients can only ask for this option on the side blades of the R8 coupe and Spyder. The company itself demonstrated the process by embedding the Audi Sport logo on the side of the supercar. Apparently in the future even clients of regular Audis might enjoy this interesting option, as the process is apparently easy to incorporate into a vehicle’s production because it takes place after painting the vehicle.