Most of the talk surrounding carbon fiber as a manufacturing material centers around its strength and weight. Carbon fiber’s strength-to-weight ratio is such that it is a suitable substitute for aluminum and steel in many applications. Still, that’s not the only reason manufacturers choose it. Sometimes they select the material because it just looks great.
A good case in point is a body kit for the Mercedes-AMG G63. The kit, made by a Russian company known as TopCar, has a starting price tag of $30,000. For that money you get a carbon fiber hood, side trim, and more. Add all of the available options – including roof panels and a roof spoiler – and the price jumps to almost $45,000.
A complete G63 with the full carbon fiber package will run you about $147,000. Yes, that’s high. But if you can afford the Mercedes-AMG G63 right off the production line, adding an extra $45,000 probably isn’t going to matter much.
It’s All about Looks
The thing about this carbon fiber body kit is that it’s really just about looks. The SUV’s structural integrity has not been improved one bit. As for weight savings, it’s not really significant either. It is not like you will be driving a safer vehicle or saving a ton of fuel by spending extra money on the carbon fiber kit.
In contrast, consider the new carbon fiber truck bed now available for select editions of the GMC Sierra pickup truck. The truck bed is significantly lighter than its steel counterpart, offering some fuel savings as a result. The truck bed is also a lot tougher. That means less damage and higher resale value.
You get none of that in the G63 with the additional carbon fiber body kit. But what you do get is an SUV that looks like nothing else on the road. To say that carbon fiber makes this vehicle unique is truly an understatement. Anyone who wants to be known for what he or she drives could make a very big impression with this tricked-out SUV.
Carbon Fiber Shines Through
Finished carbon fiber parts can take on a variety of looks, explains Salt Lake City’s Rock West Composites. For example, a fabricator can apply a thin film to the outer surface of a carbon fiber part to give it a solid color finish. Moreover, it doesn’t have to be black. The film can be any color the fabricator wants.
Another option is to simply polish the part after it is cured and trimmed. By not adding that extra film, the weaving of the carbon fiber fabric can clearly be seen in the finished part. This is the option chosen for the TopCar Inferno package. You can clearly see the carbon fiber weaving shining through on all the finished parts.
Being able to see the carbon fiber fabric adds quite a bit of texture to the SUV’s visual appearance. Contrast the weave pattern with the overall matte finish of the vehicle and you have a truly stunning look. There’s just enough carbon fiber weave showing through to accentuate the parts without killing the overall presentation.
TopCar appears to have hit a home run with their Inferno package for the Mercedes-AMG G63 SUV. Based solely on looks alone, the SUV is hard to beat. It ranks right up there with that small number of supercars featuring all carbon fiber bodies polished to a brilliant shine.
Yes, sometimes carbon fiber is just for looks. And that’s okay. Whatever makes consumers happy is what carmakers are going to do every time.