Porsche is the first automaker in the world to offer braided carbon fiber wheels.
With a base price of $292,553, the ultra-limited 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series is one of the most extravagant cars Porsche has ever built, thanks to its eye-catching exterior finished in gold with carbon fiber finished stripes and side skirts. But just when you thought it couldn't get any fancier, Porsche has revealed new innovative lightweight wheels with braided carbon fiber developed specifically for the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series that will set you back, wait for it, €15,232, or around $17,970.
Porsche says it's the world's first automaker to offer lightweight wheels with braided carbon fiber, which are said to be 20 percent lighter and 20 percent stronger than standard alloys. Manufactured entirely from carbon fiber reinforced polymer, the wheels have a reduced unsprung weight which means the tires trail the road surface better and are "perfectly optimized" for absorbing longitudinal and lateral forces. Low rotating masses also create "more spontaneity both in acceleration and braking," resulting in increased driving pleasure. Unsurprisingly, the manufacturing process is incredibly complex.
Over 200 individual components are cut and assembled using the world's largest carbon fiber braiding machine with a diameter of approximately nine meters. Once the wheel is assembled, it is impregnated with resin and pre-hardened at high pressure and high temperatures. After a long cooling process, the central lock is then inserted into the finished wheel and the wheel is protected with clear lacquer. Porsche claims it is the first car manufacturer in the world to use this extremely complex technology, which offers "key advantages over the more conventional method of manufacturing pre-impregnated carbon-fiber fabric."
The innovative production technique makes the material structure of the carbon "considerably denser and more compact" and uses less waste. Each wheel is made from eight square meters of carbon-fiber fabric. The paint process is just as complex. A technician first paints the rim and spokes gold before covering them entirely in black.
A laser then burns off the dark paint to reveal the gold shade underneath. The new carbon braided wheels will be available as an option for the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series in early 2018. It's probably safe to say if you're in a position to splash over $200,000 on a car, you can probably afford to embellish it with some fancy wheels.