We've all heard of decals and wraps and graphics, but how often is it that you see someone plae their designs in the paintwork itself? It takes a bit of commitment to want something like that, but for customers who are interested, Audi has developed a new etching process that allows them to place text or graphic designs right in the paint itself. The application is done using a template on top of the final clear lacquer, and high powered blasting is used to etch into the surface of the clear coat by a few thousandths of a millimeter. The effect is a matte, reflective finish in the shape of the graphic or text.
For now, the technology is limited to the sideblades on the Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder models. The text or graphics can be as large as 1 metre by 1 metre, and can be anything so long as it does not infringe upon existing trademarks or copyrights. It's a peculiar way to offer individuality on a car, what with the permanence of it all, but it certainly is unique. Audi plans to extend this option to other models over time as well.