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It Takes Audi 3 to 5 Years to Approve a New Color, and They Just Expanded the Palette

White, black, and gray may be the world’s most popular colors for cars, but all automakers have different other shades in their palettes. One might be tempted to think that approving a new one is as simple as deciding the shade and programming the robots to do it, but there is an intricate process behind it.
Audi RS Q3, TT RS 9 photos
Audi RS Q3, TT RSAudi RS Q3, TT RSAudi RS Q3, TT RSAudi RS Q3, TT RSAudi RS Q3, TT RSAudi RS Q3, TT RSAudi RS Q3, TT RSAudi RS Q3, TT RS
It all starts with the selection that is highly rigorous. Then, the technical implementation takes another big chunk of the entire time needed, and only then the green light is given to the new color. Audi states that it takes them between three and five years to approve one, because “top-notch quality needs time, which is why, figuratively speaking, we think about tomorrow yesterday,” said Susan Nolte, the person responsible for exterior colors within the Product Marketing Special Equipment team.

The first steps of approving new shades, based on trends, are taken by the company’s design studios in Malibu, Ingolstadt, and Beijing. Subsequently, it is given a name that “needs to evoke a connection with the color,” Nolte added. The four-ring brand often turns to geography, flora, and fauna for this, but racetracks also play a big role, especially when it comes to sporty models. Some colors are available across the range, whereas others are limited to specific versions, like the RS family, which is where the ‘dramatic’ ones become available.

But what makes a color ‘dramatic’, in Audi’s perspective? That would be the matte look that can be enhanced with glittery dots. It consists of a phosphate layer, paint finish with cathodic dip coating filler, base coat, and clear coat. The latter has five thin layers that, when combined, are thinner than one-tenth of a millimeter. The paint undergoes different short- and long-term tests to make sure that it meets the quality requirements in the long run. These are conducted in hot and cold environments and focus on the adhesion and resistance to stone chips and corrosion, among others.

In addition to revealing part of this process, Audi has also launched matte exterior paint finishes for the TT and Q3 models made at the Gyor plant, in Hungary, for the first time. The four-ring brand claims that the full assembly of the TT RS in Daytona Gray, Florett Silver, and Python Yellow will commence shortly. The latter shade is unavailable for the RS Q3, but the sporty crossover can be ordered in the exclusive Dew Silver instead.

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