Nabbing one of Audi’s limited run of launch edition Audi S3s didn’t just help make our hands one of the first to catch one of Audi’s S3 sedans as they entered market. It also helped lock in a few trick details like red interior trim, red painted calipers and RS-car mainstay Daytona Grey paint. Daytona Grey is a personal favorite, even better when it come in matte. Alas, matte wasn’t offered from the factory, but this gave us a good reason to consider a matte vinyl wrap.
I have always wanted a matte car but never wanted to actually have a matte paint, especially given this car is a daily driver. Actual matte paint can be decidedly more difficult to own and a total headache and risk if you ever get into an accident. A matte wrap is a little less of a committed relationship – not entirely cheap though you can peel it off when you’re done and go back to your original color, hopefully preserved under that layer of vinyl.
Given the yearning, it was time to contact 3M in order to find out more about their 1080 series material. From what I’d heard, this product is much like having a huge clear bra on the car but in your own choice of finish. From satin to brushed aluminum and over 20 matte choices, there’s certainly plenty to choose from.
3M’s wide range of colors didn’t make the decision easy, but eventually sticking with the original plan of going dark grey made the most sense. 3M’s dark grey looks very close to the OEM matte Daytona Grey, and that meant the S3 would be spared from a glaring contrast whenever the doors, engine or trunk were opened.
Looking at 3M’s list of certified shops, I was able to find AB Installations. I sent them measurements of the car and we ordered the matte Dark Gray wrap along with a high gloss black for the roof in order to give it a solid black look (arguable how it should’ve looked from factory, especially given the panoramic sunroof).
While AB Installations was capable of removing the side mirrors, doors and tail lights to ensure a perfect wrap, we decided to have Audi Silver Spring support the removal to be safe.
The guys at AB Installation went over to Audi Silver Spring, who had placed the car in the new car showroom so customers could watch, and got the chance to wrap the entire car on the showroom floor. It’s incredible the level of detail their techs went though. With the help of Audi Silver Spring, AB Installation was even able to have the door handles removed and wrapped.
The final product was impeccable. Normally you can tell when a car has been wrapped, but looking at the edges and seeing the seams but the way AB Installation wrapped the edges, it was nearly impossible to tell. I had one minor bubble on my hood, which AB Installations immediately fixed by coming to me, and doing it where I was located.
With the wrap in place, detailing is surprisingly easier. Simple car washes work perfectly, and a hand wash is the hardest we’ve had to work thus far in order to keep it clean. You don’t have to worry about wax, swirl marks or even buffing. In a time sensitive world, ease of ownership is always a plus.
Also surprising, it is amazing how many people can’t tell it’s wrapped. All in all, this wrap was easily worth the initial investment. Every car will differ, but our experience put the cost at around $2500, with half of that being vinyl material and half of that labor.
Last, it protects the original paint, which helps protect its resale value. It honestly is the perfect option for someone who wants a unique color or finish.