Ah, Geneva, a city perched at the mouth of a gorgeous lake sparkling beneath a stunning mountain range—it’s the very definition of classical beauty and glamour. View imbibed, step back inside the Palexpo convention center, the Geneva auto show venue, and . . . well, the view is decidedly different. Because money and taste apparently are mutually exclusive, and attention spans short, there’s plenty of spicy metal vying for eyeball traffic, leaving but one differentiator: The paint job. Here are the five boldest schemes we found:
ABT Audi RS6 Avant: The Bowling Ball
There’s metallic paint, and then there’s the sparkly flake coating on this ABT-tuned Audi RS6 Avant wagon. Few things in this world could make us dislike the 553-hp RS6 Avant, and the thumbnail-sized metallic flakes in this example’s black paint—mixed with red-tinted carbon-fiber trim pieces—seriously tested our fortitude. Look close, and you’ll notice the flakes aren’t all the same color. Yep, it’s a veritable rainbow’s worth of color spectrum going on here.
Gumpert Apollo: The Christmas Ornament
Now, where have we seen this kind of foil-like, brightly colored finish before . . . oh, that’s right—holiday ornaments! Gumpert’s Apollo sports car has been around awhile, so we suppose a two-tone red-and-chrome paint scheme exists to elevate the oddball supercar’s freshness level. We named the Apollo one of the 10 worst supercars of all time, though, so like the evergreen decorations it so closely resembles, this Gumpert probably should be stored at least 360 days out of the year.
Lexus RC F GT3: The Psychedelic Rainbow Trout
At first blush, Lexus’ new RC F–based GT3 race car seemed duller than toast, thanks to its white paint job. But after coming in for a closer look, we found ourselves mesmerized by the car’s shimmering, rainbow-effect stripe package. As our friends over at Road & Track uncovered, the makeup is derived from the Japanese association between the color white and paper. The colorful overlay merely is the calligraphy on the body’s paper. We couldn’t stop staring.
Carlsson “Versailles Edition” Mercedes-Benz S-class: The Goldfinger
Remember how Geneva is filled with the idle rich? For the guys bored with stuffing hundred dollar bills in (high-class) strippers’ garters, tuner Carlsson might just have a new money pit. This “Versailles Edition” Mercedes-Benz S-class is safer than back-room bidding on Liam Neeson’s daughter and comes loaded with over 1000 (actual!) gold flake squares. Do you find door dings on your Protegé tragic? Wait until you face down a scuff on your gold door, which has just a layer of clearcoat between it and, well, other people.
For that blood-pressure enhancement, Carlsson charges just €265,000—about $367,000 U.S.—and that’s just for a base S550. For some reason, applying the same treatment to an S65 demands a cool half a million U.S. greenbacks. That’s before any Carlsson performance-enhancing mods are added, too. We figure that, based on the current price of gold—and assuming each 2-by-2-inch “flake” conservatively weighs one gram—that there’s $43,000 of gold inside and out. We have only one question: Did Carlsson consider applying this treatment to a G-class?
Mansory Rolls-Royce Wraith: The Teal Titanic
In a rare stroke of restraint, if-its-worth-doing-its-worth-overdoing Mansory kept this upgraded Rolls-Royce Wraith very nearly stock-appearing. The big wheels feature a nearly factory-like finish, the interior features subtle colored accents on the seats, and the outfit even retained Rolls-Royce’s signature two-tone paint. But that color‑everything was going so well, too! We can’t imagine many Wraith owners out there thought to themselves “I’d really love to repaint my quarter-of-a-million-buck coupe . . . Pontiac Sunfire teal!” Eager to get ahead of a color trend that fizzled out in ’96, Mansory dove in paint sprayer–first.