If you’re looking to add an element of uniqueness to your Audi, body kits and custom rims are the best place to start. You may have already read our article on common Audi modification mistakes. Here we take a deeper look at these kits, materials and the overall aesthetic of your Audi.
Body kits allow the car to stand out when parked alongside similar models and can create an aesthetic that casual car fans and enthusiasts alike will appreciate. Sourcing and fitting a body and rims to match can seem like a daunting task, but with these do’s, don’ts, and helpful tips, creating a custom look can be easy.
A Word of Warning Before Installing Your Audi Body Kit
Installing a body kit comes with some inherent risks. One of the biggest risks is that they often require a degree of modification to the body, which makes it somewhat permanent, as repairing these modifications can become expensive. Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of aftermarket parts, and if you do require any body repairs, the stock body panel will be fitted. Body kits can also drop the resale value of a car, as many potential buyers will be concerned about the build quality and fitment, and are often looking for a stock vehicle.
Deciding on a Look
The first thing to do is to decide on what final look you would you like to achieve. Whether it be a more race centric look, or the smooth and clean cruiser look, your options are infinite. The big mistakes occur when people try to combine too many styles, and end up with a car that looks mismatched, and leads the car to looking cheaper than it actually is. Over at Jalopnik, they have managed to find the worst body kit offenders out there. While choosing parts from different manufacturers, and combining them with stock parts can help create an OEM or bespoke look, the thing to remember here is to keep the car’s look and theme uniform and to choose parts that complement the cars lines and dimensions. Body kits also extend to custom fabrication work, such as rolling the steel on your fenders to give the car larger wheel arches and a wider body, both which can be complemented with wider wheels.
Choosing a Body Kit
Once you’ve settled on what you want your Audi to look like, it’s time to consider the best materials to use on your car. You should keep in mind the purpose for which you use the car. For example, a carbon fiber body might suit a R8, but wouldn’t do too well on a Q7 which sees a lot of off road use and a polyurethane may be better suited. Let’s look at the most commonly used materials.
- ABS Plastic – ABS plastic is what your stock bumpers and side skirts are made from. It lends itself well to more complicated shapes, as the parts are formed by shrinking a thermoplastic over a mold. The benefits of ABS plastic are that it is fairly resistant to heat, is flexible enough to offer resistance to dents and, will carry a weight very similar to stock parts and shouldn’t change the driving characteristics of your car.
- Fiberglass – Fiberglass is the most popular material for aftermarket body parts, due to it being lightweight and cost efficient. The benefits of using fiberglass is that, it is resistant to corrosion, making it a popular choice for cars that spend a lot of time near the coast, and will have a marginal increase in weight over stock parts. The problem with using fiberglass is that the material lacks flexibility and is prone to cracking, but cracks can be easily repaired with more fiberglass. Many show cars and concept cars make use of fiberglass.
- Polyurethane – Polyurethane is the heaviest of the materials on this list, though it does still have its own unique benefits. Polyurethane is the most flexible material on this list which gives it the most resistance to impact damage and makes it ideal for cars that see a lot of road use. Polyurethane bumpers are ideal for cities where damage from other drivers trying to parallel park, or where stones and other debris impacting with the car is a common problem.
- Carbon Fiber – A fan favorite, due to its use in motorsport, carbon fiber is the most expensive option for new body panels, but this is for a good reason. By far it is the lightest of the materials you could use, and its natural strength gives you sufficient impact resistance. It improves the look of your car with its distinctive appearance, increases performance by increasing the vehicle’s power to weight ratio, and because it is so strong can improve handling by making the chassis stiffer if used as a trunk or hood.
Once you have an idea of what you want to do with the body, the next step is to choose a rim and tire that will further compliment the cars aesthetic and keep the overall theme on the car uniform. There are many different styles and color options to choose from, but neutral colors like silver, gray and chrome will suit most Audis, while bright colors like blue, red and orange can work with certain themes, but do require a lot of forethought. The important factors to bear in mind is that not all rims are equal. When deciding on a rim, it’s important to look at a lightweight alloy rim. Choosing a rim that is heavier than your stock wheels, can cause decreased acceleration, and affect the handling of the car. If you plan on off roading, A heavier and stronger rim will be less prone to cracking. Also keep in mind that increasing rim size can improve your overall aesthetic and the handling of the car, but choosing a rim that is too big may cause damage to the cars body work, reduce your turning circle or make the drive feel too hard and harsh.
A Few Final Tips
Remember to be true to your car, don’t try make your Audi look like another brand. It’ll only ruin the look of your car and make it seem cheaper. Rather accept your car as it is and improve on the looks. If your heart truly yearns for an RS model, it is usually cheaper to buy one, than attempt to replicate the look on your A or Q model, and a body kit will never give you everything a true RS could. Keep your mods subtle, having a spoiler is a good way to add a sporty look to the car, but having multiple spoilers can ruin your car’s natural lines. Lastly remember to get your car fitted and painted by an authorized body shop. No matter how good a new body looks, unpainted panels and poorly matched paint will ruin your look. Having a professional fit your kit makes sure that factory gaps are met, and that any sealing required to prevent rust is done properly.
If you are happy with how your Audi looks, but still yearn for an car that’s slightly different, here are some Audi upgrade ideas from our performance shop pros. Should you have any questions or are looking for advice on your next modification, we at Foreign Affairs Motorsport will be happy to help.