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Top Gear’s Top 9: crazy cars with carbon fibre wheels

Hideously expensive. Totally impractical. The silliest optional extra of them all?

Koenigsegg Agera RS
  1. Koenigsegg Agera RS

    First unveiled in 2013 for the Agera R and then the wild 1,340bhp One:1, a set of Koenigsegg’s ‘Aircore’ hollow carbon wheels save a massive 20kg in unsprung mass. No wonder it needs such a massive wing to keep it on the deck, eh? Christian von Koenigsegg proudly points out the only metal component in the entire wheel is the tyre valve. Hang on CvK – what about that chunky lug nut?

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  2. Ferrari 488 Pista

    As all online-motoring-quiz fans will doubtless be aware, the first Ferrari road car to be offered with optional carbon fibre wheels was… not the million-quid LaFerrari. Said wheels belonged (optionally) to the 488 Pista – these lightweight rims cost £14,000. You’d think that would put buyers off, but in fact the carbon rims were so popular some Pista builds were apparently delayed as the woven wheels couldn’t be manufactured quickly enough. Experts have concluded this is scientifically the ultimate First World Problem.

  3. Ferrari SF90 Stradale Assetto Fiorano

    Once Ferrari copped it could flog pricey carbon wheels to willing punters, it made sure to offer them in a juicy go-faster pack for the ballistic SF90 Stradale hybrid. Along with carbon wheels, the Assetto Fiorano bundle includes stickier tyres, weight-saving titanium springs, more titanium fashioned into an exhaust system, track-biased shock absorbers and a taller rear wing. It all adds up to a 30kg weight saving vs the standard SF90.

    And the cost? A mere £40,000, to you.

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  4. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

    Another weapons-grade slice of pub ammo incoming, gang: the first humble Ford to be equipped with carbon wheels was the racetrack-prepped Shelby GT350R. These were supplied by Australian outfit Carbon Revolution (pun presumably intended) who are also contracted to produce Ferrari’s carbon rims. 

    By the time of the GT500, the wheel manufacture process had been honed with a foam core and new braiding process. While the GT350R’s wheels were painted, these versions are naked, lacquered carbon. What’s more, robots are able to build the wheels in an automated process – some 8,000 a year – which helps drop the overall cost. These ones are thrown in with the $18,500 Carbon ‘Fiber’ Track Pack. Another bargain from the Blue Oval, which also offered natty carbon wheels on the GT supercar.

  5. Renault Megane RS Trophy-R

    A Renault Megane with carbon wheels. That sentence never gets any less bonkers, does it? Apparently only two Trophy Rs specced with the complete Nürburgring Record pack were brought to the hot hatch-mad UK, each costing a cool £72,140.

    However, if you were a bit short on funds that month, you could’ve ditched the pricey (but awesome) ceramic brakes and simply bought the steel-braked £63,140 Carbon Wheel variant, having shaved off just 2kg of weight per corner. But could you honestly have shown your face in the Nordschleife paddock, y’cheapskate?

  6. Koenigsegg Regera

    This is Koenigsegg just showing off, really. Most carbon wheels, you’ll have noticed, are of a simple design with straight spokes, because they’re rather tricky to assemble, unless your pastime is completing jigsaw puzzles while wearing oven gloves. The 1,479bhp Regera hybrid doesn’t do conventional though, hence its ‘one-speed’ transmission and stunning split tri-spoke carbon wheels. 

  7. Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series

    Welcome to nerd-level Porsche-speccing, folks.

    First, you had to shun the ‘standard’ 991 Turbo S and buy one of the 'Exclusive Series’ limited editions complete with carbon panels and a tickle more power. Only then were you afforded the option of braided carbon wheels – 20 per cent stiffer and 20 per cent lighter (that’s 8kg) than the regular forged wheels. Porsche says 200 individual components are used to make each wheel, using up eight square metres of carbon-fibre fabric.

    If you lined up each individual thread of fibre and laid them end-to-end, then you need to get out more. The line would stretch for 18 kilometres (11 miles). Yours for €15,000, Porschophiles.

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  8. BMW M4 GTS

    BMW calls these the M Carbon Compound wheels, and unlike everything you’ve seen so far, these aren’t pure carbon-weave rims. For €12,500, what you actually get is a carbon wheel rim surrounding aluminium spokes. BMW reckons this a better compromise between weight (-7kg), cost, and toughness if you scrape a spoke on a kerb while queuing up for your Nürburgring toll pass. Or the McDonalds drive-thru. 

  9. McLaren Senna MSO Carbon Theme

    The not-quite-100%-carbon wheel theme has even made its way into the hypercar scene, via McLaren Special Operations’ OTT carbon’d Senna.

    Again, we’ve got a carbon wheel mated to spidery metal spokes. Each wheel here weighs 7.5kg (without a tyre, which isn’t much use really) – ten per cent less than the regular Senna’s leaden anchor wheels.

    While a new Senna set you back £750,000, this MSO carbon-all-the-things pack was rather pricey, adding a cool £300,000 to the total cost of your track-ready McLaren. It's what Ayrton would've wanted, right?

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