Look on the Bright Side: Why Colorful Cars are More Fun to Drive
The color made it impossible for me to ignore. Almost unnaturally bright and saturated, the paint adorning the Volkswagen Golf R delivered to the MotorTrend Group offices wouldn’t let go of my gaze. That vivid hue—”Sarantos Turquoise,” as it’s officially known—provided an invigorating splash in an automotive world that’s dominated by bland, subdued shades.
Sarantos Turquoise is available through the Volkswagen Spektrum program, which applies its brush on the 2019 Golf R in the U.S. Spektrum comprises of a whopping 40 optional paints across saturated and subtle colors, as well as various metallic shades. Most drivers would balk at their $2,500 cost, but Volkswagen thinks that for enthusiasts who seek expression through cars, it’s a worthwhile expenditure.
It certainly makes sense to me. We’ve determined the Golf R is fun, but I knew the turquoise paint—or any other exciting Spektrum tone—would make it even more so. Spektrum Golf Rs have no performance modifications, but undoubtedly add a sense of excitement and occasion to every drive. I could visualize looking out over the hood like staring at a Caribbean sea, sitting in my own turbocharged tropical island.
Except with paint like this, it’s not only for the driver. Everyone on the road receives a dash of pigment they might otherwise not. Whether with bouquets of flowers or festive clothes, many already seek to add color to their lives, and to the lives of those around us. For something with as much range-covering potential as a car, colorful paint has the ability to etch memories in a lot of minds.
Volkswagen isn’t the only automaker to play with unorthodox paint options. Porsche offers Lava Orange or Miami Blue on the new 911, and its Paint to Sample program makes color possibilities nearly endless. Dodge’s Sublime green or Plum Crazy purple transform Chargers and Challengers from rental-car lookalikes to head turners, even if there isn’t a Hemi under the hood. Some BMW paints, like Phoenix Yellow or Laguna Seca Blue, border on offensive but add to the legends of the M cars that wore them.
The trouble is that for as many people who like looking at these colors, far fewer actually buy them. An enthusiast car is an indulgence, but for most of us it’s also something we live with every day. As we weigh our options sensibility takes over, and often end up heading home with drab silver or black. It’s still quick, we say. It looks badass, we assure ourselves. But does it look as fun as it drives?
Performance cars are built to thrill the driver; a solitary pursuit. Crackling exhaust echoing off the street involves others, but may upset more than it pleases. Yet color works as well in motion as it does sitting still, and captures the attention of everyone who sees it, just like the Golf R in our lot. If it’s your time to express enthusiasm with a car, opt for exciting paint—it’ll make every drive more fun.
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