Fancy wheels for the fanciest Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series is not a car anyone will ever need. But it’s a car you’ll definitely want. With 607 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, this all-wheel-drive monster can hit 124 mph in a scant 9.6 seconds. But if you’re going to spend the $257,500 it takes to buy one of the 500 Exclusive Series cars Porsche plans to build, you probably don’t want just any wheels. You want special, exclusive wheels. So Porsche decided to offer exactly that—carbon-fiber ones that cost a mere $18,000.
These aren’t just any carbon fiber wheels, either. Porsche claims it’s the first automaker to use braided carbon fiber. It’s a more complicated process, but Porsche says the final product is more rigid and compact than you’d get from a conventionally produced carbon fiber wheel like you find on the Shelby GT350R or Ford GT. And compared to the regular alloy wheels, these braided carbon fiber ones are 20 percent lighter and a full 20 percent stronger.
Manufacturing these wheels requires Porsche to create the wheel center out of more than 200 pieces of carbon fiber fabric. Then, Porsche uses what it claims is the world’s largest carbon fiber braiding machine to create the rim base. Then the center is braided into the base before the entire wheel is treated with resin and then cured with high pressure and high heat. Once it cools, Porsche inserts the center lock and protects it with a clear lacquer.
Check out the video below for a better look at Porsche’s manufacturing process and the nearly 30-foot carbon fiber braiding machine in action.