Some things are at the fringe because they belong there. The tastes are too peculiar, the style too strange for the masses. But once in a while something emerges from the fringe into the mainstream because it deserves to be, because people learn to like it. Like matte paint finishes.

Long the purview of aftermarket tuners rejecting the glitz of the gloss, matte finishes are slowly finding their way onto automakers' show stands and into dealership showrooms. Hyundai broke new ground at the Detroit Auto Show this week in announcing the availability of the new Veloster Turbo in flat grey, but the Korean automaker isn't the only one offering the anti-shine treatment direct from the factory and displaying it on the floor of Cobo Hall.

Through its Designo program – a range of over-and-above options provided by AMG – Mercedes-Benz offers a selection of matte finishes for some of its higher-end (though not necessarily AMG-tuned) models. The palette currently includes white (like the CL63 in the gallery below), flat silver (like the CLS550 pictured above), dark grey and black, but is being expanded to include additional colors (and wider availability), starting with brown and hopefully extending to some of the shades Maserati and its sister brands have been displaying lately.

The results may not be to everyone's liking – and may not be well suited to every car – so don't expect them to replace the go-to metallic paintjobs typically selected for such vehicles, but we're glad to see this particular trend coming in out of the cold and into the showroom.


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  • 26 Comments
      RustyShackelford
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM already topped this in the '70s, when they were able to develop a paint that can transform from glossy to matte right before your very eyes!
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just like when you paint a house, if you want something that is easier to keep clean, it's glossy, always. I don't think matte will stick around long in the mainstream.
        BG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        But with a house, when it is time to repaint, a matte paint does not need to be sanded like a gloss finish. I suggest never using gloss inside the house.
          foobar222
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BG
          Moldings have to be gloss - semi and flat are too difficult to keep clean
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BG
          What do you put on your moldings? I can't imagine using anything below semigloss on that.
      nrlll9
      • 2 Years Ago
      paint doesn't need to be matte, interior wood should be matte
      lorenzo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I remember in High School a buddy got his first car: a 1970's Delta 88. A mutual friend convinced him to give it it's first bath with Brillo pads (as a joke) - he did it. It looked like this car
      BG
      • 2 Years Ago
      I rather like the look, but how do you maintain it? Wouldn't a matte finish attract more schmutz and impurities because the surface has roughness and micropores?
      jonnybimmer
      • 2 Years Ago
      At least it's not matte black wearing black wheels w/polished lip. Seriously though, it seems a little gimmicky, and I agree with others that it already comes off as dated, but I spend most of my time in the aftermarket industry so my perspective compared to the general public is different. I don't see the harm in offering a few matte choices for their cars so long as the finish isn't as delicate as BMW's Frozen Grey matte.
      Charles Adrian Happy
      • 2 Years Ago
      auto manufacturers taking off chrome ,now offering dull matte finish and convincing the motoring public that it is fashionable is a ridiculous. It's obvious that they giving buyers less and jacking the prices up to increase profits. To all you consumers who like that look that to me reminds me of an old rusted '64 chevy biscayne thats been sitting in the elements for 40 years in the woods somewhere, then you spend your hard earned money to be fashionable; but not for me
        Think Free
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Charles Adrian Happy
        Charles, its not any cheaper for matte. Its simply a different clear coat. AB state you can still get metallic- matte can be metallic or solid. I like the look but on the road its not going to hold up to daily use. Bird dropping and sap will not come off easily and you will burnish the paint trying to rub aggressively. Also a body shop will have nightmares trying to match the sheen level on a repair. I worked for Akzo Nobel (paint mfg) and you could not duplicate the exact level from job to job as humidity, temp, and equipment (and user) vary too much. This is nice on a Lambo , not on a Hyundai.
        Dan Ayd
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Charles Adrian Happy
        I like matte finish. I'm not alone. If you want it aftermarket you pay for a full paint job and that's very expensive. If I want special factory finish (that the majority do NOT want) it make sense that it costs more...that's not a rip job it's economies of scale because the car receives a disproportionate amount of labor or materials that don't get the same volume-pricing. But, if this paint job happens at the factory on bare metal/primed panels (as opposed to at a body shop) it'll surely be a bargain. It's market forces...make a car for the masses and the "extras" people will pay for as THEY see fit...just because you don't like those extras or understand why they demand a premium doesn't make it ridiculous...and as a provider of goods, the manufacturers are entitled to a profit. So, it's nice that since enough people are interested in this style manufacturers are responding and in the end satisfying a consumer desire and are actually saving the interested folks money.
      Michael
      • 2 Years Ago
      When do we get factory vinyl wrap options? Sell it as a premium paint protector, like undercoating except for the rest of the vehicle. My old car had matt paint too, in fact I believe a lot of cars from the early 90's now have matt paint.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think matt blue looks kinda cool, much better than the overplayed matt black or grey. But keeping it looking nice is going to be a bitch without any clearcoat.
      TWG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmmm, pay more for the same paint job minus the clearcoat. PT Barnum was right.
      artandcolour2010
      • 2 Years Ago
      not a fan. They look like unfinished plastic models. or large Think!s.
        atc98092
        • 2 Years Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        Particularly in gray. All it makes me think is "Oh, the car is still in primer. When are they going to paint it?"
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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