Does anyone still like the look of carbon fiber?

Does anyone still like the look of carbon fiber?

I always thought carbon fiber was a gimmick, and looked very 90's. I was surprised to find that you can tart up the Roadster with a total of eleven different carbon fiber retrofits, at a total cost of $13,000 if purchased as a package. (See:

For those on a budget, $1,200 gets you this tiny trim accent:

Does Elon have some sort of a carbon fiber fetish that we have thankfully been spared in the Model S? Or am I missing the boat, does everyone still think carbon fiber is uber kool?


Suturecabre | October 6, 2013

I chose carbon fiber trim.....I do like the look, but it has always seemed to be aimed as a high-end sports car thing (and priced to match). Porsches, Lambos, and others usually offer options generous with carbon fiber accents. Sedans and less expensive cars, not as much.

GeirT | October 6, 2013

Nope - not my thing.

SunCoulombs | October 6, 2013

No, it is extremely ugly!

stussy5555 | October 6, 2013

I like it.

teslamonkey | October 6, 2013

I like it only for the fact that all my past cars have had the same over-glossed wood. Enough already.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 6, 2013

It's an option on the S.

To each his own, I prefer the cf look over a picture of wood on plastic.

RedShift | October 6, 2013

Carbon fiber vinyl wrap is far far cheaper and hard to tell apart, nowadays.

Captain_Zap | October 6, 2013

The CF didn't do it for me. It's bit trendy and it doesn't show off the interior lines of the car, in my opinion.

I didn't care for the look of the matte carbon fiber spoiler on a glossy car finish either. I may have ordered a spoiler if it came with an option to have it painted to match the car's body.

AmpedRealtor | October 6, 2013

I love the carbon fiber interior trim. It's a lovely matte finish that doesn't detract from the rest of the dash. I felt that the wood options, due to the strong vertical grain, were a bit too loud. There's also something a little Brady Bunch about wood trim, but I admit that is a personal weirdness. :)

Chunky Jr. | October 6, 2013

I went with Piano Black as I figured I would get sick of the other ones eventually.

carlk | October 6, 2013

Carbon fiber is the cooliest thing one could have in a high performance car. I love it in my Porsche and I believe it's the most popular inteior option, along with Alcantara, among Porsche buyers. It's not just a gimmick or Elon's fetish he has owned some of the most expensive super cars.

It's just me but I don't feel wood fits the high tech look of model S that well.

TikiMan | October 6, 2013

The MOST expensive and exotic vehicles on Earth are loaded with CF (Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini, McLaren, etc). Thus, because it is the strongest, lightest, and most durable space-age material on Earth currently (and is also used in most race-cars), it has become very fashionable.

Personally I love it, but then again, I am a huge car enthusiast.

redacted | October 6, 2013

The Prius didn't have CF available when I bought it, so when I finally got a the MS I went with it.

Fluvio | October 6, 2013

Yes, carbon looks cool. And yes, it's fashionable. However, it's also a fantastic material to work with. It's super light, super strong, and can be molded and layered-up a million different ways.

I rarely ride my steel racing bicycles anymore because my carbon fiber bike rides so much better. I'm also about to get rid of my handcrafted, boutique acoustic guitar with its beautiful cedar top and mahogany back and replace it with a carbon fiber guitar. The CF guitar will stay in tune and is virtually indestructible. It is also not prone to warping, cracking, or changes in humidity which can affect the sound.

Bighorn | October 6, 2013

I bought my daughter a CF violin bow when she headed off to college, so I'm slightly familiar with the merits of pernambuco vs CF. I hadn't really read or contemplated the effect of building a instrument from CF. I imagine there are debates about the quality of resonance of wood vs CF. I doubt Strad seekers would readily accept a CF substitute. What are your observations about sound quality?

Love the look of CF on my grey/black P85+, it we're keeping score.

nick-r | October 6, 2013

As with any material, it could be done well or poorly. I like the carbon fiber in my interior, but can't say that I like it everywhere I've seen.

It's subjective and comes down to design and tastefulness. Some wood textures look good and some don't too.

I'd would like to see a little more carbon fiber on the Model S. I was actually thinking of wrapping the door sills in carbon fiber. They're currently cheap looking plastic.

mrspaghetti | October 6, 2013

I haven't seen any CF interiors, but I like the look of the matte black spoiler.

carlk | October 6, 2013

I've also been thinking solid or wrapped carbon fiber nose cone would look better than the cheap looking plastic one.

danej | October 6, 2013

I can understand the selection of CF for its performance, but as a solely cosmetic accent, it is odd. Makes more sense in a car that also uses a lot of it for "real" purposes: body, frame, etc.

cfOH | October 6, 2013

I wouldn't want an entire dash made of CF, but the CF accents in the Model S cabin are attractive to me. And, given its great strength and low weight, for an engineer like me, I appreciate it as an amazing material. Is it essential on the dash? Nope, but neither is wood (real or fake).

Suturecabre | October 6, 2013

Carbon fiber definitely skews younger....Older drivers seem to prefer traditional wood trim more than younger drivers do. Its use began for practical purposes for weight-savings on high-performance cars so it rarely appeared in luxury sedans which have an older target. I'd say people under 40 would be more inclined to choose carbon fiber. This car is a special case though as more buyers are coming from mainstream vehicles than others in its price range. Those buyers may not have had much exposure to CF and are not used to it, so for them it may be an acquired taste.

Coming from a Mercedes with real wood, I didn't even consider any of the artifical looking wood trims only because they seemed too loud for not being real. I also think carbon fiber better fits the fast, high-tech spirit of the car.

Brit.l.T | October 6, 2013

I like the look of CF and thought the wood looked retro. Personal preferences.

GDH | October 6, 2013

Do you get a Members Only jacket when you order the CF?

CF is like grey leather, very 90's.

cfOH | October 6, 2013

@GDH: You are so droll.

The world's most contemporary supercars all feature extensive use of carbon fiber:

Porsche 918 Spyder
McLaren P1
Ferrari LaFerrari F70
Lamborghini Aventador
...just to name a few

So, if you think that makes CF "retro," maybe you and I have different understandings of that word. ;-)

carlk | October 6, 2013
TikiMan | October 6, 2013


I couldn't disagree more. CF has been used more in the last five years, than all of the 1990's.
Obviously in the 1990's, if you could afford a vehicle with CF, you were one in a million. Now days, it has become a fashion statement of 'high-tech' quality (thus the popularity of faux CF body-wraps, etc).

Regardless, different stokes for different folks, however, I am fairly certain Elon added it to the Tesla Roadster and now Model S, because it reminded him of materials he liked in his collection of exotic super cars he has owned over the years.

Either way, CF is the gold-standard when it comes to racing and super cars today (like it or not).

TikiMan | October 6, 2013


Oh, and BTW... 'Members Only' jackets were only popular in the early 1980's (I know, I had one back then ;-)

rfriess | October 6, 2013

I have a MC Red with Tan and Carbon Fiber. Looks great.

Bighorn | October 6, 2013

@Tiki. +1

Kyubb | October 6, 2013


Don't forget the McLaren F1.

Captain_Zap | October 6, 2013

I think that the most sophisticated high tech car in the world has an Obeche wood interior.

We are setting a new bar here. ;-)

@nick-r The door sills for the Model S were originally planned as carbon fiber but they didn't hold up to the foot traffic during the first test drive events. That design change is one of the things that was slowing up the first deliveries last summer/fall. IIRC. Carbon fiber parts have been a hitch in Tesla's giddy up. Supplier problems it seems.

Carefree | October 6, 2013

When we ordered our S back in September last year we decided to upgrade to the P85 BECAUSE we wanted the CF option. We did not like any of the woods Tesla was offering. The wood all looked fake and didn't go with a high tech car like the Model S.

Of course, taste varies, thank God, otherwise we'd all be driving the exact same cars:-)

2k13458 | October 6, 2013

Here are my thoughts on carbon fiber (CF):

1. CF is lighter and stronger than most other materials. Approximately three decades ago, manufacturers of high performance cars began to utilize CF in the chassis, body, pushrods, wings, wishbones, etc. to improve a car's weight.

2. Subsequently, CF became a symbol of technologic sophistication.

3. About 20 years ago, we began to place CF on our steering wheels, dashboards, consoles, door panels, etc. For the most part, this CF added aesthetic appeal. (The decorative CF on the interior does not significantly lessen the weight of the car.)

4. With overseas manufacturing, CF has become much more affordable over the last 5 years or so. CF is now present in many "economy" cars. CF is no longer an exclusive material that represents technologic sophistication.

5. As CF loses its exclusivity and prestige and as tastes evolve, CF may become a dated material in the interior of cars.

GDH | October 6, 2013

Holy crap this thread took off.

Someone of you need to relax, like some one else said to each their own.

inverts | October 6, 2013

It's not functional, and aesthetically it is ugly. I use CF tripods in photography, and there the entire legs are made out of CF (and fortunately don't have that small checker pattern [also in German "kleinkariert" means narrow minded redneck]). CF violin bow, tried it, did not like it in the least. Use a snakewood baroque bow on my two d'amore.

Re wood, at surface is actual wood, and has individual character. Not sure about the cross section, and I doubt it is solid wood :-( Oh, well, not even Tesla is perfect.

I think the only "functional" CF is the optional rear spoiler; though I wonder what it does given its minute size. Cannot possibly imagine that it makes an iota of difference even on the freeway. Look at the size of F1 or Ralley car spoilers; that will put a bit more pressure on the rear wheels. IMHO the spoiler spoils the nice lines of the car.

Anyway, there's no arguing about taste. To each their own. Peace.

jkirkebo | October 6, 2013

I got the CF interior because it was the only matte non-wood finish available. I'm very pleased with it so far.

However, if the CF was extra cost (like in the US now) and there was another matte option available (like a matte black version of the piano black) I would have probably gone with that.

Wood was never an option, it is usually seen in cars driven by people 60-80 years old here.

Brian H | October 7, 2013

Yeah, could use a much better muffler.

vouteb | October 7, 2013

Is the black interior too shiny/cheap?

pebell | October 7, 2013

I would have gotten the CF if it didn't require the Performance version (back then, at least). But I am also very happy with the piano black finish/tan leather combi in my car. What imho makes absolutely zero sense on a futuristic car like the MS, is fake wood dashboard inlays. Talk about über-retro. It's a tremendous style clash with the two screens in the dash, and the overall minimalistic interior design.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like wooden dashboards. On my friends Daimler Super 8, the mirror-matched real walnut dashboard is gorgeous and totally "in style". But on an MS, c'mon..

Luckily there's no accounting for taste, and Tesla's interior designers and marketeers seem to disagree with me for one, so I guess it's just me :)

pebell | October 7, 2013

@vouteb - I have had about 2 dozen people in my car so far (piano black/tan, delivered 2 weeks ago), and I received completely opposite responses - it looks very luxurious and I couldn't be happier.

vouteb | October 7, 2013

Thanks pebell

Does it staIn/fingerprints easy!

pebell | October 7, 2013

Yes, sure, fingerprints are quickly visible. But contrary to the 17" touch screen, I find very little reason why I should ever touch it. ;-D

Jokes aside, I actually had glossy black in my previous car (BMW) for the last four years, and I found it very easy to keep clean. The MS is no different - I got a little soft rag with the MS to clean the touchscreen with (which is something I'll do quite frequently), and it takes all but 10 additional seconds to clean the occasional fingerprint off the piano black dashboard inlay too.

Gizmotoy | October 7, 2013

I liked the CF accents in the Model S. I didn't want a shiny accent, and I thought the matte Obeche wood looked distinctly out of place in the high-tech cabin. I had piano black in a previous car, and it eventually got lots of swirl marks and was constantly all fingerprinted. I was not in a rush to repeat that experience. So for me, CF seemed like the best option.

Captain_Zap | October 7, 2013

I do wonder about the environmental impacts of carbon fiber.
It isn't easily recycled because the fibers get shorter in the process. It is persistent.

bent | October 7, 2013

Personally, I love CF for its structural qualities. I quite like that my Roadster has a bunch of CF in its body panels, because it's nice and high tech and it reduces the car's weight thereby improving its performance.

I really don't like the way CF looks however, I find it boring bordering on plain ugly. The crossbar (or what you call it) behind the driver on the Roadster is "naked" CF and to my mind the car would have been much prettier had it been painted black instead. Having seen the CF spoiler on the Model S it is clear to me I wouldn't want that if I can't get it painted in body colour.

I get that CF is expensive and therefore prestigious, and that showing "naked" CF is therefore a mark of status. This adequately explains to me why many (most?) people find it pretty. Personally I don't much care about flaunting status and also don't have a thing for woven car parts in general so meh.

But then I'm a function over form type of person. That others love how CF looks isn't a strike against them and it doesn't mean they can't be beautiful people. :-)

TikiMan | October 7, 2013


5. "As CF loses its exclusivity and prestige and as tastes evolve, CF may become a dated material in the interior of cars."

Just like wood in cars did 50 years ago...

Like I said, it's a matter of taste. No one is any 'cooler' for having it on their MS, any less than someone is an 'old-fogie' for having wood accents in their MS. It's a matter of personal taste, and nothing more.

Before anyone here starts dissing anyone for the materials you choose for your MS... Please submit some photos of yourself and the interior of your home. Chances are, you will get over yourself VERY QUICKLY! ;-0

2k13458 | October 7, 2013


Calm down and enjoy people's view.

TikiMan | October 7, 2013


I'm fine. I just don't like how this has become a flame-war over personal taste.

We have an amazing car, isn't that enough?

NKYTA | October 7, 2013

I like my CF accents.

cosmomusic | October 7, 2013

CF was only choice for me. Would not trade it any other decor presently available. I must admit, it's more of a masculine look. I love it.