For as far back as the memory can go, just like jewelry on a person, chrome trim has signified a car’s prestige and prominence, whether it be among lower trim levels of that car or other vehicles in general. But in today’s automotive age where everything from a Toyota Corolla to a Dodge Durango to a Porsche 911 can be had with various “sport styling” packages and accessories for extra cost, does chrome have the same panache and desirability it did in decades past?
In fact, many automakers, whether they be mainstream or luxury, charge extra to delete standard chrome or chrome-look (as it is on many mainstream vehicles) trim and accents in the place of matte or gloss black, which tends to give off a more aggressive and sporty demeanor.
The two vehicles in the first photo, my own 2016 BMW 228i xDrive and my friend Maddox’s 2014 Audi A4 Quattro both have black accessory trim in the place of chrome, with the BMW having the “M Performance” black kidney grilles and the Audi having the “Black Optics” package, which includes gloss black grille and window surrounds along with 19″ wheels.
Vehicle trim is a matter of personal preference, but there’s no doubt that in the world of automotive styling, black is giving chrome a run for its money. What do you think? Is black the new chrome? And is sport the new luxury?