Luxury cars are mobile palaces. They are designed with the intention of making the driver and all passengers feel comfortable, pampered, and safe wherever they go. Automakers know that in order to provide customers with a higher-quality driving experience, they must pay close attention to every aspect of a car from its aesthetics to its functionality. It’s not uncommon to see some very rare and expensive materials including exotic leathers, 24k gold, or ivory in the cabins of elite luxury cars, but what about bamboo? Believe it or not, bamboo has also found its way into many luxury car interiors–and here’s why.
Bamboo is extremely affordable, sustainable, has a high strength-to-weight ratio, and is visually appealing. The plant grows extremely fast, it takes only about five years for bamboo to completely mature, while many trees that are used for wood take longer than 50 years to reach the same point. Cutting down a ton of bamboo isn’t as detrimental to the immediate ecosystem because of its high growth rates. The perennial evergreen also has an immensely dense and tough stem that weighs next to nothing. It’s not only strong enough to take the punishment within your car interior, but light enough to be used in large quantities without weighing down a car and hindering its performance. Bamboo can accentuate a dashboard, steering wheel, doors, or a central console very nicely. The appearance of wood has always enhanced the elegance of a luxury car, and bamboo serves this purpse.
2013 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid
The Lexus GS is a luxury hybrid car, with a perfect combination of looks, comfort, and performance. With this model, the manufacturer managed to bring both luxury and green to the table. Not only does the car have awesome fuel efficiency, it also maintains the same level of aesthetic quality as non-hybrid models in Lexus’ line-up. Hybrid cars are known to take a hit when it comes to looks compared to their less green counterparts, but that isn’t the case this time around. With light-brown bamboo incorporated into the steering wheel, dash, and center console near the gear shift and contrasting against the black leather seats and upholstery, the cabin really catches the eye and pops in a very pleasing manner.
Video of Bamboo Steering Wheel Production
BMW’s newly-released all-electric crossover, has also been spotted sporting bamboo like trimmings, called Kenaf or Eucalyptus on the dash. Like with the Lexus 450h, the choice of color is also a very subtle brownish-tan that looks similar to the hue of unfinished wood planks. Even if the material isn’t really bamboo, it’s clear that BMW’s designers are going for the same look, and it’s quite a nice match with the neutral tones of dark-brown, gray, and black inside the i3′s cockpit.
BMW’s i3 Interior Design
Aston Martin DB9
Another top contender in the luxury car market, Aston Martin, also offers a refined bamboo trim for its ultra-popular DB9 model. The bamboo veneer layers are oriented in a way that optimizes visualization of the natural marks, lines, and beauty of the “wood.” This bamboo trim features more of a dual-tone color with contrast between lighter and darker spots. Against black controls and air vents, chrome trim, and light- and dark-tan upholstery, the bamboo simply looks magnificent in the super-classy and speedy DB9.
The luxury cars above are perfect examples of how a common plant material such as bamboo can be creatively used in a way that elevates its class. With increasing concerns about pollution and its detrimental global effects, automakers have shifted towards designing motor vehicles that are less of a hazard to society. These hybrid and electric cars not only produce less waste, but they’re also constructed from more environmentally-friendly materials such as bamboo.