BMW unveils once-off X6, finished in the world's blackest of black paint

Vantablack absorbs up to 99.965% of light, almost completely eliminating reflectance and stray light

28 August 2019 - 14:17 By AFP Relaxnew
The unique BMW X6, finished in Vantablack, will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
The unique BMW X6, finished in Vantablack, will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
Image: Supplied

At this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, which kicks off next month, BMW will display the only vehicle ever finished in Vantablack, the “world's blackest black”, which makes objects finished in the colour appear two-dimensional.

After Surrey NanoSystems — the creator of the “world's blackest black” pigment, Vantablack — turned down requests from a number of automobile manufacturers to cover a vehicle's exterior in the VBx2 nanostructure paint finish, the company was offered a collaboration that it could not refuse: at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show in September, BMW will show off a Vantablack-finished X6, the only car in existence to don the colour.

This extreme black was originally created for aerospace applications, as it absorbs “up to 99.965% of light, almost completely eliminating reflectance and stray light”.

In fact, not only does the eye understand objects covered in the material as being 2-D, a surface coated in the colour can also be “interpreted by the brain as staring into a hole or even a void”. Naturally, such a paint colour would not be practical for driving on the highway.

The Vantablack VBx2 paint, specially designed to reflect one percent of light instead of just 0.035%, makes the curves of the X6 essentially invisible to the eye, without making it appear as a void.

Ben Jensen, founder and chief technical officer of Surrey NanoSystems, said such a paint worked well specifically on the BMW X6 because of its size and distinctive shape. It highlights the model's iconic grille, stylish headlights and tail lights.

The Vantablack-finished BMW X6 will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs from September 12 to 22, to celebrate the world premiere of the X6 model.


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