BMW is gearing up to show off the third generation of it's BMW X6 SUV at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September but you will be forgiven if you can't see it. The one-off BMW X6 will come painted in a new version of Vantablack.
Known as the darkest material in the world, Vantablack's name stands for Vertically Aligned Nanotube Array black. Perfected by Surrey NanoSystems, the material is lined with billions of high-aspect-ratio carbon nanotubes to create the darkest paint available today. BMW worked with Surrey Nanosystems to cover one of its X6 SUV's in a newer version of the substance. BMW said the X6 is the only vehicle in the world to feature Vantablack VBx2 paint finish.
It took a unique design to win over Surrey NanoSystems
“We turned down numerous requests from various automobile manufacturers in the past,” explains Ben Jensen, founder and Chief Technical Officer of Surrey NanoSystems in a BMW press release. “It took the BMW X6 and its unique, expressive design for us to entertain the idea.” BMW said marrying the paint with design highlights such as its Iconic Glow kidney grille and twin headlights alters the viewer's perception of an object's three-dimensional shape.
According to BMW, a surface coated in Vantablack loses the defining features when viewed by a human eye. Objects appear two-dimensional, making it an unsuitable paint finish because it blots out all the design details of the vehicle. But using VBx2, which was designed for architectural and scientific applications, a small amount of reflection is visible from every angle. Materials painted with seem to lose their 3D appearance.
Vehicle makers try to stand out in the SUV market
The move on BMW's part to showcase its SUV in Vantablack is part of an effort to stand out in a crowded marketplace. With SUVs still popular among consumers, vehicle manufacturers have been battling to win market share. While BMW is only showing a one-off X6 in the world's blackest black, it should create buzz for the company at the auto show next month.
While car enthusiasts won't be able to purchase the BMW X6 in Vantablack, BMW is likely to showcase other models with more traditional paint colors at the auto show. BMW is building the third-generation X6 at its plant in South Carolina.