As part of the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW presented a spectacular one-off BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe vehicle with a Vantablack® VBx2 nanostructure paint finish. This exclusive show car is the result of a collaboration between BMW and UK-based Surrey NanoSystems, the inventors of the Vantablack® technology.

The BMW X6 is the first and only vehicle in the world to feature a Vantablack® paint finish. With design highlights such as the optional Iconic Glow kidney grille, distinctive twin headlights and striking taillights, the new BMW X6 provided the perfect canvas for the Vantablack® VBx2 paint finish, which changes the viewer’s visual perception of an object’s three-dimensional shape.

“We turned down numerous requests from various automobile manufacturers in the past,” explains Ben Jensen, founder and Chief Technical Officer of Surrey NanoSystems. “It took the BMW X6 and its unique, expressive design for us to entertain the idea.”

Three-quarter rear view of BMW X6 in Vantablack®


The name Vantablack®, which stands for Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array, has already become synonymous with an entire range of extremely black coatings and paints, such as VBx2, and was initially developed for coating space-borne components.

A surface coated in Vantablack® loses its defining features to the human eye, with objects appearing two-dimensional. This can be interpreted by the brain as staring into a hole or even a void, making Vantablack® a rather unsuitable vehicle paint finish, as it blots out virtually all the design details and highlights.

For this reason, the BMW X6 was coated in the VBx2 variant initially developed for use in architectural and scientific applications. This coating can be sprayed on and has a one-per-cent total hemispherical reflectance (THR), meaning it is still considered “super black” while enabling a small amount of reflection from every angle.

Front three-quarter view of BMW X6 in Vantablack®

“The BMW X6 in Vantablack® looks absolutely fantastic. We also realised that it wouldn’t have worked if we’d put on the original material, as the viewer would have lost all sense of three-dimensionality. VBx2 with its one-per-cent reflectance provides just enough of a hint of shape. Add to that the contrast between the matt black surface and details such as the Iconic Glow kidney grille, the headlights and the windows – everything is just set off beautifully,” says Ben Jensen.

Rear view of BMW X6 in Vantablack®

Find out more about the BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupé now.

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