BMW is set to show a one-off version of its X6 at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show finished in Vantablack, which it claims to be the first and only car in the world to feature the finish.

Originally created for coating componentry used in space by Surrey NanoSystems, who have claimed it as being ‘the world’s blackest black’, the original Vantablack is more of a coating made of billions of minute carbon nanotubes, rather than a paint, and it absorbs all light, making it look like “staring into a hole or even a void,” according to the company.

The finish on the outside of this particular X6 show car, however, is not the original Vantablack – rather, it’s a new version of it developed by Surrey NanoSystems dubbed ‘VBX2’ which allows for one percent reflectance, meaning the basic shape of the car can at least be made out.

What effect this finish has on the appearance of the X6 is best summed up by Ben Jensen from Surrey NanoSystems, inventor of the coating:

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 percent light reflectance, provides just enough of a hint of shape. Add to that the contrast of between the matte black surface and details such as the Iconic Glow kidney grille, the headlights, and the windows – everything is just set off beautifully.

And yes, that’s right – the whole reason for the X6 being painted this colour is to highlight the fact that the grille lights up. Seriously.

With that said, however, the designer of the X6, Hussein Al-Attar, believes that he could see the true pitch black becoming a real paint option in the future as “X6 drivers are among our most extroverted and free-spirited customers.”

Given the insurance premiums for regular black cars, we hate to think what the cost would be like on something that is, quite literally, pitch black when it comes to putting in a claim after being shunted at night, so it’s fairly unlikely to actually happen from a safety standpoint at least.

Regardless, it is a very novel way of showing off both Vantablack and BMW’s new illuminated grille and it’s sure to be a hit when it goes on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which begins on September 14 and runs until the the 24th.

Patrick Jackson
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