BMW rolled out its first vehicle painted with “vantablack”, referred to as the world’s blackest black—and although the organization claims it want to see the vehicle on your way, it’s unlikely to occur anytime soon.
The BMW X6 was selected as the initial vehicle for the inky-black paint job and will debut in September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Coated in the blackest shade in the world, the BMW VBX6 appears to lose its three-dimensional shape, including most of the car’s defining features like its distinctive twin headlights and kidney grille.
The VBx2 variant of Vantablack has a one-per-cent total hemispherical reflectance, meaning it is still considered super-black while enabling a small amount of reflection from every angle.
Its ability to absorb over 99 per cent of light causes the human eye to perceive Vantablack in both its forms as two-dimensional, interpreted by the brain as similar to staring into a “hole” or “void”.
“We realised that it wouldn’t have worked if we’d put on the original Vantablack material, as the viewer would have lost all sense of three-dimensionality,” said Ben Jensen, Vantablack inventor and founder of Surrey NanoSystems.
“It worked really well because of the size of the car, its distinctive shape, and how imposing it is,” he continued. “VBx2 with its one-per-cent reflectance provides just enough of a hint of shape.”
“But putting a paint like that on a conventional car lacking a distinctive design would probably detract from it in some way,” said Jensen.
According to Ben Jensen, CTO of vantablack developer Surrey Nanosystems, “The limitations of vantablack in respect of direct impact or abrasion would make this an impractical proposition for most people. It would also be incredibly expensive.”