BMW has revealed an early preview of the new X6 coupe-slash-SUV, and it’s coated in a strange and stealthy new light-absorbing finish.
Vantablack, developed by Surrey NanoSystems, is a finish made up of vertically aligned nanotubes measuring as small as 14 micrometres by 20 nanometres, which collectively absorb almost all light. True Vantablack absorbs an astonishing 99.965 per cent of light.
The ‘Vanta’ part of the name comes from an acronym of its physical properties, known in full as Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array.
The X6’s exact coating, known as VBx2, has actually been revised to reintroduce about one per cent reflective properties, presumably so you don’t totally lose it at night. It does still manage to remove the usual 3D appearance of a car, though, making the big ‘Sports Activity Coupe’ look like Batman’s weekend wheels.
Speaking of wheels, no matter how much tyre dressing you put on your tyres, they will still look grey beneath a Vantablack coating. At least you’d have a pretty cool pub brag: the utter blackness of the paint was originally designed to absorb light around space-going camera and sensor equipment, therefore allowing for more sensitivity and accuracy in observations of far-flung objects in the galaxy.
Naturally, BMW has seen fit to accent the deeply black X6 with a few jazzy extras. There are angular daytime running lights derived from the old ‘angel eyes’ concept but now designed more as hexagons with two sides missing.
On top of that there’s an illuminated grille, named the Iconic Glow kidney grille. It seems to be an LED-lit affair that, rather than choosing sheer size, takes another route towards making as many people as possible look at it. Be prepared for the need to clean it daily.