BMW Individual Manufaktur is introducing a new model into the market – BMW Individual M850i Night Sky. The model is expected to be introduced today in the run-up to an exceptionally intense meteor shower. The show of shooting stars will begin when the Earth briefly passes through the orbit of the asteroid 2003 EH, during which time fragments from the asteroid will enter our planet’s atmosphere and burn up. On rare occasions, smaller rocks in space penetrate our planet’s protective shield and fall to Earth as meteorites. Some of these extra-terrestrial fragments have now been incorporated into the cabin of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky.
The meteoritic rock adorns the whole of the center console’s trim plate, the start/stop button, the selector lever and the Touch Controller for the iDrive system, creating a unique visual and tactile effect. Inlays made from meteorite material have also been incorporated into the door sill finishers, together with an illuminated model badge.
Expanding on the use of meteoritic material for the controls inside the sports car, the design of many other interior and exterior elements takes its cues from a structure that only occurs in natural form on extra-terrestrial objects: the distinctive Widmanstätten surface pattern of meteorites. The strictly geometric structure, with its straight lines, has the appearance of ice crystals and becomes visible when certain types of iron meteorite are polished or brought into contact with acidic compounds.
The structure is the result of the metal alloy cooling down in an extremely slow process that cannot be reproduced on Earth, making it an unmistakable signature of extra-terrestrial material. The unique pattern was first observed back in the early 19th century by a number of people, including the Austrian scientist Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten, after whom it is named.
The singularity of the Widmanstätten structure is symbolic of BMW Individual’s ongoing pursuit of innovative design solutions never seen before. Visible in the hand-stitched headliner and on the centre console’s trim finishers, it has also been milled into the brake discs of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky. This distinctive meteorite pattern can also be found on the exterior mirror caps, the front splitters for the side air intakes at the front of the car, the centre mesh plate and the surrounds for the Air Breathers on the front side panels. These exterior components were all specially developed for the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky and individually manufactured using a 3D printing process.
In designing the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky, BMW Individual called on the expertise of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, which is also located in Garching.
Using its expertise in the application of 3D printing for aluminum components, BMW developed and manufactured the pioneering, bionic-design brakes. When creating the brake callipers, it was possible to reduce their mass to the minimum required to meet technical requirements, meaning that only the material needed for the brakes to work is used. The resulting form, whose construction mimics that of bones – with an optimum balance between component rigidity and weight – can only be produced using an additive manufacturing method and not with conventional casting techniques. What is more, it was possible to incorporate the brake fluid channels into the structure of the brake calipers.
Inside, the leather trim comes in a tri-color design and LED-illuminated star constellations on the center console. The Widmanstätten structure – a defining feature of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky interior – is repeated in the stitching pattern for the seat center sections.
The exterior paintwork of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky has a special paint finish which combines two color tones to achieve a high-impact effect. Black non-metallic was used as the base colour for the body. A second coat in San Marino Blue metallic was then painted over it in a graduated effect from the bottom edge of the body up to the top of the wheel arches. Finally, three layers of clear coat with varying pigment particle sizes were applied to give the paint finish a remarkable sense of depth.
For over 25 years now, the BMW Individual Manufaktur customization facility in Garching near Munich has been producing unique models for customers with deep pockets, and their bespoke specialists are always pushing the envelope to create spectacular one-offs.