This year’s Frankfurt Auto Show has been more packed than ever for the BMW Group. Among a series of world premieres, there are quite a few concepts and one-offs that made things even more exciting. One of them is the BMW X6 Vantablack, the car that features the “blackest black in the world.”
Dubbed X6 VBX6, the concept is the result of a collaboration between BMW and Surrey NanoSystems, the inventors of the Vantablack technology.
BMW says that the X6 is the first and only vehicle in the world to feature a Vantablack VBx2 paint finish. The engineers at the two companies explained to us that the human eye perceives Vantablack as two-dimensional. A surface coated in Vantablack loses its defining features to the human eye, with objects appearing two-dimensional.
Vantablack was developed for aerospace applications and the technology used to design the color is called Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array. Each of these carbon nanotubes has a length of 14 to 50 micrometers, with a diameter of 20 nanometers, making it around 5,000 times thinner than a human hair.
As a result, around a billion of these vertically aligned carbon nanotubes fit into one square centimeter. Any light striking this surface is almost completely absorbed rather than reflected, and effectively converted into heat.
The super-black paint does make the BMW X6’s laser headlamps, LED taillights, and light-up kidney grilles more dramatic. And if you look at the BMW X6 Vantablack in the dark, you can see why it’s so special.