Throughout the years BMW has been awfully specific about choosing launch colors for their most unattainable halo cars (think: M5 and M4 CS). But often, that air of uniqueness trickles down to us mere mortals, and it happens more frequently than you think – especially recently. With the news that Individual paint requests are now available at Spartanburg plant, individual orders have become easier than ever to both place and fulfill – a true win-win. Today, we’ll look at some examples of the most iconic colors ever to wear the BMW badge.
First offered in the early 90s as an optional paint on 5 and 8 series, but more famously available on the E36 M3, Techno Violet has remained a mainstay in the BMW individual paint lexicon to this day. Though the E36 had the highest production numbers, there’s supposedly around a dozen E46 M3s in the United States in Techno Violet, and plenty of F8x cars.
And from the looks of the forums, plenty of soon-to-be G8x owners are ordering the color as well. There’s even one or two highly desirable E31 850CSi models floating around. Though now only offered as a BMW individual color, in the early days you could snag a pretty base 3 Series with it for only a nominal charge.
Introduced on the E39 M5, carbon black represents one of the longest-running and most widely available BMW colors of all time. Though originally only available on true M cars, the only requisite these days is the M Sport Package. Anything from the X3 up can be dressed up in Carbon Black, including the luxurious 7 Series and grand- touring 8 Series.
Carbon black is infamous for its metallic hue that invokes a more “blue” appearance than black. And while its long production time has made it a bit of a safe bet, there’s another color that’s been around for just a bit longer…
Introduced in a land before time (well, 1979), Alpine White will surely be something of a historical anecdote. Available on everything from the 1 Series up to the 8 series, and with no end of production in sight, Alpine White will likely pre-date some of our readers – and authors – and probably out-live the other half.
Unlike most of the other colors on this list, Alpine White has a metallic equivalent in the also popular Mineral White. While also widely available, Alpine has lived longer and remains a zero cost offer, keeping it more popular than its more metallic relative.
San Marino Blue
As far as I can tell San Marino Blue arrived for the first time on a one of one E92 M3, but most know it as a introductory color for the M6 Coupe in the early 2010s. It hit peak specialness as one of only five available colors on the ultra-special F80/F82 generation M3 and M4 CS.
Unlike many of the colors in this list, San Marino Blue isn’t the easiest color to find these days. You would need to order it as an Individual color to get it. I suspect this will contribute to its specialness and command top dollar in years to come.
Laguna Seca Blue
Lacuna Seca is a bit of an oddity on this list – only available on one model, and only available for a limited amount of time, but firmly cemented in the hearts and minds of BMW enthusiasts worldwide. Debuting on the E46 M3, Laguna Seca Blue M3s (or LSB as it’s more frequently referred to) quickly became the literal gold standard for E46 exchanges – commonly trading higher than other colors even early on in the car’s inevitably collectible futures market.
There are some would-be champions that clearly deserve an honorable mention. Let’s start with the most recent, Dravit Grey. Debuting quite recently, Dravit has a special sort of glimmer in the sunlight, combining hues of gold and light red while maintaining a brilliant dark grey color.
Tanzanite Blue has also painted itself as a front runner in the “future classic” market, beginning life nearly 10 years ago in 2012 and today finding new life as an option on everything from the 3 Series and X3 on up – and already a favorite on the G80/G82 cars.
Lime Rock Grey is an exceptionally special color, as it debuted on the F80/F82 M3 and M4 CS and hasn’t yet been – and I’m skeptical it will ever be – available on another car as a no cost or low cost option. It’s named in clear deference to Lime Rock Park, a world-famous race track in Connecticut that happens to be pretty popular among the local BMW CCA.
So there’s a quick look at some of the best colors throughout BMW’s history. Though many of these either began life or continue life as M specific colors, nearly as many carry on as widely available colors that don’t necessarily command the price tag that their special shades suggest.
That’s what we think, anyway – which begs the question: what are some of your favorite BMW colors?