BMW will have a new paint concept on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 later this year. The car in question is a relatively mundane BMW X6. The unique aspect to it is a Vantablack light absorbing paint.

The paint is a material developed by British company NanoSystems. It is among the darkest shades available and absorbs up to 99.96% of visible light. As a result, the design lines of the BMW X6 are almost completely lost. BMW describe it as “a rather unsuitable vehicle paint finish”.

To give it its true name, the car is covered in Vantablack VBx2 nanostructure paint. It is the first (and likely last) time that the paint has been used on a car. The idea behind its application to the X6 is to highlight the butch silhouette and key design features such as the kidney grille.

As BMW point out, the Vantablack paint would be useless as a real-world option. It uses carbon nanotubes with a length of 14 to 50 micrometres, and a diameter of 20 nanometres – around 5,000 times thinner than a human hair. Around a billion of these vertically aligned carbon nanotubes fit into one square centimetre. Any light striking this surface is almost completely absorbed rather than reflected, and effectively converted into heat.

Vantablack is more normally applied to telescopes and military resources, having excellent thermal camouflage properties and the ability to trap unwanted light.

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