BMW Flexed On Us With Its Amazing Paint At The Frankfurt Motor Show

All photos: Mack Hogan

You may think that BMW’s core competency is its famed chassis tuning, smooth engines or seamless gearboxes. But all of those are now up for debate and none are visible at a static display. Instead, BMW decided to flex on us with some stunning colors. They’re not the loudest or brightest, but I’m in love with the deep and interesting paint jobs the show cars had.

And no, I’m not talking about the dumb Vantablack X6. I’ve always wanted to see something in Vantablack, but regular Vantablack is either massively overhyped or better than the “color” I saw on the X6. While Vantablack is supposed to be mind-bending dark even under direct light, the X6 was tucked into a private darkened room.

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Under David Tracy’s 1,000-lumen flashlight — which made an appearance in Frankfurt after guiding us on my Passport camping adventure — the Vantablack X6 wasn’t impressive. Even under phone light, it reflected a lot more than I expected and looked like a dull gray.

The rest of the colors, though, were fantastic. There were a lot of silver cars, but even those were deep and complex silvers. At the center of the display was the BMW Concept 4, which has a horrendously large grille. Even still, it was draped in a beautiful and deep shade of red.

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The M8 was also on site, in a jaw-dropping Frozen Marina Bay Blue. A satin-finish, semi-matte paint, Frozen Marina Bay Blue continues BMW’s long history of making amazing blue palette colors for its M cars. Le Mans blue is still one of my favorite colors of all time.

But blues are common. What’s exceedingly rare is a premium luxury vehicle being offered in purple. While high-end supercars and sports cars often have a few purples available, I was surprised to see an X7 with that kind of adventurous paint. The Ametrine metallic paint is almost impossible to photograph, with a deep complexion that lands somewhere between a purple and maroon.

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This photo is the best I could produce. I took one and sat in front of the car messing with my photo editor for five minutes trying to make the photo as true to life as I could. It still doesn’t capture the vibrancy of the paint under the lights, but imagine that shade with more brilliance and you’ll be there.

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But best of all was Dravit Grey. Let’s face it, most people are going to order their BMWs in shades of gray. It’s a curse on high-end cars and German ones in particular. With Dravit Grey, BMW now offers a conservative grey base with a fantastic yellow hue that reveals itself under light.

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That means that, from afar, you can look like the boring businessman driving a grey 7 Series. No feathers ruffled with an exuberant, showy car. Up close, though, there’s a level of complexity and individuality that makes the car special. It’s the paint equivalent of an easter egg.

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Plus, this is important because — as Jalopnik has long documented — yellow cars are good.

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About the author

Mack Hogan

Mack Hogan is Jalopnik's Weekend Editor, but you may know him from his role as CNBC's car critic or his brave (and maligned) takes on Twitter. Most people agree that you shouldn't listen to him.