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What Is The Point Of A Vantablack Car?

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Image for article titled What Is The Point Of A Vantablack Car?
Image: BMW

BMW seemed to miss the “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should” memo when they decided to paint a one-off of their new X6 in Vantablack, the color that’s so black it’s even blacker than black. I don’t know who decided this was a good idea, but I need to have a word with them to let them know why, exactly, this was such an absurdly stupid decision.

Vantablack, as a concept, is fine. It’s even kind of cool. A “color” (I hesitate to even use color because it is aggressively not a shade and is more just the absence of light in a way that even traditional black does not achieve) that absorbs 99.965 percent of light is cool. It’s as close as we mere mortals can get to looking into the depths of a black hole without actually requiring us to enter multiple dimensions of reality simultaneously. I dig it. I can get behind it.


But I don’t understand what the purpose of this could be on any object that is supposed to strong visual presence. It’s like painting a statue in Vantablack—cool literally only in the “look, it’s Vantablack!” sense, but kind of pointless in every single other way.

BMW, do you want me to not look at your car? Is there something so desperately wrong with the X6 that you needed to paint it a ‘color’ that doesn’t exist in nature, that will nullify every single line, curve, and panel on the vehicle? Are you sure you really want me to just stare at a blob?


The worst part is, BMW says in its press release that this paint “highlights the expressive design language and confident, dominant and muscular appearance.” How? How??????? The most aggressive thing about it is that it’s genuinely a little strange to look at, given it’s like looking directly into a shadow or possibly the deepest depths of hell itself. Design language? Folks, I just can’t see it.

I’ll be honest, it seems kind of like anti-advertising. This seems better for Surrey NanoSystems, the makers of Vantablack, than it does for BMW.

If this, for some reason, is up your alley, you’re in luck. The new X6 will be making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, alongside its shadowy Vantablack companion. This is probably one of those things you’d have to see in person to begin to appreciate.

I’ll admit it’s a kind of clever way to release images of the car before the official release. But that is the only good, legitimate reason. Everything else is ridiculous.