Another very successful outing with the BMW Drivers Club Melbourne “Coffee & Cars” held at Albert Park Sunday the 15th of September.
Even though the weather was threatening there was a fantastic turn up of vehicles and of course, lots of interesting people to talk to and passionate discussions about their vehicles.
This was another first for Warren and I, as we have only been in the club 12 months and are amazed at how well these outings are organised and patronised, which says a lot for the committee who run them. It was also great to catch up with other members who we have met on other outings and also to meet members who are new to the club like us.
I also have to say the coffee and breakfasts at the Carousel Café were amazing and a great way to sit and chat with other members.
We are now looking forward to upcoming events such as the Geelong Revival in November. It should be another fabulous long weekend.
Margaret Fairweather | Member #348
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
Click an image below to enlarge.
BMW Group Classic has choreographed its appearance at the Goodwood Revival 2019 as a journey through time back to the year 1959. The occasion for this jubilee is the 60th anniversary of the MINI brand and a gala celebration in the parkland of Goodwood House in Southern England from 13 to 15 September. Since 1998, the estate of the Earl of March in West Sussex has been the annual showplace for a stylishly spectacular event celebrating historic motor sport. Racers from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s along with celebrity drivers recall the fast laps on the Goodwood Racing Circuit at the sporting competitions that took place regularly in this setting between 1948 and 1966. In keeping with the historic vehicles and the authentically styled ambience, many of the visitors contribute to the classic atmosphere of this event by wearing outfits in the style of the period.
The year in which the classic Mini made its debut and the Swinging Sixties that followed are the focus of a wealth of attractions away from the race track. A number of feature films are being screened in the revival cinema at the venue. A highlight is “The Italian Job” from 1969 in which three Mini Coopers starred alongside Michael Caine playing the main parts in a sensational gold robbery involving a car chase through Turin.
Homage is also paid to the classic Mini as a screen hero in the halls of the “March Motor Works”. The documentary “The Incredible Seven” is being shown within the portals of a picture palace from the 1960s. The British Motor Corporation (BMC) commissioned the film in 1961 and it presents the story behind the creation of the classic Mini. Footage of test drives with early prototypes, conversations with the creator of the classic Mini, Alec Issigonis, images of the public debut of the revolutionary small car and driving reports by journalists give an insight into the initial years of an automobile that became a rolling legend over the many decades of its development, with faithful fans all over the world. The title of the film refers to one of the two official model designations under which the classic Mini was launched on the marketplace in 1959. It rolled off the assembly line in virtually the same guise as the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini-Minor. The Mini owed its doppelganger identity to the varied repertoire of brands marketed by BMC.
Visitors can also go back in time 60 years in the other rooms of the “March Motor Works”. BMW Group Classic is staging its presentation of historic vehicles in the style of a stand at the International Motor Show in 1959 and the model range of that era is showcased there. Two examples of the BMW 700 coupé, a BMW 600 and a BMW Isetta with “Lufthansa” livery, embody the automobile spirit in the years of the economic miracle. The taxi version of a BMW 501 is presented in front of the building. Two models of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud additionally provide luxurious grandeur and British flair. The models BMW R 69 S, BMW R 50 S and BMW R 27 represent the motorcycle range from BMW in 1959. Furthermore, the spectacle of a BMW 3/15 PS takes onlookers 30 years further back down memory lane. The history of BMW as an automobile manufacturer began with this model 90 years ago.
The “Revival Festival” is another perennial element in the firmament of BMW Group Classic at Goodwood. Visitors can enjoy Bavarian specialities in a historic festival tent and experience a hint of Oktoberfest atmosphere in the British Isles.
Last year, Australian racing rider Troy Corser succeeded in achieving a historic success for BMW Motorrad Classic together with Herbert Schwab. The duo won the overall standings in the race for the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy on a supercharged BMW R 57 Compressor for the first time at the Goodwood Revival. For his title defence race, two-time Superbike World Champion Corser has selected a BMW R50 Kaczor. This version of the BMW R 50 is characterised by increased power and reduced weight. Ferdinand Kaczor was a designer who subsequently became a BMW engineer and he achieved some spectacular successes on many race tracks in the 1960s.
British racing rider Maria Costello is battling for the coveted trophy astride a second motor-sport legend on two wheels. She is riding a BMW RS 54. The machine was presented in 1954 and it was the first motorcycle designed specifically for racing by the BMW brand. Even today, the motorcycle’s powerful Boxer engine driven by a vertical shaft ensures that the BMW RS 54 can achieve an impressive performance on any race track.
The BMW Group is focusing on the next electromobility milestone: “By the end of 2021, we aim to have a total of one million electrified vehicles on the roads,” stated Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt on Tuesday. “We are already right at the forefront of electromobility. No manufacturer has delivered more electrified cars to customers in Germany so far this year than the BMW Group. In Norway, three out of every four new BMW Group vehicles sold have an electrified drive train."
Looking ahead to the next decade, Zipse expects electromobility to develop at different rates around the world – due to the differences in infrastructure, customer driving profiles and political frameworks. According to BMW Group forecasts, customer demand should ensure that over 50 percent of new vehicle registrations in China’s premium segment will be pure battery-electric vehicles (BEV) in 2030. The figure for Europe will be only about half that number. The US, the world's second largest vehicle market, will be at about the same level as Europe.
“The BMW Group is a global company. We will be able to offer our customers all relevant drive technologies: our conventional engines with benchmark efficiency, battery-electric drive trains, plug-in hybrids and, in the future, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles,” Zipse continued. “This puts us in a very strong strategic position to tackle the challenges of future mobility and climate change."
Hydrogen fuel cell technology could be a real solution, especially for long distances. The BMW Group expects demand for this technology to increase in the second half of the next decade and will be launching a test fleet of fuel cell vehicles in 2022. The company will present the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT development vehicle at this year’s IAA.
Zipse confirmed the plan announced in June to significantly increase the tempo of its electromobility expansion: The 25 electrified models previously announced for 2025 will now be available two years earlier, in 2023. More than half of these 25 models will be fully electric. The basis for this is provided by flexible vehicle architectures for fully-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and models with combustion engines, as well as a highly flexible production system. As a result, the company is able to respond quickly to local market demand.
Electromobility can make a key contribution to climate protection. The BMW Group believes the customer will play a decisive role in this – because technology can only have a real impact if customers want it and use it.
“We aim to reduce emissions significantly. To realise this, we must concentrate on areas where we can achieve the greatest impact. We are therefore focusing on the question: Which drive trains, technologies and services will our customers want in the future? And how can we achieve the best outcome for climate protection? One thing is clear: We are committed to the Paris Climate Agreement."
Sustainability begins for the BMW Group right at the very beginning of the value chain. A good example of this is the BMW iX3, which will be released onto the market with a fifthgeneration e-drive system in 2020: The e-drive is manufactured without rare earths, and the cobalt for its battery cells is sourced directly from mines in Australia and Morocco. In addition, the electricity needed for production is mostly covered by renewable energy sources.
Since joining the club I have driven Sandown a few times, and after each time making an idiot of myself feel I must control the “red mist” enough to drive the lines one is supposed to follow intelligently (lol) without defying the laws of physics trying to get wonderful lap times.
This time I was determined to go slow and steady following the correct corner lines and then get enough knowledge to let the car off the leash a bit for some quick lap times.
Getting ready for Sunday at Sandown and downloaded the various forms to printout and noticed that the BMWDCM had as many entries as the event organizers, the Alfa Romeo Owners Club.
Then it became apparent the reason was a group, mostly Southern BM supporters, have joined BMWDCM. This group of passionate BM owners pour a lot of money into their late model performance cars to make many of them world class in kit and a pleasure to see.
I then noticed with trepidation that these M4 Competitions et al were in the same group as some of our club E30s (including mine) and the speed differential was going to be crazy.
Anyway, I figured the strategy would be to stay over on the side of the track and let them whizz by safely, and besides Graeme wouldn’t let anything too crazy be run.
The slow and steady bit went ok for me.
Then came the rain and luckily Graeme had prompted me to get new Yokohama A050 tyres for the event as the old ones are bald. With a very wet track and good tyres it was stick to the correct lines going safely and steadily, but it was very satisfying as I felt I did that part really well and didn’t let the red mist even get close to my brain bucket.
As always getting together as a club is really good and speaking of which it was an unexpected pleasure to see Daryl O’Neill there with a new track car. Again Graeme, Jo and Chris and the supporting members make these events so good and thanks to all of you for making the day a special experience.
With more coaching from Graeme and Chris and more practice I hope to soon have the skills to let this great little E30 off the leash!
Rod Martin | Member #29
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
What a huge surprise tonight was. Well, for me anyway! Here I was thinking it was just going to be a quiet night at Shannons, chatting about upcoming stuff... how wrong I was.
The scheming that has gone on over months, now I find out, is quite amazing.
It was awesome to have two of the legends of Australian Motorsport, not to mention BMW Motorsport in Australia, come along to both surprise me on my birthday and to have an informal chat with members at our monthly meeting tonight.
Thank you Steve and Jim Richards for coming out tonight and the huge number of Members that came along to have some dinner, birthday cake and listen to the ever interesting exploits of Steve and Jim.
Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not one for making a fuss about myself, I do what I love and it makes me happy that so many of you enjoy what we do too. But to have a room packed with so many of you that I call friends, really does make me feel so special. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It really made my day today.
Of course there is one who always goes out of her way for others and the Club and I never thank her enough. My darling Jo, you really do spoil me. Another amazing night for me and the Club.
Thank you all that came and enjoyed the night, the birthday wishes and gifts, I am very humbled.
Graeme Bell | Member #1
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
As many of you know, I organise most of the events. When looking at what I could do for the September members meeting, I noticed it fell on Graeme's birthday. So, I put my thinking cap on and thought I might see if Steve or Jim Richards were available on the night to be guest speakers (both Graeme’s idols).
Before checking with either of them, I had a call from David Ebeling, a club member, asking if we could possibly do something special for Graeme, maybe a birthday party or similar.. Great minds must think alike. David wanted to thank Graeme for all his hard work and dedication with putting our club together.
I told him of my initial plans and he thought that was great. After checking with the other committee members, they also agreed that to have a surprise birthday for Graeme and possibly guest speakers would be fantastic.
Next step was to contact both Jim and Steve, with fingers crossed, to see if they were available on the night. First call was Steve and he was delighted to come along. The next call was Jim and he too was free - so jackpot, we had them both!
Now how to advertise this event without Graeme finding out? With a few emails to Jess, we worked out a good way to promote the event, with me setting up a fake event to keep him in the dark and Jess sending out an email to all the members, letting them know what the real event was about.
Pretty much straight after the email was sent the registrations started rolling in.
We are very lucky to have a fantastic relationship with Shannons and they agreed to host the event in their board room and also provide supper for the evening.
I can tell you that keeping a surprise of this size from Graeme has been very hard and somehow we managed it. I had a couple of calls from both Jim and Steve Richards through the day and I thought we might have blown our cover but my skilful story telling convinced him that nothing was really happening.
Shaaron and Lawrence had also organised a cake and a card and were also in on the whole surprise.
Trying to get Graeme there late this time was proving hard as he packed up work early as he didn’t want to rush. Lucky for me Scott Muir needed a lift to the meeting and was stuck at Southland, so Graeme went off to get him, which allowed me to get there before hand and get organised.
The door to the lunchroom opened and in walked Graeme and Scott and he was stunned. He stood there for a moment and then we all sung happy birthday, the smile on his face was gold. He didn’t event see Steve and Jim!
Presents were given and pizzas and birthday cake eaten then shortly after, we all went into the board room to be entertained by both Steve and Jim with a night of story telling and laughter. Both of these men are champions of Australian legends and everyone there were very excited to listen to what they had to say.
Jim started by explaining how he got into racing and his very early days of wearing no race shoes at all and just a t-shirt and track pants, very little safety back in those day. Then it was back and forth between father and son, which was just very special to be part of. Their stories had real heart and soul and some of them were even a little curly.
The night rounded off at approximately 9.30pm and members all had a little one on one time with both Jim and Steve and they were so open and welcoming to everyone.
Graeme was very humbled by everyone coming out for the night to enjoy what was another fabulous member’s meeting, with nearly 70 members in total attending.
Driving home I asked if Graeme had any clue to what I had been planning and he did say he was a little confused as to what the meeting was going to be about, as he had not seen any emails regarding the night, NO, he didn’t, as Jess and I made sure he was excluded from the email chain...
I would like to thank everyone who helped me with this event and everyone who came, without you all it would not have been a success.
Jo Mawson | Member #2
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
With the forthcoming races on the Nürburgring the current German Touring Car Masters (DTM) season will finally reach its decisive phase. Moreover, during the DTM weekend being held from 13 to 15 September 2019, visitors can expect a further attraction. The BMW M4 Edition ///M Heritage (combined fuel consumption: 10.0 – 9.3 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 227 – 213 g/km) will make its world debut on the legendary racetrack in the Eifel. The special edition of the BMW M4 Coupe, which forms the basis of the BMW M4 DTM deployed by BMW M Motorsport, fascinates with an exclusive exterior and interior look reflecting the impressive tradition of the high-performance racing cars. The BMW M4 Edition ///M Heritage, powered by a 331 kW/450 hp straight six-cylinder engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology will be produced and sold worldwide between November 2019 and April 2020 as an edition model limited to 750 units.
Light blue, dark blue and red – these are the colours by which motorsport fans immediately recognize the BMW M GmbH logo. Immediately after the founding of the BMW Motorsport GmbH in 1972, the characteristic colours already adorned these racing cars, which were based on the BMW 3.0 CSL and became highly successful in touring car racing. Since then, the distinctive stripes in the three classic BMW M GmbH colours have stood for exhilarating performance and exclusive design also on the road. The BMW M4 Edition///M Heritage takes up this unmistakable colour combination on unique exterior and interior design features. There is a choice of the three body colours Laguna Seca Blue, Velvet Blue metallic and Imola Red available for the edition model. Furthermore, the two-seater’s carbon-fibre reinforced plastic roof boasts a striking decorative strip in the BMW M colours, which is integrated into the CFRP composite at the factory using a special manufacturing process. Likewise unique are the forged, 20-inch M light alloy wheels in a star spoke design featuring the colour Orbit Grey matt and fitted with mixed tyres.
The interior of the edition model is also characterised by an exclusive selection of colours and materials. The spectrum of equipment includes model-specific full leather M seats in a bicolour design and with prominent openings within the area of the seatbacks. Each seat colour is oriented towards the exterior paint and is complemented by partly bicoloured contrast stitching. In conjunction with the exterior colours Laguna Seca Blue and Velvet Blue metallic, the seats come in Silverstone/Black with turquoise stitching or Velvet Blue and Orange respectively. With the exterior finish Imola Red, the seat colours Red and Black correspond with yellow and red contrast stitching.
The both appealing and exclusive colour scheme continues with interior carbon trim strips designed exclusively for the BMW M4 Edition ///M Heritage and whose CFRP structure incorporates the stripe design featuring the three characteristic M colours. Both the interior trim strips and the door sills bear emblems with the imprints “Edition ///M Heritage” and “1/750” as an indication of the limited edition of this model. The lettering “///M Heritage” – in turquoise, orange or red respectively – is also to be found on the front headrests.
The BMW M4 Edition ///M Heritage offers a particularly exclusive opportunity to experience the handling characteristics of a high-performance sports car marked by dynamics, agility and precision. At the same time, with this model, the BMW M GmbH is continuing the tradition of exclusive special editions, a tradition that has been cultivated now for several model generations. They reflect the enthusiasm for exceptional sporting successes or awareness of the history of selected models, of which many have become much sought-after collectors’ items in the course of time.
Expressive paint finishes and a characteristic interior design were already hallmarks of the BMW M3 Edition of the year 2009. At that time, with the variants Alpine White, Black, Dakar Yellow and Monte Carlo Blue there were as many as four body colours available for the edition model based on the fourth generation of the BMW M3. In the year 2012, BMW Motorsport’s successful comeback in the DTM triggered the production of the BMW M3 DTM Champion Edition. During the first season following an almost 20-year break, BMW came first in the manufacturer’s rating, with the BMW Team Schnitzer winning the team classification. Moreover, the Canadian Bruno Spengler seized the driver’s title. Only 54 units of the edition model were produced – one for each racing victory BMW was able to clinch in the DTM by then. And there were several more in the years that followed. In the 2016 season, it was the German BMW Motorsport works driver Marco Wittmann in particular who was hard to beat and who eventually became the new DTM champion. The BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition, which was limited to 200 units, was brought to market in his honour. The strongly racing-oriented special edition not only exhibited exclusive design features but, above all, was provided with numerous innovations that had previously helped the 368 kW/500 hp BMW M4 GTS achieve its outstanding performance.
The same year, BMW M GmbH also presented an edition model of the BMW M3 Sedan in memory of the BMW M3, which had made its debut three decades previously. The special edition 30 Years M3 was finished exclusively in the colour Macao Blue metallic and produced in a limited quantity of 500 units. The latest example to date of a fascinating combination of performance and exclusiveness is the BMW M4 Convertible Edition 30 Years. This open-top high performance sports car was produced in a limited edition of 300 and presented in 2018 – three decades after the premiere of the first-generation BMW M3 Convertible. This edition model also featured exclusive paint finishes – namely Macao Blue metallic and Mandarin II uni – and a specific interior design, providing for unique and aesthetic driving pleasure both on country roads and on the racetrack.
Click to enlarge
August has been another very cold month but that did not stop us from holding some amazing events.
We started off August with an event with a difference. On Sunday the 4th a group of us parked our cars and caught the Steam Rail Snow Train down to Gippsland, with some heading to Mt Baw Baw to play in the snow and the rest of us went to Walhalla to tour the beautiful old gold mining town. The Train sold out within weeks of being publicised, so you had to be in quick for this one, but don’t worry, we will do it again!
The first Tuesday, 6th August, we held our members meeting at Waverly BMW, where we had a very interesting presentation all about the amazing IQpod they have, which is a one stop shop for minor repairs, wheel repairs etc, read more here.
We had a few members racing down at Phillip Island over the weekend of 17th and 18th August, both doing the E30 Racing round and competing in the annual August Access Enduro. I co-drove with Alex Jory in the enduro side of the weekend and had a lot of fun playing in the changing conditions. It was my first time back in a race car in a few years and we acquitted our selves very well, second outright behind a much faster E36 M3, and over a lap ahead of the rest of the E30’s and other cars! Was a lot of fun and you can read my story here.
August sees the start of the Show season, with one of the best German Car displays you will see anywhere. Sunday the 25th was German Auto Show, run by the Volkswagen Club of Victoria, in aid of the Deaf Children’s Association, and is always a fabulous turn out of everything German with some very obscure cars and lots of lovely classics. It was wonderful to see so many BMWs out on what turned out to be an amazing Winters day. I think there were more BMW’s there than any other Marque this year, with cars coming from our DCM Members, Southern BM Classic Collection, Makulu Vehicle Storage Collection and also some from BMWCCV members. Was great to have everyone combined under the BMW banner and mixed in together. Someone said they counted over 75 BMWs, which is fantastic. Thank you to all our members who came and welcome to all the new Members that signed up with us on the day.
Our membership is still growing with 15 new members signing up this month. Welcome!
September is looking like another fabulous month with events like the Traction Tyres/Yokohama Sandown Sprint, Coffee & Cars, Stony Creek Drive and Go Karting and of course, our members meeting at Shannons on the 3rd September.
We will also be holding our first AGM for the club in October, so look out for notifications - some of which have already been sent out.
Drive safely and I look forward to seeing you at an event soon.
Graeme Bell | President
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.
P.O. Box 81, TYABB, VICTORIA. 3913
Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695GBMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of:BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International CouncilCAMS Affiliated Motorsport Club
After just 15 years on the market the BMW 1 Series is now into its third generation, code named F40, and it marks a significant change by adopting front wheel drive.
The first generation 1 Series ruffled a few purist feathers by having a hatchback body design but this was quickly forgiven when the 2 door Coupe 1 Series was released, topped off by the manic 1M version.
By the time the second generation came out in 2011 the controversy over a 5 door hatchback had been forgotten.
Will front wheel drive, and a 3 cylinder engine, put the 1 Series back in the purist’s cross hairs again? Time will tell, but the on-road reviews give no cause for concern.
Although not scheduled for public launch until the end of October, Shaaron and I were invited to a static “sneak preview” at Geelong BMW. The show car was a M135i in Misano Blue, my first impressions were of a stylish interpretation of the familiar 1 series form well suited to the colour. The kidney grille features the same aeroplane motif treatment as used on the new Z4 (lower grade versions get a plain grill) but without the puckered face look which blighted the previous generations. This is one grill which looks better for being a little bigger.
It looks longer, but it isn’t, 5mm shorter in fact. The illusion is caused by the “glass house”, the windows and roof, which is longer, extending further forward over the shorter bonnet. The bonnet can be shorter because the engine is now mounted sideways, or transverse, not front to back, or longitudinal which means 6 cylinder engines will not fit.
The upside is increased room in the passenger compartment, in particular in the rear where knee room goes up 33mm.
The F40 is also taller, although when viewed in isolation that is not apparent, by 13 mm all of which is reflected in extra head room in the rear and allows a panoramic sunroof to be fitted without compromising front headroom. I can sit in both front and rear seats without a problem with the sunroof fitted which is not the case with the previous generations. It is verging on being a “cross over” from hatch to SUV but not quite an X2.
I like the styling, which was also not the case with the previous generations of hatchback.
The show car has the M Sports seats as standard and they are superb, nice and snug with adjustable side bolsters to match your hip and waist size. Although the seats are a little further off the ground than before, the seating position is more Z4 than X4. Shaaron found entry and exit to be easier than our E90 3 series and, subject to a back to back test, a little better than the X2 we had been considering because of its higher seat position (sit into rather than down to) but which is perhaps a little too high for her. Plus, the door frames give better head room when getting in and out.
The interior has been brought right up to date and no longer looks like a cheaper version of the bigger cars’ system. The show car featured the full Live Cockpit Professional system (seen here in promotional mode) with a clear digital display replacing the analogue gauges in front of the driver. I could see all the important bits of the dash – I have a long body and usually the steering wheel blanks off the top of the dials.
The specification and inclusions is impressive, LED headlamps on all trim levels for example, yet the 118i starts at $42,990 excluding dealer/delivery and the M135i xDrive (all wheel drive) is at $63,990 excluding dealer/delivery. There is, of course, a tempting and extensive options list which is almost certain to boost the price of every car ordered. But if you have a strong will you can get what I think is a bargain.
Lawrence Glynn | Member #3
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
This September, the Frankfurt Motor Show will provide the backdrop for the world premiere of the third-generation BMW X6 (fuel consumption combined: 10.7–6.1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 243–159 g/km)*, the car that established the Sports Activity Coupé segment a good ten years ago. At the event, BMW will also present a spectacular one-off vehicle with a Vantablack® VBx2 nanostructure paint finish that highlights the expressive design language and confident, dominant and muscular appearance of the new BMW X6 to perfection. This exclusive show car is the result of a collaboration between BMW and Surrey NanoSystems, the inventors of the Vantablack technology.
The BMW X6 is the first and only vehicle in the world to feature a Vantablack VBx2 paint finish. “We turned down numerous requests from various automobile manufacturers in the past,” explains Ben Jensen, founder and Chief Technical Officer of Surrey NanoSystems. “It took the BMW X6 and its unique, expressive design for us to entertain the idea.” With design highlights like the optional Iconic Glow kidney grille, distinctive twin headlights and striking taillights, the new BMW X6 provides fascinating contrasts to offset the Vantablack VBx2 paint finish, which changes the viewer’s visual perception of an object’s three-dimensional shape.
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. This can be interpreted by the brain as staring into a hole or even a void, making Vantablack a rather unsuitable vehicle paint finish, as it blots out virtually all the design details and highlights. For this reason, the BMW X6 was coated in the VBx2 variant initially developed for use in architectural and scientific applications. This coating can be sprayed on and has a one-per-cent total hemispherical reflectance (THR), meaning it is still considered “super black” while enabling a small amount of reflection from every angle. Thus, materials painted with it seem to lose their three-dimensional appearance – as demonstrated impressively on the BMW X6.
Vantablack: the “blackest black”, developed for aerospace applications.
The name Vantablack has already become synonymous with an entire range of extremely black coatings and paints such as VBx2. It contains an acronym of the technology enabling this superior black in its first two syllables, which stand for Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array, a matrix made out of carbon. Each of these carbon nanotubes has a length of 14 to 50 micrometres, with a diameter of 20 nanometres, 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 centimetre. Any light striking this surface is almost completely absorbed rather than reflected, and effectively converted into heat.
This technology was initially developed for coating space-borne components. As Vantablack can be applied at temperatures from as low as 430 degrees Celsius, it is suitable for delicate materials such as aluminium, and optical components coated in Vantablack enable observation of faint stars and distant galaxies that stray light from the sun makes difficult to detect. The first generation of Vantablack introduced by Surrey NanoSystems in 2014 absorbed up to 99.965 per cent of light, almost completely eliminating reflectance and stray light.
What was your first thought when you were approached with the idea of providing the BMW X6 with a Vantablack paint finish?
Ben Jensen: To be honest, we received inquiries from most of the big-name automotive manufacturers, almost from the day we launched the original material in 2014, but we’d always said no. This was also due to the fact that we only had a suitable material once we came up with VBx2. When we were approached by BMW, we were still quite hesitant to begin with. But the new X6 looked so incredibly different that it just felt like a really good fit.
Have your expectations been met?
Jensen: I think it went beyond all our expectations. The BMW X6 in Vantablack looks absolutely fantastic. We also realised that it wouldn’t have worked if we’d put on the original material, as the viewer would have lost all sense of three-dimensionality. VBx2 with its one-per-cent reflectance provides just enough of a hint of shape. Add to that the contrast between the matt black surface and details such as the Iconic Glow kidney grille, the headlights and the windows – everything is just set off beautifully.
Hypothetically speaking, could you imagine Vantablack VBx2 becoming a regular paint finish option for people buying a car in the future?
Jensen: I think it worked really well on the BMW X6, because of the size of the car, its distinctive shape, and how imposing it is. But putting a paint like that on a conventional car lacking a distinctive design would probably detract from it in some way. In addition, developing a Vantablack VBx2 car paint durable enough for daily use is a huge technological challenge.
However, Vantablack already has an important role in advanced automotive technology …
Jensen: Indeed, the material is now being used more and more in various types of, laser-based sensor equipment for driver assistance systems and technologies for autonomous driving, for instance. That is because incident sunlight can cause a degradation of performance in these systems as well. A Vantablack coating eliminates these issues and results in increased safety.
What does it mean to you that “your” BMW X6 is the first car in the world to have been chosen for such a project by the makers of Vantablack?
Al Attar: I first heard about Vantablack a few years ago – and I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the technology ever since. So, for me personally, this is a big deal. When my colleagues told me about a possible collaboration some months ago, I was very excited.
What makes the BMW X6 the perfect car for this project?
Al Attar: Internally, we often refer to the BMW X6 as “The Beast.” I think that says it all. The Vantablack VBx2 finish emphasises this aspect and makes the BMW X6 look particularly menacing. Moreover, the BMW X6 has always been the most provocative and in-your-face model in our portfolio. So why not emphasise this even further, with a finish that simply captivates the viewer’s attention? After all, that’s what the BMW X6 has always been about.
But a Vantablack finish makes objects appear two-dimensional. Doesn’t that render it supremely unsuitable as a car paint, especially for a car with a design as expressive as the BMW X6?
Al Attar: Yes, there is a certain inherent contradiction. But that’s exactly what makes this interesting and explains why the BMW X6 is the perfect car for this project. In addition, Vantablack VBx2 opens up new possibilities for us as designers. We often prefer to talk about silhouettes and proportions rather than surfaces and lines. The Vantablack VBx2 coating foregrounds these fundamental aspects of automotive design, without any distraction from light and reflections. I am very proud of how beautiful the new BMW X6 has turned out, including its bold and expressive surfaces. But the most remarkable evolution over the predecessor concerns its proportions. And that is precisely what Vantablack underscores, albeit in a rather unexpected fashion.
Hypothetically speaking, could you imagine Vantablack VBx2 becoming a regular paint finish option for people buying a car in the future?
Al Attar: Absolutely. BMW X6 drivers are among our most extrovert and free-spirited customers. If anyone were to opt for a Vantablack paint option, it would definitely be a BMW X6 driver.
Third-generation BMW X6 to start in November 2019.
The latest incarnation of the car that established the innovative and distinctive Sports Activity Coupé (SAC) segment will have its world premiere at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, from 12 to 22 September. The showroom launch will begin shortly afterwards, in November 2019. The third-generation BMW X6 employs a precise and exclusive design language to underscore its confident, dominant appearance. In addition, its advanced powertrain and chassis technology combines with numerous innovations to provide a uniquely sporty yet luxurious driving experience. Like its predecessors, the new BMW X6 is produced at the BMW plant in Spartanburg in the United States.
From 28 August 2019 visitors and automobile enthusiasts can experience a new permanent exhibition space at BMW Welt. Now it’s official: “Welcome to M Town!”, the new home of the BMW M brand. The innovative design concept is based on the marketing campaign with the same name. M Town, the digital and social communication platform, is the virtual dream city and home to all motorsports enthusiasts and fans of the BMW Group brand specialising in high-performance sports cars. The dynamic rhythm of M Town pulsates wherever you find passion for high-performance automobiles. Now you can also feel it at BMW Welt. The new space creates an extraordinary experience for visitors thanks to the unique combination of sophisticated design and state-of-the-art technology. “BMW Welt is more than just a home for individual BMW Group vehicles. We want to keep thrilling our fans and visitors with innovative and architectural highlights. The new BMW exhibition space now turns M Town into reality”, says Helmut Käs, Director of BMW Welt.
The new BMW M exhibition space is dedicated entirely to the most powerful letter in the world. Automobile fans with a passion for motorsports and design can discover the M Town way of life in a virtual town showcased with spectacular videos on bmw-m.com. Here everything focuses on the high-performance sports cars by BMW M GmbH and fascinating everyday driving experiences. An illuminated graphic display of M Town, which disappears into the distance perspectively on a large LED Screen, points the way to the virtual dream city. The elegant ceiling illumination made up of shining black and dynamically shaped jets, reflects the dynamic character of the vehicles on display. At the “Selfie Point” visitors can share their experience on social media and record their impressions under the motto “I finally found M Town at BMW Welt”. “M Town now also finds a very special home at BMW Welt. The newly designed exhibition space invites every car enthusiast to become a citizen of M Town for a short time”, says Markus Flasch, Director of BMW M GmbH.
The new exhibition space opens with the BMW X3 M Competition (fuel consumption combined: 10.5 l/ 100km; CO2 emissions combined: 239 g/km) in Donington Grey metallic and the BMW X4 M Competition (fuel consumption combined: 10.5 l/ 100km; CO2 emissions combined: 239 g/km) in Toronto Red metallic, which both combine the spirit of adventure with the exclusive high-performance claim of BMW M. Both cars are accompanied by the BMW M4 Convertible (fuel consumption combined: 10.2 l (9.5 l)/ 100km; CO2 emissions combined: 232 g (217 g)/km) in Individual Frozen Dark Blue II metallic and the BMW M5 Competition (fuel consumption combined: 10.6-10.5 l/ 100km; CO2 emissions combined: 241-238 g/km) in in Snapper Rocks Blue metallic.
The data at a glance:
“M Town” exhibition space:
When: From 28 August 2019
Where: BMW Welt
Admission: free of charge
© 2018 BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc. All Rights Reserved.