Black hole show star: new BMW X6 goes dark in Vantablack at Frankfurt 2019

Published: 10 September 2019

► The X5 in coupe form
► With light-up grille!
► UK prices from £59,340

Here’s an X6 with a difference. BMW has painted its coupe/crossover in Vantablack, the world’s blackest substance. It’s the first car to be coated in the stuff, and it’s beyond stealthy.

BMW X6 in Vantablack at the Frankfurt motor show 2019 - side view, probably, surrounded by spotlights

So much so that although designed to show off the new X6 at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, this fancy paint job ends up making a real life car look like a model you haven't quite managed to acquire yet in a gaming simulation. It is seriously black.

What is Vantablack exactly?

Vantablack VBx2, which now coats the car, is actually made of tiny carbon nanotubes that absorb light rather than reflect it.

BWW X6 Vantablack - rear view

The coating – which has a one percent total hemispherical reflectance – is so black, the X6 becomes two-dimensional to the human eye. It was originally designed to be used in space, but after being approached by BMW, Surrey Nanosystems decided to coat an X6 SUV Coupe, too.

Does that mean they liked the X6, or just wanted to paint it out of existence?

Either way, it’s certainly eye-catching, and draws even more attention to the crossover’s illuminated grille – a feature which is becoming an option on most new BMW cars… 

Keep reading for more on the standard X6.

BMW X6: what you need to know

Is that the time? We were due another BMW crossover, and here’s one right on schedule. This is the new 2019 BMW X6, the coupe version of the X5 SUV – and it faithfully follows the formula of its bigger brother, albeit with a lower, more hunkered-down profile. 

Perhaps our eyes have been eroded by the fussy lines of Munich’s recent releases, but in the same way the BMW 8-series Gran Coupe looks better than standard the 8-series, the X6 is quite handsome to these eyes. Maybe. 

Isn’t this basically an X5 coupe?

You’re not wrong. Just like some of the SUVs we’ve recently seen from Stuttgart, this is a ‘coupe’ version of the recently refreshed X5 – and that essentially means a near-identical front coupled with a redesigned rump, complete with plunging roofline. 

Get past the grilles – which can actually light up on this car – spin round to the back, and you’ll find a sloping roof and reworked rear lights. There’s more than a hint of 8-series Gran Coupe here, and it could suit the SUV/Coupe a little more than the X5’s design. You can remind yourself of what that looks like here. 

As for the grille? It lights up, and the illuminations are permanently on even when the X6 is moving. BMW says it’s triggered by opening or closing the car, but it also counts as part of the X6’s daylight running system so can technically be on at all times. If that's a touch too vulgar for you, it’s possible to turn off the feature in iDrive. 

What trims are there on the new BMW X6?

The new X6 will come in three trims in the UK: Sport, M Sport and M Performance, with varying levels of kit. Sport gets adaptive two-axle air springs, M Sport adds more aggressive bodywork and a throatier exhaust system, as well as high-gloss black trinkets inside and out to make it appear sportier, if that's your thing. The Sport gets 19-inch wheels, while the M Sport will roll on 21-inch rims. Expect more bits of dark plastic inside and outside the higher up you go.

The M Performance X6 sits at the top of the range, and includes an Adaptive M suspension, M Sport diff and uprated sound system among other bits.  

What about engines?

Like the X5, the X6 will launch with four different engines: two petrol and two diesel. A 523bhp V8-powered X6 M50i tops the petrol line, while a six-cylinder inline diesel – with four turbochargers and 395bhp – is the most powerful diesel on offer. It’s not clear yet if the petrol engine will make it to EU markets, since the same engine doesn’t in the X5. 

Below those two are an xDrive 40i and xDrive 30d, capable of 335bhp and 256bhp respectively.

What else?

As you’d expect, the X6 comes with all the safety features and other tech as the X5, so expect adaptive cruise, collision warning along with steering assistance with lane control capability. The car will also emergency stop if it thinks the driver is unable to control the vehicle, and it’ll eventually pull up on the hard shoulder.

Autonomous cars? They're here and now folks... 

The full UK specs of the new BMW X6 are as follows:


The X6 will start at £59,340 for the xDrive 30d, and rise to £60,320 for the entry-level xDrive 40i petrol. The M50d starts comes in at £74,335 while the range-topping M50i kicks off at £76,870.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast