It's very much a good thing that no major automotive news broke yesterday afternoon, because it's virtually certain that the Autoblog staff wouldn't have noticed. Ford could've sold the rights to produce the Bronco to Stellantis and we all would've been happily clicking away on perhaps the greatest
day waster professional education exercise to come along in a very good time, possibly ever.
You see, a little bird at a dealership brought the "semi-secret" BMW Individual Manufaktur Visualizer to our attention. Basically, it's a site where customers can see all the possible special-order BMW Individual paint colors and other aesthetic options that can be added to most BMW models. It. Is. Incredible. And also quite frequently tacky, but that is absolutely part of the fun.
You can do this:
Or you can do that:
Or you can pretend you live in Europe and get that 5 Series Wagon you've been dreaming about for 15 years. And make it Imola Red like an E39 M5:
But let us be clear, this isn't just some funsy internet thing. You really can custom order any of these cars, provided the model is actually sold in the United States. So no 5 Series wagon, but that Java Green X7 is good to go. As you'll quickly discover, the possibilities are endless as well as equal parts awesome and eye-searing.
And as we spent the better part of two hours building BMWs to various degrees of taste, we figured we share what we managed to put together. To create some order, we each created two builds. One is an ideal build of car, color and option based on our own personal taste. The other is the tackiest damn thing we could come up with. The new 4 Series didn't make that hard. Enjoy! And thanks BMW Individual Manufaktur Visualizer for brightening our day.
West Coast Editor James Riswick
Ideal Configuration: BMW M5 in Venetian Violet with Aragonbraun interior
Despite all the fun, bright colors available and my general belief that loud colors are well suited to subdued automotive designs, somehow painting today's M5 Java Green or Voodoo Blue just seemed a bit tacky. But this Venetian Violet is something special. Though bold and colorful, it's also deep, rich and classy as hell. It pairs beautifully with Aragonbraun. In 25 years, everyone will be drooling over this sucker at car shows.
Tacky Configuration: BMW 730i in Verde Mantis with 17-inch wheels, blacked out grille, carbon fiber mirror caps and Fiona Red interior
And they'll be vomiting upon this one.
We love us some green cars here at Autoblog, and BMW Individual offers as many as 16 verdant shades, including on the 7 Series. Some are classics like Oxford Green and British Racing Green. And there are those like this, Verde Mantis. Yuck. Oh, but it's not just Verde Mantis carrying this ghastly display. It's the pairing of the always tacky blacked out grille and carbon fiber mirror caps juxtaposed against the rinky-dink 17-inch wheels. The orangey red interior really seals the deal. Good luck beating this one, guys.
Managing Editor Greg Rasa
Ideal Configuration: BMW M550i in Zanzibar II over Canberra Beige "Vernasca" leather
Man, so many great colors! The blues alone make it hard to choose. I always pick orange in these things, and both Sunset Orange and Fire Orange III are tempting. But Zanzibar is a bit more subdued. It might be handsome in real life — hopefully bronze, or as the name implies, the color of nutmeg or cinnamon. Plus, it's fun to say Zanzibar.
Tacky configuration: BMW M440i in Limerock Gray, and yeah, the interior's gray too
I played with some out-there colors on this configurator, like Mint Green or Velvet Orchid. But you know what: Even though this palette has a vast array of fantastic colors, it also has two dozen varieties of whites, grays and blacks. Two dozen! Why?! So here's a gray over gray car, like all the millions of other gray cars on the road. I say it's tacky to choose this. It's at least drab and bleak, when BMW is willing to sell you something cool. So come on, dealers and buyers, please stock and buy some colorful cars — live a little.
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer
Ideal configuration: BMW M8 Gran Coupe Competition in Boston Green with Merino Ivory White/Tartufo, Black interior
I was thinking of picking Zanzibar with this big M8 — Greg's M550i is gorgeous — but I ended up landing on a more colorful option. It's hard to go wrong with any of the darker greens in BMW's portfolio here, but I think Boston Green is the best of the bunch. It also plays nicely with all the carbon fiber and blacked-out trim on the Competition model. A contrasting interior was what it needed to really bring it home, so I chose this multi-tone look with largely lighter colors. It's also the only way to get something other than black on the dash, which is the extra spice the 8 Series needs to make its interior a little more special.
Tacky configuration: BMW 430i Convertible in Signal Green with Vernasca Tacora Red leather and decor stitching interior
Yes, I chose a 4 Series, too. It's the path of least resistance when it comes to unsavory BMWs, but this one is definitely the worst of the bunch. Just look at how hideous it is. I think Signal Green is easily the worst of the greens. It's somehow even more gross than Verde Mantis, and that's not easy. The chrome surround on its buck teeth, tacky black wheels, blue calipers and red leather interior are as far from complementary as they could be. It's like an ugly Christmas car. Maybe the Grinch would drive it.
Associate Editor Byron Hurd
Ideal Configuration: BMW M8 Competition in Metropolitan Blue over Merino Ivory White/Night Blue interior
Yeah, I included interior pictures on purpose, because I'm somewhat proud of these. I've been saying for years that my next car will be blue, and since first announcing that fact, I've purchased a green car, a gray car, a tan car, a purple car and a black car. Cool.
Since it's obvious that I'm only ever going to buy a blue car in fantasyland, might as well make good on it, right? Metropolitan Blue is the kind of deep color I like on a big car. It stands out without begging for attention. I love it. The dark blue interior accents round it out perfectly, especially against the white. Feels very nautical. I dig it.
Tacky Configuration: BMW X6 xDrive40i in Nardo over Cognac leather interior
The X6 is an odd duck. From some angles, it looks sleek. From others, it looks like somebody took a really great coupe profile and just stretched it taller in a cheap photo editing app. Love it or hate it, there's something we discovered while playing with this tool: The more outrageous you try to make the X6, the better it works.
So, this is the opposite. Nardo is a flat, almost battleship-grey finish that does nothing at all to flatter the X6's blunted styling. The Cognac interior works fine enough from the inside, but the heavy contrast of black-and-tan gets muted out of existence once you look at it from the outside. Can a car be both garishly ugly and completely anonymous just depending on where you're standing? I'm pretty sure this is proof that the answer is "yes."
News Editor Joel Stocksdale
Ideal configuration: BMW M4 in Atlantis with Yas Marina leather interior and aluminum trim
I went with an M4 for a couple of reasons. Reason No. 1 is that the base version comes with a manual transmission. Reason number two is because it's available with the wild Yas Marina blue leather interior with bright Sao Paulo yellow-green accents. And an interior color like that demands a matching exterior. I was split between Java Green and Atlantis Blue, but settled on the blue for its unusual pearlescent teal hue. It also seems a bit '90s, as does the interior design, which one of the editors likened (correctly) to a Starter jacket.
Ideal Configuration 2: BMW M8 Competition in Fire Red II with Sakhir Orange leather interior and grey ash wood trim
I didn't really want to make something ugly, and there were other color options I really liked, so here's another combo I'd go with. Like with the M4, I actually started from the inside, selecting the Sakhir Orange leather interior. I also paired with grey ash wood trim, since the color fit the orange, black and grey, but with a more unique and sophisticated finish than the aluminum and carbon fiber every performance car has. And that meant I needed to find an orange hue to match. Fire Red II is pretty much a dead ringer, and is almost a bright brick red. It appears to be a gloss coat, which should really pop on the street. I'd still prefer the M4 for the manual and the really over-the-top interior, but this M8 would be a close second.
Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski
Ideal Configuration: BMW M340i xDrive in Verde Ermes over Tartufo leather
I kept this one simple. The standard 3 Series looks so much better than the garish M3 that I had to downgrade on performance to choose an attractive car. Deep metallic green with a hint of yellow in the highlights is classically beautiful, at least I think so. I paired it with a brown leather interior.
Tacky Configuration: BMW 430i Convertible in Dakar Yellow over Tacora leather
Oof. It's just so bad, I don't know what to say. I actually think the M3 and M4 have even less attractive fascias than the standard 4 Series, but since the Ms are all blacked out I couldn't mismatch brightwork and blackwork like I could with the droptop abomination you see above. The chrome lipstick combined with the under-stache air opening is bad. The number plate smack dab in the middle is worse. The too-small wheels and red leather interior complete the tackiness trifecta. I'm sorry I made you look at it.