Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BMW i3: I See Your True Colors

Back in July I did a post on the i3's colors before they were initially announced. I found various pictures of i3's with partially covered with the blue and white swirly camouflage and pieced together what I believed would be the range of colors. I was close but not perfect,  and one of the things I got wrong was I had been calling the darker grey metallic paint Arravani Grey, when it actually turned out to be Laurel Grey. The problem is many other websites like bmwblog and Autoevolution picked up my posts and ran with them. That actually led to a lot of confusion as to which Grey is which, and months later it's still a point of confusion.

Some of the colors look different in different lighting so even these aren't perfect, but at least you can see all the colors next to each other in real photos, not illustrations like you get on the i3 online configurer. On the site, it's impossible to really distinguish between Arravani and Laurel Grey for instance. The Andesite Silver is interesting because in person I find that it can sometimes look like a beige-ish sliver, but other times not beige at all. One of the pictures below even captures what I mean. The Laurel Grey (which is my favorite) doesn't look as black in person as it does in pictures. In person you can clearly see the black hood is darker while some of the pictures make it look like the hood and the body panels are basically the same.

Capparis White w/BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Andesite Silver Metallic w/ BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Ionic Silver Metallic w/ BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Solar Orange Metallic w/Frozen Grey accent:

Arravani Grey w/BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Laurel Grey Metallic w/ BMW i Frozen Blue accent:

Note all of the colors come with BMW i Frozen Blue Accent trim except for the Solar Orange which has Frozen Grey. That's a good move because while it works for the other colors, I don't think the light blue trim would do well on an orange colored car!

Special thanks to BMWBLOG for providing many of the pictures to me for this post.

Peter Bark from the i3 Facebook group just posted a short video there with about twenty i3's lined up at a dealership in Amsterdam. All the colors seem to be represented but it's difficult to tell the difference in Arravani and Laurel Grey since the pictures are head on and only the colored bumper and a little of the side can be seen clearly: Here's a link to the video:  photo.php


  1. Outstanding, thanks Tom! Boy, you don't need much encouragement, do you? :)

    Glad to see some straight-on rear shots, as that's the angle I'm most concerned about. The more the better for us to make our decisions with. If anyone finds some more direct rear shots to complement the above, please post a link here as a comment.

    Coincidentally posted today, here's a short video showing the different colors from the front. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10202732295008461

    1. I was adding the video link to the bottom of the post when you commented Chris!

  2. Thanks for doing this. The BMW visualizer is not good for exterior colors. Real pictures are much better

  3. We should just go back to black and white television and photography, the way stereo and surround sound has been replaced these days by dinky mono speakers, as three of the four i3 "colors" are shades of gray. The fourth one is a traffic cone.

    1. LOL!!! I nearly fell off my chair! I've been thinking the only real color here is the orange, and yet the pictures Tom has posted here make that color look a lot like a CalTrans worker's shirt instead of the nice color it appears to be in BMW's official pix. (I haven't seen it in person.) And the two non-metalic (base) "colors" are refrigerator white and battleship gray. So yeah, I'll go along with you on this comment. Cheers! (Love the Scarlet Metallic Tintcoat on my 2011 Volt.)

    2. I can understand that it might be more difficult for BMW to offer a greater variety of colors on the i3 because they are molded rather than painted. Maybe for the next choices they could take a poll on their website under the heading, "If you could choose from any of these swatches, the color of your i3, which would it be?" Then perhaps they could offer the top 3, 4, or 5.

    3. Hi Robert,

      The thermoplastic panels are indeed painted. The panels are grey before painting (kinda similar to Arravani grey in fact). They may have to use a special paint because of the flexibility of the panels so the paint doesn't crack though. I was amazed how flexible the panels are. If you push hard on them they have a lot of flex and just pop back out.

  4. Currently on offer for other BMW models is a color called "Cashmere silver metallic" which is probably very close to how "andesite silver" looks on the i3. I personally would call it "sand" because it is dependent on the light - I.e. in low light it skews gray while some cloudless days, it definitely leans into the champaigne gold spectrum. Never shall I consider it "beige" nor "gold" ;-)

  5. It's probably worth pointing out that all 4 pics of Arravani are shown under heavy fluorescent lights from the motor show. The 'real life' photos (and the dealer colour samples) are also worth looking at for anyone considering this colour.

    Example here is an Arravani car recently delivered in Holland : http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5517/11582533686_f522bae88e_z.jpg