I’m a fan of special-order colors. Ever see a Chevy ordered in Pontiac’s Verdoro Green? Or an Oldsmobile ordered in Dodge’s Plum Crazy? I have, and it’s somewhat neat to see. The day of paying extra for a non-production color are long gone for most “regular” cars, but fancy brands and special models (Corvette, anyone?) offer bespoke colors. BMW offers a program called BMW Individual for drivers who desire “expressive and exclusive” paint colors and finishes, and now the program has been expanded to include the controversially styled 644-hp XM plug-in hybrid “Sports Activity Vehicle.”
The German brand’s 29 year-old factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina (actually in nearby Greer) has “flexibility in the painting process,” so Bimmers built in the Palmetto State — XM and otherwise — have the option for special paint finishes.
Originally limited to BMW M models, “BMW Individual is a unique division of BMW M that focuses on creating special and bespoke BMW vehicles for almost any new BMW. There is a palette of over 165 custom exterior paint colors and four different finishes: non-metallics, metallics, Pearl Effect tones, and matte BMW Frozen finishes. “Within each of these finishes, there are even more unique treatments that require multiple coats or extended cure times, depending on the specific ingredients and features of each special color.” They are applied in a separate manufacturing process that eschews automated labor for manual. You can expect to wait approximately 8-12 weeks for your unique BMW.
BMW won’t handle just any swatch you submit, though we suspect some of the more prestigious models may have more flexibility in that regard. Pricing is dependent on the model and color.