What Color Is BMW Carbon Black? (And Should You Get It?)

What Color Is BMW Carbon Black? (And Should You Get It?)

If you’re speccing a BMW, you’re likely aware that the choices in color aren’t just about “red” or “blue.”

No, BMW takes it a notch higher.

Among the options BMW offers, one of the colors that stands out is Carbon Black.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “Black is black, right?”

Ah, but Carbon Black isn’t just any regular black.

During my first encounter with this shade, it reminded me of that midnight sky on a clear, starry night. Sometimes, it’s as deep as the night, and at other times, it has this mesmerizing blue hue, especially under the sun.

If you’re picturing it, just know it’s even more captivating in person.

But, like every color, it has its quirks and features that might make you adore it or maybe opt for something different.

Either way, we’re here to explore it together!

What is BMW Carbon Black?

Have you ever looked at a BMW and thought, “Is that blue? Or is it black?”

That’s the charm of Carbon Black:

BMW E46 M3 in Carbon Black - side view

BMW Carbon Black is a metallic paint color that, depending on the lighting conditions, can look like dark black or black with glimpses of a deep blue.

Carbon Black is a shade that’s available only with the M Sport package.

Under the midday sun, you’ll catch glimpses of a deep, rich blue in Carbon Black. It’s not in-your-face, bright blue but a subtle, elegant hue.

But when evening comes, Carbon Black changes into a deep, dark black. Imagine the color of the sky just before complete darkness sets in. That’s the shade we’re talking about.

Now, for the enthusiasts who love getting into the details, the paint code for BMW Carbon Black is 416.

If you ever decide to get some touch-up paint or discuss this shade with an expert, knowing this code can be super handy.

7 Examples of BMW Models painted in Carbon Black

When it comes to colors, pictures say a thousand words!

So, let’s check out some BMWs painted in Carbon Black:

1. BMW X5 M

BMW X5 M in Carbon Black - front
BMW X5 M in Carbon Black - rear

2. BMW M3

BMW E46 M3 in Carbon Black - front
BMW E46 M3 in Carbon Black - side
BMW E46 M3 in Carbon Black - side/rear

3. BMW 4 Series

BMW 4 Series in Carbon Black - front

4. BMW X6 M Competition

BMW X6 M Competition in Carbon Black - front
BMW X6 M Competition in Carbon Black - rear

5. BMW X3 M

BMW X3 M in Carbon Black - front closeup

6. BMW X7

BMW X7 in Carbon Black - side view

7. BMW X5

BMW X5 in Carbon Black - side view

Should you choose Carbon Black for your BMW?

With so many amazing BMW colors, Deciding on one is challenging.

Each option has its allure, and each carries its unique experience.

When it comes to Carbon Black, there are several things to consider:


  • The ‘Wow’ Factor: Let’s start with the obvious. Carbon Black, with its metallic shimmer and chameleon-like ability to switch between deep blue and rich black, is spectacular to see!
  • Exclusive: With its tie-in to the M Sport package, choosing Carbon Black not only gives you a captivating color but also an exclusive package of sporty enhancements.
  • Versatility: Whether heading to a classy event or just out for a casual drive, Carbon Black fits in everywhere. It’s a shade that is timeless and elegant.

Things to consider

  • Maintenance: From the experience of many Carbon Black BMW owners, it can be a tad high-maintenance. While its rich hue is fantastic when clean, it does tend to show off dirt, stains, and the occasional bird’s ‘gift’ quite prominently. Think of it like a beautiful, glossy piano. Gorgeous? Absolutely! But those fingerprints? They stand out.
  • Color perception: If you want a consistently ‘black’ car, be prepared for occasional comments about your ‘blue’ BMW. The shade shift, while stunning, might not be for those who prefer a straightforward color.
  • Availability: Remember, it’s linked with the M Sport package, which might influence the overall price and features of your vehicle.

Ownership experiences

Carbon black for myself, looks great in person and is different from the sea of black vehicles on the road. IMO the shadowline package contrasts perfectly as well with the color as well. I flipped between Black Sapphire Metallic and Carbon Black for awhile before I settled, no regrets and knew instantly I made the right choice when I picked the car up.


I love Carbon Black…..but the dirt/dust thing just kills it for me. Had an M3 in carbon Black and it was a nightmare to keep clean and it really got old – having to see dust on it 3 days after a hard polish or clean.


We liked the Carbon because of the subtle blue undertone but the car we test drove (which had Carbon Black paint) was clean when we got it and not so clean anymore when we gave it back after a day of driving around with it, so it was deemed a bit too high maintenance.


BMW Carbon Black vs. Sapphire Black Metallic

This is a popular debate for many BMW enthusiasts: Carbon Black or Sapphire Black Metallic?

While both might seem similar at first glance (after all, they’re both “black”), there are subtle yet defining differences that separate these two iconic colors:

BMW X5 in Carbon Black (Top) vs. Sapphire Black Metallic (Bottom)
BMW Carbon Black (Top) vs. Sapphire Black Metallic (Bottom)

The main difference between BMW Carbon Black and Sapphire Black Metallic is that Carbon Black can shift from a deep, dark black to a radiant dark blue, while Sapphire Black Metallic is a purer black shade with metallic flakes that give it a deep sparkle under sunlight.

In short, Sapphire Black Metallic is a ‘blacker’ black than Carbon Black.

When it comes to maintenance, both shades demand significant care, but Sapphire Black is a little bit more forgiving.

To choose one, consider the following:

  • Do you want a color with a hint of surprise, changing with the lighting? Go with Carbon Black.
  • Or do you lean towards the timeless elegance of a true black? In that case, go with Sapphire Black.

Here is an ownership experience that might also help:

I picked my Carbon Black 45e M sport and M Sport Pro pack (black optics) and it was parked next to a Black Sapphire Metallic in near identical spec. Looked far classier and I don’t have any regrets, it’s a fantastic colour that gets loads of compliments. There’s a reason it’s been an M Sport colour for 20+ years…. Regular Black is never a bad choice on any car but the Carbon Black just gives it something extra.


BMW Carbon Black vs. Tanzanite Blue II

Ah, now here’s an exciting comparison.

Let’s compare Carbon Black against a shade that openly embraces its blue essence: Tanzanite Blue II.

The main difference between Carbon Black and Tanzanite Blue II is that Carbon Black only shows its blue tint in bright sunlight, while Tanzanite Blue II always shows a deep, luscious blue, even at night.

BMW M3 Competition in Tanzanite Blue II Metallic
BMW M3 Competition in Tanzanite Blue II Metallic

Being a more vibrant and distinctive color, Tanzanite Blue II tends to mask minor imperfections slightly better than Carbon Black. While still requiring care, the bold blue is more forgiving in everyday scenarios.

BMW M3 Competition in Tanzanite Blue II Metallic - closeup
BMW M3 Competition in Tanzanite Blue II Metallic (Closeup)

When it comes to choosing between the two, are you someone who enjoys the layers and depth of ever-changing hues, or do you prefer the bold clarity of a shade that knows exactly what it is?

More BMW color guides

Interested in learning more about BMW colors? Take a look at our articles below:


Alright, let’s wrap this up, shall we?

We’ve discussed Carbon Black, Sapphire Black, and Tanzanite Blue II.

Each has its own appeal. Carbon Black with its fun swings between deep blue and black. Sapphire Black with its classic, always-stylish vibe. And Tanzanite Blue II? Well, that’s like wearing your favorite bright blue shirt that always turns heads.

In the end, remember it’s YOUR car and YOUR choice. Go with what feels right for you.

Maybe you love the way Carbon Black changes in different lights. Or perhaps you’re all about that pure, no-nonsense black of Sapphire. Or, hey, maybe you love to stand out with Tanzanite Blue II.

Good luck with your choice!

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