Going for the Gold: BMW Starlight Editions Get 24-Carat Paint Job

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
going for the gold bmw starlight editions get 24 carat paint job

There have been more than a few special editions of the BMW the i3 and the i8, usually incorporating some kind of special paint scheme. We’ve seen the hybrid coupe in Protonic Frozen Black, Protonic Yellow, and Protonic Red in the past. But now BMW is tapping its paint partner Toplac to create something beyond the pale — a pair of one-offs sprayed in 24-carat gold.

Though BMW’s scheme is actually fairly easy on the eyes, there just something irksome about a gold car. Gold-wrapped exotics are growing in popularity and usually the easiest way to spot the person you’ll most want to choke at a car meet. For example, YouTube prankster and New Jersey stereotype Coby Persin would frequently motor his own gold-covered BMW i8 into New York City to procure some unnecessary attention. In 2016, that vehicle was double parked on a busy Manhattan street with Persin sitting on the hood when an “angry motorist” came and hit it once on the windshield with a baseball bat.

Fortunately, the car was struck on the most easily replaced portion of the vehicle. There was also someone ready to film the incident, for no discernible reason. The video went viral, ended up being covered by major news outlets, and was later revealed to be a prank. Epic stunt, I guess. But it helps underline the point that gold cars are almost exclusively reserved for people with terrible sensibilities — the type that starts conversations with the word “yo,” repeat sentences three times to show enthusiasm, and have more money than taste.

That’s why it’s more than a little disconcerting to see manufacturers, dealerships, and businesses embracing the trend. Last month a Canadian dealership offered a new Aventador LP 750-4 SV Roadster in gold. Meanwhile, a New York-based company recently launched a rental business that offered metallic gold-wrapped vehicles in Jamaica as a New Jersey outlet doing the same expanded its domestic fleet. Hell, even celebrities are getting in on the action. Last year, Jamie Foxx had his Bugatti Veyron wrapped in a pirates’s booty and he was far from the only person to do so.

What sets the BMW’s apart from what is hopefully a short-lived fad, is that the gold i3 and i8 aren’t wrapped — they’re actually painted in real gold. In fact, you can see little flakes of the precious metal (provided by Liebscher Blattgold GmbH) embedded in the clear coat as the vehicles’ back half transitions to black. While the overall effect is still as subtle as an atomic blast, it’s interesting enough to hold your attention after the initial shock wears off. It took six layers of standard BMW paint and four layers of gold to achieve the look.

Dubbed the Starlight Edition, BMW Group Czech Republic says the models are limited to one each. Currently residing in a Prague showroom, the cars will appear at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on July 4th before being sold at a charity auction with all proceeds donated to the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97.

It’s easy to give these BMWs a pass, since they’re going toward a charitable cause, but we’re still worried it could embolden more rich people to get metallic-colored cars — vehicles that make simultaneously blind us with reflected sunlight and envy as we judge its driver over the trifling matter of poor taste.

[Images: BMW Grouop]

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  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jul 02, 2018

    24k madness?!

    • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Jul 03, 2018

      Haha, I think you mean 24k magic, it took almost a 1/2 day for the B&B to make a Bruno Mars reference. We're slipping.

  • LTDwedge LTDwedge on Jul 02, 2018

    Now I know what color to NOT paint my antique leather trimmed death wedge Biturbo, even if it does contrast nicely with the dead cow brown interior.

  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004