When BMW told us last month they’d be shooting a commercial for their spanking new Z4 involving fifty gallons of paint, a football field-sized canvas, the director Jake Scott (son of Ridley), artist Robin Rhode, and a Hollywood stunt driver, we naturally jumped at the opportunity to stop by Downey Studios in LA for a gander – bushfires and blistering November heat notwithstanding.
This was top-secret stuff, to be sure, and even our most endearing face didn't stop the men in black confiscating cameras, phones, and anything else capable of covertly snapping a shot of the brand's first ever hardtop convertible Z4, albeit one with high-pressure paint jets integrated into the back wheels and 39 video cameras positioned all around ready to capture the action from every angle.
What ensued was the 'art of driving' – literally – the car transformed into an oversized mechanical paintbrush, swerving, skidding, and racing its way around a giant white canvas, swashes of pink, grey, yellow, and blue jetting from behind like the whimsical smudgings of a giant toddler, the makings of a design by urban performance artist Robin Rhode (an original conceit, even for him) which, so the plan goes, will ultimately be dismantled and sold, piece by piece, as a rather unique work of art.
The magic of the process was somewhat tarnished by the constant CUT commands shouted by Scott from atop his towering yellow crane and the teams of technicians scurrying about tinkering with paint canisters, changing tyres, and adjusting cameras, renewing our respect for the wonders of post-production. Still, the colourful abandon of it all, the chance to whet our appetites with a sneaky first look at the new roadster, and the admittedly infantile satisfaction of seeing an expensive machine make a loud, splattering mess, was spectacle enough.
Click the play button at the top of the page for a look behind the scenes, featuring director Jake Scott and effects artist Jim Gill. The car's official reveal date was December 15 and it will go on sale next May. See our gallery above for more.