Thirty eager buyers each shelled out $77,600 for BMW's latest special edition of its 3 Series-based sports coupe, the M3 Frozen Gray. And now they might have to talk to their lawyers before taking delivery.
At issue: the unusual frozen gray paint, the one color option for this car. BMW doesn't want to be held responsible for improper maintenance or repair of the matte-finish hue painstakingly applied to these coupes, so the company is stipulating that all owners sign a memo of acknowledgement that BMW will not pick up the tab for paint repairs if proper care and maintenance procedures aren't followed to the letter.
Matthew Russell of BMW North America explains that this matte finish (think eggshell – a distant luster, but definitely not shiny) is the first in the M3's history that can't be waxed. That's right: waxing this paint would make it shiny, whereas the point is to convey a raw, aggressive nature – to highlight form without frill. Russell is confident that neither durability nor ultra-violet resistance are diminished with this finish, and claims it's just as sturdy as all other BMW paintwork.
Here are BMW's tips, paraphrased, for keeping the Frozen Gray M3's picky paint pristine:
- Automatic car washes are acceptable, but only those that do not apply wax. Prior to the wash, a thorough pre-cleaning with a high-pressure cleaner is recommended to remove all sand, dust, and other microscopic particles.
- Do not use varnish cleaners or wax. Their use on vehicles with matte paintwork will lead to serious damage of the surface (i.e. glossy, dappled spots).
- Never polish the vehicle. This can lead to glossiness.
- Remove insect leftovers, bird excrement, resins, tar spots, fuels and oils immediately. Use a soft sponge for removal and avoid strong grating and rubbing. BMW's "Care Series" insect remover and car shampoo are recommended.
- Mechanical damage (scratches, dents, etc.) or environmental damage (etching, scratches, etc.) should be repaired only in a certified professional workshop such as a BMW dealer.
BMW has clearly invested serious time and development into creating this special shade of gray. With so few M3 Frozen Gray Coupes produced, it would be a shame to add a sheen to even one.
Apart from being BMW's official salute to 25 years of its M3 (a big deal among BMW enthusiasts) and probably the only M3 model to sell out in 12 minutes flat, the M3 Frozen Gray Coupe is the same as all the other current-model 418-horsepower M3s. Which is to say that it's a light, tight and thrilling car to drive. Although basic black sounds really tempting.