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New BMW i5 Flow Nostokana is the latest on a long line of BMW ‘Art Cars’

The new car is a tribute to the 1991 BMW Art Car by Esther Mahlangu

It’s been almost 50 years since the first BMW ‘Art Car’ was unveiled with the 3.0 CSL providing a canvas for Alexander Calder’s bold creativity. Now, there’s a new one, but for BMW Art Car buffs, it’ll be immediately recognisable as the same design featured on the BMW 525i from 1991 by South African artist Esther Mahlangu

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The basis this time is the i5 - the first all-electric BMW to be given the Art Car treatment. Called the i5 Flow Nostokana (Nostokana being the name of  Mahlangu’s son), the car features ‘E Ink’ technology. This allows the sections of art along the side, bonnet and roof to be animated with “several million microcapsules in each E Ink film” producing colours and patterns that constantly change.

BMW showcased this technology back in 2022 in the iX Flow which had the ability to turn its exterior from white to black at the touch of a button. This was expanded on with the i Vision Dee which could produce up to 32 colours.

BMW says the sections of film are now more robust on the Nostokana, which could make series production of the technology easier. For the time being, the BMW i5 Flow Nostokana remains one of a kind according to the firm.

Mahlangu’s 525i in 1991 was the 12th BMW Art Car and several other famous artists have contributed designs to the Art Car series down the years, including Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons.

Cars are great canvases for artists, click here to see some of the best art cars created...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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