The annual Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is an event gathering some of the finest and most beautiful cars ever made. Last year the BMW Group gave us the MINI Superleggera at the Italian show – this year the BMW brand itself was star of the show. But is this ‘Hommage’ creation truly elegant?
Alongside cars including a 1971 Lamborghini Miura, 1958 Ferrari 250 California and 1956 Maserati A6G, classing this concept creation as beautiful becomes a fairly difficult thing to do. Line it up against a late Ford Scorpio or Fiat Multipla and it may come out as the ‘looker’ of the group but, by Lake Como last weekend, it was much harder task.
Designed as a tribute to the BMW 3.0 CSL of the 1970s, the CSL Hommage takes a load of styling cues from that car but attempts to inject modern BMW elements. So we get a gigantic kidney grille, which is meant to symbolise the power of the straight-six engine under the bonnet. Presumably, given the size of those nostrils, we’d expect it to have about 1,200bhp! To our eyes it ruins what could otherwise be a very good-looking concept car. The rest of the front end features some neat details – headlights with LED crosses in them to replicate tape on the lights of a race car – but looks overwrought next to the car it pays tribute to.
The sides are dominated by those wide wheel arches, with bodywork that flows up and over in order to channel air efficiently. There are further details in the shape of BMW logos on the C-pillar, side-exit exhaust tailpipes, and 21″ wheels featuring aerodynamic blades in them. We also like the neat design for the rear view cameras, dispensing with traditional mirrors for more increased aero-efficiency we imagine.
At the back, there’s a heavily stylised wide rump, that could actually do with something to break up the sea of ‘Golf Yellow’ bodywork. The dramatic taillights are LEDs of course, and there’s a carbon-fibre diffuser that somehow struggles to make its presence felt.
The interior is truly dramatic, with what must be a contender for the smallest steering wheel ever made. There’s also a pair of neatly trimmed bucket seats, whilst the rear features a special helmet holder and covers for the eBoost hybrid energy system. A fully plumbed in fire extinguisher is hidden amongst the swathes of carbon fibre, whilst wooden dashboard trim hints at the old 3.0 CSL.
Beyond the lightweight carbon fibre construction and 3.0-litre straight-six engine, BMW hasn’t revealed any technical details of the CSL Hommage. In reality, it doesn’t really matter, as this is truly just a concept car – albeit one which hints at more extreme lightweight BMWs in the future. Hopefully such cars will be slightly more beautiful than this one.