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    BMW’s 3.0 CSL Hommage breaks cover #BMW-E9-Concept #2015

    BMW reinterprets the iconic CSL Batmobile for the Villa d’Este concours event Words: Bob Harper. Photography: #BMW .

    It’s becoming a bit of a BMW tradition to reveal a ‘Hommage’ at the annual Concorso d’Eleganza at the Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como and following in the footsteps of the M1 Hommage in 2008 and the 328 Hommage in 2011 we now have the 3.0 CSL Hommage that was unveiled at this year’s event. It’s a striking piece of design but as with the two previous Hommage cars it’s not destined for production, although it’s certainly possible that some of its design elements will make it on to future generations of BMWs.

    “Our Hommage cars not only demonstrate how proud we are of our heritage, but also how important the past can be in determining our future,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design. “The #BMW-3.0-CSL Hommage is a nod to the engineering achievement exemplified by the #BMW-3.0CSL-E9 in its lightweight design and performance. With intelligent lightweight construction and modern materials, the 3.0 CSL Hommage brings the character of that earlier model into the 21st century, showing it in a new and exciting guise,” he continued, summarising the approach the design team took with the #BMW-3.0CSL-Hommage .

    It’s a very arresting design and you’ll be able to make up your own minds as to which elements you like, but to our eyes the proportions look to be just about perfect and from the rear three-quarters, from above and in profile it’s stunning. We’re not 100 per cent sure about the front end though, with those over-sized kidney grilles looking a little out of place and we also feel that the front-wheel arch extensions don’t blend into the bonnet quite as effectively as the rear arches blend into the rear wings.

    There is some lovely detailing on the car and lots of design touches that give a nod to the original ‘Coupé Sport Leichtbau’. Golf yellow was an iconic colour for BMWs in the 1970s and it was one of only four colours that were offered on the original carburetted #BMW-E9 CSL when it was first launched. The black strips that run around the car’s waist are a nod to the past as are the plastic air guides that sit atop each of the front wings as are the BMW roundels situated at the base of the C-pillar by the Hofmeister kink. The hoop at the top of the rear screen and the large rear spoiler would have come as part of the ‘Batmobile’ kit in the 1970s – supplied in the boot to be fitted by the owner to satisfy both homologation and various European legislation requirements.

    It’s a little hard to get a sense of size when looking at the CSL Hommage but it’s a pretty big machine – on a par with the current M6 Coupé, although with the CSL’s wide-arched look it’s a fair bit wider. Wheels are on the large side too, 21-inches in diameter and wearing 265/35s up front and huge 325/30s at the rear. As this new machine is a homage to the original lightweight racer it should come as no surprise that BMW has used plenty of materials that reflect this. Back in the day aluminium was the material of choice but these days CFRP (carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic) offers the optimum weight-to-strength ratio and it’s used extensively in the CSL Hommage. The front spoiler is of CFRP and this helps to direct air to the engine and add downforce while at the side, the lower sill sections are also made of carbon. The car’s obviously spent some time in the company’s wind tunnels as BMW speaks about ‘air flowing optimally along the sides of the vehicle’ while the rear wing provides downforce and the cameras used in place of door mirrors help to reduce drag. BMW has also used its Air Curtain and Air Breather systems that we’re familiar with from the current production range to smooth airflow around the car.

    As is generally the case with its Hommage machinery BMW hasn’t given us a huge amount of information about power, torque or performance but we do know the #BMW-CSL is driven by its rear wheels and features a 3.0-litre turbocharged engine coupled to its eBoost system so we’d estimate that it would have just shy of 400hp which in a lightweight body should endow the Hommage with decent, if not groundbreaking, performance.

    The Hommage also has plenty of high-spec aspects – headlights are a combination of LED and laser lights, while the contoured and stylised rear light setup is also of the LED variety. Inside it’s also bang up-to-date with a very minimalist cabin constructed largely from #CFRP to keep the weight down and there’s just a simple sliver of wood that runs around the rear of the dash which is a nod to the original’s wooden dash. Instrumentation is pared down to the minimum with just a small eBoost gauge in place of where we’d normally expect to find an #iDrive display while the driver makes do with a small display which indicates the current gear, speed, revs and shift point.

    There are a pair of bucket seats with yellow detailing to echo the exterior paintwork and these have sixpoint harnesses. Elsewhere in the interior there’s a fire extinguisher but the rear seats have been banished in place of spaces to hold two helmets (secured in place by a strap when not in use) and there are a couple of covers for the #eBoost accumulator which have what BMW describes as ‘special reflector technology in combination with LED strips that create an impressive 3D effect’.

    There’s no doubting that the 3.0 CSL #Hommage is an arresting piece of design although we would have preferred something with a slightly less outlandish treatment to the classic kidney grilles. BMW reckons that what we have here is ‘the characteristic BMW kidney grille’ that ‘stands tall in citation of the more upright styling of the kidney grille of yesteryear. The size and spatial depth of the kidney grille symbolise the output of the powerful six-cylinder in-line engine with eBoost’. Whatever your view we’d certainly like to see some of the styling elements of this machine – perhaps somewhat toned down in areas – feature on the next generation of BMW road cars, and a pukka road-going CSL for the 21st century would certainly go down very well in our book.

    “Our Hommage cars demonstrate how proud we are of our heritage”
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