BMW just took the wrapping off of its latest concept car at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, a gorgeous and modern interpretation of the classic BMW 3.0 CSL of the 1970s, the 3.0 CSL Hommage. “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,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.
Looking at it in full for the first time is a bit shocking, a bit like waking to the sun in your eyes, due to its striking looks. But once your eyes start to calm down from the overwhelming angles and curves, you start to notice the subtle beauty behind the shocking fury of the Golf Yellow CSL Hommage.
The muscular front end and upright grille are reminiscent to the original CSL and its muscular racing design. There are ‘X’s designed into the twin-circle headlights, to evoke memories of the stickered ‘X’s on the headlights of long distance racing cars of yore. The size and protrusion of the massive kidney grilles nod to the power underneath the muscular hood. The way the fenders roll over and continue into the hood remind us of the fender flares on the original CSL.
From the front end, a continuous horizontal line runs the sides of the car. In profile, this line is seen across the entire length of the long wheelbase, giving the car a long, low and sleek look. Dark CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) sideskirts lend a visual gap between the bright yellow color of the bodywork and the pavement below. While the low hood and roofline, combined with the massive 21” wheels give the CSL Hommage a very low looking stance. You’ll also notice the side-mounted exhaust pipes mounted just in front of the rear wheels. The CSL Hommage even has BMW Roundels mounted at the base of the C Pillars, a throwback to the same design on the original CSL.
The rear end is where the CSL Hommage really comes alive, as the aerodynamic rear fenders form upward to create a rear wing between the both of them. An LED light bar runs the length of the wing down into the rear of the car and is a stunning piece of design. At the bottom, a CFRP rear diffuser lends a racing look to the rear of the Hommage. From above, the CSL Hommage shows off its curves, and you can clearly see how the car forms a ‘V’ at both front and rear ends.
The interior has been done in a minimalistic and race-inspired fashion. With lightweight, single piece racing seats with hand stitched leather, six-point racing harnesses and an aeronautic yoke style steering wheel, the CSL Hommage’s interior is as simple and elegant as they come but with a racing feel.The entire interior is made of CFRP, however a single piece that runs the length of the dash, behind the instrument cluster, is designed to look like wood. This is in reference to the wood-trimmed instrument panel of the original CSL. The Hommage’s instrument panel consists of only an electronic eBoost gauge and rev and gear counter. There is very little instrumentation or infotainment.
All in all, BMW’s 3.0 CSL Hommage is a stunning achievement in design. The design team, led by Van Hooydonk, has masterfully blended the rich history of the original 3.0 CSL racer with the style and technology of the future. It’s able to show us where BMW is going and also tell us where it’s been. Will the 3.0 CSL Hommage become something more than a stylistic triumph? We can’t know for sure. But we do know that this Hommage is a gorgeous example of BMW using the lessons it’s learned in the past to create cars for the future.