When BMW first debuted the 2002 Hommage Concept, it was met with quite a lot of mixed reactions. Some loved it, some hated it and very few were on the fence about it. It was a polarizing car, that’s for sure. However, no one ever really thought that it would signal a possible production car. We all just thought it was another funky concept for BMW to show off. It turns out, though, that Karim Habib, BMW’s Head of Design, does indeed want to produce the funky concept.
Top Gear recently spent some time up close and personal with the 2002 Hommage, as well as Habib, and got more insight on the car. While based on the BMW M2, the only body parts that remain from it are the glass and the roof. Everything else has been replaced with carbon fiber body panels. According to Habib, BMW is sort of in love with carbon fiber at the moment and he would like to use the technology as much as possible moving forward. “That’s something we need more of. It’s a technology we have and it’s great. We find ways to use recycled carbon fibre, and be just as efficient, and I would like to use more of it. Hopefully the technology allows us to be quicker.”
Although doing such a car almost entirely in carbon fiber is incredibly expensive, that hasn’t scared off BMW from at least considering a small production run. “If we are to do a small run of these, they’d also be carbon fibre.” said Habib. “I don’t know if we will build this, and I don’t know if the people who buy them will be collectors or such, or those who actually would like to take it onto the racetrack.” to which he continued “But I would like to think they’d take it onto the track, because that’s what this car is all about,”.
Would it be unbelievably expensive for such a low-volume, carbon fiber track car? Yes, of course it would. But would people be willing to spend that sort of money on a BMW? “If you see today, the Astons, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces that people are prepared to pay millions for, I think it was never entirely sure if people were prepared to pay really big money for BMWs.” Habib seems to think so. “It seems there’s a market for it,”
There actually is decent business sense behind it. The 2002 Hommage Concept wouldn’t actually be all that difficult to produce. The body would be tough, yes, but the rest of the car is basically just an M2. It uses the same chassis, engine and gearbox as the M2, so it would be relatively easy for such a low-volume concept car. The only major difference between the 2002 Hommage and the BMW M2 is the exhaust, which comes from the M235i Racing.
Habib seems serious about the 2002 Hommage Concept’s production possibilities and it also seems as if he wants to keep pure driver’s cars around as long as possible. Many enthusiasts are afraid that BMW is going to far in the direction of technology and autonomy. And while that’s true in a sense, Habib seems to feel that BMW will always make pure driver’s cars for people who also want a toy to play with. “Autonomous driving is a big part of our future, and we will be building cars where driving is not your main assignment. But we think the brand can have both. We can do autonomous cars, but also, maybe it’s a specialist thing – we need more for people to have their toys for the weekend or to take on track.”
So despite the massive polarity of the 2002 Hommage Concept, it does give us quite a lot of hope. Hope that BMW will actually put it into a small production run, which would be amazing, and hope that the Bavarian brand won’t forget about us enthusiasts when autonomy takes over.[Source: Top Gear]