Every year, BMW introduces at least one new concept at the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance that takes place in Italy. These concepts generally differ from the ones the Munich-based automaker displays at major auto shows in cities like Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt, Detroit and Beijing because they’re design studies that pay homage to BMW’s past. In other words, they’re designed for enthusiasts like us, not for buyers shopping for a family-friendly crossover.
This year, BMW is paying homage to the iconic 3.0 CSL that raced in the 1970s with a concept appropriately dubbed 3.0 CSL Homage. The coupe features roughly the same window line as the original 3.0 but the front and rear fascias are decidedly modern. Karim Habib, BMW’s design chief, says this was done intentionally.
“We wanted people to sense the family resemblance rather than see it straight off,” explains the designer in a statement.
Up front, the coupe boasts a tall kidney grille reminiscent of the BMWs of yore and a deep front bumper with an integrated splitter. The side profile is characterized by chromed fender vents that hark back to the CSL, side skirts and small cameras in lieu of mirrors, while the rear end gets a spoiler above the rear window, thin LED tail lamps and a large trunk-mounted wing.
The coupe is finished in an eye-catching shade of yellow called Golf Yellow with retro-inspired black stripes that run from front to back. The 3.0 CSL Homage makes extensive use carbon fiber, a manufacturing technique gleaned from BMW’s i sub-brand.
The retro-flavored treatment is noticeably toned down in the cabin, where the concept packs a futuristic-yet-minimalist cockpit with a digital instrument cluster and a flat-bottomed/cut-top multi-function steering wheel. The passengers sit on bucket seats upholstered in black leather with yellow stitching, while acres of bare carbon fiber hint at the CSL’s lightweight construction.
BMW says the concept is powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain built around a straight-six engine, but full technical details are not available.
Like most of the concepts that BMW presents in Villa d’Este, the 3.0 CSL Homage is merely a design study that will not see the light that awaits at the end of a production line. However, certain components (notably the gas-electric drivetrain) could eventually trickle down to BMW’s regular-production models over the coming years.