Back in 1970s, the BMW 3.0 CSL represented a distinctive breed, with its lightweight engineering and nimble performance. To commemorate the iconic Coupe, BMW presented its modern day interpretation at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the BMW 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.
“The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage represents a nod to the engineering achievement exemplified by the BMW 3.0 CSL 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 says, summarising the approach the design team took with the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage.
The latest Hommage car is BMW Design Team’s tribute to the 3.0 CSL , where “CSL” stands for “Coupé Sport Leichtbau” (coupé, sport, lightweight).
With its aluminium bonnet, boot and wings, Plexiglas windows and equipment rigorously pared down to the bare essentials, the old BMW 3.0 CSL tipped the scales around 200 kg lighter than its sibling model, the BMW 3.0 CS.
To retain the lightweight credentials, the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage makes generous use of carbon-fibre- reinforced plastic (CFRP), reinterpreting the concept of lightweight design for the modern age. CFRP’s high-strength fibres are even lighter and stronger than aluminium.
Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design, explains the thinking behind the design of the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage: “For BMW designers like us, the BMW 3.0 CSL is a style icon. Its combination of racing genes and elegance generates an engaging aesthetic that continues to win hearts even today.
The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage celebrates many of those characteristic features, but without copying them. Indeed, some of the parallels are not immediately obvious. We wanted people to sense the family resemblance rather than see it straight off.”
The 3.0 CSL Hommage’s characteristic BMW kidney grille stands tall in citation of the more upright styling of the kidney grille of yesteryear, while the Laser light and LED technology aided, slim headlamps carry a stylised “X” inside them, which is a nod to the X-shaped headlamp stickers once used in long-distance racing. Two circular openings and a series of elongated slots pay tribute to other elements featured in the earlier car. The front air deflector serves to vent the engine compartment, while wings over the rear wheels ensure optimum airflow around the vehicle.
The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage’s roof-line has been consciously subdivided into three – the line recalling the upper section of the BMW 3.0 CS – one of the first coupés to feature a roof that did not flow into the tail compared with the ubiquitous fastback coupés of the day. In keeping with the BMW 3.0 CSL, the Hommage features a BMW logo on each of the C-pillars.
A continuous, horizontal line encircles the vehicle by way of paying tribute to a stylistic feature of the earlier BMW 3.0 CSL: its all-round chrome trim. The black 21″ alloy wheels in matt and high-gloss bi-colour versions employ air control blades in the interstices of the wheel rims to optimise aerodynamics. Small rear-view cameras serve to further reduce aerodynamic drag. Massively flared wheel arches and prominent spoilers to the roof round the sides off.
At the back, a particular highlight is the styling of the rear lights: an LED strip above the spoiler links the two lights, thus giving the rear end a formal framework. The powerfully sculpted rear apron with CFRP diffusor creates a visual impression of the BMW 3.0 CSL’s raw power. The large rear spoiler increases downforce on the driven rear axle and in so doing improves power transmission.
The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage dons the original colour of its spiritual predecessor – Golf Yellow.
The interiors are a show in lightweight design, are a pared down to a minimum. All interior elements are there out of absolute necessity, every part has a structural or drive-related function. In the all-CFRP interior, the only wood-like presence is the “instrument panel” – a cross-member and purely structural element.
Only the small central eBoost charging display interrupts the wooden instrument panel. Infotainment is equally minimalist in concept: a central display on the steering column informs the driver of the current gear, speed, revs and shift point.
Other racing features include bucket seats with high-quality stitching, a six-point belt and red anodised safety features such as the outlet nozzles for the extinguishing foam, the fire extinguisher itself, and the two switches on the centre console for the emergency shut-off and fire extinguishing mechanism.
The only elements in the rear of the vehicle are two helmets integrated into the transmission tunnel. These are held in place by a belt when not in use. In the place of a rear seat bench, there are only covers for the eBoost energy accumulators.
Meticulously crafted aluminium sleeves add high-quality accents at the junctions between individual structural elements. The door openers combine a DTM-style pull strap with the elegant handle-integrated opener of the earlier BMW 3.0 CSL, resulting in the hybrid solution of a nylon pull strap located directly behind the grab handle in the door.