BMW has officially unveiled its new BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – the company’s tribute to the iconic Coupe from the 1970s.
“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.
In case you are wondering, “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. Unsurprisingly, then, it was predestined for a career on the race track. Whereas the material of choice in the 1970s was aluminium, today carbon fibre – or carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – offers the optimum weight-to-strength ratio. And the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage makes generous use of the high-tech composite, reinterpreting the concept of lightweight design for the modern age. Wherever CFRP is used, it is also visible – rendering the lightweight design principle tangible both inside and out.
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 BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage is a vision of pure athleticism: the elongated body is set off by distinctive air deflectors, powerful wheel arches and prominent spoilers to the roof and tail. Despite its size, the aerodynamic elements are key in enabling air to flow optimally along the sides of the vehicle. The front air deflector serves to vent the engine compartment, while wings over the rear wheels ensure optimum airflow around the vehicle. Small rear-view cameras serve to further reduce aerodynamic drag. The large rear spoiler increases downforce on the driven rear axle and in so doing improves power transmission. The Air Curtain and Air Breather systems guarantee optimum ventilation of the wheel housings. And the sheer self-confidence and sporting prowess of the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage are perfectly summed up in the original colour of its spiritual predecessor – Golf Yellow.
A particular detail of the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage is the roofline. Consciously subdivided into three, the line recalls the distinctive upper section of the BMW 3.0 CS. In keeping with the BMW 3.0 CSL, the Hommage features a BMW logo on each of the C-pillars.
A particular highlight in the rear end 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.
Inside, the interior is pared down to a minimum. All interior elements are there out of absolute necessity, every part has a high-quality design, 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. This is a clear reference to the interior of the earlier BMW 3.0 CSL, which featured an all-round wood trim throughout the interior. In the new version, 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.
There’s also a pair of bucket seats with six-point belt and red anodised safety features such as the outlet nozzles for the extinguisher foam, the fire extinguisher itself, and the two switches on the centre console for the emergency shut-off and fire extinguisher mechanism. There are no rear seats in the 3.0 CSL Hommage, with the space used for the eBoost energy accumulators. Two helmets that are integrated into the transmission tunnel.
No details have been released on the CSL’s powerplant, but it is safe to assume it is powered by one of BMW’s 3.0-litre straight six engines.