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BMW goes retro-futuristic with 2002 Hommage

Go with the flow: BMW appears to be expanding on its current ‘air curtain’ aerodynamic philosophy with the striking scoop-like front guards of its 2002 Hommage concept.

Celebratory concept inspired by 1973 BMW 2002 turbo previews future sports sedans


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23 May 2016

BMW has again raided its illustrious back catalogue to inspire another celebratory concept car, this time reimagining the 2002 turbo from 1973 – a model regarded as setting the Bavarian brand on the path of desirable sports sedans for which it is now famed.

Unveiled at the Italian Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este classic car show, held on the banks of Lake Como, the 2002 Hommage show car is clearly based on the two-door M2 pocket rocket that arguably already serves as closest spiritual successor to the original 2002 turbo in BMW’s current range.

Among the 70s-inspired graphics found on one mirror and the lower air intake, “turbo” badging up front, single-lens headlights set outboard of the shark-like nose, duck-tail rear spoiler above the blacked-out truncated tail-lights and period-referencing offset BMW badge placement, the 2002 Hommage is as forward-looking as it is retrospective, incorporating a number of design elements likely to appear on future BMW products.

With a chiselled, futuristic take on the original turbo’s chubby wheelarch extensions, BMW shows where its current aerodynamic thinking is going with flared front quarter panels sitting proud and serving as scoops that channel air in three directions.

Air is directed up past the headlights to flow along the car’s sculpted shoulders, through a deep channel inlaid with carbon-fibre along its flanks and down behind the front wheels in a development of the “air curtain” on existing BMWs that is designed to avoid the drag caused by turbulence in the wheelarch area.

The carbon-inlaid channel running down the concept’s sides continues across the top of the tail-lights and links with the panels separating the kidney grille from the headlights. BMW says this is a reference to the ring of chrome trim circling the bodywork of the original 2002.

Above the line is matte-finish paint, with gloss below, providing a subtle two-tone effect for the pale metallic shade of blue BMW calls Space Race Metal and describes as morphing “from brightly fluorescent blue to grey, depending on the incidence of light”.

More vents and ducts are located on the concept’s rear quarter panels, again designed to direct air around but draw attention to the driven wheels. A deep front air intake splitter, the aforementioned integrated rear wing and rear diffuser all contribute to maximising downforce.

Behind the two-tone 20-inch forged alloy wheels that reference the multi-spoke designs of race cars from a bygone era are huge gold-painted, M-branded brake callipers.

BMW head of design Karim Habib described the 2002 Hommage as “a very dynamic, striking use of forms for its own take on what is, for me, one of the most iconic vehicles in BMW history”.

“At the same time, it encapsulates BMW’s major motor sport triumphs, which were made possible by turbo technology. As such, the Hommage car brings together the past and future of BMW into a confident statement of unadulterated driving joy.”

Referring back to the 1973 original, BMW Group Design senior vice president Adrian van Hooydonk said the Hommage was the company’s “way of raising a glass” to the achievements of its once range-topping 2002.

“Exactly 50 years ago, the 02 range kick-started an era of success for BMW.

This compact coupe is one of the vehicles which made the brand what it is today,” he said.

“It was the first series-produced car anywhere in Europe to come with turbo technology. That set the seal on the coupe as a genuine sports car. At the same time, the 2002 turbo was at the technological vanguard of engine development at BMW.”

BMW’s Motorrad division also unveiled a Hommage concept, based on the 1935 R 5 500cc racing motorcycle. Compared with the 2002-inspired concept, the R5 is a decidedly retro-looking custom with smooth flowing lines and the brand’s iconic boxer twin engine proudly exposed and chromed.

The Munich-based firm also reprised a number of Hommage concepts from recent years and paired them with originals that inspired them, including the 2006 Mille Miglia Coupe concept, 328 Hommage, M1 Hommage, 3.0 CSL Hommage and Mini ACV 30. Representing Motorrad was the R 90 S inspuired Concept Ninety.

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