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BMW’s anniversary Hommage

Design hints: The 328 Hommage, revealed at the Italian Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este classic car show, shows how BMW's lightweight construction will develop in the future.

More clues to future BMW roadsters in familiar-looking 328 Hommage show car

23 May 2011

BMW moved a step closer to revealing the look of its next roadster with the 328 Hommage show car that debuted at the Italian Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este classic car show, held on the banks of Lake Como.

An obvious reinterpretation and evolution of the Vision ConnectedDrive concept from this year’s Geneva Show, the 328 Hommage is a 75th anniversary tribute to the original BMW 328 race car of the 1930s, which in 1940 – in Touring Coupe form – set an average speed record on the historic Mille Miglia open-road endurance race held in Italy between 1927 and 1957.

Hailed as an interpretation of how the designers of the original 328, Fritz Fielder and Rudolf Schleicher, might have built the car today using modern technology, the Hommage is largely constructed of carbon-fibre.

BMW said the 328 Hommage shows how the brand’s lightweight construction will develop, with carbon weave visible throughout the car.

Proudly displayed on all parts made of the high-strength, low-weight material, the exposed weave pattern is carefully aligned and matched where it meets, like the fabric of an expensive shirt – and, of course, the lack of paint helps to further save weight.

BMW claims to be a leader in the use of carbon-fibre technology and its i3 city car will have an all-carbon passenger cell.

14 center imageThe brand has also used carbon-fibre for the roof of its M3 and M6, while the Mini Rocketman Geneva concept was largely made of carbon-fibre and, similarly to the Hommage, used the exposed weave for aesthetic purposes.

Compared side-by-side with the Vision ConnectedDrive concept, the 328 Hommage shares the same overall shape and the silhouette of both cars is almost identical, with just details giving the 328 Hommage its retro appeal.

Side-on, only the pepper-pot alloy wheels with chrome ‘butterfly nut’ hubs and retro leather straps differentiate the retro Hommage from the forward-thinking Vision ConnectedDrive concept. Whereas the latter’s doors lower into the sills, Z1-style, the Hommage is open-sided.

The bluff front end and the general shape and surfacing of the two cars is shared, with the 328 Hommage echoing the circular headlights of its classic antecedent – even mimicking the black tape crosses applied to race vehicles – and a pronounced old-style kidney grille of machined aluminium thrusting forward.

Where the Vision ConnectedDrive featured a windscreen that cascaded forward along the bonnet, the Hommage stays faithful to the current BMW styling language with its bonnet bulge, but finishes off with an asymmetrical windscreen, faux bonnet-fastening straps and clips to pay respect to the car that inspired it.

BMW provide little technical information but indicates the Hommage is powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six engine.

Around the rear, fat exhaust tips protrude each side of the number plate, proclaiming the car as internal-combustion powered, in contrast to the distinctive lack of exhaust outlets on the Vision ConnectedDrive.

Both cars share the scoops behind the seats but, apart from a retro-styled protruding filler cap, the rear-end treatment of the Hommage is more resolved than that of the Vision ConnectedDrive.

The upswept, curved tail-lights are slimmer and the outer surface of the rear guards continue back to give the effect they are floating, rather than folding round to meet the rear fascia, though in a less dramatic way than seen on the Vision EfficientDynamics concept from the 2009 Frankfurt show.

The Hommage’s minimalist interior is a further source of similarities, both cars featuring an identical gearlever and iDrive controller and similarly cocooning the driver in an upholstered cell.

However, the Hommage eschews the Vision ConnectedDrive’s digital screens and head-up display in favour of a more traditional instrument set, although this is joined by a pair of iPhones in special aluminium holsters that turn them into timing devices and GPS roadbooks.

In 2008 BMW used the same event to unveil a 30th birthday tribute to the original M1 sportscar with the M1 Hommage, featuring many design cues linking it to the original but also previewing design elements that appeared on the Vision EfficientDynamics concept in Frankfurt the following year.

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