No, you’re not seeing double, there really are two ‘m’s in the name of BMW’s latest styling exercise, a two-seater roadster debuting at Villa d’Este. A sort of ‘Hommage’ by name, ‘homage’ by nature, if you like, as the new car is dedicated to the famous BMW 328 which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
The Bavarian company is justly proud of its heritage, though BMW is stretching the point somewhat to describe its pre-War 328 as one “considered the most successful and best-looking sports car of the 1930s”. Alfa 8C or Bugatti Type 57, anyone? It was a very modern design, that’s true, with a beautifully engineered straight-six that saw racing service well in to the 1950s and in coupé form won the 1940 Mille Miglia – which lends the ‘MM’ to the new car’s name.
Villa d’Este, the world’s most exclusive concours d’elegance, coming just a week after the running of the modern retrospective Mille Miglia event, was the perfect venue for the striking design created by a team led by top designer Adrian van Hooydonk. “Carbon is the material of the future,” he said, and extensive use is made of what was once a space-age material but is now seen in greater quantities throughout the automobile industry.
Many styling cues from the 1930s original are reprised in the Hommage. It has a strikingly vertical and pronounced twin-kidney grille. The wheels are two-part with ‘cooling holes’, and the windscreen is asymmetric; split and curving its centre, with the focus on the driver.
Unpainted, the carbonfibre bodywork has natural-colour leather ‘straps’ as if tying the bonnet down. It also features round headlamps, each divided into four individual bulbs with a ‘cross’ effect imitating the plastic tape used on racing cars in the 30s, 40s and 50s. There are no doors.
Inside the cockpit, only round instruments can be seen, many having a retro ‘stop watch’ look and feel. The instrument panel is fitted with two iPhones located in special holders. These offer additional display functions for the driver and co-driver.
The concept is all about style and possible future trends for the innovative Bavarian company – little is known about the running gear apart from the engine being a 3.0-litre straight six. What else.