Villa d'Este debut for straight six-powered open-air sports concept
21 May 2011

This is the BMW 328 Hommage, the latest show car offering from the German manufacturer to star at the Villa d’Este Concours in Italy.

The extreme open-topped two-seater is designed to commemorate the 75th birthday of the BMW 328 racing car, which still holds the highest average speed around the classic Mille Miglia circuit.

“With the BMW 328 Hommage, we wish to pay homage to the passion and inventiveness of the fathers of the BMW 328,” said BMW Group Classic CEO Karl Baumer. “They created an icon which is considered a milestone in the history of the automobile.”

The 3.0-litre straight six-powered concept makes extensive use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, a material already used by BMW in the M6 and M3, and one that’s likely to feature in its forthcoming range of i eco-models. Indeed, the show car’s bodywork uses the carbon weave pattern as a design cue; it’s not covered up by any paint, a move that also fits with the 328’s ethos of light weight.

The styling apes the looks of the original 328, incorporating key BMW design elements such as the double kidney grille - but there are also strong overtones from the Vision ConnectedDrive roadster that was revealed at the Geneva show earlier this year. The rear has a particularly angular tail, with lights that echo the look of the Vision ED eco-supercar that’s earmarked for production.

Other design cues include a slightly asymmetric windscreen - a nod to early racing machinery - and four leather straps which run across the bonnet, disappearing at the top of the side panels and then re-emerging near the deep surfacing at the bottom of each flank. In common with many racing cars, there are no doors.

BMW has declined to issue any technical details beyond the engine size and type, and no performance figures have been issued. Nor is the car likely to make production. But much of its styling language will influence the production Vision ED, and BMW’s MegaCity EV.

The Villa d'Este Concours is becoming a regular spot for BMW 'tribute' vehicles. In 2008 the firm used the event to showcase the M1 Hommage, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the iconic supercar.

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