Making its debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa de’Este is the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage – as its name suggests, it celebrates the original Coupé Sport Leichtbau introduced in 1972, in much the same way that Munich’s 2008 and 2011 concepts referenced the M1 and 328 respectively.

Built to compete in the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC), the 3.0 CSL is iconic for its lightweight construction (aluminium bonnet, boot lid and fenders, plexiglass windows and reduced equipment trimmed over 200 kg off the regular CS), style (it had an aero kit so outrageous it was nicknamed the Batmobile) and successful race campaign (numerous ETCC championships, 1973 Le Mans class win).

A lot for the new show car to live up to, then. While there’s definitely a lot of presence, the exterior design feels a bit incongruous; next to the slim, boxy original, the Hommage looks big and voluminous, and some of the detailing – the enormous kidney grilles, the gurning lower air intake, the large swooping front wheel arches – seem crude and lack restraint.

That said, there are some stunning details, such as the slim laser/LED headlights (with cross graphics that harken back to the stickers protecting the lamps on endurance racers of yore), slatted fender vents, BMW badging on the C-pillar, i8-esque through holes under the rear haunches and fantastic LED tail lights that are joined across the enormous rear wing. The Golf Yellow paint is a call back to the CSL’s original colour, neatly sidestepping the clichéd Motorsport tricolour exterior scheme.

If the outside seems overwrought, the interior is a bang-on lesson in minimalism. The pared-back cabin is predominantly carbon fibre, broken up only by the wooden dashboard panelling that again recalls its forebear. There’s also an F1-style steering wheel, a minimalist display that serves as the instrument cluster as well as deep bucket seats with yellow highlights and a six-point racing harness.


Other neat touches include red anodised aluminium on the fire extinguisher, its outlet nozzles and its switch, as well as another switch for the emergency shut-off function. The integrated helmets on the transmission tunnel, aluminium structural elements and tricolour accents all around the interior round off the lovely cockpit.

BMW offered no real details as to what powers the Hommage, saying only that a straight six sits under the bonnet, assisted by eBoost – the hybrid system, stored under the rear shelf, displays its charge status through a central display on the dashboard.