The BMW 328 Hommage debuted this weekend at the 2011 Concorso d’Eleganza Village d’Este, blending BMW’s racing history with such postmodern touches as iPhones and stirring up a bit of controversy in the process. The one-off celebrates the 75th anniversary of the BMW 328, but some Monday-morning quarterbacks griped about the appropriateness of mixing old-school faux leather straps on the hood with high-tech carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. One Internet critic carped that the BMW 328 Hommage is a “hand-me-down concept” with elements that “seemed like forced attempts to make a stylistic connection with the original 328.”
In a statement, BMW explained that the wedge-shaped BMW 328 Hommage was designed to “pay homage to the passion and inventiveness of the fathers of the BMW 328.” The concept is equipped with a 3.0-liter inline-6 engine, but the main point seems to be the extensive use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The distinctive diagonal weave of the material serves as a design cue inside and out and keeps the vehicle’s weight down to an impressive 1,720 pounds.
The focus is on minimalism inside and out with the BMW 328 Hommage. The concept skips doors in favor of what BMW calls “deep recesses” that provide entry into the cabin. Instrumentation in the cabin is limited to a circular tachometer. The removable iPhones in the cabin function as stopwatches for measuring lap times.
Other racing-inspired cues include four-point seatbelts and an emergency switch between the two seats that turns off the vehicle’s electronics.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.