The latest tribute from BMW evokes the iconic style of the seventies, and bridges the gap between the past and the future.
The front makes a bold statement with the word turbo written in its trademark font – which means that one look in the rear view mirror from the driver in front is enough to make him move over instantly.
Before I get carried away talking about this bold and beautiful car, let me give you some background. In the early seventies, drivers dealing with the oil crisis were more likely than not to shun, rather than embrace, such bold statements. Despite this, there was one car that caused a bit of a stir – the BMW 2002 Turbo. With 170 horsepower, it came out of nowhere. Just 1,672 units were made, of which very few have survived the burden of time (not to mention the lashings of over three decades of rain).
Try to search for one now, and you’ll come across a handful in Europe – but they’ll run you in excess of 50 thousand Euros. So the logic behind the Hommage series is justified, as a tribute to BMW’s first production car with a turbocharged engine. Of course, it’s no surprise that it comes in the same year that BMW is celebrating 50 years of its 02 Series – the two-door version of their ‘New Class’ sedan designed by Giovanni Michelotti and Wilhelm Hofmeister, both of whom left an indelible mark for decades to come.
Living up to tradition, and to one’s own history, is not an easy task – especially if you manufacture vehicles for a living and have been in the business for almost a century. When you have an impressive legacy, the temptation of drawing from your past can be almost overwhelming. However, within the BMW range, we’ve only rarely seen re-editions, reinterpretations, and revivals of some of the most highly appreciated models from the years past – in fact, the only one that comes to mind is the Z8 from 1999, inspired by the 507 of 1955. BMW keeps a subtle and formal link, barely visible, with its heritage – the twin kidney grille, the round headlights, and the kink in the C-pillar (the Hofmeister kink).
It’s impossible to talk about this car without going into details about the model that forms its inspiration. The entire car is full of citations, starting from its carbon panels that divide the body into two parts – as well as the sharp crease running through the side, which mimics the chrome band from the 2002. Every detail has an explanation, a link. For instance, the upper part of the body is matte – recalling the sixties, when sport cars were varnished in this way to avoid the reflection of the sun. The wide wheel arches is another cue that comes directly from the 2002 Turbo, while the air dam in the front and the ducktail boot spoiler in the rear all serve very functional aerodynamic purposes.
Despite the significant number of historical references (of which there are plenty, as you keep discovering while looking at this car), the 2002 Hommage leaves a modern and plausible stylistic mark. The team managed by Adrian van Hooydonk, the Design Head at BMW, has managed to merge the past, present and future of the Bavarian brand in a single car. The Hommage concept seems to spell out pleasure of driving – maybe because the platform for this concept comes from the M2, which is one of the most lively and exuberant cars on sale at the moment, or maybe because the styling language follows the typical BMW trademarks that have cemented this sense in our collective psyche.
This BMW 2002 Hommage from 2016 is being chased down by a 2002 Turbo from 1973, which was the first BMW production car fitted with a turbocharger. It could generate over 170 horses back in the day.
With this concept, BMW imagines what a sport car of the future might look like. Each historical reference has been revised in a modern vein.
In profile, you notice the proportions of a BMW M2 emerge – the machine that forms the basis of this concept.
HOMAGE TO ITS ROOTS
BMW concept cars of the Hommage series (and not just those) “declare how proud we are of our roots, and, at the same time, how important our history could be for forging our future,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Design Head for BMW. For him, the “Hommage cars transfer their peculiar character into the present era, from both a technical and stylistic point of view.” Proper icons of their time, revisited in a modern key, the Hommage series of machines were assembled in May for the first time at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este. To highlight the unveil of the 2002 Hommage and the R5 Hommage earlier this year, the Mini ACV 30 of 1997, the Concept Coupé Mille Miglia (2006), M1 Hommage (2008), 328 Hommage (2011), the Concept Ninety bike (2013), and the 3.0 CSL Hommage (2015) were all on display together.
DATES TO REMEMBER A HUNDRED YEARS OF THE TWIN PROPELLER
From March 7, 1916 to March 7, 2016, a company from Munich, which was once an engines manufacturer for planes, is now a global giant that produces cars and motorbikes. It’s hard to sum up a hundred years of history in two pages, especially when the protagonist is BMW.
1916 March 7
Gustav-Otto-Flugmaschinenfsbrik (which manufactures aircrafts) first becomes Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG, and then, in 1922, Bayerische Motoren Werke. Thus making March 7 the birth date of BMW.
In July, Rapp-Motorenwerke GmbH, founded in 1913, is registered as Bayerishe Motoren Werke. By the end of the year, the white and blue trademark inspired by an aircraft propeller is registered.
1922 July 6
As mentioned, (see 1916),
Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW) changes its name and logo to Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW).
1923 September 28
The first motorbike by BMW, the R 32, is launched at an auto show in Berlin.
1928 October 1
BMW acquires Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, where the Austin Seven is built under license – thereby making it a car manufacturer.
1932 March 1
After having signed the licensing contract with Austin, BMW introduces the 3/20 PS – the first car to be designed in-house (with a 4-cylinder engine and a two-door steel body).
1933 February 11
For the first time, the brand introduced a six-cylinder engine and the twin kidney grille – both innovations featured on the 303, launched at the Berlin auto show.
At the Geneva motor show, BMW introduces the 502 – the first production car in the world to feature a fully alloy V8 engine. In October, it gets the license from Iso to manufacture the Isetta (marketed as the Motocoupé), which turned out to be one of the best selling BMWs of the 50s.
In December, a group of minority shareholders prevents an acquisition by Daimler-Benz. Herbert Quandt, a majority partner, commits to ensure the independence of the company. Meanwhile, with the 700 Coupé (see photo), BMW gets ready to become a large-scale manufacturer.
1961 September 21
At the Frankfurt auto show, BMW launches the 1500 – it’s so-called ‘Neue Klasse,’ which later became the 5 Series.
1965 June 18
With the last shares of BMW Triebwerbau transferred to Man, the company puts an end to its adventure in the aviation industry.
This marks the first 50 years of operation, and the launch of 1600 and 02 Series.
1967 January 2
After the acquisition of Hans Glas GmbH, BMW starts manufacturing the Goggomobil micro cars.
BMW re-enters the luxury market, with the 2500 and 2800. For the first time, the annual production exceeds 100,000 units.
The heir to the 5 Series, the Neue Klasse, inaugurates the new nomenclature adopted by BMW models. Rosslyn, South Africa, sees the first manufacturing plant abroad. And the 1602 Elektro, employed as a support vehicle during the Olympic marathon, is the first electric car featuring a twin propeller.
1973 March 18
Official inauguration of the new administrative headquarters in Munich – with offices based in the ‘four cylinder’ structure and a museum based in the ‘bowl.’
1975 June 30
The 3 Series replaces the 02 Series. It goes on to become the best selling family sedan among the BMW range.
With the 6 Series Coupe, the expansion of the range goes on. The following year welcomes the arrival of the flagship 7 Series.
1978 October 5
With the M1 (which has a mid-mounted engine producing 277 horsepower), the M-era begins.
The 524d becomes the first diesel powered BMW (in-line six cylinder turbo producing 115hp). Nelson Piquet becomes the F1 world champion on board a Brabham BMW.
1985 September 12
Launch of the 325ix, the first all wheel-drive BMW, and the M3 – one of the most successful sport cars of all time.
1987 March 5
The engine of the 750i is the first 12-cylinder to be produced in a German factory since the end of the war.
1994 January 29
BMW acquires from British Rover Group, and the trademarks of Rover, MG, Land Rover and Mini.
The parent company starts the complex acquisition of Rolls-Royce.
1999 January 10
The X5 is the first sport activity vehicle of the brand.
2000 May 9
BMW AG sells the Rover Group, but retains the brands of Mini and Land Rover. The latter was subsequently transferred to Ford.
2001 September 13
The fourth generation of the 7 Series marks the debut of the iDrive interface.
2003 January 3
Rolls-Royce becomes an official part of the BMW Group.
2004 September 25
The first compact BMW – the 1 Series is launched.
2011 February 21
BMW launches the i brand. The electric i3 (see photo) was manufactured in Leipzig starting from September 2013. In June 2014, deliveries of the hybrid sport car – the i8 – begin.
2015 June 10
The sixth generation of the 7 Series introduced at BMW Welt, marks an important technological leap.
2016 March 7
At Olympiahalle in Munich, celebrations for the centenary start.
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