Bimmer builds a 2002 for 2016

Drops styling hints and clues to future M2-based models

by GEORG KACHER

BMW used the recent Concorso Villa d’Este in northern Italy to reveal its latest concept car, the 2002 Hommage, which pays tribute to the pivotal 02 range launched 50 years ago. It was displayed alongside a 2002 Turbo.

Importantly, this concept car isn’t a designer’s self-indulgent, other-worldly flight of fantasy and looks more than a little productionready.

The company has admitted that the carbon-fibre adorned one-off is based on an M2, fuelling speculation that at least some of the parts showcased on the display car might eventually make it into M-Sport options lists. Under the bonnet is the M2’s twin-turbo 3.0-

litre six, satisfyingly un-silenced.

The Hommage rolls on entirely feasible 20-inch rims wearing production low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber (245/30 on the front and 295/30 at the rear).

An exposed carbon-fibre beltline mimics the chrome trim of its famous forebear; above the line the concept wears matte paint, with a gloss blue below. Single golden headlamps reflect both the monster front brake calipers – and also BMW’s golden past in motorsport – while ‘eyebrow’ indicators are also a nod to the original 2002.

Further aping its forebearer, a dramatic front splitter and equally dramatic flares and skirts belie a tame rear and an apparently bogstock interior treatment – lending further credibility to the suggestion that the exterior is a corporate toe dipped into the swirling waters of customer approval.

The original 02 models were light, nimble and wieldy; when fitted with a 2.0-litre engine to create the 2002, they quickly became popular with racers around the world, launching BMW onto the motorsport stage with an early form of fuel injection. Hans Stuck won the Nurburgring 24-Hour in a 2002. In 1973, a turbocharged 2002 appeared, becoming arguably the first successful blown production car, although thanks to the ’73 oil

crisis, only 1672 were built.

With the 2002 Hommage concept, BMW cleverly leans on the roots of its racing heritage and also points to the future, celebrating not only the 50th anniversary of its motorsport beginnings but the company’s 100th birthday too. Also on display in Italy were several other concept cars from the recent past, yet none have proven to be much more than attentiongrabbing styling exercises.

Despite this, we know BMW will reveal at least one more Hommage car next year. Whether that will be an open-top grand tourer along the lines of the 503 and 507, a recreation of the low-volume 1800 TI/SA based on the new 5-series, a 21st century remake of the BMW’s very first post-WW2 car, the 501 luxury saloon from the 1950s, or an all-new electric-powered bubble car under the Isetta badge, remains to be seen.

That the 2002 Hommage concept was penned by the Canadian head of BMW design, Karim Habib himself, lends credibility to suggestions that the car might, in part or in whole, be made available to buyers within the next few years.

We do know there definitely will be a 300kW-plus M2 CS which will indeed derives some more aggressive styling from the Villa d´Este showpiece.