While at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d'Este (yeah, we're roughing it here) we grabbed BMW Group chief of design Adrian van Hooydonk for an interview about his team's latest two-person open-top concept car, the 328 Hommage.
The 328 Hommage marks 75 years since the launch of the gorgeous 1930s icon, the 328, and carries on the tradition of that car in its lightness. While the 328 six-cylinder was underpowered on paper in its day, it kicked butt on the race circuit due to its very light weight and superior dynamics.
The 328 Hommage frankly looks more like an homage to the 1950s sex-tastic 507, but at least the concept gets the open sides, leather straps, and wingnut wheels fairly correct. And we like that the tall kidneys on the grille make a modern return.
Van Hooydonk admits that the 328 Hommage isn't proportionally much like the 328 of old, but, he says, "Any sports car today needs to be wider and lower anyway." We, however, harken back to the 2006 Mille Miglia coupe concept, which simply blew one and all away. That car also went directly from its public unveiling into the BMW museum in Munich, never to be seriously driven.
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Von Hooydonk also shared with us that the 328 Hommage with an inline six, like in the oldster, comes in at just under 2,900 pounds. The original weighed 1,000 pounds less in the mid-1930s, but had roughly zero safety equipment and had an all-aluminum body that could crumple like a can of Sprite on contact. The 328 Hommage profits from the deep work BMW is now doing for its Project i cars in the field of carbon fiber reinforced plastic research. Even the wild alloy wheels incorporate CFRP detailing.
One clear difference von Hooydonk draws between the similar-looking BMW ConnectedDrive concept at this year's Geneva Motor Show and this 328 Hommage is that whereas the ConnectedDrive showcar was all for showing the digital age avant guard to that sort of crowd, the Hommage is analog all over for that crowd, and therefore quite Villa d'Este appropriate. The two cars were developed together beginning about one year ago.