Not really sure what to say about this M2 reskin that is the BMW brand’s big debut at this year’s Villa d’Este concours in Lake Como, Italy.
It certainly has some expressive lines, deep shaping and a deconstructed aesthetic. It is fabulous to see versus the absolutely repulsive BMW Vision Next 100 from a few weeks ago. Both in style and substance.
But while deconstructed, in a way, the design of this upgraded 2-series is a wide miss. It feels like a fiberglass redo OVER and above the existing design, versus a holistic exercise in itself. A frozen glasshouse, doorlines and mirrors versus the M2 does have limits. But honestly, the 2002 Hommage is joyless in its neuvo-bathtub-beltline and layered, overlaid fenders.
Both vehicles are trying way too hard, however. It is weird to see BMW Design so nervous, exposed and visionless as the entire company below them continues an arrogance only Enzo Ferrari would salute.
BMW 2002 Hommage. 50 years of pure driving pleasure.
Munich/Cernobbio. The BMW Group has created a very special car for this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este to pay tribute to one of the most significant models in its history. First and foremost, the BMW 2002 Hommage celebrates the extraordinary feats of engineering behind the BMW 2002 turbo – and re-imagines them as a design study for our times.
“Exactly 50 years ago, the 02 range kick-started an era of success for BMW. This compact coupe is one of the vehicles which made the brand what it is today,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The 2002 sat at the top of the range and was the first series-produced car anywhere in Europe to come with turbo technology. That set the seal on the coupe as a genuine sports car. At the same time, the 2002 turbo was at the technological vanguard of engine development at BMW. The BMW 2002 Hommage is our way of raising a glass to all these achievements.”
A confident statement of unadulterated driving joy.
“The eye-catching design of the BMW 2002 Hommage employs a very dynamic, striking use of forms for its own take on what is, for me, one of the most iconic vehicles in BMW history,” says Karim Habib, Head of Design BMW Automobiles. “At the same time, it encapsulates BMW’s major motor sport triumphs, which were made possible by turbo technology. As such, the Hommage car brings together the past and future of BMW into a confident statement of unadulterated driving joy.”
The sporting silhouette of the BMW 2002 Hommage lies low against the road. Its compact proportions, complete with long wheelbase, short overhangs and prominent “shark nose”, promise a driving experience that thrills with irresistible dynamics and agility. Aerodynamic details like the large spoilers at the front and rear team up with the profusion of air intakes to optimise airflow around the car and maximise downforce in every driving situation.
Historic details with a modern twist.
Inspired by the signature chrome strip that ringed the 02 in its day, a horizontal carbon band wraps itself around the shoulderline of the BMW 2002 Hommage and splits the body visually into separate sections. The upper tranche of roof, bonnet and boot lid has matt paintwork to prevent reflection of the sun’s rays –
in a reference to racing cars of yore. The body’s lines here are minimalist, clearly drawn and flowing in nature. The lower section creates a definite contrast, with its high-gloss paintwork, very bold, sculptural surfaces, and distinctive lines that infuse the flanks with a contemporary flavour and draw the eye to the driven rear wheels. The Space Race Metal paintwork drapes itself over the BMW 2002 Hommage like liquid metal. In both its matt and gloss form, the light metallic blue finish changes in appearance from a brightly fluorescent blue to grey, depending on the incidence of light, and lends the surfacing a dynamic sense of depth. As a result, the car’s whole body brims with power and energy.
A particularly striking feature of the car’s flanks are the voluminously moulded wheel arches, which frame the body like four brackets and add stature. In the process, they recall the homologated version of the BMW 2002 turbo, which needed broad extensions bolted onto its body to accommodate a significantly wider track. The Hommage car integrates this detail neatly into flanks designed with clear dedication to the job at hand. Slick surfacing and precisely chiselled lines envelop the powerful wheel arches and hand them a starring role. 20-inch light-alloy wheels in bi-colour design round off the styling as the car meets the road. The modern looks of these lavishly milled, multi-spoke items recall the racing rims of bygone eras, while gold-coloured brake callipers bearing the M logo add an extra stamp of class.
2016 BMW 2002 Hommage Concept
Fronted by 50 years of BMW history.
The front end of the BMW 2002 Hommage is a confident and extravagantly dynamic affair; its styling bridges a gap of 50 years in combining the characteristic, horizontal graphic of the 02 range with modern elements of BMW design. The front end is framed visually by the prominent wheel arches. And the wide track and low-slung body provide an ample canvas for generously-sized surfaces. In its lines and form, the bonnet references the “spear” contour stretching down the centre of the 02 models that swells slightly into a surround for the BMW logo as it approaches the kidney grille. Further precise lines lend structure and definition to the matt surface.
Occupying centre stage at the front end is the familiar BMW kidney grille.
Here, it takes the form of a low-standing, connected unit, offering a flesh slant on the kidneys’ historical rendering as a cohesive design element. Sculpted, black double-bars add finesse to the details of the broad-set grille. Like the BMW 2002, the BMW 2002 Hommage also has two single headlights that provide the striking front end with its outer limits. The headlights are bordered by reflectors, whose gold colouring is a pointer to the “golden” 50th anniversary of the BMW 2002’s launch. The reflectors also reprise the yellow hue commonly found in the headlights of racing cars back in the day. An unbroken black strip creates a fitting visual platform for the kidneys and headlights, brings together the stylistic elements of the front end and, in so doing, underlines the car’s wide and athletic stance. Those with a keen eye will also pick out the turn signal repeaters, which – like those of the car’s forebear – are located separately from the headlights and embedded into a full-width strip (in carbon on the Hommage car) above them.
The large front apron, a stylistic nod to those models of the 1970s, shortens the visual distance between the BMW 2002 Hommage and the road and shines a bright spotlight on its driver focus. Together with the car’s wide, sporting stance, this technically innovative, forward-thinking design sends out a message of top-class roadholding and handling flair through fast corners. Now, as in the heyday of the BMW 2002, design excellence and turbo technology bring unsurpassed levels of fun to twisty race tracks, country roads and mountain passes alike. The BMW Motorsport livery of the front apron and its “turbo” lettering in mirror writing casts the mind back to the original decals of the 2002 turbo, as does the exterior mirror cap on the driver’s side. Accent surfaces in exposed carbon mark the point where the front apron and side skirts hand over to the road, and also provide a technically alluring contrast to the body-coloured surfaces.
Bringing matters to a sporting conclusion.
The rear-end design of the BMW 2002 Hommage also calls on elements of the 2002 turbo. For example, the horizontal sub-division of the car’s generous surfaces and its clear lines make a width-emphasising and thus suitably dynamic statement, laced with modern feel. The form of the rear lights is inspired by the same historical blueprint. The almost rectangular lights provide a stylistic border for the rear end. The glass covers have a contemporary black-panel look and only offer a view of the inner workings when the lights illuminate. All you can see when they are dormant is an unbroken black surface. As at the front of the car, this strengthens the impression of a strip wrapped around the car.
The BMW logo to the right of the license plate between the two rear lights is likewise a characteristic element of 02 rear styling. The muscular wheel arches bookend the rear section and accentuate the wide track, while precise spoiler lips bring a modern edge to the car’s detailing. A carbon diffuser integrates the now familiar two sets of twin exhaust tailpipes and wraps up the rear styling with a sporting flourish.
BMW’s fresh interpretation of the BMW 2002 adopts the form of a compact sports coupe in the classical tradition of BMW Hommage cars. But more than that, the BMW 2002 Hommage represents a clear statement of how pure driving pleasure is defined in 2016.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.