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Saturday, June 4, 2011

BMW Introduces the 328 Hommage, Inspired by the Classic 328, at the Villa d’Este Show

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of its beau ideal 328 sports car, BMW is going full force. As if opening the archives and sending 12 historic examples to the Mille Miglia rally wasn’t enough, the company has created the 328 Hommage, a modern interpretation of the 328. Using the company’s recent Vision ConnectedDrive concept car as a starting point, the 328 Hommage features modern materials and lightweight design techniques. The original 328 weighed just 1720 pounds, and in its honor the Hommage uses lightweight materials almost obsessively; the structure, bodywork and most of the interior is rendered in exposed and unpainted carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The only other visible materials are aluminum and leather in the interior. The concept is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six engine, bolted to an automatic transmission.

The Hommage thus isn’t much of an aesthetic homage—it looks almost nothing like its tiny silver 1930s-vintage inspiration. In comparison with the original artifact, the 328 Hommage is low, angular, and downright mean looking. Mixing styling cues from BMW’s upcoming i8 (the front end), Z4 (the flanks), and the newest 6-series (the rear), the designers also threw in several details that hark back to the 328’s era.

There are leather straps woven into the bodywork behind the front wheels and on the hood near the base of the windshield, small windscreens in lieu of a formal windshield, and alloy wheels with circular holes and spinner hubcaps that recall the original 328’s steel wheels. One of the cooler details is the lighting; the headlights appear to sport black tape crossouts like so many vintage racers do, but in fact the “tape” really consists of blacked-out, criss-crossed indents that separate the lamp into four individual backlit-LED units.

The interior is equally sculpted, and supremely driver-oriented. The interior is separated into two separate pods—one for the driver and one for the “co-driver”— and everything that isn’t brown leather or aluminum is carbon fiber. The driver’s pod features a sweeping console and a windscreen that is larger than the co-driver’s, which actually makes the hood and its powerdome slightly asymmetrical. The only instruments are a tachometer and oil temperature, oil pressure, and water temperature gauges. In front of the co-driver are mounted two iPhones in aluminum cases that look like chronometer watches from the future. The functional and racy interior is rounded out by a kill switch for the vehicle electronics.

The concept is set to debut at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este next week, and we cannot think of a more sensational 75th birthday present.

View the original article here

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