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BMW resurrects Batmobile with 3.0 CSL

Light fantastic: There may be 43 years between them, but BMW's modern 3.0 CSL Hommage concept revives many of the 1970s original go-faster features.

1970s classic BMW racer reborn with radical 3.0 CSL Hommage


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25 May 2015

BMW has once again called on its rich heritage to create an outlandish racer for the road, that combines modern manufacturing techniques and the purist principles first adopted by the 1970s 3.0 CSL.

Like the original 3.0 CSL, the latest concept in the German car-maker's Hommage series is a stripped-out, lightweight sports coupe, but where the first CSL used plastic windows and aluminium panels to save weight, the 2015 version is built from carbon-fibre.

Its twin spoilers, black body-stripes and aerodynamic wing-top fins are all nods to the original, the latter feature giving rise to an unofficial Batmobile nickname, but cameras in place of wing mirrors and propulsion system are pure 21st century.

The 3.0 CSL Hommage's powertrain will feature an “eBoost” hybrid electric system accompanying the six-cylinder petrol engine – which displaces 3.0-litres, of course.

An obvious engine donor would be the M3 and M4 twins, which are powered by a 317kW twin turbocharged straight six, but the so called eBoost system would likely enhance performance.

Inside, the minimalist weight-reduction continues with exposed carbon-fibre and skinny ultralight racing bucket seats with yellow-stitched quilting, which pin occupants in place with six-point harnesses.

Rear seats are absent, with the eBoost “energy accumulator” battery replacing a second row, which wears a holographic-effect cover.

The 3.0 CSL's racing intent is highlighted by an integrated fire extinguisher system and helmet storage rack in the transmission tunnel. The presence of the tunnel indicates a front-mounted longitudinal engine layout driving the rear wheels – also an original feature.

Another hark back to the original is seen in the wooden instrument panel, which is a structural element and not just for show. BMW's i3 small hatchback also uses the natural material to form its dashboard.

The 3.0 CSL's pilot has a aeroplane-style yolk in place of a conventional round steering wheel and frames the futuristic gauges. Popping the doors is performed with a simple and light pull-strap.

On the outside, the 3.0 CSL Hommage rolls on 21-inch wheels – a whopping 7.0-inch increase in diameter over the first CSL – while the radical body incorporates flow-through tail-lights not unlike those of the i8 hybrid sportscar.

BMW head of design Karim Habib said the concept's styling does not simply attempt to copy the1970s original, but honours it with subtle suggestions.

“The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage celebrates many of those characteristic features, but without copying them,” he said “Indeed, some of the parallels are not immediately obvious. We wanted people to sense the family resemblance rather than see it straight off.”

The original 3.0 CSL was based on the E9 3.0 CSi, but with the use of lighter materials and equipment culling, carried 200kg fewer than the standard variant.

BMW has resurrected the CSL nameplate on one previous occasion when it launched the hardcore E46 M3 CSL, which used a carbon-fibre roof, boosted power and slender alcantara seats to cut weight and boost performance.

The abbreviation stands for Coupe Sport Leichtbau.

Previous BMW Hommage vehicles include the open-top 328 and M1 concepts, the latter of which ultimately evolved into the i8 production car, but the company is not talking up a showroom version of the 3.0 CSL at this stage.

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