CSL derivative 410 kW priced at €180,000 (AU$270,000) to continue
The all-electric sports car architecture will be developed jointly with McLaren
Some of the best BMWs never went into production, but they regularly stole the show at the prestigious Villa d´Este Concours d´Elegance below Lake Como in northern Italy.
Among the most memorable concepts were the Hommage cars that paid tribute to the M1 (designed by Benoit Jacob), the 2002 (designed by Alexey Kehza) and the 3.0 CSL (designed by Karim Habib).
When they browsed the company’s archives for inspiration for the show for M’s 50th birthday, Managing Director Frank van Mill and his team didn’t have to think twice — after all, no other model captures the essence, style, and spirit of the brand’s fastest satellite more comprehensively than its reimagining. Batmobile model.
BMW’s upcoming M4 CSL spy test
The CS series codenamed E9 was built by Karmann in Osnabrück. The undisputed master version was the CSL, which dominated touring car racing in the early to mid 1970s. The last Evolution series available from 1973-1975 featured not only lighter windows, doors and hood, but also a comprehensive aerodynamic kit complete with a massive rear spoiler – which was not street legal in Germany.
It was the first production car developed by Motorsport GmbH which was masterminded at the time by former racing driver Jochen Nerbach, debuted the legendary M logo, and pioneered the trademark red, purple and blue design. Although the M1 that followed was a more extreme and exclusive piece of the kit, the batmobile remained the pinnacle of M-ness, complemented over time by the first M3 and six generations of M5 as well as the latest additions such as the M2 and M4.
The original BMW CSL “Batmobile”
Although the original CSL sat on the podium of a shortened Series 7, its spiritual successor expected to be launched this month uses the foundations of the M4. Not just any M4, but the limited edition CSL that loses 100kg of weight over the mainstream model.
While the CSL engine develops 410 kW instead of 380 kW, Hommage’s car raises the ante again to 447 kW. In racing trim, the M4 engine can produce up to 485 kW. The final iteration of the M4 expected early next year is the 395kW M4 CS.
Thanks to its completely redesigned lightweight chassis and an additional 50 hp, the Hommage’s expected acceleration time from 0 to 100 km/h has been reduced to 3.5 seconds, a figure that not even the 462 kW/1015 Nm iX can match. The top speed will exceed 300 km/h, but it could narrowly miss the 200 mph mark due to speed indicator issues with the tires and the need to trade lower drag for increased downforce.
BMW CSL Hommage Concept from 2015
The 2015 yellow concept was something wild with a prominent rear aerosol kit, bossy wheels and arches, interlocking psychedelic taillight graphics, all-new headlights, and an early anticipation of the straight rodents love or hate grille canines that are starting to spread like eye diseases in 2019.
The interior revealed an exotic blend of new sporty and polarized design elements. Unforgettable details included a full-width wood instrument panel, a yoke-shaped false steering wheel, a simple digital display and a carbon fiber carbon fiber protection device mounted behind the seats.
We can’t wait to check out the visual connections between a one-off 2015 and 2022 with a little effort, but since the starting point is the M4’s most radical evolution to date, the wheelbase and proportions are bound to stick to the principle of three squares.
For reasons of safety and homogeneity, some difficult points cannot be touched, but designers are free to alter all hinged panels and body surfaces in a way that does not violate the safety classification and type approval. Back in the past and now, carbon fiber is the chosen alternative to the mud implemented by the creative team under Adrian van Hooydonk (group), Domagoy Dukec (brand) and Anne Forschner (BMW M).
It seems safe to expect mostly custom-designed body panels, more aggressive aerodynamics, some retro details like splitters and fins, big, lightweight wheels, different front graphics and a lower-drag rear end that has additional air dams, fenders and derivatives. Yellow matrix headlights and 3D laser taillights are also high on the list of possibilities, but the dual side tubes and extended wings may not be legal.
The idea behind the Hommage concept is to create a street racing car, a semi-supercar that’s more emotional to drive, look at and listen to than any other road-legal BMW.
Maximum torque is expected to rise to 700 Nm – close to the peak 750 Nm that the ZF eight-speed box can handle. All-wheel drive will, of course, help convert all that grunt into better traction, but there’s no way a simple M Hommage 80kg was wasted on a second set of driven wheels.
While the original CSL tipped the scales at 1,165 kilograms, the unofficial target weight for the 2022 edition is 1,550 kilograms. To reach that goal, it would require massive content removal, extensive material replacement, miniaturization, and breakthrough concepts like one-piece sliding bucket seats and tilting, a back-to-basics printed primary instrument panel and a small starter battery—to name a few.
These changes won’t come cheap, because the investment can only be spread over 50 units, and because manufacturing and customization often require 3D printers. The carbon fiber business was transferred to a local specialist.
While M Hommage is said to sell €600,000 (AU$910,000) – with or without tax it doesn’t really matter at this level – a CSL can be had for less than a third of that. Although the small Batmobile is heavier, not quite as powerful and somewhat less impressive in appearance, it should be quieter and drive with more respect.
While laps inside the dashboard and race timer, the go-pro’s numerous mounting points and extensive setup menu keep baby inside happy, adjustable aero elements, anti-roll bars and shock absorbers are an open invitation to tune in to the dynamic talents.
While we haven’t seen the final look of things to come, the M Hommage certainly isn’t a stealth car on steroids. Given its price and rarity, it could in fact be the first ultimate driving machine too precious to be accessible in the real world.
More strategically important, the M Hommage is BMW’s plan to form a collaboration with McLaren Cars. A memorandum of understanding signed in Munich in late March details the joint development of a new electric sports car architecture as well as related components.
Ever since McLaren pulled out a F1 powered by the impressive BMW V12 in 1993, the two companies have maintained a relatively close relationship, which veered only briefly when Mercedes launched the SLR McLaren in 2002. Later that decade, the British began offering a wider range The choice of models is not very different, which confused dealers and buyers alike. Most of them were luxury cars, but the increasing sophistication continued to make new holes in the cash blanket.
Primarily due to conflicting engine configurations – V6 versus six in a row – the proposed collaboration project with BMW did not materialize. Although we still have to drive the Artura, the hybrid concept may not actually be environmentally friendly enough to move the brand to a CO2 neutral future. This is why the standard all-sports car/supercar/supercar DNA now appears to be the most realistic option for McLaren and its partner.
There are many puzzling elements hanging over this complex master plan, but the most enigmatic is Audi’s role – which suggested, unofficially, that the deal with McLaren Group was as good as it was done. Except that it is clearly not so.
Intelligence gathered in Germany, the UK and Bahrain leaves no doubt that McLaren owners have dismissed both takeover offers as insufficient. It turns out that Audi, in a parallel move, also called Sauber, which is currently racing with Alfa, but suddenly looks like the future favorite ally of the Germans.
Sauber is currently unable to beat McLaren, but the Swiss are not burdened with a sick car division that needs to be sorted out. Another uncertainty factor is the F1 rulebook for 2026 and beyond, which will not be completed before the end of June. It remains to be seen whether Ferrari and Mercedes will support, as noted earlier, the regulatory changes demanded by VW’s satellites.
While Red Bull has already expressed its willingness to cooperate with Porsche, no such statement has been made, to our knowledge, by any team in relation to Audi.
Imagine for a moment that you are in charge of the McLaren Group where the Formula 1 division is a strong money maker while McLaren Cars is cash-strapped. Would you sell out racing to save the cars and risk walking away empty-handed? Not when an old friend like BMW offers support without obvious restrictions.
Between now and 2030, McLaren’s product portfolio is unlikely to change significantly. But the company needs a new V8 engine that meets EU7 standards and is powerful enough to power future Super and Ultimate Series hybrids, and should make sure the Artura can stand up to the next F296 and Huracan. Team Woking can’t walk Electric Boulevard alone. Instead, you need a strong ally to develop cells, electronic actuators, transformers, electrical and electronic architectures, cooling concepts, and charge and discharge cycles – as well as high-performance operating algorithms.
BMW is in a position to help, and in return it will benefit from McLaren strengths such as advanced carbon fiber applications, lightweight design and premium vehicle dynamics right up to the Senna / P1 / Speedtail / Elva class.
With BMW not interested in returning to F1, the collaboration will be primarily project and technology-related, not marketing-driven. The co-financing of a new high-performance E/E Matrix is a small fry of a heavyweight original factory that, in a second step, could give McLaren access to potential extensions of the model range such as its most powerful MkII XM-derived SUV, a crack-engine version The electronically suspended 1 MW four-cylinder engine, or the recently completed 4.4 liter V8.
If this arrangement materializes, the day business will almost certainly master the M-section. Keep thinking along those lines and, in the not-too-distant future, the joint forces responsible may surprise us with a zero-emissions M1 Hommage coupé – which may be even more reactionary in nature , but positively more advanced in concept and content.