To the delight of the crowd, Rolls-Royce unveiled the second Boat Tail coachbuilt automobile at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. We were intrigued to see whether the main BMW brand could follow RR’s lead and create its own very customised cars in extremely restricted quantities. After all, Hommage designs from some years ago, such as the 3.0 CSL here, have previously hinted at that potential.
To that aim, we asked BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk whether the German luxury company plans to launch bespoke models apart from the “Series” and “X” lineups:
“Yes, I think the brand can withstand it.” That is something I would want to see happen. As I have said, it will be a matter of finding the time and means to do it in a creative manner. BMW is, after all, a rather massive corporation. And, as I previously said, we are already doing so much and are already up to our ears in managing this shift, which is now the main problem, but as I previously stated, with these contemporary production processes. There may be some opportunities for that.”
Reading between the lines, it seems like BMW will eventually pursue coachbuilding, but it will be a question of finding the time to do it. Managing such a large family of models across virtually all market categories requires a significant amount of work and time. This is particularly true now that strict pollution restrictions are pushing manufacturers to progressively transition to EVs.
While Adrian van Hooydonk did not elaborate, it is commonly assumed that a modern-day 3.0 CSL would lead the way for BMW’s coachbuilding endeavors. Expect it to debut as an ultra-limited M4 CSL-based sports coupe before the end of 2022 to commemorate M’s 50th anniversary. Its retro-styled body will be inspired by the 2015 3.0 CSL Hommage concept seen here.
According to current sources, it will have 600 horsepower, or an additional 50 hp above the Coupe Sport Lightweight, which has a 40-hp edge over the M4 Competition. Another important alteration will be the conversion of the CSL’s automatic gearbox to a manual transmission, which will transfer power only to the rear wheels. It may go down in history as one of the final BMWs to be available solely with a manual transmission and/or in RWD form.
It goes without saying that it will not be cheap. According to reports, the automobile will cost about €750,000, easily making it the company’s most costly new car ever. It will also be one of the most limited, with just 50 units planned. It won’t be a real replacement for the M1, but it may be the next best thing. Even if the plug-in hybrid SUV is billed as the first dedicated M vehicle after the mid-engined coupe, enthusiasts will undoubtedly prefer it over the XM.