BMW Prepares Two Concept Cars For Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2015
Every spring since 1929, automakers and well-to-do enthusiasts from around the world have gathered at the Villa d’Este, a luxury hotel perched on the shores of Lake Como in Cernobbio, Italy, to participate in the Concorso d’Eleganza, an elegance competition (they hate it if you call it a car show) that brings out some of the finest vintage cars and classic motorcycles in existence, not to mention debuts for a variety of concepts and prototypes. For the past 10 years, BMW Group has had the responsibility of organizing the event, and for this year’s gathering, the German automaker is teasing “two sensational exhibits from the field of concept vehicles.”
Details on the concepts are non-existent, but looking to past events for clues, we’ve seen Bimmer use the Concorso d’Eleganza to debut vehicles like the 2008 M1 Hommage, 2013 Gran Lusso Coupe, and 2012 Zagato Coupe. Other standout appearances include the Aston Martin One-77.
The theme for this year is “Seventies Style – The Jet Set is back,” with early European and Japanese superbikes plus many classic Minis scheduled for exhibition. There will also be five unique models from the BMW Art Cars Collection.
The ’70s was a particularly important decade for BMW, with a company-wide restructure and product portfolio reshuffling that saw the launch of the 5 Series, 3 Series, 6 Series, and 7 Series, all crammed into a brief seven-year period between 1970 and 1977. “Many innovations from this era continue to define BMW’s image to this day, from the model designations to the hallmark design cues that typify the brand,” BMW stated in a press release.
The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este will be held May 22nd through 24th. Keep it locked to TopSpeed for updates.
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Note: 2012 BMW Zagato Coupe pictured here.
Why it matters
Speculation runs rampant when it comes to trying to figure out what BMW has up its sleeve. Current guesses include concepts for the 7 Series, X7, and M2. It’s tough to pin down exactly what will break cover, but perhaps we could look to some of the other cars slated for exhibition for hints.
First amongst the highlights is the Pegaso Z-102 Berlineta Cupula, a two-seat coupe from the from the ’50s that once was designated the “Spanish Ferrari.” It’s powered by a 2.5-liter V-8 that produces 165 horsepower, propelling the car to a top speed of 125 mph. Only 90 were created, with the model on its way to Italy first presented at the 1953 World Motor Show in New York.
It’s tough to pin down exactly what will break cover, but perhaps we could look to some of the other cars slated for exhibition for hints.
Next is the Maserati 60/61, aka the “Birdcage”, a moniker engendered by its intricate space frame designed by Giulio Alfieri. The car was designated as a racing prototype, built between 1959 and 1961, and was destined exclusively for customers rather than a factory works team, with great success in competition. With only 1,322 pounds to motivate, the 250-horsepower inline-four cylinder engine under the hood managed to push this Maserati to a top speed of 186 mph.
One of the more unusual cars on display will be a Panther 6 two-seat convertible. Built in 1976 by Robert Jankel, only two were ever made. Inspired by the Tyrrell P34 F1 racer, the Panther 6 has six wheels, with four in front and two in back. A twin-turbo 8.2-liter eight-cylinder engine from Cadillac is mounted above the rear axle, with output rated at 600 horsepower, rendering a top speed of 200 mph.
Rolls-Royce will also make an appearance, celebrating 90 years of the Phantom with a special competition category and a Phantom IV. Built between 1950 and 1956, only 18 Phantom IVs were produced, with just 16 surviving today. The model scheduled for arrival in Italy belonged to the British Royal Family for over 30 years, originally ordered by Queen Elizabeth for her sister Margaret.
So then, what should we expect from BMW? A new luxury cruiser perhaps? Or how about a gentleman racer? It’s all still very much in the air, but thankfully we won’t have to wait long to find out.
Vehicles competing in the Concorso d’Eleganza will be judged in nine categories, including “Flamboyance in Motion” (pre-war coach built luxury), “Antidepressants” (pre-war sports cars which defied the Great Depression), “Phantom Story” (the Rolls-Royce Phantom through the ages), “Made to Measure” (the final flowering of the coach-built coupe), “Gentleman’s Racers” (speed meets post-war style), “Hollywood on the Lake” (convertibles for a grand entrance at Villa d’Este), “GT Man Has Arrived” (interpretations of opulence), “How Fast is Fast Enough” (mid and rear-engined supercars from the disco era), and “Two seats against the stopwatch” (classic sports racers).
Unveiled at the 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, this joint venture from BMW and Italian design company Zagato is a hand-built, bona fide work of art. The traditional Bimmer design language has been altered from every angle, producing a vehicle that’s still quite recognizable as something originating from Munich, but unique and stunningly beautiful. What’s more, a 400-horsepower engine that sounds as good as the sheet metal looks is waiting to get uncorked underneath all those striking lines.
Read our full review here.