Autos: A Car That Crouches Like A Cat

The new BMW M1 Hommage is like the special-edition "Star Wars Trilogy": an eye-popping, 21st- century package for an old soul. The concept car, unveiled at the Concorso d'Eleganza in Como, Italy, last week, commemorates the 30th anniversary of the original mid-engine supercar. Aside from the increase in size—the Hommage is significantly wider than the old M1—the new visual evolution is made up of countless subtle flourishes spun off from the original. Exaggerating the contours of the M1 with fluid strokes, the Hommage transforms the old turbo box into a crouching cat. The rear window is still louvered, though, and the wheels are an elegant caricature of the old signature. None will doubt that this car is in love with itself. As a concept car, the Hommage is just a modernized shell of its former self; in fact, the designers didn't even bother to build an interior at all. Still, the new design is a chance to look forward as well as backward: rumor has it that BMW is working on a real supercar successor for 2012.

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