BMW ponders $650K CSL Hommage, Subaru honors Legacy, MotoGP’s tire-pressure problem

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BMW’s CSL Hommage concept could become a $650K reality this year

Intake: BMW is set to bring back the 3.0 CSL as an über-limited, coachbuilt special, reports bmwblog.com. BMW showed its CSL Hommage in 2020, but at the time said it was just a concept. Fortunately, it seems, the Germans have had a change of heart. The car will be based on the M4 CSL but will be more powerful, more track-oriented, lighter, and styled to acknowledge (but not ape) its 1970s heritage. Bmwblog.com claims that while the new CSL will use the M4 as a base it will be largely new, with a coachbuilt body, no rear seats, power boosted to 600 hp, and a manual transmission. Apparently just 50 are to built to celebrate 50 years of BMW’s M division and the price is set to exceed $650,000.

Exhaust: That’s an eye-watering price to place on nostalgia, especially because the most recent M4 is a far cry indeed from the E9-based “Batmobile” homologation special. If you set your sights a bit (okay, a lot) lower than that ’70s icon, and focus only on the current, G82 generation, this Hommage could distinguish itself as the highest-powered M4 with a manual transmission, a gearbox currently restricted to the “base” M4 (the soon-to-be-revealed, non-Hommage M4 CSL will most likely be auto-only.) Enough to justify 650 large, though? We doubt it. 

Subtle glam for Phantom ahead of electric Rolls debut

Intake: Can you improve upon perfection? Rolls-Royce believes so, and has given the flagship Phantom II a “light touch” facelift. The small amount of cosmetic surgery is mostly a nose job, with a new horizontal line between the running lights above the Pantheon Grille, which is also illuminated à la Ghost. The headlights feature laser-cut bezel starlights, and the RR badge and Spirit of Ecstasy now stand out a little more. Milled stainless-steel wheels with triangular facets are now an option, although we’re rather taken with the 1920s-style stainless steel discs. Customers can also opt for a stealthy black trim for the grille surround and window surrounds. Inside there’s no change to the design, but a special Platino one-off has been developed to showcase how Rolls-Royce can develop a luxury interior that doesn’t rely on leather alone. The front seats of the Platino are cow-hide, while the rears are trimmed in a combination of silk-like Italian fabric and another material made from bamboo fiber.

Exhaust: Big changes are in store for Rolls as it prepares to debut its first all-electric model, the Spectre, later this year. Now isn’t the time to alienate customers habituated to the marque’s traditional, combustion-powered products—especially not its most expensive one. These subtle changes avoid outdating the 2022 MY car while offering a few bits of eye-catching glam. Nice.

Subaru isn’t abandoning its, uh, Legacy

Intake: Subaru has announced a raft of updates for its Legacy midsize sedan, the marque’s longest-running nameplate in America. New for 2023, the Legacy Sport trim will finally score an engine worthy of its (mildly) more aggressive styling: The 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder also found in the new Subaru WRX. The mill is good for 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Other Legacies make do with a free-breathing 2.5-liter flat four wheezing out 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. Both engines pair exclusively with Subaru’s sleepy CVT automatic. There’s a new front fascia on all trims, with a larger grille and redesigned LED headlights and fog lights. Sport and Touring XT Legacies—the priciest two trims in the lineup—receive a heated steering wheel as standard. In an effort to retain its reputation as one of the safest automakers out there, Subaru equipped the top-trim Legacy Touring XT with an additional wide-angle camera for the forward-facing safety suite (which it calls EyeSight) that can help the car recognize pedestrians and bikers quicker when approaching intersections at lower speeds. Pricing and availability details will be released at a later date.

Exhaust: Despite announcing its first electric-vehicle production line today, Subaru is not leaving the aging Legacy in the dust just yet, despite anemic sales. This sedan was Subaru’s second worst-selling nameplate last year, moving 22,766 units to outsell only the aging BRZ. (For context, Toyota moved more than 13 times as many Camrys last year.) The engine transplant for the Sport model proves that Subaru knows how important this vehicle is to its brand image … and, given its collaborations with Toyota, how desperately it desperately needs to retain a few purebreds.

MotoGP has a tire-pressure problem

MotoGP-tyre-race-table-scaled

Intake: MotoGP has a single tire supplier and that puts teams in an interesting predicament: The front tire is critical to a motorcycle’s performance, and if your front rubber doesn’t provide the right amount of grip, you literally cannot compete. Michelin’s front slick is notoriously fussy, and new information has come to light in Motorsport Magazine that Ducati riders Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin have been flagged in a leaked document (shown above). The two are on separate teams, but their bikes’ on-board tire-pressure monitoring systems, which track both pressure and temperature, reveal that each rider ran an illegally low front-tire pressure during the entire Spanish Grand Prix. Due to a so-called gentleman’s agreement, there has been no repercussions for those breaking the tire-pressure rules, but other times are calling for change—at least, for enforcement of the rules rather than what amounts to looking the other way.

Exhaust: This problem is not unique to MotoGP. Most spec-tire racing organizations have minimum pressures set by the tire supplier. Both World Superbike and Formula 1 have minimum settings intended to keep the tire casings from premature failure. The Ducati teams (and riders, though they likely are not aware of exact tire pressures when rolling onto the grid) are shaking hands with danger in their quest for increased front grip, but it’s only a matter of time before the decision will bite them, whether through punishment from Dorna or an at-speed failure. Rules are meant to be enforced, and it’s time that all teams got on board.

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