Festival of grandeur

Highlights of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2024

Whether as the summer residence of the Cardinal of Como or—since 1873—as one of the most legendary luxury hotels in Italy: the Villa d’Este (formerly Villa del Garovo) has always been a meeting place for sophisticated society, a vacation home for illustrious guests from the aristocracy, art and culture. After all, there are few places as beautiful to stroll through extensive, magnificent parks as the stately Renaissance residence on the western shore of Lake Como. Since 1929, however, the showcasing of extravagant elegance has also been expanded to include another facet: the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este has since served as a stage for some of the most spectacular vehicles of the present and past, a beauty contest for outstanding automobiles and motorcycles—and this year in a greater variety than ever before.

Once again this year, it is an impressive potpourri of historic vehicles—most of them highly polished and almost in their original condition, but a few with the proud patina of an eventful history, dents and a little rust. But for many, the real stars of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, on the last weekend of May 2024, are less the classics of past decades than the automotive works of art and design visions that will debut on Lake Como in astonishing harmony with the historical splendor. Concept cars from BMW and BMW Motorrad, as well as the 20th Art Car by Julie Mehretu, demonstrate the exciting relationship between mobility, design and art. Chapter presents some of the highlights of the wonderfully multifaceted event organized by Villa d’Este and BMW Group Classic.


The design visionaries: BMW Concept Skytop

The BMW Concept Skytop, which celebrated its world premiere at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2024, shows a pioneering vision of the luxury class. Inspired by models such as the BMW Z8 and BMW 503, the design of the Skytop combines stylish elegance with an athletic, muscular appearance structured by a few clear lines. From a bird’s eye view, the strongly arrow-shaped hood, the typical BMW sharknose design with illuminated kidney grille and the retracted rear end also catch the eye. The interior and exterior of the two-seater concept car are presented in monochrome, warm, appealing colors, while the use of high-quality materials and traditional craftsmanship give the vehicle the expected level of luxury. »The BMW Concept Skytop shows a unique and exotic design in the tradition of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este,« says Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design.


The nostalgic innovators: BMW Motorrad R20 CONCEPT

BMW Motorrad also celebrated itself and the great history of the brand with an exciting special edition, which was presented for the first time at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The BMW Motorrad R20 concept pays homage to legendary BMW Motorrad Big Boxer roadsters and combines a large portion of nostalgia with state-of-the-art technology and flashy accents in its design. Around the Big Boxer engine as the center of the bike, the expressive tank presents itself like a sensational sculpture, while at the same time the rear remains reduced to the essentials to emphasize the clear lines and powerful presence of the R20 concept. A special highlight and eye-catcher: the aluminum tank has a progressive new design in the bright »hotter than pink« color from the 1970s. »The R20 concept is a bold interpretation of the BMW Motorrad DNA,« says Alexander Buckan, Head of Design BMW Motorrad. »It combines modern technical elements with classic roadster design. The oversized proportions and minimalist aesthetics make it an unmistakable character.«


The outstanding artist: Julie Mehretu’s 20th BMW Art CaR – Art in Motion

This year’s BMW Art Car, designed by the renowned artist Julie Mehretu (Chapter reported), adds a new dimension to the tradition of Art Cars. Mehretu’s complex, multi-layered art merges impressively with the dynamic design of the BMW M Hybrid V8—a truly impressive work at the intersection of mobility, speed, design and art.


Automotive grandeur: Rolls-Royce Cullinan Series II

And finally, another BMW Group brand wanted to join in, Rolls-Royce, was not stingy with grand appearances at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and not only celebrated the brand’s 120th anniversary with a historic class as part of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, but also presented the Rolls-Royce Cullinan Series II also an exciting further development of its impressive luxury SUV.


The classics: winners of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2024

Among the numerous automotive gems, two outstanding vehicles received special recognition. The winner was the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, a spider with a body design by Figoni from the 1930s—the vehicle was honored with the coveted Best of Show title. Helmut Käs, Head of BMW Group Classic, and Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, presented the proud owner from Belgium with the coveted Trofeo BMW Group and an exclusive 1815 Chronograph watch in white gold. The exclusive watch was created by A. Lange und Söhne especially for the winner of the Best of Show.

The 1995 McLaren F1, an iconic supercar, won the Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este, voted for by the public. This vehicle, presented by Tony Vassilopoulos from Great Britain, fascinated visitors with its impressive history and performance.

This brief overview of some of the highlights of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este alone shows that the year 2024, with its many facets between iconic automotive past, present and view into the future, will probably go down in the great history of the event as a particularly exciting one. The bar is therefore set challengingly high for 2025. [CS]