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LIGHTWEIGHT LEGEND.LIGHTWEIGHT LEGEND.

LIGHTWEIGHT LEGEND.

3 min reading time

The BMW M3 E46 CSL.

A portrait of the legendary BMW M3 CSL from 2003.

30 October 2019

CSL: three letters that give every sports car fan goose bumps. The BMW M3 CSL is regarded as an icon and the crowning achievement of the third M3 series. What's more, the M3 CSL still occupies the same unrivalled position amongst the various models in that series as it did when it was first launched. With it, BMW M took everything the top echelons of motorsport had to offer in 2003 and once again raised the sports car to a new level.

5 POWERFUL FACTS:

  • Special edition of the BMW M3 E46
  • Max. output: 265 kW (360 hp)
  • Number produced: 1,383
  • Two ex works colour variants
  • First CFRP roof in a BMW M production car

INTELLIGENT LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION.

FINE TUNING THE PERFECT ENGINE.

BMW M3 CSL engine.BMW M3 CSL engine.

The proven S54B32 in-line 6-cylinder engine of the BMW M3 remained in the M3 CSL as the S54B32HP (HP means High-Performance), but now offered even more power. By adapting its camshafts and valves, the engineers at BMW M were able to generate a further 17 hp and an additional 5 Nm torque. A special highlight of the engine is its airbox: not only is it particularly light, the carbon component also gave the engine the uniquely characteristic intake noise that became so popular with fans.

3.85 kg/hp3.85 kg/hp

3.85 kg/hp

3.85 kg/hp Is the impressive power-to-weight ratio of the BMW M3 CSL.

 

MOTORSPORT KNOW-HOW.

IDENTIFYING FEATURE: THE AIR INTAKE.

On the outside, the CSL can be identified by numerous details, such as the special door sills, the curved spoiler lip on the boot lid and, of course, the addition of those three special letters on its rear. The single ‘porthole’ on one side of the front apron, which gives the engine the necessary oxygen by means of an enlarged intake air duct, is also very striking and unique to this model.

Inside, the BMW M3 CSL receives its occupants with plenty of motorsport-typical purism, such as special door panels and bucket seats for maximum lateral support when accelerating hard. Buyers who were really serious about performance also renounced the comfort provided by features such as the radio and automatic climate control.

TWO COLOURS. ONE LEGEND.

Die Felgend des BMW M3 CSL.Die Felgend des BMW M3 CSL.
Den BMW M3 CSL gab es nur in zwei Farben.Den BMW M3 CSL gab es nur in zwei Farben.

Connoisseurs usually don't even need to see the details that make the M3 CSL so unique, given that above all it is best known for the unmistakable and instantly recognisable sound emanating from its two twin tailpipes. A sports car that was still highly suitable for everyday use, it came off the production line in two exclusive colour options: Sapphire Black and Silver Grey.

The special CSL rims, on the other hand, soon lost their status as a distinctive feature of this classic model. As part of the 2005 Competition Package, they could also be ordered for the standard M3 production vehicle.

By the time you’re sat behind the wheel, it becomes clear to every driver just how special the M3 CSL is. An even lower centre of gravity due to subtle lowering, shorter springs on the front axle, more powerful stabilisers, an increased camber at the front and rear wheels, a track width extended from 1,508 to 1,518 millimetres and the semi-slick tyres fitted as standard all ensure extremely sporty handling and unexpectedly rapid acceleration. Incidentally, anyone who presented a C racing licence when purchasing the M3 CSL could have its standard 250 km/h speed limit raised to 280 km/h.

7:50 min.7:50 min.

7:50 min.

7:50 minutes is the time it takes the BMW M3 CSL to complete one lap on the almost 21-kilometre-long Nürburgring Nordschleife.

SMG II TRANSMISSION WITH DRIVELOGIC.

BMW M3 CSL SMG II transmission with DrivelogicBMW M3 CSL SMG II transmission with Drivelogic

Radically agile, the M3 CSL is distinguished by its razor-sharp steering. To achieve this, perhaps the most uncompromising model in BMW M’s history was exclusively equipped with the powerful SMG II transmission with Drivelogic. Not only does this give the feeling you would expect from a racing car, in conjunction with the modified engine it also provides a driving performance to match. As a consequence, the speedometer needle hits the 100 km/h mark in just 4.9 seconds, and when the M3 CSL was tested on the legendary Nordschleife, it achieved a remarkable lap time of 7 minutes and 50 seconds.

DER BMW M3 GTS.

Der BMW M3 GTS.Der BMW M3 GTS.

In the footsteps of the M3 CSL, just a few years after the legendary BMW M3 CSL E46 series, the BMW M3 GTS (E92) appeared and got ready to fill the big footsteps of the CSL. Whether this could succeed, clarifies our vehicle portrait to the BMW M3 GTS.

Read more

THE M4 CSL

The BMW M4 CSL.The BMW M4 CSL.

A legend is reborn: As its 50th birthday celebrations gather pace, BMW M GmbH has unveiled a fascinating special model. The BMW M4 CSL fuses old-school racing passion with innovative technology. A consistent lightweight concept and increased engine output from the inline 6-cylinder engine with M TwinPower Technology make the BMW M4 CSL the most powerful and fastest model ever approved for road use of this series. The unique design and purist characteristics geared towards racetrack use ensure an inimitable performance experience.

Experience now
BMW M4 CSL:
CO2 emissions combined in g/km 227
Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km 10.1

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