With 2022 marking the 50th anniversary of the M division, BMW has finally paid tribute to the iconic 3.0 CSL with a new limited run model underpinned by the M4.
Essentially the long-awaited production version of the 3.0 CSL Hommage Concept that premiered at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza seven years ago, the modern iteration of the famed Coupé Sport Leichtbau – the latter meaning lightweight in German – that dominated touring car racing in the 1970s will have its offset restricted to 50 units as a way of preserving what the M division calls its most exclusive model ever made.
Icon returns, modernised
Despite its easy-to-spot foundations, and toning down of some of the concept’s styling attributes, certain elements, including from the original CSL, have been retained.
Arguably the most prominent is the extended rear wings, door sills and rear wing that earned the 3.0 CSL the Batmobile moniker when it debuted in 1972.
Decked-out in the M’s division’s blue, red and black racing stripes against an Alpine White body, the mentioned changes aren’t purely for aesthetics as they are made entirely out of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) in order to reduce weight in-line with the lightweight mantra.
Besides the wing adorned with the M Power logo BMW claims aids aerodynamics, the bulging wings feature integrated slits that optimise brake cooling, while working in combination with the aerofoil and door sills to prevent drag.
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While the front facia’s carbon lip spoiler and yellow Laser Light LED headlights are M4 giveaways, the rest is unique to the 3.0 CSL in the from of a redesigned kidney grille with chrome surrounds, a reworked bumper and V-shaped lower intake complete with a gloss black mesh pattern.
The stylistic tribute to the Batmobile, bar the new rear facia, whose only nod to the M4 are the taillights, is rounded off by vents in the bonnet, the BMW badge on the C-pillar, a 3.0 CSL sticker on the bootlid, a spoiler mounted on the roof and gold centre-locking alloy wheels with 50 decals on the sidewalls measuring 20-inches at the 21-inches at the rear wrapped in specially-made Michelin rubber.
As befitting of the use of carbon fibre, extended to the rear diffuser, roof, bonnet, spoiler, door sills and panel, to keep the CSL’s weight down, BMW has fabricated the struts of the suspension out of cast aluminium and the exhaust silencer out of titanium to reduces the overall kerb mass to 1 270kg, the same as the original 3.0 CSL and a whopping 355kg less than the M4 CSL.
Additionally tipping the scales at 455kg less than the rear-wheel-drive M4 Competition, BMW has also fiddled with the 3.0 CSL’s chassis by including a revised Adaptive M suspension, retuning the M electro-mechanical power steering and upgrading the double joint spring struts at the front as well as the five-link axle at the rear.
In addition to the Active M differential, the steel brakes have been dropped in favour of the otherwise optional carbon ceramic stoppers made-up of a six-piston caliper setup at the front and single at the rear, with respective disc sizes of 400mm and 380mm.
Inside Batmobile 2.0
Inside, the similarities with the M4 are harder to escape from a design standpoint, bar the prominent white-and-black 50 engraved retro gear knob and white stitched Alcantara gear boot for the six-speed manual gearbox.
The sole transmission for the CSL, whose Getrag-supplied five-speed manual in the 1972 original didn’t come with an automatic option either, the rest of the unique interior fixtures comprise the M carbon bucket seats trimmed in Alcantara, carbon fibre door panels, an anthracite roofliner, matte carbon inlays, an Alcantara M steering wheel and the M seatbelts.
As with the original CSL, and indeed the M4 CSL, the new 3.0 CSL has taken leave of the rear seats entirely while retaining the red M buttons on the steering wheel that alters the overall setup instead of also the gear changes.
Black Alcantara rounds the cabin touches off, along with a red starter button, silver 12 o’clock marking on the steering wheel, contrasting stitch work and a special number’s plaque sits on section of carbon fibre below an embroidered 3.0 CSL badge on the passenger’s side dashboard.
Power of six boosted
Despite a torque drop of 100 Nm to 550 Nm as a result of the manual gearbox, the 3.0 CSL officially takes over the mantle of most powerful six-cylinder BMW M car ever made. Surprisingly, no performance figures were revealed.
A transformation said to take days with three months being required to produce all 50 models, no pricing details for the 3.0 CSL was revealed with speculation hinting at a sticker price considerably more than the M4 CSL. For now, it remains unknown as to whether any had been snapped-up by BMW South Africa.