6-speed manual only, the BMW 3.0 CSL is more than just an M4 with a better grille

Just like the year 2022, the period for BMW M GmbH to celebrate its 50th anniversary is also approaching its end. Possibly the M Division’s last hurrah for its Golden Jubilee, it has unveiled the BMW 3.0 CSL, which pays tribute to the division’s first production car which also bears the same moniker.

If the car looks somewhat familiar, that’s probably because you’ve seen the 3.0 CSL Hommage that debuted in 2015 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa de’Este, or the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage R that debuted at Pebble Beach, also in 2015. The 2023 BMW 3.0 CSL is based on the latest-generation BMW M4, albeit with extensive changes.

Most of the exterior takes inspiration from the original 3.0 CSL – the bumper vents, ‘batmobile’-like front fenders, rear wing, and rear top wing are instantly recognizable 3.0 CSL features. Featuring a large grille like most modern BMWs, the 3.0 CSL’s grille is wider, shorter, smoother, and has a lattice grille design as opposed to the horizontal slates of the M4/M3.

To keep its weight down, carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used extensively in the 3.0 CSL. CFRP is used for the roof, bonnet lid, boot lid, and front and rear aprons. Also keeping the weight down is minimal use of insulation materials.

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Wider than the regular M4, the 3.0 CSL sits on 20-inch wheels in front and 21-inch wheels in the rear, all with a centre lock. With a Y-spoke design, the forged light alloy wheels are finished in gold-coloured paint. The golden centre lock wheels are exclusive for the 3.0 CSL and so are the Michelin tyres that wrap around them. Developed exclusively for the 3.0 CSL, the Michelin tyres have the number ’50’ embossed on the sidewalls.

There is only one colour scheme for the BMW 3.0 CSL, and it is the Alpine white base with the M stripes livery. Mostly made of carbon components, the 3.0 CSL is hand painted by specialists and the livery stripes are precisely positioned with the help of laser projection and customized contour films. Each component with a livery paint finish takes six working days to complete.

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Powering the BMW 3.0 CSL is the most powerful straight-six engine to be used in a road-legal BMW M car. The 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine makes 560 hp (metric) and 550 Nm and revs up to 7,200 rpm. For comparison, the M4 CSL makes 550 hp (metric) and 650 Nm while the standard M4 makes 480 hp (metric) and 550 Nm.

The only transmission option for the 3.0 CSL is a 6-speed manual box, and all power is sent to the rear wheels only. If anything, the 3.0 CSL sounds like the average car enthusiast’s wet dream.

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Not entirely ‘traditional’, the 6-speed manual box come with “Shift Assistant” which uses a connection speed control to ensure slip-free clutch engagement after downshifting when braking for corners. In case you’re feeling like a big boy, the “Shift Assistant” can be deactivated. The 3.0 CSL is also equipped with BMW’s Active M Differential.

As for suspension, the 3.0 CSL has a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle with Adaptive M suspension. Behind the exclusive golden wheels are M carbon ceramic brakes with adjustable characteristic curves.

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Inside, the rear seats have been yeeted to make space for a storage compartment with two integrated helmet compartments. The seats provided in the 3.0 CSL are M Carbon full bucket seats with removable headrest inserts. As the driver and passenger, you can only adjust the seats longitudinally with no tools. Seat height and inclination adjustments require a three-stage screw linkage in a workshop.

Covered in mostly Alcantara, the interior also features a lot of carbon and lightweight materials. To go with the exterior livery, the 3.0 CSL has contrasting stitching on the Alcantara. To manhandle the 6-speed manual box, you get a white gear shift knob with the ‘50’ lettering to remind you that you’re in a very special M car.

Only 50 units of the BMW 3.0 CSL will be available in honour of its 50th anniversary. Inside the car is a number lettering to let you know which unit of the 50 it is. Priced at 750,000 Eur (approx. RM3,481,107), the 3.0 CSL takes 3 months to complete.

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