The 2023 BMW M4 CSL has just made its debut, and it’s a very special vehicle for the M brand as they celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. A BMW M vehicle with the CSL badge means it’s more than just a special edition with a different color palette and trims. With CSL standing for “Competition, Sport, Lightweight”, the M4 CSL is a much more potent animal altogether compared to the standard M4.
That begins with its 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight-six, which now produces 543 hp, a 40 hp increase over the M4 Competition, while torque remains unchanged. An eight-speed automatic comes as standard, and that’s your only transmission choice for the M4 CSL. Power is routed through the rear wheels. No fancy and heavy rear-biased all-wheel drive (AWD) system here for pure driving fun.
While there have been numerous CS-badged M models over the years, only three have been blessed with the CSL badge throughout history. These include the (E9) 3.0 CSL and the (E46) M3 CSL. That’s because weight shedding has been the main driving point of all CSL vehicles.
In the case of the BMW M4 CSL, a total of 109 kgs worth of weight savings have been achieved. This begins with the roof, hood, and trunk lid being made out of carbon fiber. The roof features exposed carbon fiber, while the hood only has exposed portions that are highlighted in red. The bucktooth kidney grilles are also made out of carbon fiber, while the taillights are a first for BMW as this uses their Laserlight technology, which is also lighter compared to the standard LED taillights.
Other weight-saving measures on the exterior include forged alloy wheels. To set the M4 CSL apart from the standard M4, a carbon fiber body kit comes as standard. There are also numerous red highlights surrounding its exterior. The carbon fiber trunk lid also comes with an integrated ducktail spoiler, which has been an integral design trait of all CSL vehicles. Topping it all off is a special version of the BMW logo, which celebrates BMW M’s 50th anniversary. The logo will be fitted to every BMW M vehicle, but only for this year.
As you move towards the interior, you’ll notice the lack of rear seats, while the front seats have been swapped in favor of ultra-lightweight M Carbon full bucket seats. Expect a little less sound insulation as well, as these have been swapped for an “ultra-lightweight” material that also contributes to the car’s weight reduction. These seats have no adjustment at all, and the seat height can only be tweaked in a workshop. BMW M understands that these seats’ lack of adjustment won’t be to everyone’s tastes, which is why they are offering the heavier, power-adjustable, and heated M Carbon bucket seats as a no-cost option.
BMW M also tweaked the handling aspect of the M4 CSL. The BMW M4 CSL features upgraded dampers, enhanced chassis rigidity, and an 8-mm lower ride height compared to the standard M4. The suspension now features “zero-play” ball joints in the control arms, specially-engineered anti-roll bars, and unique programming for the traction control. The last item allows for either controlled drifts or for chasing the fastest lap times.
If things are starting to become way too fast for you to handle, don’t worry as the BMW M4 CSL comes with six-piston brake calipers at the front and a single-piston floating caliper at the rear, while the discs are of the lightweight carbon-ceramic variety. You can also adjust the pedal feel via the iDrive infotainment system through the M setup menu.
Lastly, the BMW M4 CSL comes with bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, measuring 275/35 ZR19 at the front and 285/30 ZR20 at the rear. If these tires are too hardcore for your daily drives, you can swap these for the M4 Competition’s tamer Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires at no cost.
All of these upgrades have resulted in the BMW M4 CSL being the fastest series-production M car to go around the Nurburgring. It is able to complete the grueling race track in just 7 minutes, 20.2 seconds. This is an M car that is truly deserving the CSL badge, and it’s so far only the third BMW M car to ever wear this special badging.
The 2023 BMW M4 CSL will begin production this July, with only 1,000 units to be made worldwide.