The BMW 3.0 CSL serves as the culmination of BMW M’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. While the XM super SUV is BMW M’s first bespoke M car since the M1 supercar from the 1970s, the 3.0 CSL is arguably what most car enthusiasts have been waiting for, since it’s a modern interpretation of BMW M’s first car, the 1972 3.0 CSL.
While it’s based on the recently-unveiled M4 CSL, most of the 3.0 CSL’s exterior body panels are bespoke–some of which are even made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The front end is characterized by a large grille, though they’re not as large as the M3 or the M4. Surrounding it is a brushed aluminum frame and LED headlights with a yellow tint for the daytime running lights.
The bulged front and rear fenders are straight out of the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage Concept from 2015, while the two rear spoilers are a direct reference to the original 3.0 CSL from 1972. Staggered 20-inch and 21-inch wheels with center locks are fitted to the front and rear axles, respectively. Lastly, you see that livery in the signature M tri colors? That’s actually painted and not merely body graphics.
Inside, the BMW 3.0 CSL looks very similar to the M3 or M4, but in a bid to reduce wait, Alcantara is heavily used along with carbon fiber. The bucket seats, which feature a 3.0 CSL emblem, aren’t even adjustable. You have to bring it to a BMW dealer just to have it tweaked. There are also no rear seats, and sound insulation has been reduced so you could hear the elements more. Lastly, the 6-speed manual transmission comes with a retro shifter.
Under the hood of the 3.0 CSL is the most powerful straight-six ever fitted to any BMW. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight-six is from the M3 and M4, but here, it now produces 553 hp and 550 Nm of torque–a 9 hp gain over the M4 CSL but 100 Nm less due to the limitations of having the 6-speed manual. BMW did not provide any 0-100 kph times or even its top speed, but with its manual, we suspect it will not be as fast to 100 kph as the M4 CSL.
Of course, a BMW M car with the CSL (which means Coupe, Sport, Lightweight) needs to walk the talk. With a power-to-weight ratio of 2.9 kg per PS, the 3.0 CSL weighs 1,624 kg. That’s only 1 kg less than the M4 CSL and 111 kg less than the M4 Competition.
The BMW 3.0 CSL will only be produced in limited numbers–50 units to be exact. Pricing has also not yet been announced, but we suspect it will be one of the most expensive BMW M cars of all time.