If you thought BMW M's 50th-anniversary celebrations were going to stop at the new BMW M4 CSL and an M3 Touring as we did, then it's time to be pleasantly surprised. BMW has confirmed that not only is the CSL nomenclature being revived for the M4, but a second model will potentially bear the name in the form of a 2023 BMW 3.0 CSL, a revival of the iconic homologation special from 1972 and one of the first official M cars. While details aren't abundant, BMW M boss Franciscus (Frank) van Meel, has teased the all-new model as an ultra-exclusive coachbuilt model based on the M4 CSL platform. Essentially it will be a production version of the 3.0 CSL Hommage and Hommage R concepts from 2015 and could potentially be the first BMW M car in decades to not use a traditional M name. Built in extremely limited numbers, this is BMW M's way of saying it hasn't given up on enthusiasts. As for rivals, nothing can be a rival to something this special, so why bother trying to compare?
With a teaser campaign only kicking off in late June 2022, the release date of the BMW 3.0 CSL hasn't been confirmed. But if BMW is to capitalize fully on its anniversary year, the model will be revealed before the end of 2022. With limited production, not many, if any at all, are expected to make it stateside, but we'd hazard a guess at deliveries taking place in the USA by mid-2023 should any be available in the American market.
Like all good things in life, a bespoke, coachbuilt piece of art from BMW M won't come cheap. While the series-production M4 CSL has an MSRP of $139,900, the 2023 BMW 3.0 CSL's price is expected to be more than quadruple that figure. Rumors from sources close to the development team suggest a circa-$795,000 price tag which would make sense if the rumored production number of fewer than 50 units proves to be true. The "I Like It Rare" sticker on the hood supports a highly limited production run.
Thus far, we've only been shown three images of the new BMW 3.0 CSL coupe's exterior and they aren't even of a finished production model, but rather a prototype shrouded in a camo wrap made up of BMW's finest M cars from the past 50 years - including the original E9 3.0 CSL. What we do know is the 3.0 CSL will be a two-door coupe based on the BMW M4 CSL. It appears to adopt the basic headlight and taillight shape of that car, but will no doubt have bespoke graphics for the LED light signatures. The most notable change to the front-end design comes in the form of all-new kidney grilles, much stubbier than the M4 CSL's. These grilles are similar in shape and size to the CSL Hommage concept, with many cues adapted from that for production here. Other details borrowed for the front end of the new car include two circular ducts in the front bumper, behind which two radiators will provide additional cooling for the high-performance model. A carbon fiber front splitter has integrated brake cooling ducts. M design wing mirrors will also be featured in lightweight carbon.
Looking at the rear, more cues have been adopted from the CSL Hommage concept, most notably the wide haunches and not one, but two rear spoilers - one mounted on the trunk lid and another to the roof. Speaking of the roof, expect nothing less than carbon fiber, with aerodynamic strakes built into it to aid airflow. Signature quad exhaust exits and a prominent carbon diffuser round out the rear end.
What we can't yet see are finer details, like the expected use of twin M anniversary BMW roundels aft of the Hofmeister kink on the C pillars. We also don't know what colors the 2023 3.0 CSL will be available in, but as a coachbuilt model, it wouldn't be farfetched to expect buyers' choice, or a few select hues like the vivid green/yellow from the concept, or a bespoke BMW M racing livery. One of the few elements we're certain won't be carried over from concept to production are the prominent front fender extensions.
The 2023 BMW 3.0 CSL's exterior dimensions won't differ largely from the M4 on which this car is based. That means a wheelbase of 112.5 inches and an approximate length of 188.7 inches. What could differ are the other dimensions such as width, height, and track width. Wider rear fenders could extend beyond the M4 CSL's 75.6-inch wide hips, while the new roof-mounted wing could affect the M4 CSL's 54.6-inch height. With extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweighting strategies, the curb weight of the 3.0 CSL should be less than the 3,640 lbs of the M4 CSL. These specs may change as more information becomes available.
Batmobile-esque styling is far from the most extreme aspect of the new boutique car. The engine in the BMW 3.0 CSL will be the S58 unit from the M4 CSL but expect the wick to be dialed all the way up. The 3.0-liter displacement will remain, giving the car its name, but while the M4 CSL produces 543 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0 CSL is projected to output closer to 600 hp. Whether the torque figure increases remains to be seen. This will be a solely rear-wheel-drive vehicle, while the "6MT FTW" sticker on the prototype's trunk tells us you'll have a six-speed manual gearbox. Built as a pure expression of M, 0-60 mph should take under 3.5 seconds and the top speed could reach close to 200 mph.
No one buying a new BMW 3.0 CSL will give a damn about gas mileage or range, and we expect many of these to spend their lives in a hermetically sealed chamber instead of a garage or out on the road. The M4 Competition RWD's 19 mpg combined serves as a good estimate for those who do care, but we expect the 15.6-gallon gas tank to carry over from the M4 CSL.
The last area we touch on is perhaps one of the most important as BMW knows better than to design a coachbuilt exterior and merely transfer the cabin from an existing car. The interior of the BMW 3.0 CSL will use the M4 CSL as its basis. That means the BMW 3.0 CSL seats only two occupants. The rear seats have been tossed to save weight, but there is no roll cage inside as standard, proving this will be a road-legal car. The two seats that do remain are shrouded in the photos we have but expect nothing less than BMW's finest carbon-shelled bucket seats from the M4 CSL. The rest of the cabin will have excess weight stripped, and we wouldn't put it past the M experts to remove the climate control, radio, and some sound deadening to make the experience all the more extreme. Alcantara is sure to find its way onto the dash, doors, and steering wheel.
In theory, the BMW 3.0 CSL's trunk space should be carried over from the M4 CSL (12 cubic feet), but this could change based on the engineering and design requirements of a bespoke model like this.
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