Official: BMW 3.0 CSL Won't Be Street-Legal In America

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50 will be made with a price tag of $780,000, but we're willing to bet a couple will sneak in under Show or Display rules.

After the highly anticipated reveal of the all-new BMW 3.0 CSL yesterday, we immediately got in touch with BMW to ask how much the car costs and how many will be sold in America, and unfortunately, we have bad news on both fronts: the 3.0 CSL costs €750,000 in Germany, which works out to exactly $781,687 at the time of writing, and that figure doesn't even matter because the car is not coming to America.

Well, when we say it's not coming to America, what we mean is better summed up by the official comment CarBuzz received from BMW: "The 3.0 CSL is not homologated for the US."

Considering its rarity and importance in BMW M history, not to mention the sort of buyer who can afford it, we're sure that some examples will enter the US under the Show or Display rule.


BMW has justified that scandalous price by drawing our attention to the fact that only 50 of these special-edition sports cars will be produced and that each features hand-crafted components and hand-applied paint. But is it worth so much? Yes, it's rare, and as a celebratory model marking the 50-year anniversary of The Most Powerful Letter in the World, it will be quickly snapped up by collectors and resellers. But isn't pricing it so high a little cynical? BMW has made this car practically undrivable.

This is essentially still an M4 CSL underneath, with a little more power. And the M4 CSL costs "only" $139,900.

We recognize that this has a manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive, unique styling elements, and plenty of carbon fiber. BMW's most powerful production six-cylinder yet features too, producing 552 horsepower. But we're still not convinced, although we do think this looks wonderful.

BMW M Side Perspective Driving BMW M
Side Perspective Driving

The 3.0 CSL is based on the M4 CSL, with a few key differences. But for a car that costs five times what the "regular" CSL does, we expect more than a few key differences. Take a closer look at the headlights. If the overlapping bodywork was stripped away, you'd find the same units from the M4 CSL, and it's the same case with the tails, with identical filigree laser light threads in identical housings.

Even the unique bodywork appears to have been pasted over the standard body, while the original model from the 1970s featured truly bespoke, molded bodywork. Sure, a lot of that is carbon fiber, but the weight difference between this and the M4 CSL is unlikely to be great. We estimate that the 3.0 CSL is only around 60 pounds lighter. The omission of a side-exit exhaust is also disappointing, considering the motorsport-inspired livery, although we concede that this decision may have been unavoidable.

Simply put, we're disappointed that this isn't as special as the 3.0 CSL Hommage concept, pictured in the first two images below.


We've made a lot of complaints here, but only because we expect the best of BMW, particularly when it asks for 75% of the Bugatti Veyron's original asking price. Considering the ethos behind the original E9 3.0 CSL "Batmobile," we would have been more satisfied with a barely-legal GT3 racer converted for street use, with all-new bodywork and loads more power - even if that would have necessitated deleting the clutch pedal in favor of a sturdier automatic or DCT, but alas.

BMW has priced this out of reach of the vast majority of its fans, but at least it did one thing right. By producing an M car in 2022 that looks great, it has conceded that the unsightly buck-tooth grilles of the regular M3 and M4 were not as critical to cooling efficiency as it would have us believe. More importantly, we have been given a glimpse of what the company can do when its design team takes inspiration from the past rather than trying to exaggerate it. Let's hope the next 50 years culminate in something even more special.


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