It's one of the company's most significant models ever.
To name the most iconic BMW of all time isn't an easy task. Could it be the E30 M3, the first car to bear the M3 badge? Maybe it's the mid-engined M1, the first M-badged BMW with its Italian design elements. Perhaps the most legendary BMW ever didn't wear an M badge at all. In a new video shared by BMW Group Classic, the company gives us some more insight into the 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile'. This coupe introduced many of the design elements that still exist on several BMWs today. Unveiled in 1973, the racing version arrived wearing the classic M color racing stripes.
The 3.0 CSL was built as a homologation special and the car achieved great success in the Group 2 European Touring Car Championship. In the video, the engine bay is empty as the powerplant is getting some TLC at the company's engine workshop to prepare it for racing. But for all its abilities on the track, the 3.0 CSL and the BMW E9 range of coupes as a whole were the first BMWs to blend together some of the brand's most recognizable design cues. These include the double headlamps and the C-pillar Hofmeister kink. However, these elements have changed dramatically over the years, and nowhere is that more apparent than with the latest 4 Series Coupe.
The 4 Series' grille makes the 3.0 CSL's one look exceptionally dainty by comparison, while the traditional Hofmeister kink no longer has the same curve to it. Interestingly, although the 3.0 CSL came with numerous weight-saving parts, customers could order a package that added thicker glass and power windows. This goes against the high-performance ethos of the car (the 'L' in CSL stands for Lightweight) but, of course, some customers desired the racy image coupled with a more luxurious driving experience and BMW catered for them. While BMW design has gotten attention for all the wrong reasons in recent times, the 3.0 CSL is one of the cars that set an almost irreproachable standard.