The BMW E46 M3 CSL Is Getting Seriously Expensive

Sports Cars / 3 Comments

These two examples show now might be the time to get one.

BMW builds some of the best rear-wheel-drive sports cars known to man, and before the days of turbocharging and slick automatic transmissions, this German manufacturer produced amazingly capable naturally-aspirated screamers. To many, the BMW M3 is the ultimate driver's sedan, and purists consider the E46 M3 to be the last of the raw driver's M cars, with the hardcore CSL (Coupe Sport Lightweight) being the halo version.

Prices for the E46 CSL have skyrocketed in recent years, and finding an unmolested version is becoming harder by the day, that's why we sat up and took notice when these two cars came up for sale with Piston Heads. Sure, they're listed in the UK, but that's nothing a shipping company can't fix.

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Piston Heads
Piston Heads
Piston Heads

Only 1,358 of these exclusive M3 CSL versions were ever produced, and of that figure, 535 were produced in right hand drive, making these two examples even more special. So what makes the CSL so sought after? Basically, it's a bunch of little things that come together to make a big difference. Carbon fiber pieces such as the roof, thinner rear glass windows, and the removal of sound insulation, electric seats and navigation all add up to a weight saving of 243 pounds.

Powering the E46 M3 CSL is one of the best straight-six engines ever produced. This S54 3.2-liter engine produces 355 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, and sounds like a rasping banshee when pushed to the redline thanks to a reprofiled camshaft, carbon air intake, performance headers, and bigger exhaust valves. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed SMG II automated transmission.

Piston Heads
Piston Heads
Piston Heads
Piston Heads

The chassis of the CSL features a revised suspension setup with stiffer springs, upgraded shock absorbers, and a quicker steering ratio for the steering rack. CSL cars roll on 19-inch wheels originally wrapped in Michelin Sport Cup tires. The top speed is pegged at 155 mph, and the 0-62 mph sprint is taken care of in 4.9 seconds.

The cheaper of the two cars for sale is a Black 2003 model with 35k on the clock and is listed for £98,000 ($130,600). The Silver car is a 2004 example and shows only 16k on the odometer. Being newer and with less miles, this Silver CSL costs £115,000 ($153,250). No other details of these two beauties are available, but they both look to be in really good shape, and both feature a black-on-black interior, with those desirable carbon seats that came exclusively with the CSL . If these are the prices E46 CSLs care going for, you'd better snap one up while you still can.

Piston Heads
Piston Heads
Piston Heads
Piston Heads

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