After the huge success of the E9 CSL in the 1970′s it is somewhat of a surprise that it took BMW another 30 years to resurrect the name, but when they did the E46 M3 CSL certainly stood up to the challenge. As with the original E9 CSL the main objective was weight loss.
On the exterior the car got a carbon fibre roof panel that saved 6kg’s and lowered the cars centre of gravity, the front bumper was also made from carbon as was the rear diffuser. The distinctive duck tail boot lid was made from sheet moulding compound, the rear floor and bulkhead are constructed from fibreglass reinforced plastic and the rear screen used thinner gauge glass.
The comfortable leather seats where ditched in favour of some lightweight, fixed back bucket seats, the door cards were replaced by more carbon as was the centre console. Air conditioning and the radio were both deleted, although could be spec’d as no cost options.
BMW really pulled out the stops on the E46 CSL to make it something special. A touring car style carbon air box was fitted that gives the CSL it glorious induction roar, a more efficient intake system, better manifolds, modified camshafts and exhaust valves along with a lightweight exhaust system meant that power rose to 360hp at 7900rpm. This was coupled to the SMG 2 gearbox with bespoke software.
The chassis was improved with different springs and uprated shocks, thicker anti roll bars, some upgraded bushes, a quicker steering rack and larger front brake discs. Unique 19-inch alloys wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres completed the package.
The M3 CSL is now well renowned as one of BMW’s finest achievements with stunning pace, an addictive induction roar and a staggeringly accomplished chassis.
Climate Control, BMW Business Radio and CD player, Pop out rear windows, M-sport mode, Sport button, ESP, ABS, Central Locking, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Carbon roof, Lightweight equipment.
Finished in one of only two colours available on the CSL, the Silver Grey paint work is in excellent condition and retains a deep lustre across the purposeful lines of this modern BMW legend. It presents beautifully inside and out of our photostudio.
The bonnet, front bumper and front splitters remain in fine cosmetic order showing minimal stone chips while the rest of the silver grey paint fully accentuates the dark carbon panels and spoilers – demonstrating that this is no regular M3 that remains true to its lightweight designation.
Slipping into the lightweight sports seats the CSL interior is a beautifully minimal affair, clad in Titan shadow trim, carbon fibre reinforced plastic and upholstered in Anthracite reflex cloth. The deeply bolstered sports seats are firm and provide race car-like support, they are bound in grey Anthracite cloth which is showing minimal wear to the bolsters or seats bases. The three-spoke M steering wheel is clean and showing little signs of wear to the wrapped alcantara, which still feels smooth to the touch. The carbon fibre centre console remains free from scratches and damage with the plastic trim surrounding the SMG controls free of stubborn marks or stains.
The lightweight theme continues to the door panels being decked-out in yet more carbon fibre. The rear seats, prone to damage and scratches are pleasingly free marks and remain in excellent condition.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Opening the bonnet on a CSL is a treat for any motorsport enthusiast. The BMW motorsport division pulled out all the stops tuning the 3.2 straight 6 unit and it is the addition of a carbon airbox on a road production car that really sets the CSL apart from other M power models, providing the driver with an aural symphony of straight 6 induction and engine note.
The engine bay remains perfectly clean and in keeping with its well cared for life.
Transmission is via the semi-automatic six-speed SMG II system with automated electrohydraulic clutch, capable of making smooth, lightning-quick shifts whilst also equally adept at more sedate pace in auto mode.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
Arguably one of the finest production car designs, the 19″ lightweight alloy wheels help to set the CSL apart with an aggressive stance being 0.5″ wider than standard M3 alloy wheels. All the alloy wheels are in excellent condition, along with the BMW centre caps which remain free from any damage.
All four wheels are shod in no-compromise Michelin Super Sports that still show plenty of tread.
As one of the last CSL to be registered in September of 2004 the car returned to the supplying dealer, Rydale Cars, in January of 2005 to complete it’s running in service at 1,136 miles.
Incredibly the car has been serviced at BMW on a further 10 occasions having never covered more than 7k miles between visits.
Fresh from a service at BMW Hindhead the car is mechanically tip-top and ready for the next custodian to enjoy. A digital print out of all visits to the main dealer sits alongside a full book pack and both spare keys in the history file.
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