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.
Xenons, Climate Control, BMW Business Radio and CD player, Park distance control, Pop out rear windows, M-sport mode, Sport button, ESP, ABS, Central Locking, Electric Windows, Carbon roof, Lightweight equipment.
The M3 CSL was available in only two colour variants, Black Sapphire Metallic and Silver Grey Metallic. This example is presented in the Silver Grey Metallic paint option which looks incredible alongside the lightweight carbon-fibre panels that define the M3 ‘Coupe Sport Lightweight’.
The carbon-fibre roof panel, front bumper support and rear valance show no signs of damage whatsoever along with the shadow-line window trim that remains in excellent condition. There are some very minor stone chips on the carbon fibre front flippers being the only negatives to report. Smaller details such as the front and rear BMW badges and waist line trim also remain in fantastic condition.
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, with a small show of wear to the drivers side offside bolster. They are bound in grey Anthracite cloth, which is showing minimal wear to seats bases.
The three-spoke M steering wheel is clean and showing no 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 and retains its factory limited edition plaque. The lightweight theme continues to the door panels being decked-out in yet more carbon fibre.
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 Michelin Pilot sport tyres that still show an excellent amount of tread.
The CSL was first registered in August 2003 by the supplying dealer, Bowker BMW of Preston.
Despite covering 60k miles, the car is in impeccable condition with no tell tale signs of hard use.
The previous owners of the car have kept a good log of work carried out with all receipts present. Recently installed were new rear springs, diff seals and break pipes.
The service booklet shows regular inspections throughout the cars life at the correct intervals, a running in service with a further 7 stamps; all at the main dealer.
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