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New BMW 3.0 CSL: 560 hp, manual transmission and only 50 units!

November 24, 2022

Car for the purists

The new BMW 3.0 CSL is convincingly a car for purists. This is evident in the 560-hp powertrain, a six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive and lightweight construction. Then the print run: only fifty pieces. What this 3.0 CSL should cost is not yet known, but count on it not being cheap. In fact, this is the first time in years that BMW has come out with a new 3.0 CSL. The price tag is reportedly 750,000 euros, excluding government donations.

CSL stands for Coupe, Sport and Leichtbau

First, let’s take a look back at the BMW 3.0 CSL and the acronym CSL. BMW Motorsport GmbH developed the first generation BMW 3.0 CSL in its first year of existence specifically for touring car racing. The car became the most successful race car of its time, winning the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) in its first year of operation. The BMW 3.0 CSL won the championship five more times between 1975 and 1979. Pretty successful, then, that CSL.

Street version BWM 3.0 CSL

A street version of the racer was also developed, obviously before the homologation of the track version. The letters CSL stand for Coupe, Sport and Leichtbau (lightweight construction). The doors, hood and tailgate were made of aluminum. The roof, many other body parts and the rear bulkhead were made of the thinnest sheet metal and the bumpers were plastic. Lightweight bucket seats and the absence of sound insulation, power steering and power side window controls further reduced weight.

206-hp six-in-line

With a displacement of 3,153 cc and a power output of 151 kW (206 hp), the 3.0 CSL had the most powerful 6-cylinder in-line fuel-injected engine that BMW had previously installed in any of its models. Since its lightweight construction meant the car weighed only 1,270 kilograms, the BMW 3.0 CSL weighed only 6.2 kg per horsepower. Excellent numbers for the time.

In addition to wide wheel arches, BMW Motorsport gave the first 3.0 CSL notable aerodynamic features: a front spoiler, air guides on the edge of the front fenders and a roof spoiler. The large rear wing provided more pressure on the rear wheels at speed. Despite the fact that that wing was not allowed for public roads and thus was supplied loose in the luggage compartment, it still attracted the attention of the public, which quickly nicknamed the car the “Batmobile. Remember “Batmobile” for a moment.

BMW 3.0 CSL side

And now there is a new BMW 3.0 CSL

Okay, so much for the retrospective. Moving on to 2022. BMW M celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and thought a fitting gift was in order. That’s what this new BMW 3.0 CSL has become. The concept from the early 1970s of applying racing technology for the purest driving pleasure on public roads is also applied here.

“All aspects of the BMW 3.0 CSL – the dynamic appearance, the classic sports car interior, the lightweight construction, the 6-cylinder in-line gasoline engine coupled to the six-speed manual transmission and the rear-wheel drive – are based on the principles of BMW M. With this and the latest technology, the BMW 3.0 CSL is the ultimate symbol of top performance in the style of the brand that has been successful with it for fifty years,” the manufacturer said.

Front of BMW 3.0 CSL

Fifty copies? Secretly some more

BMW M GmbH produces only fifty units of the BMW 3.0 CSL. This is obviously a reference to the 50th anniversary of BMW M. The interior features a matte black carbon panel with the serial number of the car, i.e. #01/50 to #50/50. This number matches the last digits of the suspension number. This makes it easy to identify each copy of the new BMW 3.0 CSL. More specimens exist behind the scenes, of course, as BMW has gone through an extensive development program despite the small production run. In fact, two pre-production examples have already been subjected to frontal and side crash tests. Those have already been written off.

Rear end BMW 3.0 CSL

Old school kidney grille

The coupe shape of the body has classic sporty-elegant accents. The wide wheel wells, air guides and numerous other details allude to the legendary coupe of the 1970s. The power-to-weight ratio for the new BMW 3.0 CSL is just 2.9 kg per horsepower. And pay close attention: we detect an old-school kidney grille. The large openings in the front are also a reference to the 1970s car and provide a supply of cooling air for the engine and brakes. The air guides on the hood accentuate the classic lines of the car. Flattened BMW Laser Light headlights complete the front end.

hefty gold wheels

The muscular wheel wells accentuate the large track width. They accommodate the forged alloy wheels in Y-spoke styling (20-inch diameter front and 21-inch rear), which are painted gold – again as a reference to the 1970s. The model-specific, center-mounted wheels are a design highlight and inspired by racing. They feature tires that Michelin developed specifically for this model. The number 50 embossed on its side cheeks is also a subtle reference to BMW M GmbH’s anniversary.

Gold wheels

Batmobile 2.0

The most striking aspect of the rear end is the large rear wing, which connects to the body on the sides and translates the image of the BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” from the 1970s into a modern design language. Also check out the rear carbon diffuser that optimizes airflow under the car. The four exhaust end pieces emerge in the center under the car. The taillights feature laser technology.

Distinctive color scheme for BMW 3.0 CSL

BMW’s famous color scheme has also been applied to the new 3.0 CSL. The BMW 3.0 CSL is finished in Alpinweiß uni with striping in the BMW M colors, which accentuate the lines of the car. The application of paint and striping is largely done by hand by a team of specialists. The (racing) number on the doors and roof is in the style of those of past race cars and – like the BMW logos on the C-pillar at the so-called Hofmeister nod – establishes the link between past and present. Of course, the issue again refers to the anniversary of BMW M GmbH.

BMW 3.0 CSL Interior

BMW 3.0 CSL: the powertrain

The new BMW 3.0 CSL is equipped with a 6-cylinder in-line gasoline engine. The high-revving engine in the new BMW 3.0 CSL delivers 412 kW (560 hp) of power and 550 Nm of torque. Power is delivered linearly at speeds as high as 7,200 min. This is due in part to the extremely stiff crankcase, forged lightweight crankshaft and 3D printing technology for the cylinder head. The cooling system and oil supply are also designed for extreme driving dynamics.

Six-speed manual transmission with white knob!

Shifting is done with a six-speed manual transmission that drives the rear wheels. The gear ratios are optimally matched to the character of the engine, according to BMW. The white knob of the gearshift lever – exclusive to this car – with its engraved shift diagram and the number 50 refers to its historic predecessor and to the anniversary of BMW M GmbH.

White shift knob of BMW 3.0 CSL

Steering with the accelerator pedal is possible

Drifting and “steering with the throttle” is of course possible. The Active M Differential in the rear suspension has a backlash effect of up to 100%. The Active M Differential  is coupled with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), so that the degree of locking is always perfectly matched to the situation. Other features include wheel suspension with double-mounted front struts, M-specific 5-link rear suspension, the Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers and the electromechanical M Servotronic steering with variable transmission. In addition, the 3.0 CSL has another M Carbon ceramic brake system.

M Traction Control with ten modes

Front fixed calipers are mounted with six pistons and 400×38 mm ceramic brake discs and rear fixed single-piston calipers and 380×28 mm ceramic brake discs. The calipers are painted red. M Traction Control allows the driver to adjust the degree of intervention of the traction control system at ten levels. Via M Dynamic Mode, switching off completely is also possible.

Many parts made of CFRP

For the lightweight construction of the BMW 3.0 CSL, an especially large amount of CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) was used. The doors, hood, tailgate and front and rear bumper are made of CFRP. The same goes for the attachment of the side panels, sills, rear diffuser and rear wing. All components in CFRP were produced specifically for the BMW 3.0 CSL, most of them by hand. Other components are also manufactured from lightweight materials in the interest of saving weight. Such as the roof spoiler made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, the rear muffler made of titanium (weight saving 4.3 kg) and the aluminum construction that connects the left and right suspension in the engine compartment.

BMW 3.0 CSL side

Interior BMW 3.0 CSL

In the interior, we detect M Carbon bucket seats that are adjustable in height and angle in three positions only with tools and in a workshop. Longitudinally, occupants can adjust the seats (manually), however. The rear seat has given way to integrated storage space for two helmets. Limited interior trim in CFRP and the omission of soundproofing material should enhance the experience.

Alcantara and red buttons in BMW 3.0 CSL

The seats are upholstered in black alcantara, as is the steering wheel, among others. The car also features M safety belts and anthracite-colored headliner. Stitching in the interior is done in contrasting white – the body color. Starting and stopping the engine is done via a red button. The familiar M buttons on the steering wheel are also red in color.