BMW is not holding back when it comes to celebrating the 50th anniversary of its well-known M division this year, and before 2022 draws to a close, the company is presenting this, the new 3.0 CSL.
Fans of the brand will know the ‘3.0 CSL’ name well, as it was used for a homologation special based on the E9 coupe that allowed BMW to compete in the European Touring Car Championship. Nicknamed the ‘Batmobile’ due to its distinctive design, the original Coupé Sport Leichtbau (Coupe Sport Lightweight) would later receive a tribute model when BMW unveiled the 3.0 CSL Hommage in 2015.
Unlike its fabled ancestor, the new 3.0 CSL isn’t based on a race car and actually shares a lot more in common with the M4. Of course, this isn’t immediately obvious when you look at it due to the amount of work BMW put in to make it appear extra special and recognisable.
Clearly inspired by the 3.0 CSL Hommage, the celebratory model boasts a more upright kidney grille (with a lattice-shaped insert in a diamond structure) and features air deflection elements, prominent wheel arches, new bumpers and two rear wings, including one on the roof.
The modern Batmobile also undergoes a strict diet, with almost the entire body being handmade from carbon-fibre. These include sections like the roof, bonnet, boot lid, bumpers, side panel attachments, side sills, rear diffuser and rear spoiler.
In other areas, the roof spoiler is made of glass fibre reinforced plastic, while the titanium rear silencer is 4.3 kg lighter than a steel one. Centre locking forged light-alloy wheels are standard and come sized 20 inches in the front and 21-inch in the rear. Look closely and you’ll also notice the bespoke Michelin tyres that bear the number 50 embossed on the sidewalls.
To honour the race car, the 3.0 CSL only comes in Alpine White with the BMW M stripe livery, both applied largely by hand. A total of 22 individual parts are painted during the process, with each component requiring a livery paint finish requiring a throughput time of six working days.
Inside, you’ll find a cockpit that remains largely faithful to the base car, albeit with a generous amount of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components that are also made by hand. There are also M carbon full bucket seats, black Alcantara upholstery, M seat belts, an anthracite roof liner and plenty of contrast accents.
That’s all well and good, but what sets the interior apart from a regular M4, in addition to the model-specific badging and sequential numbering, is the white gearshift knob that sports an engraved gearshift diagram and the number 50 – the latter reminding occupants of BMW M’s anniversary.
For the new 3.0 CSL, BMW opted against using an automatic transmission and instead gave it a good ol’ six-speed manual for “maximum driving pleasure and intensive interaction between driver and vehicle.” This comes with a shift assistant that uses a connection speed control to ensure slip-free clutch engagement after downshifting when braking for corners.
The manual transmission is paired with an Active M Differential and the most powerful (in terms of horsepower) straight-six engine ever used in a road-legal BMW. Essentially an enhanced version of the 3.0 litre turbocharged unit in the M4 CSL, BMW quotes 560 PS (553 hp or 412 kW) and 550 Nm of torque.
For those keeping count, that’s 10 PS (10 hp or about 8 kW) more than the M4 CSL, although torque is down 100 Nm, likely to accommodate the gearbox. To illustrate progress, BMW says the 3.0 CSL’s kilogram-to-horsepower ratio is just 2.9 compared to 6.2 of the original Batmobile.
Other driving-related items include specific Adaptive M suspension, revised M Servotronic steering with variable ratio, tweaked chassis mounts for better feel and feedback, and an adjustable M carbon ceramic brake system.
Only 50 examples of the 3.0 CSL will be produced, with each one passing through eight assembly cycles at just as many production stations. This procedure takes up to 10 days, and BMW says it will complete the full batch in around three months. The limited number of units makes the 3.0 CSL an incredibly rare BMW, so it’ll likely cost a lot of money – the rumoured asking price is said to start at 700,000 euros (around RM3.3 million).
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