Behold Vorsteiner’s glorious ‘V-CSL’ E46 M3

Want your BMW M car hero to look like the Coupe Sport Lightweight legend? Right this way…

By Matt Bird / Monday, 27 November 2023 / Loading comments

For a while now, the BMW M3 CSL has been worth an awful lot of money. As little as a decade ago, when the E46 was inaugurated into the PH Heroes hall of fame, they were available for less than £30k; now you’re going to need triple (!) that. During which time the standard M3 of the time has certainly enjoyed appreciation of its own, if not to quite such stratospheric levels (because they started much further down). 

It’s bad news for everyone apart from those selling an M3 CSL, really. Once upon a time it was feasible that an E46 owner might save up, keep their car nice, and upgrade to the holy grail in time. Now that just isn’t the case. Even an M3 CS is half the money of a CSL. Vorsteiner has a solution for those with CSL envy – an upgrade kit called V-CSL, which makes an E46 look like that gorgeous flagship. 

It’s a nice job, right? The parts are all carbon, and do exactly as intended to these eyes – the impression is of a CSL in a colour BMW never offered rather than a modified E46. (Better informed readers, point out what’s missing now.) The key parts are the front bumper with that now-famous cut out for the intake, the beautifully upswept bootlid and rear diffuser. It’s nothing outrageous, because the CSL never was, and absolutely does the trick. A set of racy Vorsteiner wheels sets the V-CSL off very nicely; if you’re spending a lot already, what’s a bit more?

Because of the carbon fibre, and because Vorsteiner isn’t making many of these kits (just 103), there’s a price to pay. The bumper is $2,695, the bootlid is $2,395, and the rear diffuser is $1,495. So $6,585, or £5,200, in total. Before even thinking about shipping, or fitting, or getting the equally lovely carbon interior insert for another thousand bucks. The wheels on this especially sexy M3 look like Vorsteiner’s GTE-352, which are, um, $12k a set. Easy to see how it might all mount up.

The finished car will still be less than a genuine CSL, though. And you can have colours other than black or grey. And even a manual. Best move fast, however, with the E46’s considerable popularity and the very limited run. This silver manual coupe looks a great place to start – selling off the 18-inch wheels that everyone wants would surely raise most of the cash straightaway…

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