csl. There are hardly any more legendary initials at BMW. And yet this is only the third time in fifty years that the brand has affixed them to a car. Unless it’s that frugality that gives them all their power? And also the fact that the one we all remember, the 2003 M3 CSL E46, is perhaps the best BMW M ever.
In any case, the arrival of this M4 CSL is a joy. It’s a gift that BMW is giving for its 50th anniversary. The other is the XM, a massive 750 hp hybrid SUV. We’ll let you guess which ones we’re most impatiently waiting for…
The program here is simple: more power, less weight. We lose 100kg to go down to 1,625kg, we gain 40hp to come out at 550hp. 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 s, 0 to 200 km/h in 10.7 s, top speed limited to 307 km/h. And if it pulls a little less hard on green than a 510 hp (3.5 s) M3 Competition xDrive, that’s because it’s a simple propulsion.
Why CSL and not GTS like the last two generations of M3/M4? “It’s not quite the same approach,” explains Dirk Hacker, chief engineer BMW M. Bogen und Fin. Another piece of good news: a lightweight car designed first for the road and only then for the track.
To do this, the body was lowered by 8 mm and the chassis was stiffened in all directions. The titanium exhaust (-4.3 kg) promises a more expressive soundtrack, especially with the 15 kg less soundproofing. The new rims and carbon-ceramic brakes reduce the unsprung masses by 21 kg. The accuracy of the M4 was already remarkable, the CSL promises to be a damn good tool.
The 6-cylinder in-line turbos now blow with 2.1 instead of 1.7 bar, the mapping has been revised for a refined throttle response. Above it sits an aluminum strut bar. On the transmission side, no dual clutch yet. BMW has retained the 8-speed automatic transmission, reworked for quicker and more brutal shifts.
The back seat disappears on board (- 21 kg). The fixed carbon bucket seats (you will need tools to change your riding position) are 24kg lighter than the standard seats and 14kg lighter than the M4 Competition’s optional carbon bucket seats. The carbon fiber hood saves 1.2 kg compared to the standard aluminum part. The new carbon fiber boot lid and its “ducktail” spoiler, 7.7 kg. Stunning filament light signature taillights are 400g lighter. The disappearance of floor mats or climate control makes you gain a few more pounds.
The 0 to 100 km/h decreases by only 2 tenths. And again, the standard Michelin Cup 2R tires certainly have a lot to do with it. But this modest progress on the timesheet is paradoxically encouraging. This means that BMW should have differentiated the CSL in a different way. Dynamic means what should be a lot more noticeable in real life than a simple kick in the butt a little more forcefully. We keep our fingers crossed.
Despite our best efforts, the M4 CSL weighs 250 kg more than a 2003 M3 CSL. That’s 207 kg more than a 911 GT3. At that time, the difference between the two cars was limited to three small kilos. If the M3/M4 has continued to get fatter, the GT3 will only weigh 38 kg more than it did two decades ago.
That doesn’t stop the M4 CSL from being the most efficient road BMW on the track. Even though it’s 7min 15.677s 20s behind the GT3… One might wonder if the CSL treatment wouldn’t have made more sense on an M2.
Available in grey, white or black, the M4 CSL is distinguished by its raw carbon parts with red accents or its optional amber daytime running lights. It costs €178,000 and will only be produced in 1,000 examples, including 29 for France. Unless you have 20 years left to wait for the next CSL, don’t waste time…
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