The name rings a bell, doesn’t it? The three hallowed letters C, S, and L were, especially when used together, turned performance BMWs into something even more special. The abbreviation originally stood for Coupé Sport Leichtbau, with a clear emphasis on the last part — lightweight construction. The first car to have adorned the three letters together was the BMW E9 CSL, also affectionately known as the Batmobile thanks to its aero package. A few decades later, right in the middle of the noughties, BMW decided to bestow another legendary product with the CSL badge. It was the BMW E46 M3. BMW took the lightweight measures to a new level with the inclusion of a carbon-fibre roof and airbox. For many that remained the ultimate M3. The BMW M4 CSL, however, might change that now.
The BMW M4 CSL is based on the latest-generation M4 and only 1,000 examples of the special-edition car will be produced. The kerb weight has been limited to 1625 kg, which means everything that BMW thought was superfluous has been shown the door. Apart from employing lightweight materials like carbon fibre for the front seats, alloys, springs, brakes, bonnet, roof, boot lid, etc. and titanium for the exhaust, BMW has made other modifications to keep the weight low. The interior sound-deadening and centre console have been made lighter, the climate control is now single-zone, and the rear lights employ a new laser-illuminated thread pattern. The rear seats have been removed too.
It’s about keeping the car light, and BMW mentions that the CSL is a road car first, so there’s no roll cage here. Having said that, BMW has worked to increase the car’s rigidity. The adaptive suspension is still there and the car now sits 8mm closer to the ground, in comparison to the M4 Competition. The BMW M4 CSL is powered by a turbocharged 3-litre straight-six engine which makes 550 PS and 650Nm. The rear-wheel-drive car has an eight-speed M Steptronic gearbox. If you remember, the M3 CSL had a distinct note, and while those levels of aural excellence mightn’t be possible in a turbocharged engine, BMW has equipped the M4 CSL with a bespoke exhaust system, too.
The standard tech and driver-assist features are carried over from the M4. The differentiating bits, apart from the aforementioned, are CSL badges and branding inside. BMW M celebrates its 50 years of existence and the special anniversary roundel logo can also be seen on the CSL. The optional yellow headlights will remind you of the very successful BMW GT race cars and completing the look are exposed carbon weave on parts and accompanying red accents. Colour choices include Frozen Brooklyn Grey, Alpine White, and Sapphire Black.
The BMW M4 CSL is said to have lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) in 7m 15.6 s. The official time, which includes the T13 straight, is 7m 20.2 s. The car, with a 0-100kph time of just 3.7 seconds, is also the fastest series-production BMW to lap the Nurburgring, adds the company. That’s impressive, but then what else do you expect from a car with a ‘CSL’ badge and a ducktail spoiler built into the boot lid!
Fun fact: BMW also did an M5 CSL as a one-off project. It was based on the V10-engined E60 M5. It looked gorgeous too.