csl. It doesn’t get much more iconic than this letter combination. And yet this is only the third time in 50 years that BMW has used the letters. Perhaps that scarcity is precisely what gives the letters their power. Plus the fact that the model we all remember, the 2003 E46 M3 CSL, is arguably the ultimate M car. This new BMW M4 CSL is therefore cause for celebration. Incidentally, BMW only builds 1,000 copies of the M4 CSL.
Or maybe the CSL is the result of a party, as BMW M turns 50 this year. The other gift the brand is giving itself is the gigantic XM, a 750 horsepower hybrid SUV. We know what you think, don’t get me started on it. Let’s hope this lighter CSL is more the direction the brand is going in the future, and not big and heavy SUVs.
The specifications of the BMW M4 CSL
Let’s go back to M things we love and understand. The two big players are ‘more power’ and ‘less weight’. BMW saves 100 kilos for a total of 1,625 kilos. Still quite heavy, but we are talking about a modern car here. They do weigh quite a bit.
The engine remains a 3.0-liter in-line six, but the power increases by 40 hp to 550 hp. The torque is 650 Nm. Those two numbers account for a 0-100 time of 3.7 seconds and 0-200 in 10.7 seconds. The BMW M4 CSL is always a rear-wheel drive automatic.
Fast, but because of the rear-wheel drive, a regular M3 xDrive is a significantly better sprinter. If you care about that, you’re missing the point of the BMW M4 CSL. No BMW production car drove faster around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The lap lasted 7 minutes and 15.677 seconds. Or 7 minutes and 20.207 seconds if you include the part at T13. To make things even more confusing: the CSL is not a hardcore track toy, but a Spartan street model.
The changes to the chassis
Let’s look at the dynamic changes, because they are probably the most important element in giving the CSL its own character. First of all, the ride height has been lowered by 8 millimeters and BMW placed an auxiliary spring at each damper. This allows the main spring to maintain better tension, improving control under hard riding. For the same reason, there are new anti-roll bars and more camber in the front axle.
At the rear axle, the rubber supports connecting the upper and lower wishbones to the rear subframe have been replaced by solid ball joints. The subframe itself is now bolted to the main chassis without damping. You will feel that. BMW installs Michelin Cup 2R tires.
It is these changes that will set the tone for the CSL, give it even more focus and help it lose the weight. But it will probably be more of an event at slower speeds. The titanium muffler (4.3 kilos saved) promises clearer sound, eliminating 15 kilos of soundproofing will give more volume inside, while lighter wheels and brakes (21 kilos) should allow the car to respond more directly to input.
The engine is not very different in the BMW M4 CSL
The engine is pretty much as it was. The six-cylinder monoscroll turbos (one does cylinders 1-3, the other 4-6) now blow at 2.1 bar instead of 1.7 and the engine management has been adjusted. The engine compartment is enclosed by an intricate new aluminum bridge. Not a carbon fiber copy, as in the F80. And yes, the gearbox is still the automatic, but the shifts are faster and harder.
Let’s run through the other major weight savings to give you the wide range of changes. It’s mostly cabin stuff. The chairs have a fixed backrest and the height can be adjusted by removing and screwing the screws. That already saves 24 kilos. The rear seat disappears, as does the trunk lining. That’s 21 pounds again. The carbon fiber hood weighs 1.2 kilograms less than the aluminum one. The taillights are 400 kilos lighter. The air conditioning stays in the car, by the way.
The price of all that beauty has yet to follow.