The BMW 3.0 CSL
The most exclusive special model BMW has ever produced.
As the 50th anniversary year of BMW M comes to a close, BMW M GmbH is presenting the most exclusive special model the company has ever produced – a masterpiece of engineering embodying the essence from 50 years of racing passion and expressing its historic roots in a legendary model designation.
The BMW 3.0 CSL combines a unique design with a pure performance experience in two seats and in doing so provides a truly unique and contemporary interpretation of the concept created in the 1970s - applying racetrack technology designed for sheer driving pleasure on the road.
The BMW 3.0 CSL was developed with the intention of combining the best of five decades of racing expertise from BMW M GmbH in an automobile with a highly emotional aura. All facets of its character – dynamic exterior elegance, a classic sportscar cockpit, intelligent lightweight construction, a straight six-cylinder engine, manual transmission and rear-wheel drive – are based on traditional principles of a BMW M automobile. These elements complement each other and combine with the latest technology to create the ultimate top performer in the style of the brand that has been successful for 50 years. A ride in a BMW 3.0 CSL is therefore not only an exclusive high-performance experience, but also an emotional encounter with the past and present of the world’s most powerful letter.
Produced as a limited edition incorporating elaborate craftsmanship.
The BMW 3.0 CSL is produced in a strictly limited edition. To mark the anniversary, exactly 50 consecutively numbered units of the special model will go on sale. Right from the start, this gives the BMW 3.0 CSL the status of a rarity that will find its place in the vehicle collections of particularly loyal and enthusiastic fans of the BMW M brand.
The successful touring car – a role model in its time.
As the reincarnation of a legendary sports car both for the racetrack and the road, the BMW 3.0 CSL possesses all the characteristics of a pure M car. It embodies the joy of classic driving and an awareness of the traditional roots of BMW M GmbH in a uniquely exclusive form. Its eponymous role model is considered the first automobile to carry the DNA for maximum driving pleasure and passion, an unmistakable feature of BMW M automobiles to this very day. In the founding year of BMW Motorsport GmbH, it was developed for use in touring car competitions, where it became the most successful racing car of its era.
The new BMW 3.0 CSL is the contemporary reinterpretation of all these features anchored in its model designation. Its coupe-shaped body sets traditional accents for sporty elegance and expressive dynamics. Its drive and suspension technology stems from the latest developments for racing cars and high-performance sports cars from BMW M GmbH. And the intelligent lightweight construction reaches an outstanding level, above all through the extensive use of carbon. The power-to-weight ratio of the BMW 3.0 CSL is a mere 2.9 kilograms per hp.
The specific exterior features are based on the technical requirements for cooling air supply, aerodynamic balance and driving dynamics, which form the basis for delivering compelling driving performance. The BMW 3.0 CSL expresses timeless racing passion in an emotional and authentic way. Power and athleticism are signalised by the front end which sits low on the road. At its centre is the distinctive BMW kidney grille with a lattice-shaped insert in a diamond structure. Like the side window surrounds, the kidney frame is finished in satin aluminium – a design feature that emphasises the special status of the BMW 3.0 CSL. Together with the BMW kidney grille, two generously dimensioned recesses in the front apron, reminiscent of the air intakes on the 1970s model, ensure reliable cooling of the drive and brake systems. Sculpturally shaped air fins on the bonnet emphasise the classic lines.
With their flat contours, the headlights create a characteristic focus on the road. The BMW Laser Light headlights shine in yellow, both during the welcome scenario after unlocking the doors and when the low and high beams are activated, thus making reference to successful GT racing cars.
Viewed from the side, the long bonnet and wide wheelbase lend the BMW 3.0 CSL an appearance that is both sporty and classically elegant, with the brand-typical three-box coupe design proportions also contributing to this. Particularly wide, diagonally offset side panels and wide side walls underline the dynamic appearance of the coupe even when stationary, with an air deflector extending along the roof line.
Muscular wheel arches give indication of the large track widths that contribute significantly to the vehicle’s high cornering dynamics. They offer space for the forged light-alloy wheels in a Y-spoke design, these being 20 inches on the front axle and 21 inches at the rear. With their intricate spokes, a gold-coloured paint finish in the style of the 1970s and a centre lock, they represent design and driving dynamics highlight adapted directly from racing. The integration of the model-specific wheels into the pre-assembled axles of the BMW 3.0 CSL is part of the manufacturing process at the BMW Plant Dingolfing. At 930 Nm, the torque applied during the assembly of the centre locks achieves the highest value for a BMW Group production vehicle.
The forged light-alloy wheels are fitted with Michelin tyres developed exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL. They bear the number 50 embossed on the tyre sidewalls, providing another subtle reference to the anniversary of BMW M GmbH.
The BMW 3.0 CSL features the most powerful straight six-cylinder engine ever used in a road-legal BMW M automobile. This is also a tradition: in its final stage of development, the predecessor of the same name marked a new record with an engine output of 151 kW/206 hp – not only for six-cylinder models but for all BMW production vehicles produced up to that point.
Since then, the straight six-cylinder engine with M Power has undergone impressive development. Engines of the same design mobilised an output of 204 kW/277 hp in the BMW M1 as early as 1978 and 250 kW/340 hp in the second-generation BMW M5 from 1991. The fifth-generation BMW M3 was launched in 2014 with a 317 kW/431 hp straight-six engine featuring M TwinPower Turbo technology.
To transfer the drive power to the road, the developers of the BMW 3.0 CSL used a concept that has been tried and tested for decades for maximum driving pleasure and intensive interaction between driver and vehicle. The straight six-cylinder engine is coupled with a 6-speed manual gearbox whose spread and transmission ratios are ideally matched to the performance characteristics. Precisely defined gear shift travel enables fast and precise gear changing. The gearshift knob made exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL protrudes from the centre console and is a luxurious accessory. It immediately arouses anticipation for the manual gearshift, lies snugly in the hand and, with its white surface, the engraved gearshift diagram and the number 50, is reminiscent of the beginnings of BMW M GmbH in the 1970s. A tribute to modern technology is the shift assistant, which uses a connection speed control to ensure slip-free clutch engagement after downshifting when braking for corners. Shift assistant can be activated or deactivated by the driver.
The drive torque is transmitted to the road exclusively via the rear wheels of the BMW 3.0 CSL. For ambitious use on the racetrack, the driver can use the typical M linear build-up of lateral acceleration forces to steer the vehicle through bends with controlled drift manoeuvres. The Active M Differential in the rear-axle transmission also ensures superior dynamics. If necessary, it prevents torque compensation between the rear wheels and, at the same time, continuously and variably builds up a locking effect of up to 100 per cent. The Active M Differential is linked to the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and precisely adjusts its locking effect to the respective driving situation.