With a history of 50 years, BMW M has proven its value as the high-performance division of the German automaker by introducing the M car.
But with decades under the BMW M’s belt, there have only been three CSL models that made it: the 3.0 CSL from 1973 (shortly after the birth of the BMW M), the E46 M3 CSL from 2003, and the recently launched M4 CSL.
The acronym – which stands for Competition, Sports, and Lightweight – has become synonymous with the road-legal but trackable hardcore M car, and its exclusivity has made it more desirable to fans and collectors alike.
But did you know that BMW has four more CSL prototypes close to happening? The BMW M takes us on a tour of the secret garage where these four cars are located, some of which the world has never seen before.
BMW M3 CSL E46 V8
Not to be confused with the BMW M3 GTR, the E46 M3 CSL V8 prototype remains one-of-a-kind but with a purpose. With the 430-horsepower (321-kilowatt) S65VB40 4.0-liter engine under the hood, it was created by BMW as a pre-trial carrier of the V8 used in other BMWs. Insights from the M3 CSL V8 trickled down to the M family of engines, such as the S85 (V10) and S65 (V8).
BMW M5 CSL E60 V10
Just like the M3 CSL V8, the BMW M5 CSL E60 V10 became the prototype for the newly developed high-speed 5.5-liter V10 that produced 630 hp (470 kW) and peaked at 8,750 rpm. To deliver incredible power, BMW created the lighter M5 CSL with a carbon roof, Recaro seats and no rear seats – saving 331 pounds (150 kilograms) in the process.
With more tuning including additional suspension and cooling, the M5 CSL cruises the Nürburgring in 7 minutes 50 seconds. The BMW M5 CSL remains one-of-a-kind, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the BMW M.
BMW M6 CSL E63 V10
Different from the M3 CSL V8 and M5 CSL prototypes, the E63 M6 CSL V10 becomes a test bed for BMW’s active aerodynamics. Apart from the reduced weight, the M6 CSL V10 comes with an automatic tail spoiler and a retractable front spoiler, which are designed to further enhance the coupe’s performance.
The BMW M6 CSL also features double-strut M exterior mirrors, which are found on BMW’s sportiest models to date.
BMW M2 CSL F87
The most hardcore M2 is the 450-hp (336-kW) M2 CS, but did you know that the BMW M works simultaneously on the M2 CSL? Built to further amplify the performance of the M2 Competition, the M2 CSL has the same number of horses and 406 pound-feet (550 Newton-meters) of torque, powering two lightweight seats with a bucket seat, rollover bar, CFRP center console, carbon rear wing and carbon-ceramic brakes.
Both the M2 CS and M2 CSL are delivered internally, but the green light goes to the M2 CS with its features better suited for everyday use. The M2 CSL remains the only one.