BMW M is releasing its most luxurious special edition sports car. The BMW 3.0 CSL is a technological marvel that captures the spirit of the brand's 50 years of racing passion and reflects those roots in a classic model name.
The BMW 3.0 CSL sports car is a two-seater with a distinctive look and a purist performance experience. It vividly and clearly shows how the idea from the 1970s was to put technology from the racetrack made for pure driving pleasure on the road.
The BMW 3.0 CSL sports car was designed to synthesize BMW M's five decades of racing expertise in a vehicle with strong emotional resonance. Its legendary BMW M roots can be seen in every part of its design, including its dynamic outward elegance, classic sportscar cockpit, innovative lightweight construction, straight six-cylinder engine, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive. Together, aided by cutting-edge technology, they form the pinnacle of the brand's 50-year popularity as a sign of an obsession with the highest performance levels. Therefore, a journey in a BMW 3.0 CSL is not just a thrilling adrenaline rush but also an intimate interaction with the past and present of the world's most potent symbol.
BMW only makes a limited number of 3.0 CSL models. In honor of the milestone, fifty individually numbered copies of the commemorative version will be made available to the public. This ensures that the BMW 3.0 CSL will always be a collectible rarity, destined for the garages of the most ardent BMW M brand devotees.
It'll take around three months to crank out all of the automobiles. As part of the BMW Group's exterior location in Moosthenning, Lower Bavaria, the Dingolfing facility produces each one with meticulous attention to detail and a suite of carefully coordinated technology. Specialized bodyworkers in Munich and the BMW Group component facility in Landshut construct the specialized interior carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) components by hand.
The BMW 3.0 CSL's paintwork follows a carefully planned procedure in which traditional handiwork and cutting-edge machinery work together to give each component its distinctive hue and finish. Vehicle configuration and assembly are handled by 30 highly trained and skilled professionals. Each BMW 3.0 CSL undergoes eight assembly cycles at the same number of production stations, a process that can take up to ten days due to the complexity of the factory's procedures.
Overall, the time needed to construct a BMW 3.0 CSL is far greater than that of a regular BMW M vehicle due to the exceptionally high proportion of individual hand labor. After production is complete, each vehicle is given a thorough once-over at the Dingolfing headquarters before it is allowed for shipment to the buyer. Plant Dingolfing is the largest BMW Group factory in Europe. BMW M vehicles, BMW 7 Series premium cars, and Rolls-Royce Motor cars' body components are all manufactured at the plant.
The BMW 3.0 CSL has all the hallmarks of a purist car as the reincarnation of a renowned sports car for the road and the racetrack. Its one-of-a-kind form captures the spirit of classic driving and honors BMW M GmbH's longstanding heritage. The DNA for maximum driving pleasure and excitement can still be seen in modern BMW M vehicles, just as it was in the original, the M1. Designed for use in touring car events in the inaugural year of BMW Motorsport GmbH, it was the most successful racing car of its time.
The racing BMW 3.0 CSL debuted in 1973 and went on to win the European Touring Car Championship that year and the following five years (1975–1989). BMW's first victories on US circuits came as early as 1975, thanks to drivers like Toine Hezemans, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Chris Amon, and Niki Lauda, who completely dominated the competition at the Nürburgring and countless other tracks. It was thanks to these victories that racing cars became recognized on a global scale.
In its final stages of development, the road version of the racing car that was originally designed for homologation purposes gained widespread recognition as a symbol of awe-inspiring driving pleasure that stripped away all but the necessities. The model name CSL stood for the German words for "coupe," "sport," and "lightweight," and it summed up the best features of the two-door vehicle well.
Wide wheel wells and a slick aerodynamic kit make this coupe-shaped vehicle stand out. Other package features include air bars on the front side panels and a roof spoiler. A rear wing that improved rear-wheel traction rounded out the exterior revisions compared to the other coupes in BMW's big series.
The most powerful straight six-cylinder engine with direct injection ever employed in a BMW vehicle, with an expanded displacement of 3,153 cubic centimeters and a maximum output of 151 kW/206 hp, provided dynamic power delivery. The suspension was upgraded along with the powerful drive system. When empty, it weighed only 1,270 kilograms.
Extensive use of lightweight materials allowed for weight reduction. The doors, hood, and trunk lid were all composed of aluminum and rested on delicate filigree rods once opened. Chrome bumpers were replaced with plastic skirting, and many other body components, including the roof, side panels, and baggage compartment divider, were made of especially thin sheet metal. Significant weight savings were achieved through using lightweight materials and components, such as bucket seats, the removal of insulation, and the non-installation of power steering and electric windows. Thus, a power-to-weight ratio of 6.2 kilos per horsepower was attained.
The new BMW 3.0 CSL is a modern reimagining of these characteristics, which are reflected in the car's name. Its coupe profile emphasizes classic styling cues that provide a sense of refined performance. BMW M GmbH, known for its racing and high-performance sports cars, provided the vehicle's drivetrain and suspension technology. And the lightweight design, made possible in large part by carbon fiber, is superb. The BMW 3.0 CSL weighs just 2.9 kg for every horsepower it produces.
Despite its small production run, the BMW 3.0 CSL went through a full series development process as a standalone vehicle from BMW M GmbH. The BMW 3.0 CSL has been put through rigorous aerodynamic testing in addition to the exhaustive quality and function tests and the driving dynamics tuning test drives throughout a wide range of settings, from city traffic to country roads and motorways to the race track. Optimizing airflow and aerodynamic balance took about 200 man-hours of effort, 50 of which were spent in the wind tunnel at the BMW Group's Aerodynamic Test Centre. In addition, two pre-production BMW 3.0 CSLs were required to pass a safety test consisting of a frontal and side crash test to ensure they were road legal.
The BMW 3.0 CSL is a throwback to the original with its classic coupe proportions and tried-and-true vehicle philosophy of a front-engine, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive. The renowned 1970s coupe's design was clearly an inspiration for this model, as evidenced by the distinctive air deflection components, the powerfully sculpted wheel arches, and the dramatic rear spoiler.
Its design is also founded on the same principles that have always guided BMW M vehicles: the technical requirements for cooling air supply, aerodynamic balance, and driving dynamics are the inspiration for its striking exterior details. The BMW 3.0 CSL is an emotionally realistic and powerful expression of enduring racing enthusiasm.
The BMW 3.0 CSL's low front end sends a message of power and athleticism to onlookers. The iconic BMW kidney grille stands at its center with its diamond-shaped lattice element. Its current vertical orientation is reminiscent of its ancient progenitor's frontal design. Like the window trim, the kidney frame is made of shiny aluminum, further highlighting the BMW 3.0 CSL's elite status. In addition to the iconic BMW kidney grille, the front apron features two large cutouts that recall the model's air intakes from the 1970s, they ensure that the drive and brake systems are reliably cooled under all conditions, including during highly dynamic driving. The air vents on the hood are sculpturally formed to complement the timeless design.
The headlights' angular design makes them a landmark on the road. Both the "welcome" scene that plays when the doors are unlocked and the "high beam" and "low beam" settings make use of a yellow hue, a nod to the color of winning GT racing cars, in the BMW Laser Light headlights. As the BMW M4 GT3 won the DTM drivers' and team championships in 2022, and its power unit is based on the same straight-six engine as the power unit of the BMW 3.0 CSL, this detail is a subtle nod to the strong connection with motorsport and the BMW M GmbH's current most successful competition vehicle. Like the legendary BMW 3.0 CSL, which also won the European Touring Car Title in its first season, the BMW M4 GT3 has already won a championship in its first year of racing.
The BMW 3.0 CSL looks sporty and classically attractive from the side, thanks to its large hood and broad wheelbase. The three-box shape and coupe-like proportions are hallmarks of the brand. Even when parked, the coupe's broad, diagonally offset side panels, and side walls give off the impression of motion, and an air deflector running down the roof line adds to the sporty profile.
As the imposing wheel arches suggest, large track widths considerably contribute to the vehicle's excellent cornering performance. They accommodate the Y-spoke forged light-alloy wheels, 20 inches in diameter up front and 21 inches in the back. They are a stunning adaptation of racing wheel design, with intricate filigree spokes, a gold paint finish reminiscent of the 1970s, and a center lock. The model-specific wheels are integrated into the pre-assembled axles in the BMW 3.0 CSL assembly process at the BMW Group's Dingolfing facility. The maximum torque applied during center lock assembly for a BMW Group production car is 930 Nm.
Michelin created special tires for the BMW 3.0 CSL that go on the forged light alloy wheels. The anniversary of BMW M GmbH, for which this model was made, is also remembered subtly: the number 50 is engraved on the sidewalls of the tires.
Another eye-catching detail is the exhaust system's four tailpipes, which are positioned in an arrowhead formation in the middle of the back apron and include a titanium rear silencer. The BMW 3.0 CSL's taillights use cutting-edge lighting technology to produce a unique nighttime look and a strikingly bright glow. This is done with laser light threads that look like filigree and are clear. They seem to float freely in the lights and create an evocative 3D effect by being carefully layered on each other.
Immediately upon entering the scene in the 1970s, BMW Motorsport GmbH left an indelible impression on fans with their unique designs and stunning racing victories. The drivers' uniforms, vehicle transporters, and other team equipment all shared a distinctive design pattern of blue, purple, and red stripes on a white backdrop, which was innovative at the time and is now a well-known trademark. The BMW 3.0 CSL carries on this legacy with its Alpine White Uni exterior and painstakingly painted BMW M GmbH stripes. The lines emphasize the powerful aesthetics of the coupe on the body, which reflect the dynamic surfaces.
The BMW 3.0 CSL utilizes a custom-created painting procedure involving 22 separate elements. The sections of the body surfaces and livery stripes coated in visible carbon are arranged with special care. Experts hand-paint the carbon components that make up the majority of the exterior of the Alpine white uni. Only the roof and the back wing's lettering use high-tech material. These spots need to be left uncovered during painting to achieve our goal. The painters employ laser projection masking and specialized contour films to get the BMW M GmbH livery stripes just right.
A paint finish adds six working days to the processing time for each component. In that time, it undergoes up to eight separate painting processes, each of which includes preparatory stages like sanding and masking the various color stripes. As a result, the painting procedure for each vehicle in the small run of the unique model consists of 134 steps for a total of 6,700 individual manual work sequences at the paint shop.
The BMW 3.0 CSL, styled after classic racing vehicles, connects the past and the present with a series of numbers on its doors and roof. Their racing-style design is inspired by the original BMW M car created for touring car racing, and the number 50 celebrates BMW M GmbH's half-century in business. The Hofmeister kink, a counter swing in the side window design, is a throwback to the 1970s, as is the placement of the two BMW emblems on the C-pillar just behind it.
A more potent straight six-cylinder engine has never been installed in a street-legal BMW M vehicle than in the BMW 3.0 CSL. This is in keeping with tradition; the predecessor model set a new benchmark in engine output while it was nearing completion. This was a record for BMW's six-cylinder models and all BMW production vehicles.
Since then, M Power's inline six-cylinder engine has advanced significantly. The first BMW M1 debuted in 1978 with an engine producing 204 kW (277 hp), and the second generation BMW M5 debuted in 1991 with an engine producing 250 kW (340 horsepower). The M TwinPower Turbo straight-six engine debuted in the 2014 BMW M5, marking the beginning of the model's fifth generation.
Similar technological roots may be seen in the BMW 3.0 CSL's straight six-cylinder engine and the current DTM-winning car's power unit. The extremely rigid crankcase in a sleeveless closed-deck design, the forged lightweight crankshaft, and the cylinder head core featuring 3D printing technology are just some of the components that go into the 3.0-liter power unit, which provides spontaneous high revving thanks to the typical M high-revving concept. The oil supply and cooling system are also optimized for high-G maneuverability. The BMW M4 GT3, which won the DTM title, was powered by a modified version of the latest straight six-cylinder engine with roughly 600 horsepower; this engine produces up to 375 kW (510 horsepower) in the production version found in the latest models of the BMW M3/BMW M4 series.
The upgraded M TwinPower Turbo system explicitly designed for the BMW 3.0 CSL can produce 412 kW/560 horsepower. In addition to its unique design, the vehicle's new record for road-legal BMW M GmbH straight six-cylinder vehicles bolsters its exceptional standing. The top torque output from its engine is 550 Nm.
The BMW 3.0 CSL's designers employed a concept that has been tested and refined over decades to transfer the drive power to the road in a way that provides the most enjoyable experience possible to the driver and the most intense connection between the driver and the car. The performance characteristics of the straight six-cylinder engine perfectly match those of the 6-speed manual gearbox. Fast and precise gear changes are possible because of the clearly defined shift travel. The BMW 3.0 CSL has an unusual shift knob that extends from the center stack. Its smooth white surface, engraved shifting diagram and number 50 all call back to the early days of BMW M GmbH in the 1970s, building excitement for the upcoming manual shifter. The shift assistance is a testament to modern technology because it uses connection speed control to prevent clutch slippage when downshifting under braking for curves. The driver has the option to turn it on and off.
The BMW 3.0 CSL only uses the rear wheels to convey the drive torque to the road. The traditional M linear build-up of lateral acceleration forces allows the driver to guide the vehicle through corners in a controlled drift maneuver, making it ideal for racing. Additionally, exceptional dynamics are guaranteed by the active M differential in the rear transmission. If engaged, it blocks the transfer of torque between the rear wheels and gradually increases the locking effect, which can reach 100 percent. Connected to the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), the Active M Differential accurately modifies its locking effect based on the current road conditions. For instance, traction is optimized on roads with varied friction values for the right and left rear wheels. The driver may get a feel for the grip potential of the rear wheels and adjust the amount of throttle input accordingly during dynamic acceleration out of corners.
Even the suspension technology's configuration is a product of cutting-edge research and development, using a system for harmonizing all parts that have been refined for half a century. The BMW 3.0 CSL features a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle in an M-specific design, an adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers, electromechanical M Servotronic steering with a variable ratio, and an M carbon ceramic braking system with adjustable characteristic curves. These components represent the cutting-edge development of high-performance sports cars by BMW M GmbH.
Extensive testing on public roads and race tracks, including the Nürburgring Nordschleife, the ultimate testing ground for all BMW M vehicles for the past 50 years, allowed for the integration of all drive and chassis systems during the course of these rigorous evaluations. The BMW 3.0 CSL's digital twin was painstakingly crafted and perfected by BMW M GmbH's CAD specialists before any testing could begin. Incorporating technologies like virtual reality sped up the development of the show significantly. To guarantee from the start that typical M combination of agility, dynamics, and handling precision, the BMW 3.0 CSL underwent a detailed simulation and tuning process that took into account model-specific dimensions, vehicle weight and axle load distribution, extremely high rigidity of the body and suspension connections, and aerodynamic balance.
The M carbon ceramic braking system provides powerful deceleration performance, optimized fading stability, remarkable thermal stability, and extremely high wear resistance. It has a front axle with red-painted, six-piston fixed calipers, a 380x28mm ceramic brake disc, and a rear axle with a single-piston fixed caliper and a 400x38mm ceramic brake disc. In the M Setup menu, you can choose between two different pedal-feel curves that reflect the M-specific architecture of the integrated braking system.
The M Traction Control feature allows the driver to tailor intervention limits for wheel slip limitation to their specific needs. For this purpose, ten settings are offered, and in the M Dynamic Mode, the stability control while driving can be disabled entirely. Because of this, the BMW 3.0 CSL is track-ready and ready to deliver an authentic racing experience.
BMW 3.0 CSL takes sophisticated lightweight construction as its foundation and uses cutting-edge technology to reformat and redefine a practice that dates back to the 1970s. Carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used extensively in the body and chassis regions, with very little insulation, to cut down on weight. BMW M GmbH was an early adopter of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for mass-produced automobiles. The company first used carbon fiber on the roof of a mass-produced vehicle in 2004.
Almost the entire BMW 3.0 CSL's exterior is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The front and rear aprons are also composed of carbon, along with the roof, hood, and trunk lid. The high-tech material is also used for the front and rear side panel attachments, the side sills, the rear diffuser, the rear wing, and the rear spoiler. The BMW 3.0 CSL's carbon fiber parts are made in limited quantities, almost entirely by hand, and are one-offs.
Other vehicle components' weight is also significantly reduced thanks to careful material selection and cutting-edge design techniques. The BMW 3.0 CSL features a roof spoiler composed of fiberglass-reinforced plastic. The BMW 3.0 CSL's titanium rear silencer saves about 4.3 kilos over a steel equivalent. Cast aluminum precision struts in the engine compartment connect the strut domes of the suspension and to the front of the vehicle. Their geometry has been fine-tuned to account for the forces exerted under various driving conditions. Numerical models were used to maximize the lightness and maneuverability of the vehicle. @via BMW M.