One of 65
- Only 9550 KM.
- Silver Grey with black carbon fibre racing seats with Alcantara inserts.
- One of 65 South African examples.
The BMW M3 CSL (Coupe Sport Leichtbau) (Coupe Sport Lightweight) was a limited edition version of the M3, with only 1,400 cars being produced for its 2004 model year run. The CSL was only available in two colours – Silver Grey Metallic and Black Sapphire Metallic.
As its name suggests, an emphasis was put on reducing weight. The M3 CSL has a curb weight of 1,385 kg (3,053 lb), 110 kg (240 lb) lighter than the regular M3. The CSL features many weight saving technologies taken from BMW’s Formula One racing applications. A large proportion of the M3s sound insulation has been removed, along with electric seats and navigation systems. Air conditioning and stereo systems could be retrofitted free of cost, but were not available standard. The CSL’s unique body pieces are all crafted from carbon fibre reinforced polymer. Glass-reinforced plastics are used throughout structural points in the car. The standard rear window was replaced with one made from thinner glass. Although the CSL loses a considerable amount of curb weight from its original version, the focus was put on strategically reducing or moving the weight in the car rather than the raw amount of weight that could be lost. This is to retain the ideal 50:50 weight distribution characteristics the E46 has.
In order to improve the handling ability of the car, the entire suspension system was further refined. Specially developed racing springs and dampers were given to the CSL, and a tightened steering ratio (14.5:1 vs 15.4:1 on the regular M3) improved responsiveness. The braking system was also improved with larger front floating rotors and larger pistons in the rear calipers; front calipers were the same as the standard M3 but with a larger calliper carrier to allow for the larger rotor. Rear discs are M3 standard.
The CSL was given a retuned dynamic stability control system with a “M track mode” setting that allowed the car to be pushed to its absolute limits before being activated. Top speed was limited but on production of a current Motorsport licence.
The engine used in the CSL had increased output over the regular S54 by 17 hp (13 kW) and 5 N⋅m (4 lbf⋅ft) over the European M3. This is due to the use of sharper profile camshafts, a bigger air intake with carbon fibre manifold, a refinement of the exhaust manifold, and slightly different exhaust valves.
The CSL also had various aesthetic modifications over the standard M3. It received an aerodynamic lightweight body kit which included carbon fibre front splitters that improved down force at high speeds by 50%, as well as a carbon fibre rear diffuser. The front bumper had a distinct hole that is used to draw cool air into the newly designed air intake. The trunk floor cover was made of lightweight fibre-board (not cardboard as infamously described by BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson). The trunk lid was redesigned to incorporate a raised lip, unlike the standard M3 where one is simply added onto a flat trunk. The CSL was sold with distinct 19-inch lightweight cast BBS alloy rims that came with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup semi-slick racing tyres. The interior of the CSL is redesigned with a sporty weight-saving theme. The CSL obtains fibreglass front racing bucket seats, and fibreglass backed rear seats. The center console, door panels and trim, and head-liner are all formed from carbon fibre, and the steering wheel is redesigned with cruise control, stereo, and phone controls removed to include just a single button that activates the M track mode.
Unlike the standard M3, which was offered with a standard 6-speed Getrag transmission, or optionally a SMG drivelogic transmission (also known as the SMG II), the CSL was offered only with the SMG II transmission. This is the standard 6-speed Getrag transmission with an electrohydraulically actuated clutch pedal, similar to a Formula One style transmission. However, the CSL received a more advanced drivelogic software package than the standard M3 that was capable of making shifts in 0.08-second. This advanced CSL Software package can also be uploaded to the standard M3 SMG DME to get the CSL gear shift performance increase.