BMW has revealed its exclusive two-seat 3.0 CSL, commemorating 50 years of the M division by resurrecting an iconic nameplate from its early days.

    Just 50 units will be produced of the 3.0 CSL over three months by a team of 30 technicians, with carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components produced by hand. Each model will take up to 10 days to roll off the production line.

    It’s unlikely any of these will come to Australia. BMW hasn’t revealed the price, but it’s rumoured to be between €600,000 to €700,000 ($A923,610 to $A1.07 million).

    BMW says the M4-derived 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” and uses the name of an E9-based homologation special from 1972, of which 1265 were built.

    Naturally, it uses classic BMW M hallmarks like a straight six-cylinder engine, a manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive.

    CSL stands for “Coupe, Sport, Leichtbau” – the latter translates to lightweight, and indeed BMW has aimed to keep weight down.

    CFRP components are used on virtually all bodywork sections, including the roof, bonnet, boot lid, aprons, sills, and rear wing.

    The roof spoiler is made of glass fibre reinforced plastic and the titanium rear silencer is around 4.3kg lighter than a steel component.

    The 3.0 CSL uses the most powerful straight-six engine ever used in a road-legal BMW M car.

    The twin-turbocharged mill produces 412kW of power and 550Nm of torque – up 7kW on the M4 CSL – and is mated with a six-speed manual transmission, with drive sent to the rear wheels.

    There’s a double-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle, with Adaptive M suspension featuring electronically controlled shock absorbers.

    The 3.0 CSL features electromechanical M Servotronic steering with variable ratio and an Active M Differential at the rear.

    It uses an M carbon ceramic brake system with six-piston fixed calipers and 400x38m ceramic discs up front and single-piston fixed callipers and 380x28mm ceramic discs at the rear.

    You can select between two pedal-feel curves using the vehicle’s setup menu, while the traction control can be adjusted between 10 levels including complete deactivation of the stability control in M Dynamic Mode.

    Though it’s only a limited-run model, BMW says the 3.0 CSL has undergone extensive testing, including crash tests of two pre-production models and 200 hours of aerodynamic testing.

    BMW has given it a distinctive look from the M4, with pronounced wheel arches and a large rear spoiler in a nod to the 1970s original.

    Under the wheel arches sit forged, centre-locking light-alloy wheels, measuring 20 inches up front and 21 inches at the rear and finished in gold-coloured paint.

    They’re wrapped in Michelin tyres developed exclusively for the 3.0 CSL, bearing the number 50 on the sidewalls.

    There’s a restyled kidney grille with a diamond-patterned insert and a frame finished in satin aluminium to match the window surrounds, plus Laser Light headlights that shine in yellow.

    Two large, functional recesses feature in the front apron, reminiscent of the air intakes of the 1970s model, while sculpted air fins sit on the bonnet and an air deflector extends along the roof line.

    Down back, a striking rear wing is enclosed at the side, while the air deflector can be deployed the enclose the rear section.

    There are quad exhaust outlets in the centre of the rear apron, while the tail lights use filigree laser light threads to give the graphics a free-floating, three-dimensional look.

    The 3.0 CSL is finished in BMW’s iconic colour scheme, with an Alpine white body with blue, purple and red stripes.

    While the exterior makes extensive use of carbon components, only the lettering on the roof and on the rear wing is visible. All up, it takes six working days to complete the paint job of each 3.0 CSL’s exterior.

    In another nod to the 1970s, BMW logos are positioned on the C-pillar behind the Hofmeister kink, a design element missing from the current M4.

    Unique touches inside include an exclusive white gearshift knob, CFRP trim in the door panels, and reduced acoustic insulation.

    The driver and passenger sit in M Carbon full bucket seats upholstered in Alcantara, with height and inclination adjusted exclusively via a three-stage screw linkage in a workshop.

    There are no rear seats, and in their place is a storage area with two integrated helmet compartments.

    The cabin is dark, with an anthracite roof liner, Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and matte carbon surfaces marked with the build number.

    While the usual gift for a 50th anniversary is gold, for BMW M it’s given multiple new products, from special editions of the M3 and M4, to a new bespoke flagship SUV in the XM, to the hot M4 CSL.

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    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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