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E46 M3 CSL VS. BMW E9 3.0 CSL

Videos | November 6th, 2009 by 10

With all the news on the recently unveiled BMW M3 GTS, we thought we would bring back some old school footage of a previous exciting …

With all the news on the recently unveiled BMW M3 GTS, we thought we would bring back some old school footage of a previous exciting BMW: M3 E46 CSL. The famous Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson, took the M3 CSL on track along with another “old schooler”: E9 3.0 CSL.

Before we jump into the video, allow us to give you some background information on these two models. The BMW E9 3.0 CSL was produced from 1968 to 1975. The 3.0 CSL is considered the first project by the BMW M division. The car was a lightweight, 3003cc sports model of the 3.0 coupe. Special racing models with 3.2-liter (340 hp/253 kW) and 3.5-liter (430 PS) engines and aerodynamic trimmings helped establish BMW as a premier racing team.

At the time Clarkson review the car, he believe the 3.0 CSL would have been priced at 160,000 british pounds…in our money, of course.

BMW E46 M3 CSL was a low production, one-off model based on the E46 M3 using it’s wonderful, screaming 333HP S54 engine as a basis. The CSL (Coupe Sport Light) was truly a car in which less is more. Less in terms of things like weight, less in options, the CSL came with a lighter carbon fiber roof(now seen as standard on the E9X M3’s), only optional radio and air conditioning and only in two colors: SIlver Gray and Sapphire Black. The CSL did buy you paper-thin seats, carbon fiber interior paneling, SMG II Drive logic transmission.

The E46 M3 CSL featured 360 horsepower out of the 3.2L S54 block and a much louder engine note. At the time, the E46 CSL was priced at 60,000 british pounds.

Seeing these two cars in action again, we come to appreciate even more the E46 M3 CSL, a true enthusiasts car and a “rare specie” in the automobile world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584867244 Matt Stokes

    Both beautiful, and there is no doubt that the E46 was an impressive machine… but the E9 is a unicorn.. a mythical beast that cannot be tamed, and 99 times from 100 my money would go on the original CSL.. not the remake.

  • Doug

    It would have been good to actually cover the E9’s handling, driving characteristics, and stylish design, if it’s supposed to be a comparison. A great video nonetheless.

    Is this actually Top Gear? How do I see all the episodes (BBCA) and yet miss so much content?

  • Andrew

    it’s a one-off video from one of Clarkson’s DVD’s he seems to produce in between Top Gear seasons

  • Hantra

    And while we’re on the subject, why didn’t they re-run the CSL in the dry with the Stig? The time they have for it was with a very wet track.

    • _Auday_

      The CSL Ring time is faster than the ferrari F430 which is lighter and has more HP, the laps of the 2 cars were done by the same driver and the same magazine… Enough said!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=791454744 John Pham

        Yep, enough said!

        New M3 GTS laps as quick as a 997 GT3 RS and LP640!

  • Doug

    Btw… didn’t the CSL have a supercharger?

  • L1ndja

    the best car in the world and this video was brilliant

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