BMW M3 GTS: An M3 CSL or GTR Successor?

BMW M3 | November 9th, 2009 by 20
BMW-M3-CSL-interior-2

So with BMW bringing out the new E92 M3 GTS, I thought to myself, “Well, here’s the closest thing to a CSL we’ll see from …

So with BMW bringing out the new E92 M3 GTS, I thought to myself, “Well, here’s the closest thing to a CSL we’ll see from BMW for the current M3.” But then I started thinking, “Could this actually be closer to that of the E46 M3 GTR?”

The GTR was made in such limited numbers that only five are believed to be in existence. The GTR was also the first factory V8 powered M3. It had a a 4.0L V8 producing roughly 380hp DIN and 288lb-ft of torque (DIN is the modern German standard for horsepower ratings. It can be seen as DIN or PS. It also is measured in Metric Horsepower, instead of the American way of Mechanical Horsepower. DIN hp is measured at the output shaft.), or roughly 374hp in our standard. All this was to power an amazingly light car of only 2,976lbs.

BMW M3 GTS: An M3 CSL or GTR Successor?

The only reason that the GTR was made was to go along with the Le Mans rules stating that any vehicle raced must be produced in certain numbers for a certain length of time before the racing car starts its season. Since the Le Mans M3 GTR was a V8, the road car had to be, as well.

BMW M3 GTS: An M3 CSL or GTR Successor?

There was one big problem, though…

Porsche complained once BMW started beating them in their second season. In 2002 BMW won 6 of 8 races in the GT class along with taking a driver’s title and the manufacturer’s title. But since BMW’s M3 street car wasn’t a V8, the governing body of the American Le Mans Series was going to force them to add 220 pounds and a new restrictor plate. BMW opted to just hang it up and continue their efforts in Formula 1.

The CSL was a much different story for BMW, on the other hand. It was built as a more tuned and special version of the E46 M3. It wasn’t a racing car, but it was meant for the track and less so for the street. It was quite a bit more than the standard M3, but then again, it was quite a bit more of a car. Gone were the fog lamps, gone were the seats, air-con, stereo,  rear glass, and so many other things. One big thing that went that should have been kept was the manual transmission. It was replaced with BMW’s SMG II transmission… Ugh.

But, it was still a monster of a car. It had the same 3.2L inline-6 as the regular M3, but it now put out 360hp instead of 333. The CSL also came with slick racing tires, which weren’t meant for anything less than perfect street conditions to drive in. The M3 CSL set the Nürburgring afire with a 7 minute 50 second lap time, which was, at the time, 3-seconds slower than Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS (the sportiest of all 911s), it is also the same lap time that Porsche set with its 2009 911 Carrera S with PDK, and 9-seconds faster than Cadillac’s current hot shoe, the CTS-V. Just watch the Top Gear episode above and see what Jeremy Clarkson has to say about the M3 CSL and watch how fast it is around the Top Gear test track.

BMW M3 GTS: An M3 CSL or GTR Successor?

The M3 GTS and the M3 CSL have a lot of similarities. They both come standard with lightweight CSL wheels, of which the CSL was the first BMW to get. Both cars also come with a carbon fiber roof, racing seats with racing harnesses, stripped out interiors (no radio, air-con, etc.), revised suspension, brakes, aerodynamics and engines and paddle shift gearboxes. The CSL could, however, be outfitted with stereo and air-conditioning… The GTS also comes without a back seat, whereas the CSL came with two racing style bucket seats in the rear.

BMW M3 GTS: An M3 CSL or GTR Successor?

The M3 GTS and the M3 GTR also have some similarities. They both have adjustable suspension and rear wings, along with racing seats and the same types of trim that the GTS shares with the CSL. Although the CSL came with special wheels, the GTR rode on the same 19″ factory performance wheels. The GTR still had upgraded cross-drilled brakes, like the CSL did, and much like the GTS does today. The only difference is that the E46 M3 had standard non-cross-drilled or slotted brakes, unless it was a CSL, GTR or ZCP model. The E90 series M3s all come standard with cross-drilled brake rotors.

Both cars also did without a rear seat and had roll cages for racing purposes, along with racing harnesses for seatbelts. The only differences are that the GTR was made to be a special street version of the M3 GTR racing car. The M3 GTS is made to be either a weekend track racer, similar to that of the 911 GT3, or it can be turned into a fully functional race car.

With all that said, is the new M3 GTS more like the GTR or the CSL? Well, really, it’s a variation of both. Where the GTR had to be made by the rules of Le Mans racing, the CSL didn’t have to be made, and neither does the GTS. So, in that way it’s more like the CSL. But, the CSL has no adjustable rear wing like the GTR. I could go on and on for days about what each one has and doesn’t have in comparison to the other. But what’s most important is that the GTS is a successor to both the CSL and the GTR. All three come with carbon fiber bits and body panels all over to make them lighter and faster. It’s like both of them in numerous ways, and unlike both of them in other ways.

Story by Josh at RawAutos

  • The Lee

    Can’t it just be somewhere in the middle?

    • http://www.rawautos.com Josh

      Well, we’ll see where it ends up when it laps The ‘Ring.

      • L1ndja

        Well,given the fact the M3 CSL did so well i predict the GTS to be as good as the Nissan GTR and that is the least i expect

  • badger

    a bmw m3 could top out at 70 grand
    but this new bmw m3 gts is about 170,000
    Where is the extra 100 grand for?

    • http://www.rawautos.com Josh

      The extra 100 grand goes to the special interior package, which comes standard with nothing. No back seats, front racing seats, a roll cage, a 4.4L 450hp V8, special, adjustable suspension and aerodynamics. And other stuff like that. It’s a very special car. Now, whether it’s worth $170K, that’s a totally different story. I personally think it’s a tad over-priced, and believe it should be around $120K-$130K

      • L1ndja

        As for the price though , i totally agree that 170K is to much, should have been 120-130K

    • blackxs

      less is more :)

  • LOWES

    DOSE IT MATTER I COULD COUNT THE NUMBER OF YANKS THAT HAVE DRIVEN THE CSL ON ONE HAND . YOU DIDNT GET THE CSL AND YOU WONT GET THE THE GTS.
    KEEP ON DREAMING ABOUT US EUROTRASH DRIVING OUR ELITE BMW’S TO THE RING FOR A DAYS JOY RIDING AND EATING UP GT3. WHICH GET PROBLEMS WITH THER LEFT REARS, TO MUCH WEIGHT OVER THE BACK.
    GOD KNOWS WHAT THE GTS WILL DO. WITH EXTRA GUNT, LESS WIGHT, AND RACE CAR DOWN FORCE. IT WILL BE NEARLY AS FAST OUT OF THE SLOW CORNERS AS THE GT3 RS BUT WILL HAVE BETTER APEX SPEED AND BE BETTER UNDER BREAKING DUE TO BETTER WEIGHT DISTRABUSION 50/50 GT3 IS ASS HEAVY.
    THE THE GTS IS CLOSER TO THE GTR ITS MORE OF A TRACK DAY CAR. IF YOU LOOK AT ALL THE LIMITED EDITION M3′S WITH G IN THER NAME THEY HAVE BEEN MADE DUE TO TRACK USE AND I THINK THE SAME WILL APPLY WITH THE GTS. NOW THE FIA WILL HAVE NOTHING TO BITCH ABOUT THEY THINK THE GT2 IS TO FAR REMOVED FROM THE NORMAL M3.
    WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE CSL,IT COULD KEEP UP WITH THE GT3 WITHOUT A WING, WITH 4 SEATS AND NO RO LL CAGE. THE CSL WAS BMW SAYING YOU DONT HAVE TO HAVE A RACE CAR TO GO FAST. LIKE THEY SAID AT THE TIME THEY DONT BUILD RACE CARS FOR THE ROAD. AT A CLANCE IT COULD BE A 320D COUPE BUT IT WOULD KILL A FERRARI 360. TAKE THE WING OF THE GT3 AND IT WOULD BE 15 SECONDS SLOWER.
    NO WONDER PORSCHE HAVE A NEW GT3 RS ON THE WAY. THEY HAVE SEEN THE GTS BLASTING AROUND THE RING WHICH IS AS CLOSE TO A RACE CAR AS THE GT3 RS. WATCH THE M3 GT2 GET THE 4.4L ENGINE BYE BYE PORSCHE IN THE US AND BYE BYE FERRARI IN EUROPE. AND BY THE WAY I HOPE YOU GUYS GET THE GTS I WAS JUST TEASING

    • blackxs

      wow. nobody called you eurotrash, or insulted the car, OR compared it to the GT3. you have SERIOUS issues man

  • badger

    i agree with Josh
    this is a very special car
    more power, tough and more thrilling drive, but honestly its not
    worth a 170,000 price tag
    perhaps this is bmw’s answer to the audi R8 ..for now

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=588340695 Ted Spahr

    Only douche bags type in all caps…..

  • http://bmwz3club.cz Z3

    it is what it is

  • LOWES

    I FORGOT TO TURN OF THE CAP LOCK AND I WAS HALF WAY THOUGH WHEN I REALISED SO THAT MAKES ME A DOUCHE BAG DOSE IT TED SPAHR. AND BLACKXS WHY HAVE I GOT ISSUES BECAUSE I CAN SPEAK ABOUT THE CLS WITH A BIT OF KNOWLEDGE . DONT GET TWISTED AND BITTER ITS NOT MY FAULT YOU DIDNT GET THE CSL. AS A BMW FAN I WANT EVERYONE TO BE ABLE TO ENJOY THERE FINEST CARS . READ THE ARTICLE BRUSH UP ON YOUR HISTORY THEN YOU WILL KNOW WHY I HAVE COMPARED THE CSL AND GTS WITH THE GT3. AND NEVER SAID ANYONE INSULTED THE CAR, WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT. AND IM THE ONE WITH ISSUES. TRY COMMENTING ON THE ARTICLE INSTEAD OF ATTACKING FELLOW BMW FANS. I CALLED AMERICANS YANKS AND US EUROPEANS EUROTRASH, ITS CALLED BANTER LIGHTEN UP MAN LOL.

  • LOWES

    IVE GOT A E46 CSL AND A E46 GTR ON ORDER FOR THE LAST 8 MONTHS. WHEN THE GTS COMES OUT I SHALL ORDER THAT TO. THEN I WILL BE ABLE TO LINE THEM UP SIDE BY SIDE AND TELL WHICH ONE IS THE GTS’S DADDY. AND BEFORE PEOPLE CALL ME A LAIRER IM TALKING ABOUT 1/18 SCALE MODELS.

    • L1ndja

      hahahaha i liked it

  • stalnoy

    it`s e36 m3 gt, successor. Chek wiki

    • L1ndja

      I think its in a way its own car…Bmw hasn’t built such a super sportler until now

  • okeribok

    Nothing succeeds the CSL. It is still alive and rules.

  • http://bmwe30cars.blogspot.com BMW E30 CARS

    OHHH the E46 CSL M3 one of me best BMW cars ever

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