The BMW E46 M3 CSL is a lot of things and especially a brilliant car when pushed all the way up to its absolute limit. What the engineers of the M division achieved with the M3 CSL speaks for itself and it’s one of the reasons why price tags for mint versions are going through the roof. However, if there’s one area where the CSL could’ve been a bit better it would be in the horsepower department.
Don’t get me wrong, back when it was launched, the E46 M3 CSL was the most powerful road-going M3 ever launched, with an amazing 360 HP coming out of the 3.2-liter naturally aspirated straight six engine. And while that was plenty to allow the special edition M car to set various lap time records, it wasn’t enough to make it the king of the drag strip. Last week we checked exactly just how big of a difference there is between a special edition M3 and a stock one but just a couple of years younger. The E92 M3 even in stock guise with a manual gearbox would be faster than the E46 CSL in a straight line as we saw back then, but what would happen if an Audi RS4 went up against it?
Well, the video below will offer an answer, but first we need to put things into context. Being launched in 2005, the RS4 in Sedan guise was a one-time thing, being on sale and manufactured for just almost three years. It’s quite a shame too, because it was a rather spectacular car, using a 4.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 making 420 HP and 430 Nm (317 lb-ft) of torque, just a tad bit more than its rival, the BMW E90 M3.
Power figures considered, the video posted below will certain make you wonder about a couple of things. How could the 360 HP CSL M3 keep up with the 420 HP Audi? Well, the answer lies in the power to weight ratio. While the RS4 tipped the scales at 3,640 pounds, the M3 was nearly 600 pounds lighter at 3,054.