Last week, at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, BMW CEO Frank van Meel, said that the GTS moniker will be retired the iconic CSL will take its place. “The CSL name will be the most hardcore and track-ready cars in the M lineup. “CSL [will be] the top-of-the-line track tool, made on the track for the track, just with a number plate,” Van Meel told Road & Track. To follow up on that, Autocar UK reports today that the highly-rumored BMW M2 CSL is indeed in play and will be offered at the end of the current M2’s production life. BMWBLOG first reported on the M2 CSL back in 2016.

The M2 CSL is said to follow the form of the E46 M3 CSL with a stripped-out interior, bucket seats and weight-saving carbon fiber parts. Under the hood, the M2 CSL will be using a detuned S55 engine imported from the BMW M3 and M4 which will produce between 400 and 410 horsepower. Sources believe this S55 unit is used in detuned form rather than a highly strung version of the M2’s older N55 lump, due to the increased reliability and improved responses the newer technology enables. Drive will still be sent exclusively to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

BMW has been encouraged to produce the M2 CSL following sales for the regular model that have far exceeded predictions. BMW M vice president Dirk Hacker told Autocar that this is making special editions easier to justify, even in today’s uncertain economic climate.

“The M2 is tracking at 40-50% above our expectation in terms of sales, and demand for cars like the M2, or GTS and CS heritage models, is growing,” he said. “Any car that has true heritage to motorsport is an opportunity for us. New markets are always opening for those cars and that will increase, so long as we keep building cars that are sufficiently special.”

Even though Autocar says the M2 CSL won’t arrive in 2018, but instead an M2 CS might arrive along with a facelift for the M2.

[Photos: Monholo Oumar]