For BMW enthusiasts, there are three letters than can make them shiver with excitement — “CSL”. First, there was the legendary 3.0 CSL which one Sebring in 1975. That car brought the CSL nameplate to the mainstream for automotive enthusiasts. After the iconic E46-generation BMW M3 CSL, fans have held those three letters in the highest regard.
And now, the iconic moniker will make a return. As hinted last fall, BMW M is planning to retire the GTS naming convention used on its track-ready cars and replace it with the more marketing-friendly “CSL.”
A brand spokesperson confirmed to The Drive over the weekend that “CSL” will take the place of “GTS” on the company’s most hardcore performance cars.
“CSL is still alive, and replaces GTS on further cars which are appropriate to get a CSL version—generally speaking,” stated the spokesperson, in a communique outlining a five-tier hierarchy of performance cars.
The M lineup starts now with the M Performance models, like the M240i, followed by the M cars themselves, such as the M2. Above the M2 we will have the Competition models, like the upcoming one based on the M2. Next on the M scale is the CS models, like the M3 CS and M4 CS.
The M4 GTS is now the highest point one can reach before jumping into a track-only BMW, but that model will be replaced by the CSL.
It remains unknown which BMW cars will first get the CSL badge, but our bet is on the next generation M3 and M4.