As far as iconic Bimmers go, the BMW 3.0 CSL is right at the top of the list. I would go even further and say that the 3.0 CSL is one of the most iconic cars in the world. Among true BMW fans, or just can enthusiasts in general, the 3.0 CSL is considered an all-time great. Its styling, its brilliant engine and its impressive motorsport pedigree all combine to make it one of Bavaria’s best and a fan favorite.

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How Did It Come To Life

Born in the 1970s, the BMW 3.0 CSL is now a part of BMW Classic, some of the most pristine models in the world today being part of their portfolio. Developed as a homologation model for the German Touring Car Championship in the first place, the 3.0 CSL model was actually an upgraded model of the standard 3.0 CS/3.0 CSi coupe.

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It was also the one car that officially brought to light the BMW Motorsport division.Furthermore, it was first model to use the legendary CSL moniker, one that is widely known today and loved not only by BMW aficionados but also by car guys and gals all over the world.

Unveiled at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the BMW 3.0 CSL was initially fitted with a 3-liter twin-carburetor straight six M30 engine which was later replaced with a fuel-injected engine and, for the final version, a 3.2-liter version good for 206 HP and 215 lb-ft of torque. The secret, however, was not in horsepower or torque figures but in the lightweight construction, from which the car also got its name.

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The CSL badge stands for Coupe Sport Light and that’s what the 3.0 CSL delivered. It tipped the scale at 2,568 pounds or about 440 pounds less than an equivalent 3.0 CS thanks to a number of changes, including all-aluminum body panels. Not only that, but the CSL also had specific suspension tuning including Bilstein gas-pressurized shocks, specific progressive-rate springs with  20 mm reduced height, and increased camber (1.1-degree in the front, 1.0-degree in the rear) compared to the standard models.

Racing Pedigree

According to a Wiki entry, this final version of the BMW 3.0 CSL was homologated in 1973 along with an aerodynamic package including a large air dam, short fins running along the front fenders, a spoiler above and behind the trailing edge of the roof, and a tall rear wing. The rear wings were not installed at the factory, but were left in the boot for installation after purchase. This was done because the wings were illegal for use on German roads.

The full aero package earned the racing CSLs the nickname “Batmobile.” It’s also often referred as the “Shark.”

Courtesy of BMW Group Classic, we have some new images to share with you showcasing this brilliant piece of car history.