The BMW M1 started it all for the M Division. It was BMW Motorsport’s first real production car and it put the brand’s performance division on the map. However, the car that preceded the BMW M1 — the BMW 3.0 CSL — was just as important. Not only its success but its eventual failure. BMW became accustomed to motorsport victories with the 3.0 CSL, so when it finally became too old to compete, the M Division was forced back to the drawing board and the BMW M1 was made. So, in a way, the BMW 3.0 CSL is actually the start of the M Division.
In this new video, we get to see the legendary BMW 3.0 CSL get a proper road review by none other than Tiff Needell.
The BMW 3.0 CSL is an iconic car for a few reasons. Firstly, it was an incredibly successful car in Touring Car racing and helped to cement BMW M as a proper motorsport brand. Secondly, it looked absolutely incredible. Its iconic front air dam and massive rear wing gave the 3.0 CSL its “Batmobile” nickname. Nearly forty years later and the 3.0 CSL is still one of the most beautiful cars BMW has ever made. Lastly, it was brilliant to drive, as evidenced by this video.
Needell gets to drive a near-mint BMW 3.0 CSL in this video and we’re incredibly jealous. However, just seeing a video review on such an iconic and rare car is a real treat. The 3.0 liter inline-six engine makes a lovely noise, even if it doesn’t feel particularly fast anymore, its four-speed manual gearbox is a joy to use and its steering/chassis have an old-school motorsport feel. Even the tight bucket seats give off an old-school motorsport vibe. It’s like stepping into a time machine, traveling to a bygone era of racing.
Buying a BMW 3.0 CSL now can be a bit difficult, as nice examples are hard to come by and, when you do find them, they’re incredibly expensive. However, if you have the means, do buy one, as you’ll not only own a hugely important piece of BMW’s history but you’ll own a brilliant classic that will put a smile on your face with every drive.