Today is the official release of The Batman, the latest in a long line of caped crusader films, with Robert Pattinson taking up the cowl in the titular role. The film looks excellent and I can’t wait to see it and one of the aspects of it I’m excited about most is its new Batmobile. Rather than the tank-like Tumbler of Nolan’s Batman films or the gadget-filled Batmobile of Burton’s films, this new Batmobile looks like a mid-engine muscle car designed purely for function, not form. To celebrate the release of this new Batman, and his new ride, we decided to remember BMW’s own Batmobile — the BMW 3.0 CSL.
Back in the early ’70s, BMW’s Motorsport division, prior to it becoming the M Division that we know today, built an incredible race car off of the E9 chassis, the BMW 3.0 CSL. While there was a road car version, it’s the race car we want to talk about today (although, the road car was bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful).
The BMW 3.0 CSL race car was nicknamed the “Batmobile” for its stunning body work and aggressive aero. Its most famous design element was its monster rear wing, which actually made it to the road car as well, but it also had massive fender flares, the rear of which features large air ducts on some cars, and an aggressive front aero kit. The 3.0 CSL is one of the most iconic race cars in the brand’s history and its incredible design is a big reason why.
It wasn’t all looks, though. The BMW 3.0 CSL was a very successful race car, having won titles in the European Touring Car Championship, Le Mans, the German Touring Car Championship at the Nürburgring, and IMSA GT in America. It eventually stopped being as competitive toward the end of its career, which is what prompted BMW to develop the legendary M1, which unfortunately wasn’t very successful but due to a number of outside factors.
The BMW 3.0 CSL, both as a race car and a road car, was and still is an icon of the brand. Its motorsport success, breathtaking looks, and driving dynamics on the road will all ensure it’s always remembered as an all-time BMW great. Plus, it was Bavaria’s Batmobile.