Okay, BMW nerds, who knows what CSL and CS stand for? I’m sure you think you do but, honestly, you probably don’t. Before you puff your Roundel-branded chest out at me for challenging your BMW knowledge, I say you probably don’t know because most of the people at BMW don’t even know what it stands for anymore. It took a surprising amount of digging and prodding by Horatiu to actually find out what those names stand for nowadays. During his little investigation, he heard several different incorrect answers, from various people at BMW.
Finally, though, he got the scoop and the responsibility to share the truth with you has been bequeathed to me. I am the bearer of your BMW truth now. To be honest, it’s actually not that shocking, and some of you probably already guessed it. CSL stands for “Competition Sport Lightweight” and CS stands for, you guessed it, “Competition Sport.”
Why is this news? Because for decades it’s actually stood for “Coupe Sport Lightweight,” back when the original 3.0 CSL created the name. The 3.0 CSL was, in fact, a coupe. Then, when the E46 M3 CSL came long, it was also a coupe, so the name remained. However, because there’s an M3 CS and M5 CS, both of which are four-door sedans, the “Coupe” part of the name no longer worked. Hence, the switch to “Competition Sport Lightweight.”
There were also some people who thought it stood for “Club Sport Lightweight” but those people were never right. It’s never stood for that, no gold star for them. However, that settles it, the upcoming BMW M4 CSL — and the incredibly cool, ultra-exclusive second coming of the 3.0 CSL — name stands for “Competition Sport Lightweight,” so now you can tell all your friends at the bar what BMW CSL stands for. That is, if they care.