Nearly twenty years have passed since the M3 CSL was launched and BMW gave it a spiritual successor a few months ago when it unveiled the M4 CSL. A photoshoot organized by the automaker’s Swiss division shows the E46 and G82 in their lightweight specifications tackling some gorgeous mountain passes. In the two decades that have passed, the meaning of the letter “C” has changed as it used to stand for “Coupe” and now it means “Competition.”
Both are relatively rare cars when you consider BMW only made 1,383 M3 E46 CSLs while its replacement is capped at 1,000 units. The older car of the two is shown here in the more popular Silver Grey paint, but the sports sedan was also sold with a Sapphire Black color like the one its modern-day equivalent has. Alternatively, M4 CSL buyers can opt for Alpine White or the fancier Frozen Brooklyn Grey used in all the initial press images.
The M3 CSL’s diet was even more drastic since the car lost 110 kilograms whereas the M4 CSL shaved off “only” 100 kg. The similarities continue with the carbon fiber roof, which was an impressive feature to have on a car back in the early 2000s. Another common trait is the lack of a clutch pedal, albeit the M3 CSL’s SMG II worked differently than the M Steptronic of the M4 CSL.
Speaking of gearboxes, the 3.0 CSL coming next month will put the clutch pedal back by offering a true six-speed manual. It’ll be the most exclusive CSL of them all, with a rumored production run of just 50 cars. These are believed to have slightly more power and less weight than the M4 CSL – all for a staggering asking price of €750,000.
Well, it’s not like M3 CSLs are getting any cheaper as pristine examples are already in six-figure territory. Time will tell whether its successor will be as desirable in twenty years’ time, but as far as the hotly anticipated 3.0 CSL is concerned, that has all the makings of an instant classic. Consequently, don’t be too surprised if only a handful will actually be driven by their owners.