The BMW M4 CSL will forever be compared to the Porsche 911 GT3, there’s no getting around that. BMW might say they aren’t competitors but if you make a car that’s called the “Competition Sport Lightweight,” you’d better be ready to compete with other sporty, lightweight cars in the same price range. Which is what the 911 GT3 is. So in this new video from Auto Trader UK, Rory Reid and Alex Kersten drive the two cars on a track to see which is best.
Philosophically, both cars are quite similar. They’re both stripped out, supposedly lightweight, hardcore sports cars with two seats and two doors but are surprisingly usable everyday. They’re designed to be the best of what each brand can do, in terms of performance and sporty driving. However, the ways each brand went about making each car are very different.
The BMW M4 CSL is a front-engine, rear-drive, coupe that’s based on the standard 4 Series. It uses a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that makes 543 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired to an eight-speed ZF torque-converter automatic, which sends power to the rear wheels through an electronically controlled limited-slip diff. Its name is also a bit of a misnomer, because the M4 CSL weighs almost 3,700 lbs.
As for the Porsche 911 GT3, it’s a rear-engine, rear-drive coupe that’s based on its own unique sports car chassis. It’s powered by a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six, which makes 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft. It also revs to 9,000 rpm. That engine is paired to either an eight-speed dual-clutch auto or a six-speed manual, both of which send power to the rear wheels through a limited-slip diff. The 911 GT3 is also actually lightweight, checking in at just over 3,200 lbs.
Both cars are incredibly capable, shockingly quick sports cars but they also go about attacking the track or the road very differently. The M4 CSL is far more brutal and is probably faster in a straight line, when the track isn’t as wet as it was in this video. While the 911 GT3 is more about finesse and delicacy. Both cars can easily do big sliding drifts but it’s more difficult in the M4 CSL because it’s harder to manage. It always feels like it’s trying to kill its driver. While the 911 GT3 is more approachable and better balanced.
I haven’t personally driven the new 911 GT3 so I can’t say whether it’s better than the M4 CSL. Which is why I’ll leave you with this video, so Reid and Kersten can tell you which is best.