Widely regarded as one of the best BMWs ever made, the M3 CSL is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023. Yes, the crown jewel of the E46 portfolio came out in 2003 and was produced in a limited series of only 1,383 cars. It was the first M model to get a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof as part of a wider array of weight-saving measures to shave off 110 kilograms (243 pounds) over the regular M3 Coupe.

To celebrate the important milestone, a get-together with M3 CSL owners was organized at the BMW Welt. No fewer than 67 cars gathered at the museum in Munich, and there were examples painted in both the Sapphire Black and Silver Grey colors that were offered back in the day. At the time of the model’s launch, those wheels were exclusive to the CSL but the luxury brand made them available for the regular M3 as part of the 2005 Competition Package.

A similar get-together was organized in 2013 when the M3 Coupe Sport Lightweight reached its 10th anniversary. The stripped-down coupe will go down in history as one of the lightest M cars of the modern era by tipping the scales at just 1,385 kg (3,053 lbs). With 360 horsepower on tap, the CSL was able to lap the Nürburgring in 7 minutes and 50 minutes.

The company refers to this car as “perhaps the most uncompromising model in BMW M’s history.” It wasn’t until 2022 when the M3 CSL was superseded by the M4 CSL, which itself spawned the 3.0 CSL with the firm’s most potent inline-six ever. While the M3 CSL was offered with the SMG II transmission, the M4 CSL that followed it had an eight-speed M Steptronic. As for the ultra-exclusive 3.0 CSL, it was sold strictly with a six-speed manual gearbox.

In the near future, BMW is rumored to launch an M4 CS as a watered-down M4 CSL. It’s expected to enter production in July 2024, which would mean a world premiere at the beginning of next year.

Source: BMW Welt / Instagram