The glory days of homologation specials are essentially behind us but the new 3.0 CSL wants to rekindle some of the magic offered by its ancestor, the namesake model during the E9 era. Both cars are on display at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed as a bridge through time considering the ultra-limited coupe takes inspiration from a model launched in 1972.
The original Coupe Sport Lightweight came out during the same year as the former BMW Motorsport GmbH was founded. Only 1,265 units were ever made, and its modern-day equivalent is considerably more exclusive since just 50 cars are being produced. With a price tag of roughly €750,000, the latest CSL model with its completely bespoke bodywork is by far the company’s most expensive new car ever.
Truth be told, the new 3.0 CSL is not a bespoke car as some had hoped to see in 2022 when the M division celebrated its 50th anniversary. Underneath the retro-flavored skin is an M4 CSL that has had its inline-six engine massaged to deliver 553 hp or an extra 10 hp compared to the donor car. In addition, BMW has removed the eight-speed automatic transmission to make room for a six-speed manual. Adding the clutch pedal forced the engineers to limit torque to 550 Nm (404 lb-ft) to ensure the gearbox’s reliability, a full 100 Nm (74 lb-ft) less compared to the M4 CSL.
The 3.0 CSL does have the most potent inline-six ever put on a BMW production road car if we’re talking strictly about horsepower. As for the E9, it offered 206 hp at 5,600 rpm in its highest state of tune when its inline-six engine was bumped to a 3.15-liter displacement in 1973. The classic 3.0 CSL nicknamed “Batmobile” also had a manual gearbox, and was able to reach a respectable 137 mph (220 km/h) in fourth gear.
Seeing the two CSLs side by side is a rare opportunity, especially since the 50 cars for customers are likely going to spend most of their lives in a climate-controlled garage. This modern-day 3.0 CSL is the car 00/50 since it’s a prototype that belongs to BMW. There are two additional vehicles owned by the German luxury brand that won’t be sold. We’re talking about the vehicles that were featured in the teasers while wearing a special body wrap highlighting some of the brand’s greatest hits.