Last month, we took a journey to Los Angeles, California for a first-of-its-kind drive review of the BMW 3.0 CSL, a machine that not only redefines exclusivity for BMW, but it also pushes the envelope when it comes to pricing. With a price tag hitting the $1 million mark on the secondary market, the BMW 3.0 CSL is the most expensive new BMW ever made. Our guide for this unique driving experience was none other than Samantha Tan, a professional racing driver, team owner, and a distinguished BMW Motorsport ambassador. Samantha is among the elite few to own a BMW 3.0 CSL, possessing one of the 50 units ever made globally and one of only three in the United States. Her insights provide a unique perspective on what makes this car so special, especially since she has to chance to daily drive a lot of M products, and of course, race quite a few of them also.

A Controversial Revival

When BMW announced the revival of the 3.0 CSL, it was met with mixed feelings. Fans were simultaneously thrilled and dismayed – thrilled by the return of a legend, yet dismayed by its hefty price tag of €750,000 and the ultra-limited production run of just 50 units worldwide. This scarcity meant that most BMW aficionados would never get the chance to experience the 3.0 CSL, especially in the U.S. market, where only three units have made their presence known.

Design and Construction: A Homage to Heritage

The BMW 3.0 CSL is a modern interpretation of the classic, heavily drawing inspiration from the 3.0 CSL Hommage Concept. It begins its life as a base model M4 but undergoes a transformation that sets it apart. The car is adorned with a classic M livery, striking gold wheels, and aerodynamic enhancements that not only improve its performance but also its allure. The dedication to craftsmanship is evident in its construction, with nearly every body panel being crafted from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP). The painting process alone is an art, requiring six days of meticulous work and eight steps to ensure a finish that’s as stunning as it is durable. A specialized assembly line was established solely for the CSL, emphasizing its exclusivity and the painstaking attention to detail in every aspect of its creation.

S58 Engine

Underneath the carbon fiber hood, you will find a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six “S58” engine that has been tuned to deliver an impressive 560 horsepower. This marks a significant boost over even the M4 CSL. The choice of a six-speed manual gearbox adds to the car’s appeal, offering a purist driving experience that’s becoming increasingly rare in the era of automatic transmissions. The gear lever itself pays homage to BMW’s storied past, with a design that nods to the classic wide, flat top levers of yore. The revised suspension and steering further elevate the driving experience, making it more engaging and enjoyable than its M4 counterpart.

So, let’s take a look at this exclusive test drive of the BMW 3.0 CSL!