Top-speed runs on the Autobahn are always fun to watch, especially when a special car is featured. Such is the case here as we get to see an M3 CSL being pushed to the maximum on an unrestricted section of the German highway. The ultimate E46 is one of the only 1,383 cars ever made and the first M production model to have a carbon fiber roof.

BMW sold the car only in Sapphire Black and in this Silver Grey seen here, complete with exclusive 19-inch wheels that trickled down to the 2005 M3 Competition Package. The Coupé Sport Lightweight comes from a time when the word “lightweight” actually meant something since the car tipped the scales at just 1,385 kilograms (3,053 pounds). Pair the lightweight construction with a rev-happy engine and the M3 CSL is one of the best ways to have fun with your clothes on.

This pristine example was driven flat out on the Autobahn where the speedometer’s needle got up to 290 km/h (180 mph). However, the GPS-verified velocity wasn’t as high since the smartphone app shows the M3 CSL was doing about 274 km/h (170 mph) at full tilt. When BMW was selling the car, it came from the factory with a top-speed limiter programmed to kick in at 250 km/h (155 mph). However, buyers could opt to have the limiter loosened to 280 km/h (174 mph).

In the age of turbocharging and electrification, the days of naturally aspirated BMW engines are long gone. Consequently, we’ll never get another powertrain as glorious as the S54B32HP. The last two letters stood for “High Performance” by extracting an additional 17 hp and 5 Nm from the regular inline-six used in the standard M3 E46. It also had a carbon airbox that gave the engine a special soundtrack.

This onboard video is also a reminder of the good ol’ days of BMW interior design when you still had plenty of buttons and no huge screens slapped onto the dashboard. Sure, today’s cars are far more technologically advanced than an M3 E46 built two decades ago but some of the magic got lost in the transition.

Today’s equivalent would be the M3 CS although enthusiasts will always prefer the CSL for the purer experience it delivered. The flagship E46 model would’ve been even better had BMW given it a manual gearbox instead of the SMG II, but hey, nothing is perfect.

Source: AutoTopNL / YouTube