22 Oct 2012

Spotted - BMW M3 CSL

I used to own a BMW 330cd M Sport in Silver Grey.  The M3 CSL is the car I would have loved it to have been but finances meant it had to be the oil burner, which in itself was a wonderful car.

Welcome to the BMW E46 M3 CSL.  The CSL (Coupe Sport Lighweight) which was a lightened and more powerful version of BMWs E46 M3 Coupe Model which was already powerful coupe with 343 bhp as standard.

The CSL took things forward with an additional 17bhp and a reduction in curb weight of 110 kgs. These improvements came from considerable changes (and costs) over the standard model.  The increase in power was achieved by a new carbon fibre airbox, revised valve and cam timing and changes to the engine mapping.

The weight saving measures were, to say the least, considerable and included lighter, 19 inch, BBS alloy wheels, a carbonfibre roof (7kg loss), lightweight fixed back front sports seats, removal of sound deadening, lightweight rear seats and door cards, thinner rear window glass and various sections of the bodywork in carbonfibre. Not only do the weight saving changes increase acceleration they gave the CSL the ideal 50:50 weight distribution.

The stats are 0-60 in 4.9 seconds, top speed limited to 155mph and a cost when new of £58,000.

There were also changes to the aerodynamics with a ducktail rear spoiler and sleeker front bumper with carbon splitters and no fog lights and a single opening on the left for the supply air direct to the carbon airbox. Along with the new wheels and bare carbonfibre roof this gave the CSL an awesome look, complimenting the standard M3 body and the 4 exhaust tailpipes protruding from the rear bumper.

The suspension was given a tweak with further refined springs and dampers suited to a racetrack, along with tightened steering ratio to improve turn in. The brakes were uprated with larger disks from the E39 M5 but these were not sufficient if the car was taken on the track - which was what this car was aimed at.

Another let down for me was that the CSL was only available with an automatic transmission - in this case an automated manual based upon the 6 speed Getrag manual known as SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox) with an electohydraulically actuated clutch -  similar to Formula 1 style transmission. Having said that, in this instance it was tweaked from the standard M3 to deliver gear changes in 0.08 seconds - which is much faster than a manual gearbox.  It's just not as much fun or interactive with the car.

This car was produced in limited numbers with only 1,200 being made and values remain strong now, even though production ceased some 8 years ago -  in 2004.

So to sum up a beautiful looking, practical 4 seater coupe with awesome performance on both the road and track with one of the best chassis on a BMW ever and a soundtrack from heaven. A current and future classic.

Now onto the ad in question.  Found on Autotrader it is a 2003 model finished in Metallic Silver Grey which, in my opinion, is the best looking colour and really shows off the aero mods and carbon roof fitted as standard.  The car has done 65,000 miles which is not excessive for a 9 year old car -  taking into account it is a factory produced motor, in standard factory tune and comes with a full BMW service history.

A particular bonus on this car is that it has been fitted with an AP racing braking system front and rear which includes new disks, pads and callipers and brings the braking system performance on par with the car and is what BMW should have fitted in the first place.

This is cheapest M3 CSL available on Autotrader and with the AP brakes is the one we would have a look at first - this will be a treasure to drive and if kept and serviced properly will retain much of its value. Possibly a future appreciating classic like the E30 M3 where the value goes up on a yearly basis.

M3 CSL - Best in class, oh yes.

Advert reproduced in full below.

Article by Colin Hubbard

2 Door Coupe, Grey,Full BMW Service History and one indie. MOT to may 2013,Tax to October 2012,Remote Alarm and Immobiliser,Tracker monitor,AP brakes front and rear, carbon shift paddles, 2 sets of tires, 1 set of cups and 1 set of Verdstein, well maintained by me and previous owners. Large file of history and mots. stunning condition for a car on this mileage. Please call for full details, genuine enquirers only please. £21,499