A NEW generation can now access one of BMW’s lightest and most dynamic coupes with the reinvention of the coveted CSL nameplate as the most powerful iteration of the M3/M4 series.
Unveiling the M4 CSL as part of its 50th birthday celebrations, BMW said the limited-edition coupe is a reflection of its previous CSL variants’ “old school racing passion” with the latest automotive technology.
The automatic-only CSL arrives in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year, priced from $303,900 plus on-road costs, to become the fastest road-legal M3/M4 ever.
With a focus on shaving weight to improve performance, the CSL tips the scales at 1625kg, 175kg lighter than its nearest rear-drive sibling and donor, the M4 Competition Coupe.
It also ups the engine output, with 405kW at 6250rpm and 650Nm from 2750-5950rpm generated by the inline 3.0-litre six, compared with the Competition Coupe’s 375kW/650Nm engine, for a 0-100km time of 3.7 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the donor.
The engine output is the same as the M4 xDrive, with increased power over the Competition Coupe achieved by lifting the charge pressure of the two mono-scroll turbochargers from 1.7 bar to 2.1 bar and tweaking the engine management.
Substantial work has been put into cutting vehicle weight in deference to the CSL acronym that stands for Competition, Sport, Lightweight.
BMW claims a power-to-weight ratio of 2.95 kilograms per hp (4.01 kg/kW) which has been achieved by slotting in the M4 xDrive’s 405kW engine and attacking the body in search of weight savings.
It has fitted M Carbon full bucket seats, cutting 24kg over the standard M4 Competition Coupe seats, removed the rear seats and seat belts to lose another 21kg, switched to extra-lightweight M Carbon ceramic brakes and special light-alloy wheels, springs and struts for another 21kg saving; reduced sound deadening (-15kg) installed a titanium rear silencer (-4kg); and used carbon-fibre panels and trim including the roof, bonnet, boot lid and centre console to shave another 11kg.
In addition, there were modifications to areas such as the grille, rear lights, floor mats and automatic climate control to save another 4kg. The result is a 1625kg body mass, down 175kg on its donor variant.
The different wheels and suspension components also make the CSL sit 8mm lower than the donor variant.
While it has a focus on performance ahead of the Competition Coupe, the CSL retains a respectable level of comfort and convenience features.
The M4 CSL’s carbon-fibre seats have detachable head restraints and the ability to fit a six-point belt system for serious track use. There are also two helmet storage units in the rear compartment.
Features include Merino leather trim, M seatbelts, an M Alcantara steering wheel, anthracite-coloured headliner, carbon-fibre interior trim strips and “CSL” badges on the seats, centre console and rear panel.
It has an M-specific control system including the M Setup button for direct access to a variety of vehicle settings, two M buttons on the steering wheel for storing preferred configurations, and the M Drive Professional system with M Drift Analyser and M Laptimer, plus the M Mode button for activating the Road, Sport and Track settings.
The standard BMW Live Cockpit Professional comprises a fully digital screen group of an instrument cluster with a 12.3-inch screen diagonal behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch control display.
Functions include the navigation system BMW Maps, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, smartphone integration, telephony with wireless charging and a Wi-Fi interface.
Optional are a head-up display with M-specific elements and the BMW Drive Recorder.
Standard specification includes automatic climate control, parking sensors, front collision warning, lane-departure warning and speed limiter.
Options are two-zone automatic climate control, an alarm, and the Driving Assistant and Parking Assistant semi-autonomous systems.
The M4 CSL will only be available in exclusive Frozen Brooklyn Grey metallic paintwork, highlighted by exposed carbon-fibre surfaces and red accents.
Carbon-fibre is visible in areas including the two chiselled indents in the bonnet. The surfaces of the indents have red outlines that are repeated on the two fins on the roof, the contours of the side sills, the black model badges and the model-specific carbon-fibre splitters and air-curtain inserts in the front apron.
BMW has also debuted LED rear lights for the first time on one of its volume-production cars. These have intricate light threads woven into them which are illuminated using laser technology that BMW said brings “a vibrant structure to the surface of the lights to create a highly-distinctive light signature recognisable from a long distance during night.”
The CSL also has ‘Laserlight’ headlights that have a welcome effect triggered when unlocking the doors and when the headlights are on. The headlights illuminate in yellow rather than white, similar to successful GT racing cars.