The BMW 3.0 CSL combines unique design with a puristic performance experience on two seats and carries the concept that emerged in the 1970s of using racetrack technology for pure driving pleasure in road traffic into the present in an extremely concentrated way. The BMW 3.0 CSL was developed with the intention of combining the best of five decades of BMW M GmbH racing know-how in an automobile with an exceptionally emotional charisma.
560 hp BMW 3.0 CSL
All facets of its character - dynamic elegance on the outside, a classic sports car cockpit, intelligent lightweight construction, an in-line six-cylinder engine, manual transmission and rear-wheel drive - are based on the traditional principles of a BMW M automobile and complement each other with the help of the latest technology to create the ultimate symbol of fascination for top performance in the style of the brand that has been successful for 50 years. A drive in a BMW 3.0 CSL is not only an exclusive high-performance experience, but also an emotional encounter with the history and present of the strongest letter in the world.
Production in a limited edition and elaborate manual work.
The BMW 3.0 CSL is produced in a strictly limited edition. In keeping with the anniversary, exactly 50 consecutively numbered copies of the special model are going on sale. This gives the BMW 3.0 CSL the status of a rarity right from the start, which will find its place in the vehicle collections of particularly loyal and enthusiastic fans of the BMW M brand. The production of all vehicles will take around three months.
Each one of them is created with absolute dedication to excellent craftsmanship and precisely coordinated technologies in a complex manufacturing process at the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing in Moosthenning, Lower Bavaria. The exclusive exterior components made of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) are handcrafted in Munich and at the BMW Group's component plant in Landshut by specially assigned body construction specialists.
the BMW 3.0 CSL (2023) in detail
A specific process was also designed for painting the BMW 3.0 CSL, in which craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology complement each other to give each individual part its characteristic color scheme. In addition, a team of 30 specially qualified and experienced technicians is responsible for the configuration and assembly of the vehicles alone. Due to the complexity of the processes in the manufactory, each BMW 3.0 CSL runs through eight assembly cycles at just as many production stations, which together take up to ten days.
All in all, the extraordinarily high proportion of individual manual work means that the time required to assemble a BMW 3.0 CSL alone is many times higher than for a conventional BMW M automobile. After completion in the manufactory, each vehicle also goes through a multi-stage quality inspection and acceptance process in Dingolfing's main plant before it is released for delivery to the customer. The BMW Group plant in Dingolfing is the company's largest European production site. In addition to several BMW M automobiles, the luxury sedans of the BMW 7 Series and body components for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars are also produced there.
The most successful touring car of its time as a role model.
As the reincarnation of a legendary sports car for the race track and street, the BMW 3.0 CSL has all the qualities of a purist driver's car. It embodies the joy of classic driving and the awareness of the traditional roots of BMW M GmbH in a uniquely exclusive form. Its role model of the same name is considered to be the first automobile to carry the DNA shaped by driving pleasure and a passion for top performance that makes BMW M automobiles unmistakable to this day. In the year BMW Motorsport GmbH was founded, it was developed for use in touring car competitions, where it became the most successful racing car of its era.
The racing version of the historic BMW 3.0 CSL won the European Touring Car Championship in the opening season of 1973 – and repeated this title five times in a row from 1975 to 1979. Drivers such as Toine Hezemans, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Chris Amon and Niki Lauda outperformed the competition at the Nürburgring and numerous other circuits, and the first victories for BMW on American circuits followed in 1975. All these successes helped the works racing cars to international popularity.
"Coupé, Sport, Lightweight": Legendary formula reinterpreted.
The road version of the racing car, which was developed for homologation purposes, became a well-known symbol of inspiring driving pleasure that focuses on the essentials, especially in its final stage of development. CSL – this combination of letters in the model designation stood for “coupé, sport, lightweight construction”, a formula that succinctly summarized the two-door car’s recipe for success.
In addition to wide wheel arches, its coupé body also received a striking aerodynamics package, which included a front spoiler, air bars on the front side walls and a roof spoiler. The design modifications made by BMW compared to the other coupés of the large series were completed by a rear wing, which optimized the traction of the rear wheels. It was not approved for road traffic, so it was in the trunk when the vehicle was delivered, but it was still so prominent in public that the coupé was nicknamed the "Batmobile".
The most powerful in-line six-cylinder engine with fuel injection ever used in a BMW model, displacement increased to 3 cubic centimeters and maximum output of 153 kW/151 hp ensured sporty power delivery. The spirited drive met chassis technology that had been refined in detail and had a curb weight of just 206 kilograms.
The latter was made possible with a comprehensive lightweight construction program. The doors were made of aluminum, as was the hood and trunk lid, which, once opened, were supported on filigree support rods. Numerous other body components such as the roof, side walls and luggage compartment partition consisted of particularly thin sheet metal, and the chrome bumpers were replaced by a plastic bumper. Light bucket seats and the absence of insulating material, power steering and electric windows made the weight reduction perfect. Overall, a power-to-weight ratio of 6,2 kilograms per hp was achieved.
The new BMW 3.0 CSL reinterprets all these features anchored in its model designation in a contemporary way. Its coupé body sets traditional accents for sporty elegance and expressive dynamics. Its drive and chassis technology comes from the latest development stage for racing cars and high-performance sports cars from BMW M GmbH. And the intelligent lightweight construction reaches an outstanding level, above all through the extraordinarily extensive use of carbon. The power-to-weight ratio of the BMW 3.0 CSL is just 2,9 kilograms per hp.
As a standalone model from BMW M GmbH and despite being a limited edition of just 50 units put on sale, the BMW 3.0 CSL has gone through a full series development process. In addition to the extensive quality and functional tests and the driving dynamics set-up drives under a wide variety of conditions from city traffic to country roads and motorways to the racetrack, the BMW 3.0 CSL also completed comprehensive aerodynamic testing. Around 200 working hours were expended to optimize the airflow and aerodynamic balance of the vehicle, including 50 hours in the wind tunnel of the BMW Group's aerodynamic test center. In addition, two pre-series vehicles of the BMW 3.0 CSL had to be subjected to a safety test in the form of a frontal and a side crash test in order to obtain approval.
Unique, typical M design, based on the technical requirements for fascinating performance.
With classic coupé proportions and a traditional vehicle concept that combines a front engine and a manual gearbox with rear-wheel drive, the BMW 3.0 CSL follows in the footsteps of its historical ancestor. Pronounced air deflection elements, powerfully shaped wheel arches, a striking rear spoiler and numerous other details are unmistakably based on the design of the legendary coupé from the 1970s.
At the same time, its appearance is characterized by the principles that have always applied to BMW M automobiles: the specific exterior features are based on the technical requirements in terms of cooling air supply, aerodynamic balance and driving dynamics, which form the basis for outstandingly fascinating performance. The BMW 3.0 CSL thus expresses timeless racing passion in an emotionally powerful and authentic way.
Powerful aesthetics based on the historical ancestors.
The front section of the BMW 3.0 CSL, which is low on the road, signals power and athleticism. In the center is the striking BMW kidney grille with a grid-shaped insert in a diamond structure. Its upright positioning cites the front design of its historical ancestor. Like the side window surrounds, the kidney frame is made of aluminum with a satin finish - a design feature that emphasizes the special status of the BMW 3.0 CSL. Together with the BMW kidney grille, two generously dimensioned cut-outs in the front apron, reminiscent of the air intakes of the model from the 1970s, ensure reliable cooling of the drive and brake system even in extremely dynamic driving situations. Sculptural air guide fins on the bonnet underscore the classic lines.
With their flat contours, the headlights create the characteristic image of a gaze focused on the road. The BMW laser light headlights shine in yellow both in the welcome display after unlocking the doors and when the low beam and high beam are activated, thus referring to successful GT racing vehicles. This detail is a subtle reference to the strong connection to motorsport and BMW M GmbH’s currently most successful competition vehicle, the BMW M4 GT3, which won both the driver and team classifications of the DTM in 2022 and whose engine is based on the same engine In-line six-cylinder engine based like the drive of the BMW 3.0 CSL.
The BMW M4 GT3 achieved championship success right at the start of its race track career, just as the historic BMW 3.0 CSL once won the European Touring Car Championship in its opening season. When viewed from the side, the long bonnet and long wheelbase give the BMW 3.0 CSL a sporty, classically elegant appearance. The brand-typical coupé proportions in the three-box design also contribute to this. Especially wide, diagonally offset side walls and wide flared side skirts underscore the dynamism of the coupé even when stationary, the roofline of which is extended by an air-flow deflector.
Wide wheel arches, central locking wheels, tires produced exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL.
Muscular wheel arches refer to the large track widths, which contribute significantly to the vehicle's high cornering dynamics. They offer space for the forged light-alloy wheels in Y-spoke design, which are 20 inches on the front axle and 21 inches on the rear axle. With their filigree spokes, 1970s-style gold-colored paintwork and a central locking mechanism, they represent a highlight in terms of design and driving dynamics that has been adapted directly from racing.
The integration of the model-specific wheels into the pre-assembled axles of the BMW 3.0 CSL is part of the manufacturing process at the BMW Group plant in Dingolfing. At 930 Nm, the torque applied when installing the central locks is the highest for a production vehicle from the BMW Group. The forged alloy wheels are fitted with Michelin tires developed exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL. They have the number 50 embossed on the sidewalls of the tires and thus provide another subtle reference to the anniversary of BMW M GmbH, for which the special model was designed and built.
A rear wing in the style of the "Batmobile".
Powerful aesthetics and reinterpreted design features of the ancestor also characterize the rear view of the BMW 3.0 CSL. The most striking feature is the rear wing bordered on the side, which translates the characteristic appearance of the "Batmobile" into a modern design language. The air deflector, designed to generate additional downforce and thus optimize traction on the rear axle, encloses the entire rear section and thus becomes a dominant visual element. In favor of the aerodynamic balance, it is combined with a strongly pronounced carbon diffuser in the rear apron, which optimizes the air flow in the underbody.
The four tailpipes of the exhaust system, arranged in an arrow shape in the middle of the rear apron, also set a striking accent with a particularly light titanium rear silencer. The rear lights of the BMW 3.0 CSL use innovative lighting technology to create a fascinating and exclusive night design and a particularly lively radiance. This is ensured by filigree laser light threads, which appear to be freely arranged inside the lights and create an expressive 3D effect through precise superimposition.
Elaborate painting in the style of classic racing vehicles.
From the very beginning in the 1970s, BMW Motorsport GmbH not only made an impression on the fans with spectacular racing successes, but also with an unmistakable appearance. Just like the competition vehicles, the driver outfits, the vehicle transporters and all other equipment components of the team also wore uniform stripes in blue, violet and red on a white background - a novelty at the time and a trademark known worldwide to this day. The BMW 3.0 CSL picks up on this tradition with a non-metallic Alpine White paint finish and an intricately applied stripe pattern in the colors of BMW M GmbH. The lines on the body effectively trace the dynamic surface gradients and thus emphasize the powerful aesthetics of the coupé even more clearly.
Both the base color and the M stripes, known in technical jargon as livery, are mostly applied by hand, which takes an extremely large amount of time and effort. A total of 22 individual parts are painted in a process specially designed for the BMW 3.0 CSL. Particular attention is paid to the high-precision arrangement of the areas of the body surfaces and the livery strips made of visible carbon. In general, the majority of the exterior, which is in alpine white, consists of carbon components that are hand-painted by specialists. The high-tech material is only visible on the lettering on the roof and on the rear wing. To do this, these areas must be cleared during painting. In order to precisely position the livery stripes in the colors of BMW M GmbH, the painters use laser projection masking and customized contour foils.
A processing time of six working days is estimated for each component with livery painting. During this time, it completes up to eight paint runs, each with the necessary intermediate work steps such as sanding and masking of the colored stripes. This results in a total of 134 paint cycles for each vehicle, which add up to 6 manual sequences in the paint shop for the entire small series of the special model.
The series of numbers on the doors and roof of the BMW 3.0 CSL, designed in the style of early racing cars, bridge the gap between the past and the present. Their symbolic design in the style of starting numbers is based on the historical model of the first BMW M automobile developed for touring car racing, the number 50 refers to the anniversary of BMW M GmbH. Another reminiscence of the 1970s are the two BMW logos placed on the C-pillar and thus immediately behind the counter-curve of the side window graphics known as the Hofmeister kink.
The most powerful in-line six-cylinder engine ever used in a road-legal BMW M automobile.
The BMW 3.0 CSL is powered by the most powerful in-line six-cylinder engine that has ever been used in a BMW M automobile with road approval. That, too, has tradition: in its final stage of expansion, the eponymous ancestor set a new benchmark with an engine output of 151 kW/206 hp – not only for six-cylinder models, but for all BMW series vehicles produced up to that point. Since then, the straight-six engine with M Power has undergone an impressive development. Engines of the same design mobilized an output of 1978 kW/1 hp in the BMW M204 as early as 277 and 5 kW/1991 hp in the second-generation BMW M250 from 340. The fifth-generation BMW M3 was launched in 2014 with a 317 kW/431 hp in-line six-cylinder engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology.
The in-line six-cylinder engine of the BMW 3.0 CSL has the same technological roots as the engine of the current DTM-winning vehicle. The 3,0-litre drive unit combines spontaneous revving with the typical M high-revving concept and features, among other things, an extremely rigid crankcase in a linerless closed-deck design, a forged lightweight crankshaft and a cylinder head core manufactured using a 3D printing process . The cooling system and the oil supply are also designed for extremely dynamic driving situations. The BMW M4 GT3 won the DTM championship with a roughly 600 hp variant of the latest in-line six-cylinder engine, which in its version designed for mass production in the current models of the BMW M3/BMW M4 series has an output of up to 375 kW/ 510 hp is coming.
The version of the drive with M TwinPower Turbo technology developed exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL mobilizes a maximum output of 412 kW/560 hp. The new record for road-legal six-cylinder in-line models from BMW M GmbH underscores the special status of the vehicle. Its engine develops a maximum torque of 550 Nm and fascinates with its maximum speed of 7 rpm-1 linear continued power development.
6-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive for particularly intensive driving pleasure.
To transfer the drive power to the road, the developers of the BMW 3.0 CSL resorted to a concept for maximum driving pleasure and intensive interaction between driver and vehicle that has been tried and tested for decades. The six-cylinder in-line engine is linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox, the spread and ratio of which are perfectly matched to the performance characteristics. Precisely defined shifting paths enable quick and precise gear changes. They become a pleasure with the gear knob made exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL, which protrudes from the center console like a luxurious accessory. It immediately arouses anticipation of the manual gear selection, lies snugly in the hand and, with its white surface, the engraved shift pattern and the number 50, is reminiscent of the beginnings of BMW M GmbH in the 1970s. A tribute to modern technology is the shift assistant, which uses a connection speed control to ensure slip-free engagement after downshifting when braking before corners. It can be activated or deactivated by the driver.
In the traditional manner, the drive torque is only transmitted to the road via the rear wheels of the BMW 3.0 CSL. In ambitious use on the race track, the driver can use the typical M linear build-up of lateral acceleration forces to steer the vehicle through the corners with controlled drift maneuvers. The Active M differential in the rear axle drive also ensures superior dynamics. If necessary, it can prevent the speed equalization between the rear wheels and, in doing so, gradually and variably build up a locking effect of up to 100 percent. The Active M Differential is networked with the driving stability control DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and adjusts its locking effect precisely to the respective driving situation. For example, traction on roads with different coefficients of friction for the right and left rear wheel is optimized. When dynamically accelerating out of bends, the driver receives perceptible feedback on the potential for grip on the rear wheels and can therefore optimally dose the use of the accelerator pedal.
Model-specific suspension technology including M carbon-ceramic brake system and M Traction Control.
When it came to configuring the chassis technology, the latest technology was combined with a method for tuning all components that had matured over five decades. The chassis components used in the BMW 3.0 CSL represent the pinnacle of development for high-performance sports cars from BMW M GmbH: a double-joint strut front axle and a five-link rear axle in an M-specific design, an Adaptive M chassis with electronically controlled shock absorbers, the electromechanical M Servotronic Steering with variable ratio and the M carbon-ceramic brake system with adjustable characteristic curves.
The integrated application of all drive and chassis systems took place during intensive test drives on public roads and racetracks, including the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which has been the benchmark for all BMW M automobiles for 50 years for ultimate performance. The engineers at BMW M GmbH had previously designed and optimized every detail of the digital image of the BMW 3.0 CSL in a computer-aided design and development process. By integrating virtual reality and other digital processes, the series development process could be accelerated to the maximum extent. In this detailed simulation and adjustment process, the model-specific dimensions, the vehicle weight and the axle load distribution, the extremely high rigidity of the body and chassis connection as well as the aerodynamic balance of the BMW 3.0 CSL were taken into account in order to achieve the typical M combination of agility, dynamics and precision right from the start to ensure driving behavior.
The M carbon-ceramic brake system offers powerful deceleration performance, optimized fading stability, outstanding thermal stability and extremely high wear resistance. It combines six-piston fixed-caliper brakes and ceramic brake discs measuring 400 × 38 millimeters on the front axle with single-piston floating-caliper brakes and 380 × 28 millimeter ceramic brake discs on the rear axle and features brake calipers painted red. The M-specific design of the integrated braking system enables two characteristic curves for the pedal feel to be displayed, which can be selected in the M Setup menu.
With the M Traction Control function, the driver can individually set the intervention thresholds for wheel slip limitation. There are ten levels to choose from, and it is also possible to completely deactivate the driving stability control via the M Dynamic Mode. The BMW 3.0 CSL is thus perfectly prepared for puristic performance experiences on the race track.
Intelligent lightweight construction with maximum use of carbon components.
The BMW 1970 CSL takes up the tradition of racing-oriented, intelligent lightweight construction that has been cultivated since the 3.0s and transfers it to the present day. To reduce weight in the areas of the body and chassis, in addition to the minimal use of insulating material, carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used to an exceptionally large extent in addition to the light metal aluminum. BMW M GmbH has also done pioneering work in the field of using CFRP in series vehicle construction. As early as 2004, they equipped a mass-produced model with a carbon roof for the first time.
The BMW 3.0 CSL has CFRP components in almost all areas of the body. In addition to the roof, the bonnet and the boot lid, the front and rear aprons are made entirely of carbon. The front and rear side panels, the side skirts, the rear diffuser and the rear wing are also made of the high-tech material. All carbon components are mostly made by hand in small series and exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL.
In addition, a targeted selection of materials and the latest construction methods also lead to a significant weight reduction in other vehicle components. The roof spoiler of the BMW 3.0 CSL is made of glass fiber reinforced plastic. Its titanium rear silencer is around 4,3 kilograms lighter than a conventional steel component. The precision struts in the engine compartment made of cast aluminum, which connect the strut towers to each other and to the front end, have a geometry that has been precisely matched to the forces acting in different driving situations with the help of numerical models. As a result, the maximum effect in terms of optimizing agility and steering precision is achieved with minimal use of material and weight.
Puristic sports car cockpit with M Carbon full bucket seats.
In the interior of the BMW 3.0 CSL, too, the use of carbon and other lightweight construction measures underline the puristic sports car characteristics. Instead of additional seats, the rear offers storage space with two integrated helmet compartments. CFRP panels in the door panels and reduced acoustic insulation also contribute to the extremely sporty flair. The driver and front passenger sit on M Carbon full-bucket seats, which convey a highly emotional and inimitable racing feeling with every kilometer. Their diagonal connections between the seat and backrest are reminiscent of the design principle of the lightweight seats of the historical model. Seat height and inclination can only be adjusted in a workshop using a three-stage screw linkage. The longitudinal position can be varied manually using a lever on the front edge of the seat. The M Carbon full bucket seats also offer removable headrest inserts.
In addition, the interior of the BMW 3.0 CSL presents itself as a sports car cockpit that is as puristic as it is exclusive. Black Alcantara seat surfaces and M seat belts are combined with an M Alcantara steering wheel, an anthracite-colored headliner, black Alcantara and matt carbon surfaces. Contrasting stitching and other white accents correspond to the exterior paint finish of the BMW 3.0 CSL, whose model logo is embossed on both the door sills and the seat surfaces. The white shift knob symbolizes the classic form of interaction between driver and vehicle when changing gears. The red start/stop button and the likewise red M buttons on the steering wheel are available for activating the engine and for direct access to the overall setup of the vehicle. The matt interior trim strips in the Carbon Fiber version have a consecutive number for each of the 50 copies available for sale. This marking documented in the interior of #01/ 50 bis #50/50 corresponds to the last digits of the chassis number and thus represents a clearly visible and authentic indication of the individual vehicle identity.
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