Hitting the age of 50 wouldn’t be an unusual trigger for a mid-life crisis. Time to lose some weight, bling up the wardrobe, and start trying to recapture lost youth.
Which brings us neatly on to the brand-new BMW M4 CSL – a truly amazing machine that sounds like it’s having its own mid-life crisis while simultaneously providing the perfect outlet for yours.
When the first BMW 3.0 CSL came out in 1973 it won the European Touring Car Championship at its first attempt. Fifty years, and a whole lot of technological development later BMW’s M division has given us a 21st century version to covet. And you’ll have to covet because BMW is only making 1000; and only 100 of those will be coming to the UK; and it will cost £128k.
Let’s not pretend this is a car you would use every day either. All those angles and vents, skirts and splitters, they’re all there for a reason.
The BMW M4 CSL is essentially a road-going version of the M4 GT3 race car. As well as sharing the same chassis set-up the M4 CSL also shares the same two-seater configuration. You don’t buy this car for family days out. No. This is about you.
The interior consists of some carpet, a few bits of cargo netting, a fire extinguisher, and two lightweight, carbon-fibre bucket seats. You still get all the usual touchscreen technology of a range-topping BMW, just don’t expect too much in the way of space and comfort. For example, instead of a handy backseat for two kids, you have a handy storage compartment for two crash helmets, although you could probably squeeze in a pint of milk and a packet of biscuits on the way home from the track.
Forget practicality, forget running costs, forget looking dignified when you nip to the local petrol station to fill-up. This car is all about the driving experience.
BMW has stripped this special edition’s kerb weight down to 1,625kg, that’s 100kg lighter than a standard M4 Competition Coupe. Carbon fibre seats, carbon ceramic brakes, and lightweight alloy wheels save a big chunk of weight. Most of the rest comes from the use of CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastic) panels for the roof, boot lid, and bonnet, as well as the front splitter and rear diffuser. It even has a titanium rear silencer because it’s 4kg lighter than regular steel.
And then, just for good measure, BMW squeezed an extra 40bhp under the bonnet.
The new BMW M4 CSL boasts a peak power output of 550bhp and 650Nm of torque. The 3.0-litre, straight-six engine features a lot of the adaptations found in the racing engines to maximise high rev speed and power delivery. The engine block, oil system, turbos, and cooling have all been modified for maximum performance. The whole lot is then bolted to a tweaked version of the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox specifically tuned for BMW’s M cars.
The end result is 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds and a limited top speed of 190mph. When BMW threw one of these at the German Nürburgring race track – it seems to be obligatory for performance car manufacturers – it went around in 7 minutes and 15 seconds, the fastest time BMW has ever recorded for one of its road cars.
The new BMW M4 CSL is essentially a track day toy for the middle-aged who have done alright for themselves. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else, and that’s largely what makes it so good. It takes the essence of the GT3 race car, removes all of the bits that make a car practical, and gives us something that looks amazing and goes like a bat out of hell.
It’s designed for two things only: to go fast, and to put a big smile on every petrolhead’s face. It’s completely impractical, it’ll cost a fortune to run, you’ll look utterly ridiculous behind the wheel, and if somebody offered you one tomorrow you’d bite their hand off.
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