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The iconic BMW 3.0 CSL is back

 Published 16th December 2022
General Guides  New Launches 

BMW's M Division has spent the last 12 months in party mode. To celebrate 50 years of the most powerful BMW models, we've seen a number of special editions that hark back to iconic models of the past five decades. Now it seems all of that has been leading up to this moment. In true “save the best until last” fashion, BMW has announced a very special limited edition: the brand-new BMW 3.0 CSL.

And we can pretty much guarantee not one of you will ever get behind the wheel so we won't bother suggesting you lease one.

The reason for that is very simple. BMW is only making 50 of them in total and they are unashamedly aimed at the most serious of car collectors. BMW is yet to reveal exactly how much it will cost but has admitted it will be the most expensive car ever to wear the M badge. Depending on whom you speak to, price estimates range between £250k and £750k, so we'll just hedge our bets and say it's going to be very expensive.

So, what do you get for that eye-watering price tag?

According to BMW, you'll be getting a “masterpiece of engineering embodying the essence from 50 years of racing passion”.

The original 3.0 CSL – it stands for Coupe, Sport, Lightweight if you're interested – appeared in 1973, the same year the BMW Motorsport division was founded. It won the European Touring Car Championship at the first attempt and carried on winning for five consecutive years from 1975 to 1979. In addition to the wide wheel arches, its coupe-shaped body also received an eye-catching aerodynamics package, which included a front spoiler, air bars on the front side panels, a roof spoiler, and the iconic rear wing that led to its “Batmobile” nickname. At the time, its straight-six engine was the most powerful ever fitted in a BMW with a whopping 206bhp.

The new version set for release in 2023 was developed with the intention of combining the best of five decades of racing expertise.

new BMW 3.0 CSL coupe rear

The dynamic exterior, classic sportscar cockpit, intelligent lightweight construction, straight six-cylinder engine, manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are all based on traditional principles of a BMW M car. Every single one of the 50 examples is essentially hand-built and takes around three months to produce. Even the iconic white paintwork of the traditional BMW Motorsport livery is largely applied by hand and takes six days to complete.

Underneath all the carbon fibre and crisp white paintwork you'll still find a BMW straight-six engine. 50 years of development means this one has a bit more grunt than the 206bhp original, although it can still make the same boast to be the most powerful engine ever fitted to a road-legal BMW.

The straight six-cylinder engine of the BMW 3.0 CSL possesses the same technological roots as the power unit used in the current DTM winning car. It's the same twin-turbo engine that features in the current M3 and M4 models where it produces around 510bhp. Apparently that wasn't enough for this ultimate special edition BMW, so the engineers have had a little bit of a tweak and it now sends 560bhp to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

To keep you on the road – and pointed in the right direction – the new BMW 3.0 CSL also features tuned suspension and a clever traction control system to ensure the enormous Michelin tyres remain firmly glued to the tarmac. Slowing down shouldn't be an issue either, thanks to the carbon ceramic brake system.

The interior is all business too.

Driver and passenger can enjoy the ride in full carbon bucket seats, while the rear passengers are non-existent as the back seat has been removed in favour of two integrated helmet compartments. The rest of the interior is finished in Black Alcantara and matt carbon surfaces with contrasting stitching and other accents in white to reflect the paintwork of the BMW 3.0 CSL. The interior carbon trim also features sequential numbering for each of the 50 units available from #01/50 to #50/50 for a visual reference to the authenticity of the car.

new BMW 3.0 CSL coupe interior

Not that you're ever likely to see one with your own eyes. As well as failing to mention a price, BMW is also still to reveal how many of the special edition cars will be produced with right-hand drive. Given there will only be 50 for the whole world it's highly likely you'll be able to count the number of them coming to the UK on one hand.

Although……if you do happen to be a millionaire collector of BMW's finest…..and you actually get to own an example of the new BMW 3.0 CSL…..any chance we could borrow the keys for a quick spin?

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