Matt Robinson profile picture Matt Robinson 8 years ago
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The E46 BMW M3 CSL Is A Hardcore Coupe Which Demands Your Respect

We've been CSL hunting in the classifieds, and have found an example we want badly

Remind me later
BMW - The E46 BMW M3 CSL Is A Hardcore Coupe Which Demands Your Respect  - Blog

After seeing a coffee cup nestled in the gigantic intake of an E46 M3 CSL earlier in the week, we couldn’t resist a quick trip to the classifieds to pluck out a fine used example to lust after.

CSL versions of the E46 M3 are instantly recognisable thanks to a distinctive set of 19-inch wheels, a delicious boot spoiler moulded into the boot lid, and a front bumper which includes a splitter and a ruddy great intake.

BMW - The E46 BMW M3 CSL Is A Hardcore Coupe Which Demands Your Respect  - Blog

The most important changes are under the skin, however. The CSL is 110kg lighter than the standard M3 at 1385kg, thanks to various measures including the removal of sound deadening, the replacement of the heavy front seats with a couple of Alcantara-clad ‘because racecar’ items, and the installation of a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic roof. Standard CSLs came without air conditioning or a stereo, though these could be specced at no extra cost. The suspension system, meanwhile, was thoroughly worked over, with race-derived springs and dampers going in at each corner.

BMW - The E46 BMW M3 CSL Is A Hardcore Coupe Which Demands Your Respect  - Blog

The S54 3.2-litre straight six also received a fettle, courtesy of sharper profile camshafts, a tuned exhaust manifold, new exhaust valves and that bigger intake we saw earlier in the week. Flappy paddle-phobes won’t be too pleased that the CSL was only ever available with a semi-automatic SMG gearbox, but it does mean you’ll be treated to lightning-fast shifts, helping the car’s 355bhp straight-six get you from 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds.

BMW - The E46 BMW M3 CSL Is A Hardcore Coupe Which Demands Your Respect  - Blog

BMW only made 1400 of these super coupes, which makes them very rare and very sought after. As a consequence, they’re rather expensive on the used market. While the starting price for normal E46 M3s is now well under £10,000, you’ll need well over £30k to bag a CSL. However, it’s not all bad news for those with that sort of cash. CSL values are on the rise, and this car is almost certainly a future classic.

This one we’ve found has done just 35,500 miles, and has a full BMW service history. It’s up for £37,995. Anyone want to lend us some money…?