Thursday, 15 December 2011

E46 M3 CSL

The BMW M3 has pretty much run the gamut from everyman performance to supercar-battling thrust; purists will opt for the original four-pot E30 homologation special, Mr Moneybags can spec his new £100k+ M3 GTS in lurid orange, while the hotshot looking for a cheapish track car can pick up an E36 four-door M3 for a few grand.
One of SuckSqueezeBangBlow's favourites is this oft-overlooked example, the E46 M3 CSL. Rekindling the iconic CSL (Coupé Sport Leichtbau) name, only 1,400 of these were built in 2004, all of which were sold in Europe. It took the already rather brutal E46 M3 as a base and shaved 110kg from the weight via its carbon-fibre roof, GRP panels, thinner glass, and the removal of things like sound deadening, seat motors, air-con, sat-nav and so on. The focus was more on weight redistribution than specific reduction though, with the aim to achieve a 50:50 front-rear split, the lighter roof lowering the centre of gravity. It also had race-derived suspension, a quicker steering rack, uncompromising semi-slick tyres and M5 brakes. It's basically everything you'd have wanted to do to the standard M3, but backed up by a BMW warranty. The 3.2-litre straight-six was tweaked to produce 360bhp at 7,900 screaming rpm, giving it a gobsmacking 112.5bhp-per-litre output; this in a car that, if you were so inclined, you could use as a city daily driver, a pan-European grand-tourer or a trackday weapon. And to the untrained eye, it looks largely the same as a regular M3. What's not to like...?

Photos via ultimatecarpage.

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