The New M3 CSL


The New M3 CSL | Part Two

Published 10 June 2003 Melanie Carter
So how did BMW create the M3 CSL?

Intelligent Lightweight Technology

For optimum weight reduction, BMW M engineers turned to ‘intelligent’ lightweight technology. This meant matching the most appropriate materials to the component or assembly requirements and resulted in widespread use of carbon fibre reinforced plastics, lightweight aluminium and glass fibre plastics. Much of this technology has been transferred from Formula 1.

Award Winning Engine - Made Better

BMW’s M3 engine has just received its third accolade in a row at the 2003 International Engine of the Year Awards. Now an enhanced version of this 3.2-litre straight-six power house has been developed for the M3 CSL. Power output has been boosted from 343 to 360 bhp at 7,900 rpm, while torque is up from 365 to 370 Nm at 4,900 rpm.

The Enhancements Include:

  • Thinner exhaust walls
  • Larger air intake opening and carbon fibre air collector
  • Camshafts with longer valve opening periods
  • Air intake and volume calculated according to F1 principles
  • Optimised exhaust valves
  • Modified exhaust emission manifold
M3 CSL Gearbox

BMW M’s most sporting and dynamic transmission features on the M3 CSL - the paddle shift SMG gearbox with Drivelogic and new software. Based on F1 technology, it allows ultra-fast shifting through all six gears, using the gear stick or paddles, with changes taking just 0.08 seconds. Drivers can choose between sequential and automated mode.

Handling Dynamics

Precision handling comes courtesy of a wider front track and modified suspension geometry, including bespoke springs and dampers. A more direct ratio for the rack-and-pinion steering (14.5:1, compared to 15.4:1 for the M3) offers greater steering response in all conditions; while substantially modified brakes slow the M3 CSL to a standstill from 62 mph in less than 34 metres – just seven and a half car lengths.

Driver Aids

M Track Mode is a unique function of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), activated via a steering wheel mounted switch. This allows skilled track drivers to push the car to the absolute limit of transverse and longitudinal acceleration, with DSC operating only where these limits are exceeded.

The optional 19" wheels and tyres for the BMW M3 are fitted as standard but Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, with asymmetric treads developed especially for the M3 CSL mounted on unique alloy wheels, can be specified as a no cost option. The tyres, which are suitable for both road and track, measure 235/35 ZR 19 at the front and 265/30 ZR 19 at the rear. Complementing the performance of the car, they offer outstanding lateral grip, up to 1.6g, improving the M3 CSL’s already remarkable handling qualities and cornering capability.

To ensure M3 CSL owners are comfortable with the handling of these specially designed optional tyres, dealers will explain the need for caution while they warm up and during very poor weather. Buyers will also be required to confirm that they are aware of and understand the unique performance characteristics.

Free driver training for all M3 CSL customers is also included in the price. Worth £850, this offers drivers a day at the Pro-Drive Live circuit, driving under the guidance of experienced racing drivers, learning how to get the most out of the car.

continues... | Part Three

The information contained this BMW news article may have changed since publication on the 10 June 2003. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local BMW dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2015