BMW will not be adding a CSL version to the new M3 and M4 lineup. The last time the company offered a CSL was with the E46 M3, a car that most BMW fans agree badly needed a lightweight version, since it was bigger and heavier than the first two generations of M3 from which it was descended. And that CSL never came to the U.S.
BBC’s Top Gear reports confirmation from Matt Collins, BMW UK product manager, who says, “At the moment, though, there are no plans on a CSL—or anything like a CSL, either." BMW already considers the new M3 and M4 to be CSLs, in fact if not in name. "There wasn't a CSL on the previous generation (E92 M3), and the way we look at it is like this: the CSL was great because it had this real focus on lightweight engineering. But we've already done that with these new cars. We've made them as light as possible—they come in under 1500kg (3300 lb), which for a car like this is incredible. Rather than doing a halfway house to begin with," Matt explains, "and then rolling out a CSL, we thought we'd make the ‘real' car as light as we possibly could. So we've no plans whatsoever to make a lighter, harder version just yet."
When asked about the engines, and that some fans of M cars believe that going from a V8 back to an inline six (albeit a twin turbo) is regressing, Collins responded, “I can understand that people might look at the six-cylinder and do the natural comparisons (with other BMW 3.0-liter turbos too), but the amount of change we've put on this engine is substantial. We think that any M engine has to be good enough to be true to the character of M, and this new S55 combines power (431bhp) torque (406 lb-ft) and usability, combined with the CO2 benefits of a turbo. Plus we've retained that high-revving character of the V8, so the overall combination is right for us."
The new M3 and M4 are supposed to do 0 to 60 in a hair over four seconds with the DCT, which will make them the quickest BMWs on the market. They will also weigh less than the last two generations of M3s. Right now BMW says they will not be making a CSL version, and with those numbers, why would they? Plus, by not making a special CSL version, it means the U.S. market will be getting the best of the new M3s and M4s, just like everyone else.—Scott Blazey
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