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BMW: there won’t be an M3/M4 CSL
BMW has confirmed to Top Gear that there won’t be a hardcore, lightweight ‘CSL’ version of the new M3 saloon and M4 Coupe.
This is sad, because the last time BMW rolled out a CSL - the much loved E46 M3 CSL - they knocked the ball out of the park, with Jeremy even declaring it “BMW at its absolute best”.
Seems the iconic nomenclature won’t make a return on the new generation of M3 and M4. Matt Collins, product manager for BMW’s small to medium cars, responded to what the enthusiasts will no doubt be whining about in a couple of years time. “Couple of years?” he says, “they’re whining about [a new CSL] now. At the moment though, there are no plans on a CSL. Or anything like a CSL either.”
BMW’s view is that the new M3 and M4 are already CSLs, in essence. “There wasn’t a CSL on the previous generation (the 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 1500kgs, which for a car like this is incredible.” Reference is made to the old E46 M3 weighing a similar amount.
“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.”
Still, there’s another lighter, harder Thing that is keeping the M aficionados concerned too, and that’s the departure from a big, naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8 to a twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six.
“I can understand that people might look at the six-cylinder and do the natural comparisons (with other BMW 3.0-litre 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 (406lb ft) and usability combined with the CO2 benefits of a turbo (it emits the same CO2 as the original four-pot E30 M3). Plus we’ve retained that high-revving character of the V8, so the overall combination is right for us.”
Should sound fruity, mind. “I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how good it sounds. Granted, naturally aspirated cars and turbocharged cars are never going to be the same, but with this - with electronically controlled exhaust flaps - you’ll feel like you’re in an M car.”
Let’s hope so, because these new cars - with a quoted 0-62mph time of 4.1s (with the DCT ‘box) - are the quickest production cars BMW currently makes. Even faster than the M5 and M6. Not that BMW cares about such things. “We’re not concerned [with being quicker than its ‘big brothers’], we just wanted to make the quickest M3 and M4 possible.” We kind of admire that here at TG. But tell us, should BMW build an even faster version of these two cars? Or is outright speed not really the point with an M car?