BMW M built a one-off secret M2 CSL, and this is it | Top Gear
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BMW M built a one-off secret M2 CSL, and this is it

This is the CSL that got away - meet the 480bhp-ish M2 that *nearly* made it to production

Published: 13 Jun 2022

The one that got away. Of all the secret CSLs BMW built, this is the one that came closest, the one that got beyond an internal M feasibility study or a late night dare, and made it all the way to the decision-makers on the board.

The F87 M2 CSL was presented to them alongside the M2 CS. It was up to them to choose, and they sided with the CS. Now, the CS is a monster, a proper pugnacious bulldog of a car. But who knows, maybe the initial CS proposal was a bit lame, so elements from this CSL were transferred. Maybe the CS is only as great as it is because it grew and developed alongside a CSL. In which case anyone who owns a CS has this car to thank for the way it acts and behaves.

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But it might not have been a CSL at all. BMW also has an affinity with GTS and this one contains the main elements (roll cage and rear wing) that typically define a more track-orientated GTS rather than a CSL. But apparently there are sensitivities surrounding the GTS badge. Others use it, Porsche in particular. Maybe there’s a gentleman’s agreement where they don’t launch cars within a year of each other. Pure speculation I’m afraid. I’m sure you’re used to it by now, because BMW hasn’t exactly been effusive with the details and specifics. They’re communicating that these cars exist, but leaving plenty of blanks. Oh well.

The M2 CS is just the latest in a line of boisterous little M cars that goes back to the 1M Coupe over a decade ago, then leaps way back beyond that to the 2002 Turbo in 1973. That ran a 2.0 turbo with 170bhp. The M2 CS has 444bhp from a 3.0-litre twin turbo shared with the last gen M3. There’s no word at all on what this CSL had, but this one was tweaked – 470-480bhp is the rumour.

However, the car you see here is a design study, rather than an engineering tool. The finish is glossier, but behind that less has physically been done. I doubt it weighs the necessary 100kg less, although the standard fit carbon ceramic brakes should remove about 20kg from the 1,550kg CS.

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But here’s something cool – look at the rear wing supports. They’re 3D printed, have the contours of sinews and tendons with strength only where it’s needed. They jar with the bodywork, seem like an engineering solution rather than a design touch, but we like that don’t we? It’s the M way.

Photography: Philipp Rupprecht

BMW M2 CSL first look

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