What should I be paying?
It’s going to be a bit more of a specialist owning proposition compared to a regular M3, as you might expect given both its pedigree and its pricing. It’s keeping an eye on the detail stuff like making sure the wheels are still at their correct camber, which can ramp up tyre wear. The CSL was sold on unique wheels wearing Michelin Cups, but cars may now be running different rubber – especially if their previous owners have craved a bit more grip in wetter or more wintry weather.
While all that carbon and lightweighting may scream ‘trackday special’, the CSL is from an era of M Division fitting brakes woefully equipped for such activities. So if you’re buying a car that’s been on track, check what condition its pads and discs are in, and if you wish to take yours on circuit, maybe look at going aftermarket for the brakes, while leaving everything else alone – please.
Unless, of course, you’re tempted by a manual conversion. Several have done it, and rave about the results. But remember the CSL is a limited-run special – just under 1,500 were made in total, with 422 coming to the UK – so a major mechanical makeover, such as swapping two pedals for three, may not be sympathetic to future values.
Which brings us neatly to prices. The CSL cost £58,455 new, a massive £17,000 jump on the regular M3. But a major gap then is a Grand Canyon-esque chasm now – where regular E46 M3s start at £10,000 and top out at £30,000 for basically concours-level cars, you’ll be lucky/arguably a tad foolish to pay anything below £60,000 for an M3 CSL now. You’ll more likely find a pesky POA on CSL classified ads than an actual price. Now more than ever, these really are a specialist item.