The BMW ‘Batmobile’ is back - Select Car Leasing
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The BMW ‘Batmobile’ is back!

An automotive superhero has been re-born - because BMW has launched a new version of the infamous 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile' from the early 1970s.

First of all, a history lesson for those uninitiated with the original 3.0 CSL.

It was the car that heralded the formation of BMW’s now legendary ‘M’ sports division in 1972 - and dropped jaws because of the way that it looked.

Based on the BMW ‘E9’ coupe that ran between 1968 and 1975, the 3.0 CSL sported eye-catching decals as well as head-turning exterior bodywork, including two rear spoilers - one a huge wing - at the back as well as fins running down the sides of the bonnet.

And because of that quirky design, it was quickly likened to the Caped Crusader’s vehicle of choice.


Credit: Matthew Lamb)

The ‘CSL’ bit stands for ‘Coupe Sport Leichtbau’ in German, with the last word meaning ‘lightweight’. As such, the original was built with a generous use of aluminium and thin steel to keep the weight down. 

Fast-forward to 2015 and BMW teased the BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Hommage R’ - a concept car that aped the original CSL’s styling but never quite made it to full production.

Then, six months ago, BMW launched the ‘M4 CSL’ - a car with an uber-aggressive design that went close to the bonkers-ness of the original 3.0 CSL.

Now, a full fifty years after it first made its debut, BMW has finally taken the wraps off the modern incarnation.

And let’s just say the 2022 3.0 CSL has slightly more power than the 203 hp that the 1972 car chucked out…

Based on the current BMW M4, the new 3.0 CSL, is packing power of 560 hp - 10 hp more than the M4 CSL - and 550 Nm of torque.

It means the new 3.0 CSL has ‘the most powerful straight six-cylinder power unit ever used in a road-legal BMW M automobile’, according to the German firm.

Power is driven to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox. And while exact stats haven’t yet been revealed, the 3.0 CSL is expected to be able to sprint from 0-62mph in around 3.5 seconds.

It’ll drift with abandon, too, says BMW!

A spokesperson tells us: “For ambitious use on the racetrack, the driver can use the typical M linear build-up of lateral acceleration forces to steer the vehicle through bends with controlled drift manoeuvres.

“The Active M Differential in the rear-axle transmission also ensures superior dynamics.”

So what else has the new BMW 3.0 CSL got going for it?

Just like its predecessor, weight saving is a big thing.

You can expect a proliferation of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) components across the entire car, inside and out, which are hand-produced by ‘specially assigned bodywork specialists’ in Munich and at the BMW Group component factory in Landshut.

The exterior features ‘distinctive air deflection elements, powerfully shaped wheel arches, a striking rear spoiler and numerous other details’ which are ‘unmistakably based on the design of the legendary coupe from the 1970s’, according to BMW.

BMW says the coupe shape is both ‘sporty’ and ‘classically elegant’ with a livery and paintwork that’s been painstakingly put together.

Meanwhile the 3.0 CSL also benefits from exclusively-tuned, adaptive suspension technology that involves carbon-ceramic brakes and BMW’s cutting-edge ‘M Traction Control’ system.

When you really want to tear about the place in a cloud of tyre smoke, you can deactivate the stability control completely.

And, of course, the main testing ground for the 3.0 CSL has been the Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack.

What’s the bad news? Well, only 50 units will be built - it’s a ‘strictly limited edition’.

Depending on which reports you read, it could also cost in excess of £643,000.

You can, on the other hand, lease a BMW M4 from around £853 per month *

*Prices include VAT. Credit is Subject to Status, Ts and Cs and Arrangement Fees apply. Excess mileage may apply. Stock levels and prices correct as of 24/11/22.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024