A legend returns - say hello the first BMW ‘CSL’ model in almost 20 years.
And with a carbon-fibre roof, bonnet and boot lid, there’s ‘meticulous’ weight saving measures across the board that make the M4 CSL the fastest BMW to ever tackle the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife track, completing the 13 mile jaunt in 7:15.677 seconds.
The standard M4 Competition Coupe is hardly a slouch to begin with. That car uses a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six engine to produce 510 hp and a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds.
The new BMW M4 CSL has the same engine, but there are modifications - including a forged lightweight crankshaft and stiffer engine mountings, among lots of other engineering wizardry - which means power is up to 550 hp and the 0-62 mph acceleration time has shrunk to 3.7 seconds.
Interestingly, though, the CSL is not the quickest M4, even with the diet it’s been on. That honour falls to the M4 Competition M 'xDrive' Coupe which is all-wheel drive, whereas the CSL and standard Competition Coupe are rear-wheel drive. The M4 xDrive completes the 0-62mph dash in 3.5 seconds.
So what else might you expect from a BMW M4 CSL lease?
You get just the two full-bucket seats with the ‘Competition, Sport, Lightweight’ model and a ‘character honed purposefully for driving on the track’, says BMW.
A BMW spokesperson describes how this CSL is built for speed, not snugness, adding about the seats:
“Their carbon-fibre structure and deliberate lack of comfort features such as heating and lumbar adjustment allowed weight to be reduced by 24kg. Their pronounced contours offer an extremely high level of lateral support and an integrated side airbag, while cut-outs enable the use of a six-point harness.
The seats have a fixed backrest angle, while the seat height can only be adjusted in a workshop using a three-stage screw linkage. The forward/back adjustments can be made manually using a lever on the front edge of the seat. The head restraints can be disassembled for track use to avoid interfering with a helmet.”
However, ‘enhanced comfort’ seats are available as an option if that all sounds like a faff.
Elsewhere there’s carbon ceramic brakes, special light-alloy wheels, springs and struts, while even the sound insulation is ultra-lightweight.
You get classic ‘BMW Motorsport’ emblems for the bonnet, boot lid and wheel centres, which harks back to the ones seen on the original 1973 CSL.
And even the front BMW kidney grille is bespoke, having been stripped-back to save yet more weight.
Another lovely touch are the BMW ‘Laserlight’ headlights that illuminate in yellow rather than white, bringing to mind the look of BMW’s successful GT racing cars.
Meanwhile the M4 CSL also sits 8mm lower than normal M4 and boasts its own chassis set up, with a double-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle.
A BMW spokesperson adds:
“Auxiliary springs are also fitted at both the front and rear axle and improve road contact in dynamic situations. The anti-roll bars at both axles and their mountings have likewise been specially engineered. The front axle’s forged swivel bearing has more camber, increasing the ability to put down power through high-speed corners.
On the rear axle, four additional ball joints with zero play take the place of the rubber mounts for the control arms on both the axle subframe and wheel carrier sides, lowering the secondary spring rates and optimising wheel location, camber stiffness, and damper response.
The rear-axle subframe has a rigid bolted connection to the body without any flexible rubber elements, improving directional stability.”
The BMW M4 CSL is priced at £128,225 to buy outright, while the BMW M4 is available to lease from £908 per month.
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