Tuesday, June 18, 2024

2023 BMW 3.0 CSL First Look Review: An Icon Reborn


Batmobile-esque styling is far from the most extreme aspect of the new boutique car. The engine in the BMW 3.0 CSL is now the most powerful straight-six mill that has ever been found in a road-legal BMW M car, producing an impressive 552 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Compared to the M4 CSL, the 3.0 CSL is up by 9 hp, but torque goes down by 73 lb-ft. That drop in torque presumably has to do with what the manual gearbox can handle. Remember, too, that the 3.0 CSL is almost certainly a lighter car than the M4 CSL.

In BMW tradition, the 3.0 CSL directs power to the rear wheels only and comes with a six-speed manual transmission. This gearbox has a shift assistant that uses a connection speed control for slip-free clutch engagement following a downshift when braking for corners. However, this function can be deactivated. BMW has not published any 0-60 mph times, but something close to the M4 CSL’s 3.6-second effort seems likely.

Designed to handle as well as it can go quickly in a straight line, the 3.0 CSL comes with all of BMW’s tricks, including an Adaptive M suspension, the Active M Differential that adjusts its locking effect to the driving scenario, and the M Traction Control system. The latter has 10 different levels to choose from, including a setting where it is completely deactivated and where drifting the 3.0 CSL to your heart’s content is no doubt achievable. We do hope that the electromechanical M Servotronic steering has more feedback than in some other modern M cars, though.

M carbon-ceramic brakes promise excellent high wear resistance and feature six-piston fixed-caliper brakes in front, with discs measuring 400×38 millimeters. At the back, the discs measure 380×28 millimeters and employ single-piston fixed calipers.

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