The E46 M3 CSL has already been rightly installed in the sports coupe Hall of Fame, and is indisputably one of the greatest BMW ///M cars ever made. Certainly one of the most revered of modern classics, the CSL ticks pretty well every box for BMW fans and ‘outsiders’ alike, and can be found on any serious petrolhead’s bucket list.
The E46 M3 was already a seriously cool and capable machine. For those with even the most basic talent or instinct for handling and fast road or track driving, the third generation M3 bought together all of BMW Motorsport’s talents in one car. Handsome, understated, but poised and purposeful the E46 has remained a favourite with aficionados (despite the superb V8 model that followed, and its even quicker, nastier successor). Then came the CSL. As BMW geared up for the next generation of its signature car, the swan song of the E46 era was rolling off the production line, in strictly limited numbers. Only 422 RHD examples were produced. But what the CSL lacked in terms of quantity, it more than made up for in quality.
The similarities with its mass-produced sibling more or less stop at a distance of 20 meters – as the ‘CSL only’ embellishments reveal themselves it becomes apparent that in fact the two versions share very few common components. From front to rear: light weight carbon fibre bumper and valence, sound deadening-stripped bonnet and engine bay, modified engine with increased horsepower and remapped for sharper delivery (yes, and with that carbon fibre air intake), carbon fibre roof for lower COG, modified/remapped SMG gearbox, modified and sharper steering rack and alcantara-clad steering wheel, stripped lightweight dash (no toys and rubbish radio), single piece lightweight seats, carbon fibre door cards and centre console, lightweight rear seats, lightweight rear screen, lightweight and modified single piece bootlid (and no boot release catch, saving apparently 7oz), lightweight boot floor (but not made of cardboard, as famously declared by Clarkson), lightweight wheels (unsprung weight, so vital for enhanced handling), modified brakes and supplied – at least from new – with tyres so on-the-edge that the car came with a health warning. Think it’s a standard M3 with ‘bits taken off’? Think again…
We’ve been in love with the CSL since the start, and we’ve almost certainly looked after more of these fabulous cars than anyone else. As values have risen, more and more used and abused CSLs have been rehabilitated from the track toy or thrasher that they once had been to appear on the market – usually with the opener ‘the time has come to part with my beloved…’. These are the cars to avoid – but it doesn’t leave you with much choice.
Luckily, we know this particular car very well, having sold it to both its current and previous owner (who was a senior member of the Clarkson-era Top Gear production team at the BBC) and having inspected it with the proverbial fine-toothed comb, we are delighted to unreservedly recommend it to the next owner. The current owner has kept the car garaged and has applied an unusually high level of care during his ownership. At 47831 miles it is perfectly placed as either a ‘driver’ – a few thousand miles added each year would barely affect the value – or a ‘collector’ – sub 50,000 miles and in good enough condition to grace any serious collection. As with every car we supply, this magnificent CSL will be presented to the new owner having been through our workshops and prepped to the highest standard, so it can truly be called ‘a Munich Legends car’.
For more information on this fabulous machine or to book a viewing (by appointment only) please contact our showroom team on 01825 740456 or email us on sales@MunichLegends.com