BMW will paste legendary CSL moniker on lightest, meanest M4
Say hello to the shadowy schnoz of BMW’s lightest, meanest M4. Later this month, BMW’s performance division will celebrate 50 years by unveiling the M4 CSL, designed to yank the heart (purse) strings of the brand’s most dedicated enthusiasts.
Though it will land as the top dog of the 4 Series lineup, upstaging even the M4 Competition, don’t expect the M4 CSL to re-write BMW history. The first Bimmer to wear the Coupé Sport Lightweight (CSL) moniker did: Dubbed “Batmobile,” the 3.0 CSL put BMW on the world racing stage, laying the foundation for the marque’s on-track prowess after WWII. The second (and most recent) CSL was a track rat’s dream, a bare-bones E46-generation M3 with Plexiglas windows and carbon-fiber roof that helped cut curb weight—enthusiasts’ main complaint—to 3054 pounds.
Even though we expect the CSL-ified M4 to delete the rear seat, swap major bits of aluminum for carbon-fiber, and receive 50 or so extra horses, we do not anticipate it to bottle the magic of its predecessors. The starting candidate, for one, is both heavy and complicated, compared to the M lineage: 3800 pounds, with a twin-turbocharged straight-six. Though the CSL will likely save some pounds over the all-wheel-drive M4 Competition by adopting rear-drive, all signs point to the automatic as the only transmission option. (Extra irritating, since this would leave the base, 473-hp M4 as the only manual option in the hotted-up 4 Series family, shut out both from CSL glamorization and from the Competition’s 503-hp upgrade.)
The M4 CSL is guaranteed to be a limited-edition affair, BMW’s indirect affirmation that the set of customers who want to pay six figures for a CSL-badged M4 with extra carbon-fiber, more power, and no back seats is rather small. If you simply must own the third CSL-badged Bimmer, this one’s for you. Hope you like its nose!