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Frequently Asked Questions:

  - What is The Purpose of This Site?

      This site was built as a historical archive for the BMW E46 M3 CSL. The main objective is to catalogue the full VIN registry and important technological information for what is regarded as one of the most important cars ever developed by BMW Motorsports Division. 

 - How Many CSL's Were Made?

     A total of 1383 units were made from September 2002 until December 2003. 

         - 841 Left Hand Units (Including Preproduction, Test, and Press Vehicles)

         - 542 Right Hand Units (Including Preproduction, Test, and Press Vehicles)

- What Colors Were The CSL's offered in?

      With a focus strictly on performance, BMW only offered the CSL in 2 colors.

         - Silver-Gray Metallic - COLOR CODE A08 and

       - Black-Sapphire Metallic - COLOR CODE 475


        Color production breaks down as follows:   

         - Silver-Gray Metallic         

              - 533  were made in LHD 

                  - 402  were made in RHD

                     935 Total were made in Silver-Gray Metallic 

         - Black-Sapphire Metallic 

              - 308 were made in LHD

                  - 140  were made in RHD

                     448 Total were made in Black-Sapphire Metallic

- Who Was In Charge of Development of The CSL?

       The M3 CSL's design was based on the E46 M3 which in turn was based on the 3 Series designed by American auto designer's Erik Goplen and Chris Bangle at Designworks, BMW's design campus in Newbury Park, California. Goplen was the originator of the E46 design, with Bangle playing an oversight role. Bangle would eventually become Chief of Design for BMW AG.

            The M Division was led at the time by Albert Biermann, with Siegfried Friedmann in charge of the M3 and later M3 CSL development. With the internal code name "SA Sport", the CSL was developed and debuted at the 2003 Geneva Motor show. 

- Where Was The CSL sold?

              Not every market had access to the CSL, The biggest markets were Europe and the UK. However, CSL's were sold in Japan, Australia, South Africa, and the Middle East. The North American market did not receive any CSL allocations as the testing costs to gain approval for sale by the NHTSA and EPA were not cost effective for a car with a production run as limited as the CSL. 

- Were other companies brought in to Help Develop the CSL?   

       Several well known names in the automotive world were called upon to make the CSL a very special development. For starters, Michelin was brought in to develop an entirely new tire to maximize the CSL's driving dynamics. The result was the creation of the first Pilot Sport Cup tire. For the wheels, BMW hired legendary motorsport wheel company BBS to develop a new lightweight wheel. The outcome of which resulted in the M Cross Spoke Light Alloy Forged Wheel Style 163.  The seats are from Recaro, based from their SPG series seat but were slightly redesigned for the CSL. Of course the list of companies involved is a long one, but these were just three visible examples. 

- Has anyone legally imported a genuine CSL into the US? 

                 Yes, VIN # JB98229 was imported in 2009 under the Show and Display Exemption. The car is privately owned and resides in Philadelphia, and is sometimes on display at The Ultimate Driving Museum, in Greer, South Carolina.


From the Ultimate Driving Museum Website - 2022 The Power of M Exhibit 


BMW AG Official CSL Press Release 3/2003

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