So the legend goes...
At the turn of the century, BMW's newest E46 generation M3 had been well received by the automotive world. But the BMW M Division had set their sights on something more. A halo car that would bring BMW into the 21st century with a bold statement, one that the whole industry would notice.
Furthermore, the heads of the M Division wanted a sub 8 minute time around the Nordschleife, which was supercar territory at the time.
The lofty goals set for the limited run M3 Coupe Sport Lightweight, forced BMW to radically rethink weight reduction dynamics and the absolute limits of BMW's legendary naturally aspirated inline six engine, which in fact would be BMW's last naturally aspirated inline six M engine ever. An end to a very important era in automotive history to say the least.
Using the best in cutting edge intelligent lightweight technology available, BMW aimed to drastically lower the CSL's curb weight using materials only used in Formula1 and reserved for the world of just a few supercars up until that point. BMW wanted the world to see what the company was capable of in the new millennium. In fact, many of the technologies developed specifically for the M3 CSL can be found today on nearly all BMW M cars and other car brands alike.
BMW's M Division's Halo Car for the New Millennium
The last Hoorah:
The M3 CSL's Naturally Aspirated Inline 6 Engine would turn out to be BMW M's last. Ending an era of over
two decades of development, culminating to a watermark moment in automotive history.
Rated at 360 Horsepower, the E46 M3 CSL's S54BH32HP engine had a higher output per liter of any production BMW engine, including the V12 found in the McLaren F1.
A Legend Is Born:
The M3 CSL smashed the M Division's goals of an 8 Minute run at Nürburgring and clocked a 7:50sec lap, and in doing so, securing the CSL a place in automotive royalty.
As the pages of time have turned, the BMW M3 CSL has remained a pivotal moment for BMW and often regarded as peak M Division. It showed what a car company can achieve when passion and technology collide.
They say legends never die, and the M3 CSL will remain in the hearts of car enthusiasts for generations to come.