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BMW E46 Owners: Don’t Sleep on Vorsteiner’s Carbon M3 CSL Body Kit

It gets pretty much everything right about the car BMW stans all wish they had.

Few cars make BMW fans weak in the knees like the E46 M3 CSL. Unfortunately for us Yanks, BMW never brought what is potentially its greatest driving car to North America. Tuning shops and independent owners have modified normal E46 M3s in various attempts to replicate the magic of the M3 CSL, including the California-based wheel and carbon fiber shop, Vorsteiner. Recently, Vorsteiner made its original CSL aero kit even more extreme—and let me tell you, it looks killer.

Back in October, Vorsteiner rereleased its CSL-style aero kit, called the V-CSL. It was designed to transform the look of a normal E46 M3 into one that resembled BMW’s legendary car from the early ’00s. It doesn’t bump the engine’s power, nor does it modify the suspension, steering, or brakes. However, it does lighten the curb weight and make the M3 look awesome. Each carbon fiber part is available a la carte but if you get them all, it includes a carbon fiber front bumper (with its signature single asymmetrical air intake), rear diffuser, and even a carbon fiber trunk lid with its CSL-style integrated ducktail spoiler. That last bit is the most significant weight saver. Sadly, it doesn’t also come with the original CSL’s cardboard-like trunk floor but I guess you could always make one at home out of some old Amazon boxes.

Now, though, Vorsteiner has a new kit—the V20. It takes the CSL goodness of the original aero kit and cranks it to eleven. The carbon fiber front bumper now has two symmetrical air intakes, the rear diffuser looks much more aggressive, it gains updated fender vents, and the V20 also offers a carbon fiber hood, which lowers the curb weight even further. Also included in the V20 kit is a carbon fiber front splitter but Vorsteiner claims it can be used with the V-CSL front bumper, too. While the V20 kit certainly loses some of the V-CSL’s classic look, it gains more road presence and it looks stellar.

Inside, Vorsteiner also offers a full carbon fiber CSL-style center console for both the V-CSL and V20 kits, and it looks just as uncomfortable as the original CSL’s. Having driven many CS and CSL BMWs in the past, I can say with certainty that the small weight savings gained from such a minimalist center console are not worth losing the comfort of an armrest.

This kit ain’t cheap, though, with the least expensive part being the $995 carbon fiber center console. The entire V20 kit costs $11,795, which is about as much as two normal E46 3 Series on the used market. However, for E46 M3 owners and fans, this kit will make your car look like a more extreme version of the legendary forbidden fruit you’ve never been able to taste.

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