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The 2023 BMW 3.0 CSL Is a Carbon-Bodied Touring Brute

With the most powerful inline-six BMW has ever produced, a manual gearbox, and only 50 units, this is one of the most special and exclusive BMWs ever made.

It’s been the year of the CSL for BMW. With the release of the 2023 BMW M4 CSL, which our own Chris Tsui drove, and the release of never-before-seen CSL prototypes, it’s been a nice change of pace for downtrodden BMW fans. But BMW has one more surprise for 2022: the 2023 BMW 3.0 CSL.

The letters CSL means a lot of things to BMW fans. Images of the old “batmobile” E9 3.0 CSL from 1972 are the start of the journey, but most remember a BMW CSL as the standout classic from 2004: the E46 M3 CSL. With the release of the newest 2023 BMW M4 CSL, are keen on reviving the old magic of the brand. Sure, the goalposts of a lightweight car have sprinted away from what we knew in 2004, but there’s still something to be said for a fast, racing-inspired BMW sport sedan.

And this 3.0 CSL is something unique. It’s a total departure from BMW’s standard operating procedure. Hand-built by a team of 30 people, the 3.0 CSL runs through eight production stations and assembly cycles, being slowly put together for a total of 10 days. The bodywork is nearly all carbon fiber, with some pieces being made of fiberglass. The doors, roof, hood, and front and rear fenders are all crafted in carbon, as are the extra aero pieces unique to the CSL. 

Minimal sound deadening has been used on the car, and a titanium exhaust saves 9.5 lbs over the steel variant. Inside, it’s all carbon fiber. The treatment and effort is amazing, but the final weight figure is a little confusing. BMW didn’t outright state the car’s weight but quoted a power-to-weight ratio of 2.9 kilograms per horsepower. Its stated horsepower is 560 hp, which is the most powerful inline-six BMW has ever made. But if we do some quick napkin math, the weight is 1,624 kg or a fairly heavy 3,580 lbs. 

It’s limited to 50 units, so very few people will ever experience the effort BMW committed to this machine. The price isn’t confirmed, but it surely won’t be cheap. Either way, it seems like a very specific car for a very specific BMW customer. And the styling is up to you.

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