2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL – Today’s Lightweight Tempter

By: James Robinson, Unique Cars magazine

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2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL
2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL 2004 BMW E46 M3 CSL

Munich’s best is up for sale

In many people’s eyes the BMW E46 M3 is perhaps the most perfect iteration of the Bavarian barnstormer ever to grace a stretch of derestricted autobahn.

Production of the sports coupe commenced at the beginning of the 21 century at BMWs Regensburg factory and ran through until 2006.

It was a highly successful sales exercise for BMW; with just over 85,500 E46 M3s being sold in total world-wide.

All E46 M3s can still be considered desirable sports cars even today, but undoubtedly first among equals in the M-car world is the limited edition CSL.

The CSL, or Coupe Sport Lightweight, is a limited edition, stripped out, beefed up, track oriented version of the regular M3, and perhaps one of the coolest cars BMW has ever made.

It carried a raft of changes over the standard car, aimed at enhancing the performance of the sports coupe substantially.

For a start, BMW put the CSL on a serious diet that included; removed sound insulation, removed electric seats which were replaced by carbon-backed, lightweight jobbies, no satnav, radio or air-conditioning, carbon fibre body panels, a thinner rear window and even a boot floor made of fibre-board.

All these biggest loser antics equated to a car that was 110 kilograms lighter than the standard M3, and meant the CSL’s kerb weight tipped the scales at a mere 1,385kg.

BMW then turned its attention to the chassis and handling of the CSL. Special track-honed springs and dampers were fitted, as was a tighter steering rack (14.5:1 vs 15.4:1) and bigger, more performance oriented brakes.

 The CSL’s heroic S54 3.2 straight six was also given a power boost over its standard sibling, with peak output now set at 265kW, up from 252kW. This was thanks to sharper profile camshafts, a larger, carbon fibre manifold and a reworked exhaust manifold.

In addition, the CSL is also arguably a fair bit prettier than the regular E46, due to significant styling tweaks such as a redesigned front bumper with carbon fibre accents, duck tail spoiler, BBS 19-inch wheels and the carbon fibre roof which just had clear lacquer over it instead of paint.

All this added up to a remarkably iconic sports coupe which to this day is still revered as one of the best ever to wear a badge from Munich.

This particular CSL is painted factory silver grey metallic and is fitted with factory air-conditioning and single CD player. It has covered a mere 52,313 kilometres and has been kept in excellent condition.

The seller is asking $140,000 for the lightweight leviathan and anyone who fancies it can view the full listing here

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