Munich – As the first road-going car conceived by BMW’s motorsport division, the 3.0 CSL of the early 1970s was a homologation special that quickly became one of the Bavarian brand’s most iconic cars.
And now the BMW Batmobile, as it was affectionately nicknamed due to its flamboyant aero tech, has just been recreated for the modern era. Not to be confused with the almost-as-hardcore BMW M4 CSL that was revealed earlier this year, the new 3.0 CSL is an even more exclusive proposition, with the M Division planning to produce just 50 of them – to mark its 50th anniversary of course.
Although loosely based on the BMW M4, the 3.0 CSL is a very unique car in its own right, and it’s built with numerous handcrafted lightweight components at a special facility outside the Dingolfing plant in Germany. Each car takes up to 10 days to produce as it passes through eight different assembly cycles.
The new BMW 3.0 CSL is also the most powerful six-cylinder road car that the company has ever produced. Based on the competition engine that powers the DTM-winning BMW M4, the 3.0-litre turbocharged unit shoves out 412kW and 550Nm, and can spin to a maximum of 7 200rpm. That’s 7kW more than the M4 CSL offers, and 37kW more than the M Competition musters.
Keeping with early BMW M tradition, power goes to the back wheels only through a six-speed manual gearbox, which probably explains why BMW dialled back the torque by 100Nm, making it no torquier than a range-topping Toyota Hilux. But power is king for a track tool like this, although we can’t tell you how fast it is just yet as BMW hasn’t mentioned any acceleration figures
Of course, this wouldn’t be a true successor to the original 3.0 CSL if it wasn’t a moving billboard for lightweight materials. And to that end, BMW has made extensive use of hand-crafted carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) on virtually all sections of the body, from the roof to the bonnet, boot lid, rear spoiler, diffuser and even the front and rear aprons.
The cabin is also bristling with carbon fibre and CFRP trimmings and components. It’s literally everywhere, and don’t be surprised if BMW sends you a complimentary carbon fibre toothbrush just for the hell of it.
To save further weight the back seats have been replaced by helmet holders for you and the front seat passenger, and you both get to sink into M Carbon full bucket seats that can only be adjusted via a three-stage screw linkage in a workshop.
Keeping you in control whether you’re on the race track or that favourite back road is an M-specific Adaptive M suspension system, M Traction Control system with 10 intervention thresholds and an Active M Differential that apportions torque between the rear wheels as needed, while M carbon ceramic brakes provide the necessary stopping power.
You could probably fill a novel with all of the design and aerodynamic features that separate the new CSL from your typical M car.
The striking rear wing, for instance, translates the ‘Batmobile’ spoiler of the ’70s into a modern design, while also generating additional downforce to keep the rear axle planted. It is paired with a strongly pronounced carbon diffuser in the rear apron. Up front we see a unique BMW kidney grille, while two boldly sized air intakes in the front apron hark back to the original CSL.
At the side view, flared wheel arches house unique Y-spoke alloy wheels, measuring 20 inches at the front and 21 inches at the back, while a gold paint finish and ‘Filigree’ spokes are a further salute to the ’70s icon.
The wheels are shod with Michelin tyres that were developed exclusively for this car, and to ensure that fact gets noticed, the number 50 is embossed on the sidewalls of the tyres.
But perhaps the biggest point of distinction is the paint finish, which combines Alpine White Uni with a stripe decor package in the BMW M GmbH colours. The base colour and M stripes are applied mostly by hand, BMW says, in a process that involves a great degree of time and effort.
Needless to say, the new BMW 3.0 CSL is going to cost more than your organs and your uncle’s mansion. BMW hasn’t mentioned pricing as yet, but previous rumours have pointed to a price tag of around €750 000, which equates to R13.2 million at today’s exchange rate.