In the latest episode of The Driver’s Seat, Henry Catchpole puts you in the lightweight, carbon-framed chair of the new BMW M4 CSL. Actually, that’s not the only driver’s seat you’ll climb into; Catchpole has brought along the very special M3 CSL, and the comparison couldn’t be more fascinating.
The collection of three letters began life in motor racing, as BMW sought to homologate its 3.0 CS for racing. It turned to Alpina for help, and together they created the 1973 3.0 CSL – standing for Coupé Sport Leichtbau in German.
Since then, there have only been two other CSLs (including the latest model) even though M management said at the time of the 2003 M3 CSL’s launch that the high performance variant would become a permanent fixture of the M family.
The latest, M4 CSL, is an expensive machine. It costs £128,820, whereas the old M3 CSL retailed at £58,455 – which is £95,793 in today’s money. It’s also a heavier machine. The newcomer tips the scales at 1625kg, whereas its predecessor was 1385kg. Then again, with 542bhp and 479lb ft, versus 355bhp and 273Ib ft, you won’t win any prizes for guessing which is fastest.
But a CSL isn’t simply about speed. It’s about agility and drawing you into a richly rewarding, raw driving experience. Can the new M4 CSL, which is a car born of the digital age, entertain its driver in the same way the M3 CSL did?
Watch as Catchpole answers that question…
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