New BMW M4 CSL unleashed: More power, less weight and a track-driving obsession

Published May 20, 2022


Munich - When you see a CSL badge on the back of a BMW you know that you’re dealing with a track car that has begrudgingly agreed to multitask as a road-going machine.

This here is the all-new BMW M4 CSL and it almost goes without saying that before it was even announced to us on Friday, the carmaker made sure that it posted the fastest ever Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time for a series-produced BMW.

Which would be 7 minutes and 20.207 seconds for the full circuit including the T13 straight section.

Its name stands for ‘Competition, Sport, Lightweight’ and that’s exactly what you’re getting with the latest BMW M4 CSL, in addition to more power.

To that end, the M4’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six engine has been modified to produce 405kW at 6250rpm, which is a cool 30kW more than the M4 Competition musters, while peak torque remains at 650Nm from 2750rpm. Expect 0-100km/h to come up in just 3.7 seconds, which is a 0.2s improvement over its aforementioned sibling.

BMW’s M Division did more than just tinker with the software; the M4 CSL has a unique cylinder head core made using 3D printing techniques, as well as a forged lightweight crankshaft, and engineers also upped the turbo boost pressure from 1.7 bar to 2.1 bar.

Its power goes to the rear wheels only through an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission with model-specific mountings.

But the whole point of a CSL is its lighter kerb weight, and here the new model manages to tip the scales at just 1625kg, making it an impressive 100kg lighter than the M4 Competition.

The M Carbon front bucket seats on their own saved around 24kg, while removing the back seats shaved off another 21kg. Further to that the M Carbon ceramic brakes and bespoke forged M light-alloy wheels (measuring 19” upfront and 20” at the back) together saved 21 kilos.

Because you’re not buying a BMW M4 CSL for on-road silence, engineers also removed some sound insulation, which took off a further 15kg, while using various carbon-fibre-reinforced-plastic (CFRP) components on the exterior and interior saved a few more.

Because this is a track car at heart, the M Division carried out extensive modifications to the chassis, lowering the car by 8mm in the process. Road holding has been keenly optimised through model specific axle kinematics and wheel camber settings while the adaptive dampers, springs and anti-roll bars have also been individually tuned for this special model.

But that’s not all… In the engine compartment you’ll find front-end strut braces that improve overall body rigidity.

Also specifically adapted for this machine is the M Traction Control system, which allows drivers to set individual intervention thresholds for wheel slippage, allowing for controlled drifts.

To ensure that your BMW M4 CSL doesn’t get mistaken for humbler M4 models, the body is finished in an exclusive colour called Frozen Brooklyn Grey metallic, which is complemented by exposed carbon-fibre surfaces and red accents. But if you really don’t want a grey car, BMW is also offering Alpine White and Sapphire Black exterior colour options.

Check out the walkaround video below:

Inside you’ll find M Carbon bucket seats that are optimised for track usage. The backrest angle is is fixed, and while forward and backward adjustments can be made manually, the driver will need a three-stage screw linkage to change the seat height.

It might be track-focused, but it’s not bare inside though. BMW has still included its Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system, with all of its modcons, including the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, wireless phone charging and on-board Wi-Fi. A Head-Up Display is optional.

The range of driver assistance systems has been pared down. The cars still ship with Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Park Distance Control but the Driving Assistant and Parking Assistant systems are available as options.

As you’d expect from a CSL, numbers will be limited to ensure this item remains collectible in years to come. BMW is planning to produce just 1000 units at its Dingolfing plant from July 2022 onwards. Only 15 of these will reach South Africa.

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