If you’re a hardcore fan of Bayerische Motoren Werke, you’ll be abundantly familiar with what is perhaps the most iconic BMW M3 of all: the E46 M3 CSL. If you aren’t a hardcore BMW fanperson, the CSL name traces back to the 1970s, when it appeared on a powerful 3.0 coupe variant; many years later, it resurfaced in 2003 on a special M3. The CSL name is an anagram for “coupe, sport, lightweight,” and on the E46 M3, it was joined by an approximately 10-percent lighter curb weight, more power, and near-slick Michelins. It almost instantly cemented itself as one of the best M3s to roll out of Munich. But now, almost 20 years later, the two-door M3 has morphed into the M4, and the CSL name is poised for a comeback on the newest M4 coupe.
A popular thread on enthusiast forum Bimmerpost, which purports to have insider information on what new cars BMW is releasing and when, claims that the new M4 CSL will break cover either late next year or early in 2023 as a 2023 model-year release. That would put exactly two decades between the M4 CSL and its M3-badged predecessor. And yes, the CSL badge will only be applied to the M4 coupe; the M3 sedan won’t get it.
As for what alchemy will form the new CSL, it’s hard to say at the moment. However, if the new car follows the recipe of the original, there are a few things we can definitely expect. Like the M4 GTS from last generation, there will likely be a significant bump from the current M4 Competition’s 503 horsepower. You can also expect the rear seats to be removed, a rear wing to be added, bodywork to be reworked with a stronger focus on aerodynamics, lightweight wheels, and an even more aggressive tire setup.
All that, together with other smaller changes should, hopefully, make the M4 worthy of the CSL badge. Sadly, the nomenclature “M3 CSL” is likely long dead. If anything, the new M3 will get a CS variant, much like the previous-gen M4, the current M5, and the aforementioned M2, but we’re just speculating at the moment.