The BMW M division celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, after being inaugurated in 1972 as BMW Motorsport. The foot soldiers of fleetness flew their flag for the first time in 1973 on the BMW 3.0 CSL, a coupe soon referred to as the Batmobile and now worth six figures. Only once since has M used the CSL suffix, on the E46 M3 CSL that BMW made just under 1,400 of during the 2004 model year. New reports over the past few months claim we're in for a third visit from the Coupe Sport Leichtbau: a limited-edition 2023 M4 CSL that will go into production in the summer of 2022, thereby covering both M division origination milestones.
The meat of these reports comes from a Deep-Throat-like BMW insider on the Bimmerpost forum who goes by "yunguldyn" and who forecasted the eventual arrival of an M4 CSL way back in September 2020. The latest updates predict the following specs: 540 horsepower sent to the rear wheels only, an automatic transmission only — likely the eight-speed unit already in the M4, an Alcantara steering wheel, oodles of carbon fiber to shed weight, standard M bucket seats with optional racing buckets, new 19- and 20-inch wheels dressed in either sporty or track-ready rubber and optional new M-specific headlights. It's also been supposed that the rear seats will go away for even more weight savings. There have been prototypes of a 'roided-up M4 doing laps at the Nurburgring, kitted with a serious front splitter, new rocker panels, steep ducktail spoiler and new rear diffuser, but it's not sure which of the accessories are for an M4 CS or the M4 CSL.
If that 540 figure is genuine American horsepower, that would be a 37-hp gain over the present M4 Competition; if it's metric power, the gain is 30 of our thoroughbreds. At either figure, such a version of the S58 would be the most powerful six-cylinder BMW road car ever. As M honcho Markus Flasch has explained, BMW's six-speed manual can't stand up to the torque that accompanies an uncorked S58, hence the auto-only cog-swapping.
The last CSL model introduced BMW's carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic roof that we now take for granted, the last limited-edition top-dog in the range, the M4 GTS, brought us water injection. It's not outrageous to expect the 2023 M4 CSL to show off one or more new treats.
The production run is predicted to run just eight months, from July 2022 to February 2023. That, combined with the nameplate and the burden of carrying a diamond anniversary, means potential buyers should expect an MSRP well into six figures. The M4 GTS, remember, started at $133,200. It's possible we'll see something of this treat at this year's Munich Motor Show in September, or at the return of the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2022.
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