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      09-02-2022, 04:50 PM   #1
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E46 M3 CSL review

Very nice AutoTopNL POV review of a legend…

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      09-25-2022, 10:07 AM   #2
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very nice
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      12-12-2022, 12:19 PM   #3
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He called the S54 a 3liter engine! Come on now, do your homework!
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      03-12-2023, 09:12 AM   #4
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Fantastic car... but there is a time and place for everything imho... I think in 2023, this car is a bit overrated. You can see this car is just really dated at this point... one sold recently at apparently $300K so unless you are some super hardcore collector, it'd be hard to even consider that. Given the prices... i just don't see how someone could choose this over the upcoming M2 for example... the SMG in this generation is trash, it doesn't even have a radio, ac was limited option and those buckets look awful to sit in... the build quality of this generation was also very poor.... Discount the S54 motor and lightweight and this car has very little to stand on... might as well just buy a manual E46 and remove some weight and save yourself a lot of money.
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      03-12-2023, 04:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
Fantastic car... but there is a time and place for everything imho... I think in 2023, this car is a bit overrated. You can see this car is just really dated at this point... one sold recently at apparently $300K so unless you are some super hardcore collector, it'd be hard to even consider that. Given the prices... i just don't see how someone could choose this over the upcoming M2 for example... the SMG in this generation is trash, it doesn't even have a radio, ac was limited option and those buckets look awful to sit in... the build quality of this generation was also very poor.... Discount the S54 motor and lightweight and this car has very little to stand on... might as well just buy a manual E46 and remove some weight and save yourself a lot of money.
I understand your point. For the price tag of $300k I would get a 992 GT3 Touring and call it a day. My preference, my taste, and my money. Reality is I can't afford more than one car at that level so I choose something modern. The CSL is only for collectors at this point, but the real point of the CSL is a nod to a time where BMW M wasn't scared to make a true sports car.

"i just don't see how someone could choose this over the upcoming M2 for example"

-No one is cross shopping these two cars. $70k vs. collector pricing. Two different buyers completely.

"the SMG in this generation is trash, it doesn't even have a radio, ac was limited option and those buckets look awful to sit in"

-SMG was trash and no one denies it. Not the journalist, not the enthusiasts, and not the keyboard warriors. No radio/ac/buckets are EXACTLY what enthusiasts and track junkies want out of these cars. It's all they've been asking for for years. E92 GTS and F82 GTS never matched the weight savings of the E46 CSL. G82 CSL matches the weight savings (haven't checked to see if anyone has actually taken it to a scale) but there's a 20 year gap between E46 and G82. Let that sink in. 20 years ago they were shaving off around 240lbs off an already "light" car. In today's standards it's almost pointless.

"the build quality of this generation was also very poor"

-No it really wasn't. E46 build quality was better than E9x and F3x. I've had all of them and spent countless hours in many between all of my friends. However that point is not even relevant. An E46 M3 CSL interior is outdated, but funny enough you can't even get a stripper spec M car any more. Power seats, nav, etc. are all standard. Obsessed Garage bought an 800 mile E92 M3 in a stripper spec for $120k I believe. Stripper specs always grab higher premiums in the market for M cars.

"Discount the S54 motor and lightweight and this car has very little to stand on"

-The E46 CSL stands on everything. It made the standard for M cars. Funny though because it's never been replicated.

"We want the old E46 CSL tricks applied to the new M4: even less sound deadening, an idiosyncratic intake note, zero embellishments, and no A/C or radio or lighted CSL badges in the headrests. Every component of a CSL should make sense when viewed through the uncompromising lens of the phrase “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” This CSL couldn’t clear that hallowed bar."

-Road & Track


"might as well just buy a manual E46 and remove some weight and save yourself a lot of money"

-I agree with this, but applied to more of the modern cars. You can code in a lot of the CS features. Put on a good pair of coilovers, better tires, tune/engine parts, and do your own weight savings on a standard M3 and have a track monster. No need to be paying for the M4 CSL at all with that logic. E46 CSL was ahead of its time. All the parts (Roof, wheels, diffuser, trunk, front bumper, interior bits) were the first of its kind. I always joke and say Vorsteiner's success was built off the CSL. I was heavily involved in the forums when the E9x M3 came out. All of the Vorsteiner CF parts were insanely in demand. Most mimicked the CSL parts such as the diffuser and bootlid design. Interesting how the CSL was the first M car with a CF roof and the E92 M3 was the first M3 to start having it as standard. You can get a 3 series with a CF roof now. The CSL paved the way for M.

Sorry for the essay and in no way am I attacking you or your points. I'm just stating why I believe (and many others) the importance of the E46 CSL. It's out of most our reach from a financial and logistical standpoint, yet it is the model that everyone always looks to for M performance.
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      03-12-2023, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nettles View Post
I understand your point. For the price tag of $300k I would get a 992 GT3 Touring and call it a day. My preference, my taste, and my money. Reality is I can't afford more than one car at that level so I choose something modern. The CSL is only for collectors at this point, but the real point of the CSL is a nod to a time where BMW M wasn't scared to make a true sports car.

"i just don't see how someone could choose this over the upcoming M2 for example"

-No one is cross shopping these two cars. $70k vs. collector pricing. Two different buyers completely.

"the SMG in this generation is trash, it doesn't even have a radio, ac was limited option and those buckets look awful to sit in"

-SMG was trash and no one denies it. Not the journalist, not the enthusiasts, and not the keyboard warriors. No radio/ac/buckets are EXACTLY what enthusiasts and track junkies want out of these cars. It's all they've been asking for for years. E92 GTS and F82 GTS never matched the weight savings of the E46 CSL. G82 CSL matches the weight savings (haven't checked to see if anyone has actually taken it to a scale) but there's a 20 year gap between E46 and G82. Let that sink in. 20 years ago they were shaving off around 240lbs off an already "light" car. In today's standards it's almost pointless.

"the build quality of this generation was also very poor"

-No it really wasn't. E46 build quality was better than E9x and F3x. I've had all of them and spent countless hours in many between all of my friends. However that point is not even relevant. An E46 M3 CSL interior is outdated, but funny enough you can't even get a stripper spec M car any more. Power seats, nav, etc. are all standard. Obsessed Garage bought an 800 mile E92 M3 in a stripper spec for $120k I believe. Stripper specs always grab higher premiums in the market for M cars.

"Discount the S54 motor and lightweight and this car has very little to stand on"

-The E46 CSL stands on everything. It made the standard for M cars. Funny though because it's never been replicated.

"We want the old E46 CSL tricks applied to the new M4: even less sound deadening, an idiosyncratic intake note, zero embellishments, and no A/C or radio or lighted CSL badges in the headrests. Every component of a CSL should make sense when viewed through the uncompromising lens of the phrase “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” This CSL couldn’t clear that hallowed bar."

-Road & Track


"might as well just buy a manual E46 and remove some weight and save yourself a lot of money"

-I agree with this, but applied to more of the modern cars. You can code in a lot of the CS features. Put on a good pair of coilovers, better tires, tune/engine parts, and do your own weight savings on a standard M3 and have a track monster. No need to be paying for the M4 CSL at all with that logic. E46 CSL was ahead of its time. All the parts (Roof, wheels, diffuser, trunk, front bumper, interior bits) were the first of its kind. I always joke and say Vorsteiner's success was built off the CSL. I was heavily involved in the forums when the E9x M3 came out. All of the Vorsteiner CF parts were insanely in demand. Most mimicked the CSL parts such as the diffuser and bootlid design. Interesting how the CSL was the first M car with a CF roof and the E92 M3 was the first M3 to start having it as standard. You can get a 3 series with a CF roof now. The CSL paved the way for M.

Sorry for the essay and in no way am I attacking you or your points. I'm just stating why I believe (and many others) the importance of the E46 CSL. It's out of most our reach from a financial and logistical standpoint, yet it is the model that everyone always looks to for M performance.
i totally get your point... but as it stands its strictly a collector car now that is only for the rarified few at a crazy price point... a collector is well a collector car and normal points of comparo aren't really fair... its legendary for many reasons as you said but those reasons are less relevant today

yes it ran an amazing 'ring times... why? well for one it rode from the factory on near slick tires... BMW for safety reasons hasn't released a car since on such aggressive tires... and it was insanely light weight... again something that could never be replicated due to safety issues solely... not that BMW can't or won't... its just legally not possible

a G80 M3 CS could run laps around the E46 M3 without even trying on regular tires AT a FAR heavier weight and with modern comfort creatures... yes it has weight, yes it has a turbo motor but all in all... that really just puts the E46 CSL back in its place and its time... and at 300K... it goes back to being a collector car and that's all it will ever be at this point

people lauded the 1M in very similar ways when it came out in 2011... except I haven't see any lust from anyone for those cars for at least 5-6 years now... at local car meets they almost don't even get noticed anymore because we have far better machines such as the m2 CS since... if you really want the closest thing to a CSL...get a 6 speed E46 M3 and remove some weight... throw on coilovers and you are almost there... the feeling WILL be extremely close at 1/6 of the price
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      03-12-2023, 09:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
Fantastic car... but there is a time and place for everything imho... I think in 2023, this car is a bit overrated. You can see this car is just really dated at this point... one sold recently at apparently $300K so unless you are some super hardcore collector, it'd be hard to even consider that. Given the prices... i just don't see how someone could choose this over the upcoming M2 for example... the SMG in this generation is trash, it doesn't even have a radio, ac was limited option and those buckets look awful to sit in... the build quality of this generation was also very poor.... Discount the S54 motor and lightweight and this car has very little to stand on... might as well just buy a manual E46 and remove some weight and save yourself a lot of money.
You have lost your mind. An M2 over an e46 M3?
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      03-13-2023, 08:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forzanerazzurri View Post
You have lost your mind. An M2 over an e46 M3?
I have lost my mind... i'll choose the more capable, faster, more modern car... the G87 M2 is all of those, it just comes with a weight penalty which I really don't care about and people have overhyped since the E46 days... weight of a few hundred pounds means nothing on the street... this is proven in each generation of the M3... it gets heavier but far more capable.
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      03-13-2023, 10:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
I have lost my mind... i'll choose the more capable, faster, more modern car... the G87 M2 is all of those, it just comes with a weight penalty which I really don't care about and people have overhyped since the E46 days... weight of a few hundred pounds means nothing on the street... this is proven in each generation of the M3... it gets heavier but far more capable.
Nobody is going to remember that M2 in 10 years. The CSL is arguably the most iconic BMW model ever made. Of course modern cars are better but that's missing the point.
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      03-13-2023, 10:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forzanerazzurri View Post
Nobody is going to remember that M2 in 10 years. The CSL is arguably the most iconic BMW model ever made. Of course modern cars are better but that's missing the point.
Who is going to remember the M3 CSL in 10 years? It will be a rare collector car... it was never even available in many parts of the world. It is barely remembered today outside of the most hardcore enthusiasts... all it is, is a lighter weight E46 with a special airbox and carboard trunk board lol...if you think this car will be as relevant as an E30 M3 30 years later... then I don't know what to tell you.
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      03-13-2023, 10:52 AM   #11
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Umm everyone is going to remember the CSL in 10 years lol.

And weight can be felt, so yes it matters. We don't drive E46 M3s because we think they're still the fastest car on teh road. They're the best (most enjoyable) to drive, esp with an airbox. They're goldilocks; just right.

They also are the best looking. F87 & G87 M2 look like they have down syndrome.
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      03-13-2023, 11:43 AM   #12
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Umm everyone is going to remember the CSL in 10 years lol.

And weight can be felt, so yes it matters. We don't drive E46 M3s because we think they're still the fastest car on teh road. They're the best (most enjoyable) to drive, esp with an airbox. They're goldilocks; just right.

They also are the best looking. F87 & G87 M2 look like they have down syndrome.
Do you think the TRUE enthusiast would drive the SMG fitted car? Or would the true enthusiast get an manual 6sp low mileage E46 M3, drop it on some coils and remove some weight? Oh you want the CSL experience, buy the airbox and throw on some slicks as well.

It's a collector car mate... and it ends there.
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      03-13-2023, 05:37 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
Do you think the TRUE enthusiast would drive the SMG fitted car? Or would the true enthusiast get an manual 6sp low mileage E46 M3, drop it on some coils and remove some weight? Oh you want the CSL experience, buy the airbox and throw on some slicks as well.

It's a collector car mate... and it ends there.
I guess you've never heard of the manual swapped CSL's.
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      03-14-2023, 01:48 PM   #14
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I always wonder, who's that TRUE enthusiast they're talking about?

I thought it was me.
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      03-14-2023, 01:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
Do you think the TRUE enthusiast would drive the SMG fitted car? Or would the true enthusiast get an manual 6sp low mileage E46 M3, drop it on some coils and remove some weight? Oh you want the CSL experience, buy the airbox and throw on some slicks as well.

It's a collector car mate... and it ends there.
Bro, who do you think you're talking to? I have a manual slicktop with CSL parts LOL

You also just proved my point - we all use the CSL as the guiding principal. CSL and GTR are our heros.
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      03-14-2023, 02:06 PM   #16
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Bro, who do you think you're talking to? I have a manual slicktop with CSL parts LOL

You also just proved my point - we all use the CSL as the guiding principal. CSL and GTR are our heros.
I love the E46 M3 and it's driving experience (especially in manual).

Would I EVER own one? No... not at this point and time with what is available out there in the market that performs significantly better.

It all comes back to pure preference. I had an F87 M2 Comp which is the closest reincarnation of an E46 M3 but I think it's a very subpar performance car... on the other hand, the new G series massively improves upon that from all directions... and if I had to pick today, I know which direction I'd go.
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      05-31-2023, 06:47 PM   #17
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This one isn't too bad.

Not mine.
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      06-01-2023, 07:31 AM   #18
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I always wonder, who's that TRUE enthusiast they're talking about?

I thought it was me.
But you don't like the new 4000lb M2 "compact" car, so it can't be.
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      07-19-2023, 10:09 AM   #19
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It all comes back to pure preference. I had an F87 M2 Comp which is the closest reincarnation of an E46 M3 but I think it's a very subpar performance car... on the other hand, the new G series massively improves upon that from all directions... and if I had to pick today, I know which direction I'd go.
Massively improves on it, with...
3800 lbs of bloat
dead steering
generic power delivery
hideous exterior
choices of a torque convertor automatic or shitty manual trans
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      07-19-2023, 10:10 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
Who is going to remember the M3 CSL in 10 years? It will be a rare collector car... it was never even available in many parts of the world. It is barely remembered today outside of the most hardcore enthusiasts... all it is, is a lighter weight E46 with a special airbox and carboard trunk board lol...if you think this car will be as relevant as an E30 M3 30 years later... then I don't know what to tell you.
It's hard to find an all BMW comparison test that the CSL doesn't win these days. If anything, it's fame/notoriety is growing faster than ever.
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      07-19-2023, 10:17 AM   #21
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yes it ran an amazing 'ring times... why? well for one it rode from the factory on near slick tires... BMW for safety reasons hasn't released a car since on such aggressive tires... and it was insanely light weight... again something that could never be replicated due to safety issues solely... not that BMW can't or won't... its just legally not possible
The i3 proves that BMW could easily, EASILY make a lighter car, if they still cared enough to put in the effort.

The i3 was 2650 lbs, with a 700 lb battery pack on board.

Build a sedan chassis uses the same CFRP production techniques as the i3, throw in an updated N52 (alu/magnesium block that weighed 328 lbs fully dressed), and you'd have a sub 2500 lb 4 seater with a 300 NA hp that would get better fuel economy than any of the turbo junk they're selling today, that's safer than any car they sell today.

They don't because they don't care anymore, and selling turbo automatic EPS crossovers is easy.



The car described above would be a modern day equivalent of the leap over everything else than the CSL was. It doesn't even have to be stupidly expensive-- i3 prices started in the 40s, and the EV drivetrain was more expensive than the ICE drivetrain. Not the generic standard car with different software. BMW just doesn't care anymore.
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      07-19-2023, 10:41 AM   #22
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The i3 proves that BMW could easily, EASILY make a lighter car, if they still cared enough to put in the effort.

The i3 was 2650 lbs, with a 700 lb battery pack on board.

Build a sedan chassis uses the same CFRP production techniques as the i3, throw in an updated N52 (alu/magnesium block that weighed 328 lbs fully dressed), and you'd have a sub 2500 lb 4 seater with a 300 NA hp that would get better fuel economy than any of the turbo junk they're selling today, that's safer than any car they sell today.

They don't because they don't care anymore, and selling turbo automatic EPS crossovers is easy.



The car described above would be a modern day equivalent of the leap over everything else than the CSL was. It doesn't even have to be stupidly expensive-- i3 prices started in the 40s, and the EV drivetrain was more expensive than the ICE drivetrain. Not the generic standard car with different software. BMW just doesn't care anymore.
Not sure where you got 2650 lbs. but in 2017 C&D had it at 2918 lbs. and the price was $46k ($57k in todays $$), would go 114 miles (considering you can't run it to zero seems really low) in a slow, small electric car. Yes BMW could build a lighter car but it comes with a higher price (or they would have done it). Seems like BMW gave up on this idea and has gone more conventional with all new cars.

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews...v-test-review/
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