- The M4 CSL’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six makes 543 horsepower, about 40 more than the M4 Competition, and the car is also lighter than its 240-pound counterpart.
- Handling is more track-focused thanks to a lower stance, standard performance tires and carbon brakes, and more aggressive suspension tuning.
- This special edition M4 CSL will be limited to 1,000 units worldwide, priced at $140,895.
BMW’s new 2023 M4 CSL is a track-focused special edition, optimised for those willing to give up some of the driver’s daily space for a significant performance boost. CSL stands for Competitive Sport Lightweight, and the specs suggest it’s not just a marketing term. They also show that the car will almost certainly be a beast that won’t be to everyone’s taste.
It’s powered by the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six as the M4 Competition, but the CSL’s maximum turbo boost has been increased by 24 percent from 24.7 psi to 30.5 psi. The dual-circuit cooling system has been upgraded to accommodate not only the extra horsepower, but also the rigors of track use. The result is 543 hp, 40 hp more than the competition, and the same power peak at 6,250 rpm. Peak torque also remains the same at 479 pound-feet, which means the eight-speed automatic transmission and Competition drivetrain can be used as before, right down to the automatic’s internal gearing and final drive ratios inside the M Sport differential. However, shift points have been optimised for performance, and the engine and transmission mounts have been significantly strengthened. There should be far less slack and winding in the power delivery, but the increased cabin vibration is almost certainly a side effect.
The effect of this extra power is magnified by the 240-pound weight reduction. The M4 Competition has 7.7 pounds per horse to move, but the CSL’s added power and lighter weight plummets down to 6.7 pounds per pony. BMW claims it will hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds compared to the rival’s 3.8 seconds, but we doubt it will do better.
The CSL is a two-seater that gets rid of the back seat and seat belt, saving 46 pounds immediately. Beyond that, its one-piece carbon fiber front bucket saves 53 pounds, but you can choose to add 32 pounds if you order the adjustable carbon fiber seats. Another 33 pounds of weight savings came from using lighter—and likely less—sound insulation in some areas. More carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used inside and out, including a center console that saves 9 pounds. On the exhaust’s rear end, another 9-pound saving comes from the use of a titanium muffler that’s been tuned “to be fully enjoyed in the car, which provides the driver with precise acoustic feedback in response to the car’s movements. Accelerator and clear to convey the performance characteristics of the engine. It’s a roundabout way of saying it’s more powerful.
The CSL comes standard with a high-performance 275/35ZR-19 front tire and 285/30ZR-20 rear tire combination, which is optional in the race, but the wheels are mounted on a proprietary forged alloy. The CSL’s thin spokes save even more weight. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes on other M4s are standard here, and the lightweight wheels, brakes, and some suspension components save an additional 46 pounds, mostly unsprung .
The suspension is about 0.3 inches lower than the competition and has been retuned with CSL-optimized springs, adaptive damping valves and software, and improved stabilizer bar tuning. Also worth noting is the use of additional single ball joints in some of the rear suspension links, instead of rubber bushings, to improve precision on the track. The last piece of news reminds us of similar suspension changes made to the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS, which resulted in excellent handling as well as questionable spaciousness.
All indications are that the BMW M4 is more powerful and original, and it will indeed be a more powerful track weapon. Here’s a unique approach that will definitely appeal to those who want to put the M4 on the track. How many BMW fans are looking for what the M4 CSL has to offer? We’ll see once we know how long it will take for all 1,000 units priced at $140,895 to sell out.