A limited production run of just 20 BMW M3 CSL supercars will reach Australia later this year. The fire-breathing M3 CSL boasts an output of 265 kW (81.5 kW per litre) and a 10% improvement in power-to-weight ratio over the standard M3. BMW Group Australia expects delivery of the hand-built, F1-inspired supercar in late Q3 2003 with an expected pricetag in excess of AUS$210,000.
Dubbed the '110 per cent car' by its creators at BMW M GmbH, the M3 CSL is an optimised version of the M3 featuring light-weight carbon-fibre composite body panels, 19-inch wheels and paddle-shift controlled gearbox.
"Succeeding in reducing the power-to-weight ratio by another 10 per cent on the M3 CSL, we have created the 110 per cent car and have moved up to a new league of dynamic performance," BMW M Division Manager Gerhard Richter, said.
Some sacrifices were made in shedding 100kg - leather seats are replaced by sport seats and the sunroof, on-board monitor and Hi-Fi system have been removed.
In their place come high-technology systems borrowed from aerospace and Formula 1, applications to endow the M3 CSL with its shattering performance.
The 3.2 litre straight six Double VANOS controlled engine has been developed a stage further to access more power and more torque. Peak power is now 265 kW thanks to the completed cylinder charge cycle being modified to further reduce frictional forces.
The centre of gravity has been lowered for even more leech-like grip and controllability, and the boot lid contains a subtle integrated spoiler.
Carbon-fibre composite is used for load-bearing and weight-saving panels on the CSL bodywork and the aluminium bonnet is substantially lighter than a conventional steel item but doesn't compromise crash performance.
The load-bearing structure supporting the symmetrically split though-loading system behind the rear seats is made of endless glassfibre thermoplastics, an innovative material borrowed from the aerospace industry.
The M3 CSL's front air dam and rear diffuser is painted carbon fibre with some areas left unpainted to reveal the presence of the composite, while the doors and side sills and centre dash console are also carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. The cylinder head covers are also crafted form carbon-fibre.
The front sports bucket seats are made from glass-fibre reinforced plastics for increased lightness and strength and even more secure occupant support at high speed, while thinner rear glass saves vital grams as does a honeycomb sandwich plate used for the rear floor area in the luggage bay.
The specially developed 19-inch light alloy wheels include a new design of sports tyres and 18-inch brakes are used for optimum stopping power.
The M3 CSL will be offered only with Steel Grey or Black Sapphire paint trim and final pricing is to be released closer to the arrival date. Stay tuned to Gizmo.com.au for updates.