A legend is reborn. As its 50th birthday celebrations gather steam, BMW M GmbH is unveiling a very special limited edition model. The new 2023 BMW M4 CSL fuses old-school racing passion with innovative technology to create an inimitable performance experience. Its standalone character profile is rooted in two core features: a power hike of 40 hp over the current BMW M4 Competition to 543 hp and a 240-pound reduction in weight.
The new BMW M4 CSL represents a highly concentrated showcase for the racing craft of BMW M GmbH and its expertise in powertrain and chassis development and lightweight design. For example, the company can call on many years of experience in working with carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) for body, chassis, and interior components. The M engineers have managed to restrict the CSL’s curb weight to 3,640 lbs. An outstanding power-to-weight ratio of 6.7 lbs/hp provides the ideal platform for a dynamically masterful driving experience. The new BMW M4 CSL can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, while the top speed is an electronically limited 191 mph.
With its next-level power, intelligent lightweight design, two-seater configuration, model-specific chassis upgrades and equipment features selected specifically for the job at hand, the new BMW M4 CSL has track driving as its raison d’être. Never before has the overall vehicle concept of a production model been so close to that of the related BMW M GmbH racer. The genes the new BMW M4 CSL shares with its competition-spec sibling, the BMW M4 GT3, are also reflected in its performance attributes. In test runs on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit, which represent the ultimate yardstick for brand-typical dynamics like agility and handling precision for all BMW M cars, the M4 CSL posted a lap time of 7:20.2, the fastest time ever for a series-production BMW.
The next chapter in an enthralling story begins in the anniversary year of BMW M
Lap times aside, the new BMW M4 CSL also offers the everyday usability for which high-performance sports cars from BMW M are celebrated. This means drivers can enjoy an intense racing-car feeling on the road as well as on the track. The M4 CSL follows in the tire tracks of illustrious special-edition models from earlier generations of the BMW M3 and M4. Like the legendary BMW M3 CSL of 2003 and the BMW M4 GTS released in 2016, the new special edition from BMW M GmbH delivers a driving experience as bewitching as it is exclusive.
Production of the new BMW M4 CSL will begin at Plant Dingolfing in July 2022 and will be limited to just 1,000 units globally.
Fundamental and detailed: intelligent lightweight design in the BMW M4 CSL
The key factors in the standout performance attributes of the new BMW M4 CSL can be found in its name. Lightweight design has played a central role at BMW M GmbH from day one. In 1973, the BMW 3.0 CSL developed by BMW Motorsport GmbH won the European Touring Car Championship in its first attempt – thanks in no small measure to a commitment to cutting the weight of its series-produced donor model. Today, the CSL designation stands for “Competition, Sport, Lightweight” and identifies high-performance models with very high power, rigorously reduced weight, and a track-focused character.
Intelligent lightweight design was a fundamental strategy in the development of the new BMW M4 CSL, one that was applied on a detailed level. A focus on the attributes considered essential for an elite sports car was accompanied by the selective use of materials, meaning all the performance and functionality the customer expects is present, but while adding significantly less weight.
For example, conventional components for the exterior and interior, powertrain and chassis were replaced with lightweight model-specific alternatives. Fitting M Carbon full bucket seats alone reduced weight by 53 lbs, while a further 46 lbs were saved by removing the rear seats and seat belts and integrating a partition between the cabin and luggage compartment. Chassis alterations, including the addition of standard lightweight M Carbon ceramic brakes and forged light-alloy wheels, springs and struts, reduced weight by another 46 lbs. Switching to ultra-lightweight sound insulation and reducing the amount used saved another 33 lbs. The use of CFRP components on the outside and inside of the M4 CSL saves an additional 24 lbs. A titanium rear silencer cuts more than 9 lbs from the weight of the exhaust system. Detail modifications shave another 8 lbs from areas including the BMW kidney grille, rear lights, floor mats and automatic climate control.
Roof, hood, and trunk of the new BMW M4 CSL lid in carbon fiber
The roof panel on the BMW M4 CSL, as on the M4 Competition, is made from CFRP. The use of this lightweight yet hugely robust high-tech material at the highest point of the body reduces the vehicle’s overall weight while lowering its center of gravity, which in turn enhances agility and cornering dynamics. Going several steps further, however, the BMW M4 CSL also utilizes carbon fiber for the hood and trunk lid.
The CFRP hood is approximately 3 lbs lighter than the BMW M4 Competition’s aluminum hood. Its carbon-fiber structure is clearly revealed by two sculpted channels extending in line with the BMW kidney grille elements to the edge of the hood as it approaches the windscreen. The edges of the unpainted channels are bordered in red. Red accent lines also bring extra visual emphasis to the “double bubble” CFRP roof of the new BMW M4 CSL and the contours of its extended side sills.
The red accents and exposed carbon-fiber stand in dynamic contrast with the optional Frozen Brooklyn Grey metallic exterior paint finish to create a high-impact visual statement. Alternatively, customers can also specify their new BMW M4 CSL in standard Alpine White or Black Sapphire metallic. Standard BMW M 50 Years emblems for the hood, trunk lid and wheel center caps mark the 50th anniversary of BMW M GmbH. Their design recalls the blue/violet/red logo first seen on the BMW Motorsport GmbH racing cars in 1973.
The CFRP trunk lid of the BMW M4 CSL weighs 15 lbs less than the one used on the BMW M4 Competition
CFRP is also used for the splitter fitted to the lower edge of the front apron to generate additional downforce, and the inserts in the air curtains at its outer edges. The splitter features bold red accents and “CSL” lettering. The model-specific, weight-minimized BMW kidney grille has a more minimalist design than on the standard M4, with fewer slats and wide spaces between them optimizing airflow to the radiators. The unique grille features red contour lines and “M4 CSL” badging. The central air inlet of the new BMW M4 CSL is subdivided by just two horizontal kidney grille bars in addition to the bumper element.
The CFRP trunk lid of the BMW M4 CSL weighs 15 lbs less than the one used on the BMW M4 Competition. The trunk lid also sports a prominent integral spoiler. This dramatic aero element echoes a similar design feature of the 2003 BMW M3 CSL and generates significant rear-axle downforce in dynamic driving situations. The diffuser integrated into the rear apron of the new BMW M4 CSL and the exterior mirror caps are also made from CFRP.
BMW Laserlight: yellow daytime running lights, innovative rear lights fitted as standard
The BMW Laserlight headlights bring a touch of the racetrack to the front of the new BMW M4 CSL. Both in the welcome sequence triggered when unlocking the doors and when the low and high beam headlights are switched on, the angular daytime running lights illuminate in yellow rather than white, evoking the look of GT racing cars.
The rear lights of the new BMW M4 CSL feature innovative technology making its debut in a series-produced car. While all the light functions use LEDs, the glass covers have intricate light threads woven into them which are illuminated using laser technology, bringing a vibrant structure to the surface of the rear lights and creating a distinctive light signature recognizable from a long distance after dark. The arrangement of the three threads, which run parallel to one another across the inner section of the light units and overlap each other in the outer area, creates a visually stunning interpretation of the hallmark BMW L-shaped rear light contour. Additionally, the illuminated “BMW Laser” lettering on the light covers hints at the innovative light technology below the surface.
The model badges on the rear, front side panels and BMW kidney grille also have a new design. With their black surfaces and red outline, they signal the CSL’s sporting mission with visually understated style.
The ideal combination of dynamics and lightweight design: strut braces in the engine compartment, titanium rear silencer.
The BMW M4 CSL specific exhaust system comes with electronically controlled flaps
In the engine compartment, the front-end strut brace developed specifically for the M4 CSL takes the body rigidity to another level. This cast aluminum element connects the spring strut towers to each other and to the front end. The geometry of the strut brace has been adapted precisely to the forces exerted in different driving situations, thus optimizing agility and steering precision while minimizing material and, therefore, weight.
The exhaust system of the new BMW M4 CSL has a rear silencer made from titanium and is nearly 10 lbs lighter than a conventional steel equivalent. The signature M quad tailpipes are finished in matt black trim with a stripe-patterned perforation on their inner surface. The CSL specific exhaust system comes with electronically controlled flaps, and, in the hallmark style of the high performance models from BMW M GmbH, its visceral soundtrack creates an intense motorsport aura both outside and inside the vehicle.
Model-specific light-alloy wheels and M Carbon ceramic brakes as standard
The forged M light-alloy wheels in cross-spoke design have been designed exclusively for the new BMW M4 CSL. Minimized weight and a distinctive appearance are the standout characteristics of the 19-inch front and 20-inch rear matte black wheels. The precise arrangement of the super-slim spokes gives the wheels exceptional rigidity. Their weight-optimized design also helps to reduce unsprung mass, further enhancing the agile driving characteristics of the CSL.
M Carbon ceramic brakes are standard equipment on the new M4 CSL and are 31.5 lbs lighter than the M Compound brakes. Their red-painted calipers clamp down hard on 15.7-inch front and 15-inch rear discs. The significantly reduced unsprung mass of the M Carbon ceramic brakes further sharpens the CSL’s agility and dynamic performance.
The M Carbon full bucket seats were developed exclusively for the BMW M4 CSL
The interior of the new BMW M4 CSL is an environment laser-focused on extracting maximum performance and creating an emotionally engaging driving experience. The lightweight coupe only has seats for the driver and one passenger – but these are no ordinary seats. The M Carbon full bucket seats were developed exclusively for the BMW M4 CSL with the focus on the demands of track driving. Their carbon fiber structure and lack of comfort features such as heating, lumbar support, and power adjustment reduce weight by 53 lbs compared with the standard seats fitted in the BMW M4 Competition.
With their pronounced bolsters, the M Carbon full bucket seats offer an extremely high level of lateral support through corners. The backrest angle is fixed, and the seat height can only be adjusted in a workshop using a three-stage screw linkage. Fore and aft adjustments are made manually using a lever on the front edge of the seat. The head restraints can be disassembled for track use when the driver and passenger are wearing helmets.
The seating surfaces and backrests of the M Carbon full bucket seats are trimmed in black Merino leather. The outer surfaces of the backrests and head restraints have red Alcantara inserts. Contrast stitching in the colors of BMW M GmbH adorn both the seat bolsters and the seat belts.
Heated M Carbon bucket seats with full power adjustment are available as a no-cost option for the new BMW M4 CSL. These seats are 21 lbs lighter than the standard seats in the BMW M4 Competition and combine track functionality and lightweight design with a much higher level of comfort and adjustability over long journeys.
The stowage area behind the seats for the driver and co-driver provides space for two helmet storage compartments. Removing the rear seat bench cuts weight by around 46 pounds.
Carbon-fiber center console: reduced weight, unrestricted functionality
The center console structure of the new BMW M4 CSL is made entirely from CFRP. The material’s distinctive structure is clearly recognizable in the surfaces of the control panel around the gear selector, the iDrive Controller and the buttons for activating various vehicle settings and functions. The use of carbon fiber more than halves the weight of the center console, saving about 9 lbs. At the same time, it offers a familiar range of functionality, with features including an armrest with leather surface and wireless charging tray for compatible mobile phones.
Putting the finishing touches to the Motorsport ambience of the new BMW M4 CSL are the standard Carbon Fiber interior trim and “CSL” badging below the headrests, on the center console, and on the rear panel. The first touch of the M Alcantara steering wheel, another standard feature of the new BMW M4 CSL, fuels the appetite for dynamic driving. The grippy surface of the steering wheel rim, a red center marker in the 12 o’clock position, carbon-fiber inlays on the three spokes and CFRP shift paddles create a genuine track-car feel in terms of both visuals and functionality.
Powertrain. Modified six-cylinder inline engine, eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and rear-wheel drive for the ultimate performance experience.
BMW M4 CSL achieves an even bigger gain in dynamic capability
Motorsport DNA, high-revving characteristics, and latest-generation M Twin Power Turbo technology make the inline 6-cylinder power unit from the BMW M4 Competition the perfect starting point for the high-performance engine in the most powerful road-legal M4 variant ever made. Detail modifications for the new BMW M4 CSL produce a maximum output of 543 hp at 6,250 rpm – an increase of 40 hp over the BMW M4 Competition. Peak torque of 479 lb-ft is on tap from just 2,750 rpm and sustained all the way up to 5,950 rpm. As a result, the unmistakable performance attributes of BMW M models – near instantaneous response to every movement of the accelerator, a voracious appetite for revs, and relentless power delivery well into the upper regions of the rev range – are present in even more heightened form. New and updated engine mounts and rigorous application of lightweight design principles ensure the new BMW M4 CSL achieves an even bigger gain in dynamic capability than this extra dose of power would suggest.
A design principle focused on extracting maximum power
The design principle for the straight-six engine has been adapted from motorsport technology and is focused on high revs and maximum power delivery. The crankcase’s sleeve-free, closed-deck construction helps to make it extremely rigid, thus allowing very high combustion pressures that optimize power output. The engine’s free-revving performance is aided by a twin-wire-arc-sprayed iron coating for the cylinder bores. The forged lightweight crankshaft enables the engine’s high-revving ability, while its torsional resistance enables it to handle extremely high levels of torque.
The M-specific components also include a cylinder head with 3Dprinted core. This additive manufacturing process enables geometric forms to be created that are beyond the capability of conventional metal casting techniques. As a result, the coolant duct routing could be optimized while also reducing its weight.
Two mono-scroll turbochargers supply compressed air to cylinders 1-3 and 4-6 respectively. The turbocharger’s power output is further enhanced by the use of an indirect intercooler supplied by a lowtemperature circuit and specially designed compressors. Boost pressure has been increased from 24.7 psi in the M4 Competition to 30.5 psi in the CSL. Engine management has been modified accordingly to guarantee the constant power delivery up to the top end of the rev range that has come to be expected of BMW M.
Operating at a maximum pressure of over 5,000 psi, the High Precision Injection system ensures efficient mixture preparation and clean combustion. VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-VANOS fully variable camshaft timing likewise form part of the M Twin Power Turbo technology.
Exhaust system with titanium rear silencer and distinctive soundtrack, inside and out
The optimized routing of the dual-branch exhaust system’s pipes and their large cross sections serve to reduce backpressure. The system’s two electrically controlled flaps and bespoke titanium rear silencer additionally enable it to produce a distinctive engine note created especially for the new BMW M4 CSL.
As a result, the engine’s electrifying build-up of power is backed by some dramatic and extremely resonant aural accompaniment that draws its inspiration from motorsport. Thanks to the reduced use of insulating materials, which also minimizes weight, and the titanium rear silencer’s specific resonance properties, the drive unit’s deeply sonorous soundtrack, with its dominant low frequencies, can be fully appreciated inside the cabin where it provides the driver with accurate acoustic feedback in response to movements of the accelerator and clearly conveys the engine’s performance characteristics. Gear changes are accompanied by precisely defined change in the engine note, while distinctive, low-frequency sound sequences can be heard on the overrun. The M Sound Control button on the center console lets the driver switch to a more restrained soundtrack when desired.
The cooling system on-board the new BMW M4 CSL comprises a hightemperature and a low-temperature circuit. The indirect intercooler works using an electric coolant pump in the low-temperature system. The main module in the high-temperature circuit and two remote coolers in the wheel arches supply coolant to the engine block and turbochargers with the help of a mechanical water pump. An electric water pump and an electric fan can also engage when required. The large openings in the front apron additionally channel the oncoming air to a dedicated engine oil cooler as well as a transmission oil cooler. This serves to maintain optimum operating temperatures for all powertrain components at all times, both in everyday use and during high-speed outings on the track.
The engine’s weight-minimized oil sump has two separate chambers and an integrated suction channel. An additional suction stage allows the map-controlled oil pump to draw lubricant from the smaller chamber, which steps in when extra capacity is needed. This ensures a reliable supply of oil at all times, even under extreme lateral and longitudinal acceleration.
Uniquely crafted engine and transmission mounts for instantaneous response
Model-specific mounts for the powertrain ensure the increased engine power of the new BMW M4 CSL is transferred to the road via the rear wheels quickly and directly. The firmer connection of engine and transmission to the car’s structure is clearly perceptible, especially in extremely dynamic driving situations.
Stiffer engine mounts with equal settings on both sides of the vehicle produces an exhilarating sense of precision when driving the new BMW M4 CSL. For this purpose, the mounts’ spring rates – which are set at 580 N/mm on the left side and 900 N/mm on the right in the BMW M4 Competition – were both increased to 1,000 N/mm. The transmission mounts in the CSL have also been modified and feature a mount that is 12 percent stiffer.
Power channeled to the rear wheels via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic
The torque produced by the S58 engine is sent to the rear wheels of the new BMW M4 CSL via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. The M-specific version of this automatic transmission features ratios precisely attuned to the engine’s characteristics and an extremely sharp shift action matched to the engine’s performance. This enables gear changes to be performed even faster than in the M4 Competition. Each gear change is clearly communicated to the driver, even when the transmission is operating in automatic mode. Manual shifts with sequential gear selection can be performed using either the selector lever or the carbon-fiber shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The exceptionally powerful inline 6-cylinder engine in the new BMW M4 CSL
Nudging either paddle allows the driver to temporarily switch from automated to manual mode in an instant. It is also possible to execute multiple downshifts to the lowest available gear in manual mode for an immediate burst of acceleration from a steady speed. The driver simply pulls on the left shift paddle while pressing the accelerator to the floor. M Steptronic does not force upshifts under acceleration in manual mode – even at the rev limiter. When driving in automatic mode, adjustment of engine speed on downshifts aids dynamic braking into corners. Blipping the throttle in this way reduces the undesirable engine braking effect when the car is being pushed hard. The driver can use the Drivelogic button integrated into the selector lever to alter the shift characteristics with a choice of three clearly distinguishable modes, including a special track-optimized setting.
The exceptionally powerful inline 6-cylinder engine in the new BMW M4 CSL works together with the gearbox, the powertrain’s extremely rigid mounting, and rear-wheel drive to deliver an emotionally inspiring and rewarding performance experience laced with thrilling acceleration. The special-edition model takes just 3.6 seconds to reach the 60 mph mark from rest and can sprint to 120 mph from a standing start in just 10.5 seconds.
The chassis. Signature M precision at its finest
Like the engine in the new BMW M4 CSL, its chassis technology benefits from a wealth of detail upgrades tailored to the engine’s performance characteristics. The modifications also factor in the substantial reduction in vehicle weight and the modelspecific improvements to body rigidity, allowing the blend of agility, athleticism, and precision for which BMW M cars are celebrated to be taken to new heights. The focus is clearly on forming a close connection between driver and vehicle that translates into a sublimely accomplished performance experience. The tailored chassis technology expands the car’s dynamic limits while ensuring precisely controllable handling characteristics thanks primarily to the linear build-up of lateral acceleration forces characteristic of M models.
Providing the ideal basis for the new BMW M4 CSL’s chassis technology is the combination of a double-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle, both in M specification. This design principle was developed specifically for the high-performance sports cars in this model range. Also standard is the Adaptive M Suspension with electronically controlled dampers, electromechanical M Servotronic steering with variable ratio and an Mspecific version of the integrated braking system.
The individually tuned axle kinematics and model-specific wheel camber settings, dampers, auxiliary springs, and anti-roll bars optimize steering precision, transmission of lateral control forces when cornering, spring and damping response, and wheel location. These detail modifications and the integrated application of all powertrain and chassis systems in intensive testing on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit have helped maximize the dynamic performance of the new BMW M4 CSL, while also enabling fingertip control in committed track driving.
A lowered ride height, auxiliary springs, and unique dampers characterise the new BMW M4 CSL
The model-specific suspension is accompanied by a drop in ride height of 0.3-inches compared with the BMW M4 Competition. This lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity, further enhancing the agility and cornering dynamics of the new BMW M4 CSL. Auxiliary springs are also fitted at both the front and the rear axle and improve road contact in highly dynamic driving situations. The anti-roll bars at both axles and their mountings have likewise been specially engineered for this model.
The front axle’s forged swivel bearing has more camber, greatly increasing the car’s ability to put down power through high-speed corners. On the rear axle, four additional ball joints with zero play replace the rubber mounts for the control arms on both the axle subframe and wheel carrier sides, thereby lowering the secondary spring rates. This has the effect of optimizing not just wheel location and camber stiffness, but also damper response. The rear-axle subframe has a rigid connection to the body without any flexible rubber elements. Typically used in competition cars, this type of mounting further improves wheel location and directional stability.
The damping forces are smoothly adjusted for each individual wheel to suit the changing road surface conditions and driving situation. This all happens in the space of a few milliseconds using electromagnetic valves. There is a choice of three modes in the M Setup menu for the basic damper setting. The setup in SPORT mode was fine-tuned during exhaustive testing at the Nordschleife. Damper force control in SPORT PLUS mode is designed for pushing the car to the limit on perfectly surfaced road courses, while COMFORT mode is ideal for smoothing out road imperfections in everyday driving.
Standard M Carbon ceramic brakes and individually adjustable pedal feel
The standard M Carbon ceramic brakes on the new BMW M4 CSL work in unison with the integrated braking system to provide immense yet precisely controllable stopping power. Six-piston, fixedcaliper brakes at the front and single-piston, floatingcaliper at the rear endow the CSL with remarkable braking abilities while ensuring enhanced fade resistance and thermal stability. The integrated braking system generates a degree of braking power adjusted precisely to the driver’s inputs, while also providing feedback that is unimpaired by wet road surfaces, strong lateral acceleration, or high brake temperatures. The result is superb pedal feel in all situations. The M-specific version of the integrated braking system presents the driver with two pedal feel settings that can be selected from the M Setup menu. This innovative system brings together the brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions within a compact module, while an electric actuator is used to trigger the required brake pressure.
M Traction Control honed for the track
The inclusion of the integrated braking system enables the DSC [Dynamic Stability Control) system to intervene more swiftly and precisely than ever. Traction control duties have also been relocated from the DSC control unit to the engine management, allowing the engine’s power to be adjusted with exceptional precision when accelerating on slippery surfaces. In addition, the new BMW M4 CSL lets the driver set individual intervention thresholds for wheel slip limitation. The standard M Traction Control function offers a choice of ten different stages for this, and there is also the option of fully deactivating the DSC system by engaging M Dynamic Mode.
The M Traction Control function in the new BMW M4 CSL has been specially configured for track use. Traction control in stages 1 to 5 is regulated in the same way as in the BMW M4 Competition, with stage 5 allowing the least slip at the driven wheels and stage 1 the most. By striking the balance they desire between track performance and handling stability on dry roads, drivers can carefully explore the car’s dynamic limits and execute controlled drifts when cornering at speed.
The new BMW M4 CSL rides on forged M light-alloy wheels
M Traction Control stages 6 to 10, on the other hand, have been devised for the specific conditions encountered on the track. They are based on the application developed for touring car racers and make allowance for both track surface conditions and tire temperature. Instead of merely facilitating controlled drifts, these stages are geared towards optimizing traction under any circumstances and therefore delivering quick lap times. The intervention thresholds for traction control are therefore set extremely high in stages 6 and 7, which are designed for driving on a dry track with the tires at optimum temperature. If the tires are cold or too hot, however, or the track is damp or wet, drivers can engage stages 8 to 10, which gradually lower the intervention thresholds with the goal of maximizing the performance capabilities of the new BMW M4 CSL even in very challenging driving conditions.
Exclusive M light-alloy wheels and model-specific high-performance tires
The new BMW M4 CSL rides on forged M light-alloy wheels sporting on exclusive cross-spoke design. These lightweight wheels are fitted with ultra-high performance Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires measuring 275/35 ZR19 at the front and 285/30 ZR20 at the rear which were developed specifically for the CSL. The tires are designed for extremely dynamic longitudinal and lateral performance on the track and enable highly effective transmission of both acceleration forces and lateral control forces when cornering.
The new BMW M4 CSL may also be ordered with the traditional high performance tires from the M4 Competition in the same sizes, at no cost. These tires enable highly dynamic driving while enhancing comfort in everyday use and on long journeys.