The famed CSL badge is returning to the BMW M-car lineup, replacing the current top-tier GTS.
BMW Australia confirmed to TMR that comments made by M Division Head Frank van Meel last month in regard to CSL replacing GTS models were true.
Speaking with BMW Australia product communications manager Adam Davis, TMR understand the CSL badge is returning and will be reserved for only the hottest M cars.
“CSL is the most important nameplate in BMW’s performance and motorsport history, and BMW Australia is excited to see its return. Both the original E9 CSL as well as the E46 CSL are cult heroes and vital parts of BMW’s sporting heritage,” said Davis.
Specifically, TMR has also been told the BMW M model hierarchy moving forwards will change to the following order:
BMW M Competition
BMW M CS
BMW M CSL
The new lineup follow the recent launch of the BMW M4 CS, which is the first CS model to join the current M lineup. The news of the CSL badge returning strengthens rumours that BMW is working on an M2 CSL model. However, Davis could not comment about future products but would say that not all M cars get the CSL badge.
“At this stage, there are no specific models to discuss, but we understand the hierarchy will not be used for each M series. For example, we won’t see X5 M CSL,” Davis said.
The CSL badge, which stands for Coupe Sport Lightweight, was last used on the Australian delivered 2003 E46 M3 CSL and before that the E9 CSL. The return of the CSL badge is therefore significant and its use will no doubt be reserved for only the hottest track-focused versions of M coupes, such as the M2, M4 and perhaps the upcoming M8.
Further fuelling speculation of what cars might adorn the CSL badge is that BMW only trademarked the badge for the M2, M4 and M8 internationally, hinting at what we can expect to come.
When the first CSL is announced, we can expect something similar to the $295,000 M4 GTS which came to Australia in limited numbers last year. Compared to a normal M4 model, the track-ready GTS was equipped with a high-powered water injected version of its 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine producing 368kW/600Nm, ceramic disc brakes, adjustable coil-over suspension, roll cage, racing harness and carbon fibre bonnet among other parts.
Where the M4 GTS offered performance over comfort, the recently available $211,610 (plus on-road costs) M4 CS is lighter and more powerful but doesn’t sacrifice a reasonably comfortable ride.
Although BMW won’t discuss future product availability, the German brand is kicking goals down under and it would be a surprise not to see CSL make it locally after the upcoming BMW M5 and M40i X3 get here.
BMW’s latest year-to-date September sales figures show sales up 4.7 per cent YTD and M’s growth in the premium segment has been boosted this year by an increase in supply for its number one selling M2.
Taking second spot is the BMW M140i which is expected to remain strong after receiving a price cut to $59,990 (plus on-road costs) with the introduction of the updated 1-Series LCI. The M3 sits in third although BMW expects the introduction of M3 and M4 Pure models to bolster sales before a new model arrives.
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