The new BMW M4 CSL

10 minute read.
  • Ultimate track-honed BMW M4 CSL enjoys 40hp power boost over the BMW M4 Competition Coupé to 550hp
  • Carbon-fibre roof, bonnet and boot lid lead meticulous weight-saving measures
  • Testing at Nürburgring’s Nordschleife 12.8 mile-track achieved a 7:15.677 lap time – best-ever figure for a BMW road car

As its 50th birthday celebrations gather pace, BMW M GmbH is unveiling a new BMW M4 CSL, fusing old-school racing passion with innovative technology to create the ultimate performance experience. Its character is defined by a power hike of 40hp over the current BMW M4 Competition Coupé to 550hp and a host of meticulous weight-saving measures.

With years of experience in working with carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for body, chassis and interior components, BMW M engineers have managed to restrict the special edition’s kerb weight to 1,625kg (in standard specification in the German market). As a result, the new BMW M4 CSL is 100kg lighter than the BMW M4 Competition Coupé (in standard specification in the German market), sprinting from 0 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds, and 124mph in just 10.7 seconds – 1.8 seconds quicker than the BMW M4 Competition Coupé. Top speed is an electronically limited 190mph. 

The new BMW M4 CSL has track driving as its raison d’être, its two-seater configuration and chassis set-up sharing the genes of its competition-spec sibling, the BMW M4 GT3. In tests on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit, it posted a lap time of 7:15.677 on the 12.8-mile track, with an official notarised time for the 12.943-mile circuit (the complete lap) of 7:20.207 – the best figures ever for a series-produced BMW car. Lap times aside, the new BMW M4 CSL allows drivers to enjoy an intense racing-car feeling on the road as well as on the track. 

Production will begin at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing in July 2022 and is strictly limited to 1,000 units globally, with only 100 models allocated to the UK, priced from £128,820 OTR.

Fundamental and detailed: intelligent lightweight design in the BMW M4 CSL 

Lightweight design has played a central role at BMW M GmbH from day one. In 1973 the BMW 3.0 CSL won the European Touring Car Championship at the first attempt. Today, the CSL designation stands for “Competition, Sport, Lightweight” and marks out high-performance models with particularly high output, rigorously reduced weight and a character honed purposefully for driving on the track. 

Conventional components for the exterior, interior, powertrain and chassis were replaced with lightweight model-specific alternatives. M Carbon full bucket seats reduced weight by 24kg, while 21kg was saved by removing the rear seats and belts. Chassis changes such as the use of lightweight M Carbon ceramic brakes and special light-alloy wheels, springs and struts saved 21kg. Switching to ultra-lightweight sound insulation saved around 15kg. The use of CFRP in the body deducts 11kg, a titanium rear silencer cuts more than 4kg, and a further 4kg was saved from the BMW kidney grille, rear lights, floor mats and climate control. 

Roof, bonnet and boot lid in carbon-fibre

The BMW M4 Competition Coupé already features a roof made from CFRP, cutting weight and lowering its centre of gravity, which in turn enhances agility. The body of the BMW M4 CSL also includes the use of carbon-fibre for the bonnet and boot lid. The CFRP bonnet is approximately 1.2kg lighter than the BMW M4 Competition Coupé’s aluminium item. Its carbon-fibre structure is revealed by two unpainted, red-outlined indents extending in line with the BMW kidney grille to the edge of the bonnet. Red accent lines also emphasise the two fins on the CFRP roof and the contours of the extended side sills. 

The Frozen Brooklyn Grey metallic exterior paint finish is exclusive to the BMW M4 CSL, with Alpine White and Sapphire Black also available. Classic “BMW Motorsport” emblems for the bonnet, boot lid and wheel centres are also available, recalling the 1973 originals.

Two very special seats 

The lightweight coupé only has seats for the driver and front passenger, but these are no ordinary seats. The M Carbon racing bucket seats were developed exclusively for the BMW M4 CSL with the focus firmly on track driving. Their carbon-fibre structure and deliberate lack of comfort features such as heating and lumbar adjustment allowed weight to be reduced by 24kg.

Their pronounced contours offer an extremely high level of lateral support and an integrated side airbag, while cut-outs enable the use of a six-point harness. The seats have a fixed backrest angle, while the seat height can only be adjusted in a workshop using a three-stage screw linkage. 

The forward/back adjustments can be made manually using a lever on the front edge of the seat. The head restraints can be disassembled for track use to avoid interfering with a helmet. 

Trimmed in black leather with red Alcantara inserts for the outer backrest surfaces and head restraints, contrast stitching in the colours of BMW M GmbH adorn both the seat bolsters and the seat belts. M Carbon bucket seats with enhanced comfort are available as an alternative option, and are still 9.6kg lighter than the seats in the BMW M4 Competition Coupé. 

These optional seats combine racing functionality and lightweight design with a higher level of comfort, with electrically operated adjustment, seat heating and an Easy-Entry function allowing easy access to the rear, where a stowage area behind the seats provides space for two helmets. Removing the rear seat cuts weight by around 21kg. 

Carbon-fibre centre console: reduced weight, unrestricted functionality 

The centre console of the new BMW M4 CSL is made entirely from CFRP, the material’s distinctive structure clearly visible around the gear selector and iDrive Controller. The use of carbon-fibre more than halves the weight of the centre console, a saving of around 4kg. The new special-edition model shares the BMW M4 Competition Coupé’s signature interior design, focused entirely on performance. 

M-specific displays, ergonomically optimised controls with red accents, the M-specific gear selector and the anthracite-coloured headliner create a racing aura even before the car has turned a wheel. Putting the finishing touches to the cockpit are the carbon-fibre interior trim strip and “CSL” badging below the head restraints, on the centre console and the rear panel. The M Alcantara steering wheel features a red 12 o’clock marker, carbon-fibre inlays on the three spokes and CFRP shift paddles.