Spied: BMW M4 CSL

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While BMW regularly adds suffixes to its M cars (Competition, DTM, CS and GTS) these days, it has only applied the CSL badge to its models twice – on the 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” and the ultimate version of the E46 M3. These spy images, however, suggest the Bavarian marque is planning a very special version of the new M4. 

Image credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien 

Whereas the iconic 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” from the Seventies was a homologation special (BMW built a limited number of units in order to campaign racing versions of the car in motorsport competition), the E46-generation M3 CSL (Coupe Sport Leichtbau, which translates to Coupe Sport Lightweight) was the final version of the 3d-generation of BMW’s sportscar and, as its name suggested, it was a reasonably stripped-back version of the car meant to satisfy hardcore driving enthusiasts.

Produced in 2004 (just 1 383 were built, of which but a handful were sold in South Africa), the M3 CSL was laced with carbon-fibre, fibreglass elements, thinner rear glass and even pressed wood to reduce the coupe’s kerb weight by 110 kg. Apart from aerodynamic addenda, the CSL had stiffer springs, a mildly uprated 3.2-litre straight-6 engine mated with a (now controversial) SMG transmission, retuned electronic stability control software and it was shod with semi-slick Michelin tyres.

Although BMW hasn’t introduced a CSL version of the (now) M4 yet, it did produce a plethora of special examples of the previous generation (F82) model, although most of them saw the light towards the end of the car’s production run… By contrast, the new M4 (G82), which recently arrived in South Africa, is still showroom fresh – surely the M Division can’t be working on special versions, let alone a CSL version, yet?  

Read: New M3: Why did BMW ‘mess with Coke’?

Ordinarily, no, it wouldn’t. However, BMW’s M Division will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year (2022) and should roll out some special machinery to mark the occasion. Martin Schleypen, a spokesperson for BMW M, was recently quoted as saying: “Maybe there will be one or the other birthday present we will give to you or ourselves (next year).” What’s more, according to BMW BLOG, Markus Flasch – the CEO of the BMW M Division – has hinted at the revival of the CSL moniker…

BMW M4 CSL speculation

Now, to lend weight to rumours that a BMW M4 CSL will be launched in 2022 (BMW BLOG doesn’t believe the M Division will produce more than a couple of hundred units, if production does indeed go ahead), our spy photographers have snapped a pair of disguised M4 prototypes that appear to be adorned with a number of altered aerodynamic addenda – we can only speculate about the cars’ powerplants, but they are likely to produce more than the M4 Competition’s 375 kW and 650 Nm of torque.

Read: 5 of the Best BMW M Engines Ever Made

As was the case with the BMW M3 CSL, the prototypes appear to have bespoke features that the standard M4 doesn’t… A notably higher rear spoiler adorns the boot lid and there’s a reshaped lower-profile splitter (with winglets) at the front.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Flasch was seen driving an apparent Frozen Edition example of the new M4, but that we don’t believe that these prototypes are merely early examples of a “special trim line”. Watch this space!

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