BMW M3 CSL

Henry Catchpole
1 Sep 2009

Few rhd CSLs were imported into the UK, but don't dismiss one if it comes up at the right price

Just 422 right-hand-drive CSLs were brought into the UK, of which 316 were silver-grey and 106 black. Most people want the silver cars because they show off the carbonfibre roof better and are more obviously CSLs.

This is a 2003 car with a low mileage and it looks in fine fettle. It was a bit dirty when we saw it, but the paintwork and carbon addenda all looked unmarked. The wheels were spangly and blemish-free and overall it had the air of a car that had been treasured by its previous two owners. Inside, the only sign of wear was on the steering wheel, where the Alcantara had just bobbled slightly, giving the look of your grandfather’s favourite pair of slippers. The gorgeous Alcantara bucket seats, however, looked like new; apparently they generally survive much better than leather seats of the same age. All of the carbonfibre panels on the doors and centre console looked factory-fresh too.

There were very few options on a new CSL but this car has nearly the full complement with CD player, climate, parking sensors and xenons. It also has the must-have 19in wheels but, as with most examples, the original-spec Michelin Pilot Sport Cups have been changed for more conventionally treaded rubber, which is both more wet weather-friendly and actually more exploitable and enjoyable.

All 355bhp feels (and sounds!) present and correct and the SMG gearbox snaps through up- and down-shifts crisply. The ride is firm but it hasn’t shaken anything loose, everything from steering wheel to hub feeling taut and talkative. I doubt many of the 422 will feel better.       

With thanks to vendor: Nick Johnson Motor Co, Oxon (www.nickjohnsonmotorco.co.uk 01235 553038)

Extra Info

• Exterior
Needed a clean but in very good condition
• Interior
Switchgear all feels solid; carbon bright; Alcantara only bobbling on steering wheel
• Mechanicals
Low mileage, and it feels fresh and crisp
• Should I buy it?
CSLs have started going back up in price so popping one in your collection now would seem like an excellent idea
FOR:
Good example of the ultimate, most desirable M3
AGAINST: It’s still £20K more than a standard M3

Specifications

Price £31,995
Year 2003
Mileage 21,230
Engine In-line 6-cyl, 3246cc
Max power 355bhp @ 7900rpm
Max torque 273lb ft @ 4900pm
0-60mph 4.8sec (claimed)
Top speed 155mph (limited) (claimed)

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