The 2023 BMW M4 CSL is 240 pounds lighter and packs 543 horsepower


The 2023 BMW M4 CSL is 240 pounds lighter and packs 543 horsepower

  • The M4 CSL’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six produces 543 hp, about 40 hp more than the M4 Competition, and the car is also 240 pounds lighter than its counterpart.
  • Handling is more trackday-focused thanks to a lower stance, stock high-performance tires and carbon brakes, and a more aggressive suspension tune.
  • This special edition M4 CSL is limited to 1000 units worldwide and is priced at US$140,895.

    BMW’s new 2023 M4 CSL is a focused trackday special edition optimized for those willing to sacrifice some of the driver’s everyday practicality for vastly improved performance. CSL stands for Competition Sports Lightweight and the specifications show that this is more than just a marketing term. They also show that this car will almost certainly be a brute that won’t please everyone.

    It’s powered by the same 3.0-liter inline-six twin-turbo that powers the M4 Competition, but the CSL’s maximum turbo boost has been raised from 24.7 psi to 30.5 psi, a 24 percent increase. The dual-circuit cooling system has been upgraded to cope not only with the extra power but also with the rigors of track use. The result is 543 hp, around 40 hp more than the Competition, with the same power peak of 6250 rpm. Peak torque also remains unchanged at 479 pound-feet, meaning the eight-speed automatic transmission and competition drivetrain can be used as before, right down to the automatic’s internal gear ratios and final drive ratio in the M Sport differential. However, the shift points have been optimized for performance and the engine and transmission mounts have been significantly stiffened. Power delivery should have far less sag and windup, but an increase in cab vibration is almost certainly a side effect.

    The effects of this extra performance are amplified by a massive 240-pound weight reduction. Each of the M4 Competition’s horsepower has 7.7 pounds to move, but the CSL’s extra power and lighter weight bring that down significantly to 6.7 pounds per pony. BMW claims it will get to 60mph in 3.6 seconds, compared to the competition’s claimed 3.8 seconds, but we think it’ll do better.

    The CSL is a two-seater that sheds its rear seat and seat belts to save 46 pounds straight from the top. Additionally, the one-piece carbon front shells save 53 pounds, but you can choose to add 32 pounds to the rear when you order adjustable carbon seats. Another 33 pounds of savings comes from using lightweight soundproofing – and possibly less of it – in certain areas. More carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used inside and out, including for the center console, which saves 9 kilos. At the rear of the exhaust, there is a further 9 pound saving from the use of a titanium muffler tuned to be “full of in-cabin perception where it provides accurate and clear audible feedback to the driver in response to accelerator pedal movements conveys the engine’s performance characteristics.” Which is a roundabout way of saying it’s louder.

    The CSL comes standard with the high-performance 275/35ZR-19 front and 285/30ZR-20 rear tire combo, which is optional on the Competition, but the wheels are mounted on CSL-exclusive forged alloys with slim spokes that save more weight. Carbon-ceramic brakes, optional on other M4s, are standard here, and the wheels, brakes and certain lightweight suspension components add up to another 46 pounds saved, much of that being unsprung weight.

    The suspension sits about 0.3 inches lower than the competition and has been recalibrated with CSL-optimized springs, adaptive damper valving and software, and modified anti-roll bar tuning. Also notable is the use of additional monoball joints in certain rear axle control arms instead of rubber bushings in the interest of more precision on the race track. This final tidbit reminds us of similar chassis changes made to the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS, which delivered superb handling as well as questionable livability as a result.

    All signs point to a much more capable and raw BMW M4 that will indeed be a more powerful weapon for track day. There’s a single-minded approach at work here that should definitely appeal to those looking to get their M4 on the track. How many BMW fans are looking for what the M4 CSL has to offer? We’ll see once we know how long it takes for the 1000 units, priced at $140,895, to sell out.

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