Slightly more power and a lot less weight
The BMW E46 M3 CSL features extensive amounts of lightweight material, including some of the M3’s body panels being swapped out for carbon-fiber equivalents. kg). The glorious S54B30, 3.2-liter, inline-six engine has been massaged to extract 360 horsepower (265 kilowatts) and 273 pound-feet (370 Nm) versus the standard model’s 343 horsepower (256 kilowatts) and 269 pound-feet (365 Nm ).
The result is a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.7 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds quicker than the normal BMW M3 E46. Regardless of the version, the E46 M3, supposedly, has a speed governor, which limits the top speed to 155 mph (250 km/h). This is the German equivalent of the Japanese Gentlemen’s agreement, which limited power output to “280 horsepower”. We all know how true that was, and as you will see in the video, it’s not any different with the “155 mph” speed limiter, at least in this case.
An almost perfect package
The BMW M3 E46 has it all – a balanced chassis, an exciting engine, and even enough practicality to be used as a daily driver. The CSL version, however, had one big problem and that was the lack of a manual transmission. The E46 came out around the same time paddle-shift transmissions were becoming popular. Unfortunately, those were not the refined automatic transmissions we see in most modern cars but robotized manual transmissions, which in most cases, had terrible programming.
The SMG transmission in the M3 CSL was just that. Still, as the video shows, the faster you drive it, the better it gets, and it only shows its clumsiness at low speeds. As for the acceleration and speed of the M3 CSL, you’ll be even more impressed by them.