For many enthusiasts, the M3 CSL E46 is still one of the finest performance cars ever made by BMW. In a presentation for the car, the Bavarian company says “lightweight construction was not just an advertising promise with the M3 CSL: it is deeply rooted in the DNA of this unique sports car” and we can’t agree more.
It has a curb weight of just 1,385 kilograms (3,053 pounds), which makes it about 110 kg (242 lbs) lighter than a regular M3 Coupe from the same generation. But, of course, that’s not everything.
Under the bonnet of this hardcore M3 is the proven S54B32HP inline-six engine, which is basically the performance version of the already quite capable S54B32. This derivative of the engine has modified camshafts and valves, and generates 17 bhp more compared to the standard unit. But how much power is still left in an M3 CSL?
Gallery: 2003 BMW M3 CSL
There’s only one way to find out - a dyno. A new video from the UK's Evolve Automotive channel on YouTube shows us a black M3 CSL in good condition hitting the dyno for a power check. It is the same channel that also filmed a rare Z3 M on the dyno recently with the two vehicles sharing a very similar engine. The Z3 M, however, uses the non-performance version of the 3.2-litre mill.
So, let’s get straight to the numbers. This M3 CSL is stock and generates 360.7 bhp (254.3 kW) on the flywheel, as well as 269.5 lb-ft (365.4 Nm) of twist measured at the crank. These numbers are very close to what BMW lists for this car and the host of the video explains the torque curve looks very healthy with a peak right at the end of the rev range.
Of course, the M3 Coupe Sport Leichtbau is much more than just a slightly more powerful engine. It has numerous other modifications, which turn it into a very potent track machine. And with production limited to just 1,383 cars, it is a very desirable vehicle on the second-hand market these days.