To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its high-performance division M, the German manufacturer will offer this year an impressive line-up of supercharged and M-branded models, both in electric and gasoline. One of the star vehicles of the M team this year is undoubtedly the new 2023 BMW M4 CSL, a track car made legal for the road and which has almost no equal in the market.
I placed the 2022 BMW M4 Competition at the top of my favorite vehicles of the year. This ultra-sharp sports coupe seduced me because of its design, its colorful interior but, above all, its high degree of performance. It had proved to be a real timepiece that was driven with your fingertips.
The 2023 BMW M4 CSL is a car designed on the same premises as the M4 Competition, but which pushes its skills to the maximum point of making it an extreme vehicle, capable of showing up on a circuit and leaving in its wake several advanced cars. The basic philosophy adopted by this M4 CSL is an important operation of lightness, hence its acronym CSL (Competition, Sport, Lightweight). Few models have benefited from this name at BMW, and, despite a busy schedule, it was difficult not to accept to test it on the track, any amateur would sell his mother – not mine – for such an experience.
110 kilos less at weigh-in
The engineers did not go there with a dead hand. Everything goes when you want to subtract every gram from this 2023 BMW M4 CSL; And the result is a weight loss cure of 110 kilos (240 pounds) that proves to be a feat in terms of automobile. To do this, the M4 CSL leaves aside its rear seat, while the front seats benefit from a shell made entirely of carbon fiber. The cushion can even be detached from the head restraint to allow helmet driving. The M Division engineers also sacrificed insulation, replacing the exhaust with a lighter titanium model, adding ceramic brakes and lighter suspension components. In short, even Weight Wachter could not do the same.
After testing a few M models to get our hands dirty, we still got through nearly three years of COVID; it was now time to slip aboard this M4 CSL. Right from the start, I was advised that the car was not convenient on the wet track of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The instructor on my right, none other than NASCAR driver Jean-François Dumoulin, who was watching over the grain to make sure the car was returned in good condition, quickly informed me that the car had tried to skin him many times since the morning. The table was set.
Once on board, I discover seats made of a single carbon fiber mold; The settings are quite small, but it feels anchored as in a real race car. Their ultra aggressive hold increases the feeling of control, it’s just harder to get into the car with a liter of milk in your hand. I am told that I can start, small sign of the cross and I leave the line of wells. I hear all the road noises and the engine screaming as the revs climb, the car is definitely devoid of everything that makes a ride comfortable. A multisensory experience is what is missing in an electric vehicle.
543 horses of madness
You should know that the 2023 BMW M4 CSL is not only a matter of lightness, it is also more powerful. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo in-line 6-cylinder engine becomes the ultimate M variant of this mechanical; It benefits from an increase in power, 40 horsepower, which brings the total to 543 horsepower for 479 pound-feet of torque. With a greatly improved weight-to-power ratio of 2.95 kilos/horsepower – it was already not so bad in the case of the regular M4 – imagine the car we have in our hands.
First straight, I press the accelerator, we literally stick to the seat and I quickly notice that the suspension, lower by 8 millimeters, is much stiffer than that of the other M. We feel every little jolt of the circuit. When approaching the first corner, we face a very precise steering that reacts quickly to the slightest gesture, it takes a little time to modulate and avoid shaking the car too much, we always aim for a smoother driving to avoid constantly unbalancing the body.
punish you severely
Like any extreme car, the BMW M4 CSL is a rear-wheel drive and I quickly noticed it on the wet circuit. It is necessary to dose the accelerator well because the slightest excess of enthusiasm will be quickly punished by a scroll of the rear axle, it is this aspect that makes it such a capricious car to drive.
The same goes for carbon ceramic brakes, the slightest pressure instantly slows down the car, another feature that must be mastered in order to maintain the necessary balance and complete fast laps.
After a few laps that went way too fast – I was just beginning to tame the beast – it was time to take the pit line. Fortunately, I still had the wheel of the BMW X3 M Competition to take, a vehicle that surprised me surprisingly with its agility and the pleasure I had playing with it on the track. It forgives excesses much better than the M4 CSL.
Such an exclusive car also commands an exclusive price, $ 166,500 to allow you to have the chance to own a 2023 BMW M4 CSL, a car that I have no trouble calling already an anthology piece. The main problem is not its price, but rather its rarity. BMW will produce only 1,000 copies for the whole earth, no information on the quantity offered on the moon, as for Canada, it is 42 copies that will be shipped, but already practically all sold.
If we ever want to sell you a copy painted gray and having a few thousand kilometers on the clock, avoid buying, it has been funnily brewed, nothing to do with a priest’s car.