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BMW M4 CSL 2023 teased on the street, yearning for the race


The 2023 BMW M4 CS (Competition, Sport, Lightweight) is a race-tracking sports coupe, but an hour on this mountain road outside of Palm Springs is my only option. The M4 CSL goes beyond the already famous M4 Competition with 240 pounds of weight savings, more power, and a host of parts that seem more suited to a race car than a street machine. .

I think the carbon fiber front seats are the most important of those because the driver’s seat has only two ways of adjustment, forward and reverse. It determines my sitting position more than I do—how upright I sit and how snug I am in the cocoon. Its high side rails make climbing in and out of the vehicle difficult. Once inside, the cushions hug my hips but don’t clamp on them and the chair does a good job of putting me in a commanding position to steer the car. The front seats save 53 pounds, and removing the rear seats and seat belts saves an additional 46 pounds. If the chairs didn’t make it so difficult to get in and out, I would almost approve of them.

CSL has a lot of other characteristics to attest to sincerely. The Michelin Pilot Cup 2R staggered tire stands out among them. These sticky 275/40R19 front and rear 285/35R20 tires were developed specifically for the CSL and they are built to reduce lap times. Thankfully, it was late afternoon and previous drivers had warmed them up enough to help secure the car to the sidewalk.

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

That’s good because the CSL also has steering, handling, power, and brakes to cut lap times. The extremely responsive steering system is revealed from the first turn. It has a fairly quick 15:1 ratio, but the car is more than willing to respond to my inputs through the chunky, synthetic suede steering wheel that makes the ratio feel much quicker.

While the steering wheel accelerates at speed, it’s still not enough. It’s easy to get the car from corner to corner, but the feel is a bit light and the quick adjustment nature requires a series of small inputs at longer and sustained corners.

Various weight-saving measures and an improved chassis from the already sturdy M4 contribute to lightning-fast response. BMW has enhanced the chassis with a 0.3-inch lower travel height that lowers the center of gravity. A new front brace and stiffer engine and transmission mounts tie the front end together even tighter, while four stiff rear ball joints replace rubber mounts for a direct connection. further. The CSL also has specific adjustments for camber, dampers and anti-roll bars.

Lots of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CRFP) inside and out also helps reduce weight. The trunk, hood and center console inside weigh 24 pounds. CRFP is also used for the front splitter, rear diffuser and unique mirror caps, as well as the hood, which is also the CRFP on the M4 Competition. All told, the M4 CSL weighs a very reasonable 3,640 pounds.

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

The M4 CSL strikes the corners of this desert mountain with a flat stance and welcomes a quick change of direction when the corners strung together. As for how it handles at the grip limit, I can’t say, and hence my disappointment. Between the tight railings of this two-lane mountain road and my sense of self-preservation, I wouldn’t dare push too hard or try to slide around corners and endanger my health or that of the vehicle. . However, the upgrade obviously worked because the M4 CSL is Fastest BMW ever to overtake Nürburgring Nordschleife with a time of 7:20.2. Maximum cornering is best left to the track, and I hope to one day experience this car there.

However, I can say that the standard carbon-ceramic brakes, which save an extra 31.5 pounds, have a natural, firm pedal feel and are more than suitable for this road. With 15.7-inch front rotors clamped with a 6-piston caliper and a 15.0-inch rear rotor with a single-piston caliper, they can also handle track time.

The full version of BMW’s S58 twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6 ​​engine hides under a striped and sculpted hood. It makes 543 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, an extra 40 hp over the M4 Competition mainly thanks to an increase of 30.5 psi instead of 24.7 psi and updated ECU tuning. not like Competition M4 offering rear- or all-wheel drive, the M4 CSL sends all that power to the rear tires only.

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

In the few moments I passed between the slow-moving Camrys, the engine showed its color. The inline-6 ​​turned around quickly and launched the car forward at a speed I dared. According to BMW, the 0-100 km/h sprint time takes just 3.6 seconds and the top speed is 191 km/h. Power is always on the low end and maximum torque is reached at 2,750 rpm and stays at a boil until 5,950 rpm, 400 rpm longer than the M4 Competition. Maximum horsepower is higher at the same 6,250 rpm as the Competition. Again, I really wanted to experience it without being constrained on the track.

The engine sends power to the rear wheels through a fast 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The two M buttons on the steering wheel are programmable, and this button has the powertrain set to the most urgent Sport+ mode. As I approach corners and hit the brakes, the transmission actively seeks the lowest possible gear for the best power out of each bend. I can also take on the task of shifting gears by touching the gearshift paddles on the carbon fiber steering wheel, but the transmission is looking for a low gear and hitting the gas between shifts, so that’s not necessary.

Sport+ gives the powertrain a high-stress characteristic during this run, but the Comfort and Sport settings ease everything to create a comfortable return ride in Palm Springs traffic.

Part of the CSL’s diet includes less and lighter sound suppressors, which combine to produce more engine sound and cut an extra 33 pounds. BMW also used two electronically controlled exhaust caps and a titanium rear exhaust silencer to create a unique, more modern sound and save an extra 9 pounds. The Inline-6 ​​barks during strong acceleration and makes a chirping sound when speeding to let you know it means business. It also flies too much in daily driving, though mostly only when pressing the throttle deeper.

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

2023 BMW M4 CS

The M4 CSL has some features that I don’t mind the limitations of the road. It has 10 traction control settings compared to five for Competition M3 and M4 and maybe two or three for the typical sports car. Set one allows the most slip and set five the least. The 6-10 settings, however, aim for ideal lap times based on the track surface, with six and seven for dry tracks and eight to 10 for cold tires or wet or slippery roads. I’m not spinning the tires here or stepping out of the back of the car, so no need to play with the settings.

If I really want to play, BMW has a Drift mode and a Drift Analyzer that can measure the angle of a drift, its length in yards, and its percentage of slip. Again, that’s the best way to leave a track.

BMW charges a pretty penny for its most powerful sports coupe yet. It starts at $140,895, $53,700 more than the M4 Contest, and is limited to just 1,000 examples worldwide. It’s an exclusive car for sure—an exclusive performance car.

BMW paid airfare and accommodation to the Automotive Authority to bring you this direct report.

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