2023 BMW M3 CSL spy shots: Hardcore sedan coming soon

BMW’s current M3 sedan and related M4 coupe have only been with us for a bit over a year, but hotter versions of both cars are already out testing.

The new versions are expected to revive BMW’s CSL badge, and we should see them unveiled later this year as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the BMW M division.

If you’re unfamiliar with the CSL badge, it stands for “Coupe Sport Lightweight.” The last BMW to feature the designation was the E46-generation M3 coupe, with the CSL cars built in a limited run of just 1,400 units between 2002 and 2004—such tiny numbers made it an exclusive offering, where only the most dedicated opted for the extra expense and somewhat harsher and noisier ride characteristics.

The prototype for the potential M3 CSL shown here is fitted with elements you’d expect to see on a CSL. The front sports an extended lip spoiler which looks to have an adjustable element. There’s also no missing the new grille insert and new design for the lower intakes on the front fascia. You’ll also notice the yellow daytime running lights, a look first introduced on the M5 CS launched for 2022.

2023 BMW M4 CSL spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 BMW M4 CSL spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 BMW M4 CSL spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 BMW M4 CSL spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

An earlier tester for the potential M4 CSL also had a chunky ducktail-style rear spoiler and what appeared to be a revised rear diffuser, and we may see these feature on more advanced testers for the M3 CSL.

We suspect the cabins of both cars will also end up stripped of all but the bare essentials in an effort to save weight. There may even be the option of a fixed roll cage for buyers.

The latest M3 and M4 are both powered by the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6. The engine hammers out 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque in the base grade and 503 hp and 479 lb-ft in spicier Competition grade. The new CSL versions are expected to pack about 550 hp, as well as an 8-speed automatic and possibly rear-wheel drive only. This should make for scintillating performance in combination with an expected weight reduction program.

Note, BMW is set to introduce an updated 3-Series range later this year. The key change will be a new dashboard design matching the one in the 4-Series range. Expect the M3 CSL to be based on this updated 3-Series. A new M3 Touring, the first M3 wagon to reach production, is also coming this year.

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