Vastly expensive 'special gift' to customers is apparently getting the treatment its status deserves
By Matt Bird / Friday, 17 February 2023 / Loading comments
It isn’t hard to take aim at the 3.0 CSL as a BMW purist – or just as a casual car fan – and pick flaws in it. The car is going to be hugely expensive, few would call it a pretty BMW, and there’s probably a bit more M4 to be seen than might be desirable. All that being said, there’s quite a bit to be encouraged by as well; some of it we knew – stuff like 560hp with a manual gearbox – and others we did not, which BMW has now detailed with the first CSLs in build.
The E34 era of BMW M5 was the last fully handbuilt M car, almost 30 years ago, but there’s a significant amount of traditional craftsmanship in this CSL as well. It will emerge from BMW’s Moosthenning ‘craft workshop’, a subsidiary of the Dingolfing plant in Lower Bavaria; useful for logistics as that’s where the regular M4 is assembled, but built by a team of 30 over a two-week period for a very different product. It uses the CSL’s body, with modifications incorporated in the same build area as that used for the GT4 car.
According to BMW, those unmistakeable arches are widened ‘using special beading and welding processes’, which surely won’t be the work of a moment. The M tricolour is applied by hand and, in best low-volume production tradition, certain CSL parts are painted somewhere that isn’t Dingolfing or Moosthenning either; they’re done at the plastic exterior section of BMW’s facility in Landshut. Again it’s nearby, but in case you were wondering how one car could take two weeks, hopefully you’re getting some idea.
The axles have to be modified for those beautiful centre-lock wheels, too, and the interior upgrades require trips to two workshops. The carbon panels are also done somewhere else, and the ‘distinctive rear section’ requires yet another location… and then it goes back to Dingolfing for testing and inspection. Only after all that does the customer get the handover at BMW World. It’s easy to be cynical about anniversary specials – and BMW has rightly come in for some flak lately – but there’s no denying the hours or additional effort that evidently goes into each 3.0 CSL.
Dingolfing Plant Director Christoph Schröder: “We are proud to be entrusted with building such an iconic car. It underlines the wide range of models and technologies we have here on-site – from fully-electric BMW i models all the way to our M high-performance models. And it shows that, in addition to highly automated large-scale production, we also excel at hand-crafting cars.”
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