Engine: Supersprint stainless-steel exhaust system
Transmission: Six-speed manual gearbox conversion
Chassis: Nitron NTR Fast Road coilover suspension kit
Brakes: AP Racing big brake kits front and rear
Wheels & tyres: Standard
We know what you’re thinking. E46 M3 with a V10… E46 M3 CSL… Tom must really love E46 M3s! And you’d be right. But this one’s not just for the E46 fan. This is a BMW that has universal petrolhead appeal. Carbon fibre everywhere (with a slightly old-school patina to make it even cooler). Glorious-sounding, naturally-aspirated, high-revving, straight-six motor. Balanced 50/50, rear-drive chassis. Recaro Pole Positions, lashings of alcantara, 19-inch BBS rims, pumped-up bespoke body parts. The CSL ticks all the right boxes.
Indeed, it’s awesome even before you even drive it. And when you do? Well, we don’t need to tell you how good it is to drive, because you’ll have watched videos and read all about it many times already. Suffice to say, it’s one of BMW’s very best. Whether we’re talking looks, driving experience or simply all-round cool-car aura, the CSL has got it all. It’s not hard to see why some would consider it road car perfection.
S54B32HP with full Supersprint stainless-steel system
AP Racing big brake setups front and rear
SCS Delta standalone engine management
Room for improvement…
But not Tom. Because Tom likes his cars to look and feel really race-car-for-the-road. So he felt like the CSL needed a little modifying – and damn the collector-special cache of the thing. He’s owned his Coupe Sport Lightweight for a few years now and in that time has done plenty to it – including one pretty controversial alteration…
The SMG gearbox is generally believed to be the CSL’s one weak link, and was considered so even when the car was new. Now we’re in the age of the super-slick, ultra-fast-shifting dual-clutch gearbox, the previously-cutting-edge SMG II gearbox really dates the driving experience negatively. Sure, it’s not without a certain of-the-time charm, but why not just go full old school with three pedals and a stick?
Sacrilege! Or not?
Well, that was Tom’s thinking anyway. Yup, the clunky SMG unit has been junked (read: placed in storage) and replaced with a fresh Getrag 420G six-speed manual from a standard contemporary M3. Quite probably the world’s first and only CSL that you can shift the gears of through a traditional H-pattern box – not to mention clutch kick, heel-and-toe and rev-match yourself – this is arguably the CSL in its purest, most driver-focussed form. Some BMW aficionados’ sensibilities may be put out of place by such a modification (or indeed any modifications), but that’s life.
Talking of which, the other modifications that have been made to ramp up the precision, involvement and capability of this E46 include Nitron coilovers, Eibach anti-roll bars, poly buses, AP Racing big brake kits and a Supersprint exhaust system. But it’s not enough to simply fit these parts and be done with it. To get the most out of them and the car, everything must be fine-tuned to perfection – which is why the car is now in the expert hands of Ray West, of West Tuning.
Honed to perfection
Not only will Ray be making sure everything is set up and working exactly as it should be, but he’ll be fitting a few more trick parts as well, including standalone management, a West Tuning exhaust manifold and an improved shift mechanism for the manual ‘box. All in all, this should be one of the most complete and unique modified CSLs when it’s finished. We can’t wait to get it back…
Check back for updates, as they may well actually be coming soon