BMW has announced that their famous 3.0 CSL—a.k.a. the Batmobile—will return in 2023 with a limited run of only 50 units. The 2023 3.0 CSL will be BMW’s second 3.0 CSL and mark 50 years since the original shocked the world in 1973. Keeping with the Batman-related theme, comparing the original 1973 3.0 CSL to the upcoming 2023 version is like comparing Adam West’s Batmobile from the 1966 Batman to Michael Keaton’s Batmobile in the 1989 Batman—they’re completely different animals. Or would it be completely different bats? Or men? Or batmen? Regardless, underneath their performance-designed capes, their purpose remains the same: Coupe, Sport, Lightweight.
As we know, it’s a big year for BMW as it’s the 50th anniversary of BMW M. As this milestone year comes to a close, “BMW M GmbH is presenting the most exclusive special model the company has ever produced—a masterpiece of engineering embodying the essence from 50 years of racing passion and expressing its historic roots in a legendary model designation,” says BMW in today’s press release.
While the original 3.0 CSL was built for racing, kicking butt, and taking names, BMW says that given the extremely limited production run of the 2023 3.0 CSL, it will be “a rarity that will find its place in the vehicle collections of particularly loyal and enthusiastic fans of the BMW M brand.” So, don’t expect to see any of the new Batmobiles campaigned in a racing series (or fighting crime), but perhaps some of the “loyal and enthusiastic” owners will be kind enough to bring them to events and share them with the world.
Due to the complexity and uniqueness of the new 3.0 CSLs, assembly of the Batmobiles will be performed by a team of 30 specialists (all named Alfred) in BMW’s Dingolfing plant (which may be code for “underground layer”). Similar to the Jeff Koons M850i, the paint process alone is a multi-step and lengthy process. BMW explains, “Each component with a livery paint finish has a throughput time of six working days. During this time, it completes up to eight paint processes, each with the necessary intermediate work steps such as sanding and masking the color stripes. This results in a total of 134 paint processes for each vehicle.”
The 2023 3.0 CSL holds true to its roots and comes in a single drivetrain configuration: a 3.0-liter powerplant with a six-speed-manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. As we can see from the photos, the “Coupe” portion of the 3.0 CSL name is due to the car being based on the M4’s chassis. Though after assembly and configuration, it certainly won’t be mistaken for an M4.
The “Sport” portion of the name doesn’t disappoint as BMW states the engine is “the most powerful straight six-cylinder power unit ever used in a road-legal BMW M automobile,” with a maximum output of 560 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque and a redline of 7,200 rpm. With a designation of CSL, there has to be more than just raw power. BMW has that covered—the Active M Differential works in tandem with the CSL’s traction control system, ceramic brakes, and 3.0 CSL-specific suspension to squeeze every last drop of performance from the chassis. Additionally, the 3.0 CSL spent time in the windtunnel perfecting prominent features like the rear wing, adorned with “M Power,” the carbon rear diffuser, and other body changes. Unfortunately the rear diffuser doesn’t house a jet engine throwing flames, but somehow I don’t think that would pass safety testing.
Last but not least, BMW achieves “Lightweight” construction by using generous amounts of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). BMW says, “[the] roof, bonnet and boot lid, the front and rear aprons are made entirely of carbon. The front and rear side panel attachments, the side sills, the rear diffuser, the rear wing and rear spoiler are also made of the high-tech material. All carbon components are manufactured in small series, mostly by hand and exclusively for the BMW 3.0 CSL.” The interior receives a number of custom and lightweight treatments as well, from the rear-seat delete to carbon bucket seats.
Have you had enough of the Batman references? Riddle me this: Who played the best Batman? Which Batmobile was your favorite? Is the 2023 3.0 CSL worthy of its name? Happy Turkey Day, BMW. —Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of BMW.]