For BMW M3 E46 Coupe owners and fans, the limited production CSL edition is the Holy Grail of the series, and perhaps one of the most desirable M-badged cars ever built. Too bad if you live in North America, though, as it was never imported here. Overall, only 1,400 cars were produced for its 2004 model year run, all finished in Silver Grey Metallic or Black Sapphire Metallic.
A good chunk of those cars did land on UK soil, and since you can have a used M3 CSL for about the same price or even less (we found one with 68k miles for £29,995 or about $50,000) than the new M235i, which retails for a little over £34,000 (equal to about $57,000 – in the U.S. it starts from $43,100), Autoexpress pit them against each other.
Now, if you ask me, it all boils down to this; if you’re looking for a performance car to use as a daily driver, go for the new M235i, but if you can live with the annoying SMG transmission and want a special vehicle for your weekend adventures (and one that will soon become a classic), the CSL is for you.
In the States, I suppose the question is whether you should gun for a new M235i or a used M3 E92 V8, now that that latter’s prices have started going down. Thoughts?
By John Halas