BMW’s E46 M3 CSL Is Rightfully One Of Its Best Performance Cars Ever

The crew over at Carfection have returned with their latest episode in a series focusing on the very best BMW M3 models ever produced. This week, Henry Catchpole jumped into the cockpit of a BMW E46 M3 CSL.

Those who know a thing or two about M3s will be very familiar with the E46 as it’s widely regarded as the best generation M3 ever produced. Sure, subsequent M3 generations are faster and more powerful but the E46 was perhaps the perfect balance between power, balance, and precision.

The E46 was the fourth-generation 3-Series built and enjoyed a near-decade-long production run from December 1997 through to August 2006. The M3 was sold between 2000 and 2006 and featured BMW’s iconic S54B32 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine which pumped out 338 hp in European guise and 333 hp in U.S. form. BMW later followed up the ‘standard’ M3 with the lightweight M3 CSL, complete with 355 hp and 273 lb-ft (370 Nm) of torque.

The M3 CSL was limited to just 1,383 examples and only sold in Silver Grey Metallic and Black Sapphire Metallic. It was stripped-back, hardcore, had a 50:50 weight distribution, and improved suspension and braking systems. While the normal E46 M3 was available with a six-speed manual, the M3 CSL could only be purchased with the controversial SMG II transmission which featured an electrohydraulically actuated clutch pedal.

This gearbox is far from brilliant ,but as Catchpole discovers, the car offers driving thrills which are hard to match with modern alternatives.

 

  • GobbleUp

    The gearbox goes down in history as one of the worst.
    The e46 was overly harsh and unrefined.
    Exhaust note lacking.

    • chuck2

      yep, the SMG was about as sucky as it gets.
      It didnt do anything when it was expected or even close to expected.

  • Six_Tymes

    and the best looking imo. thankfully, it did not have a canted drivers seat like the current 2 series do. the E46 was made back when BMW’s marketing tag phrase of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” meant something. Now, they give people canted drivers seats.

  • annabell

    One yr ago I chose to leave my previous work and I am extremely delightful at this time…. I started out doing work on the web, for a provider I found out on-line, for a few hrs everyday, and I get paid way more than I actually did on my office job… My pay-check for past month was $9k… The best thing on this is the additional spare time I managed to get for my little ones…and that the single requirement for this job is simple typing as well as access to internet… I am capable to devote quality time with my close relatives and close friends and also take good care of my kids and also going on holiday vacation with them really consistently. Don’t skip this chance and be sure to act fast. Give it a look, what it is about… NEWSUPERB71.COM

    • chuck2

      And thats got what to do with this article you airhead?
      Please troll your bs somewhere else ; or at least show some skin babe…

  • Mr. EP9

    Still better than the current gen M3.

Hardcore 2020 BMW M2 CS To Debut At LA Auto Show In November?

The M2 CS will reportedly pump out 444 HP and, thanks to the use of carbon fiber, also be lighter than the Competition.

James Bond’s Original Aston Martin DB5 Sells For $6,385,000

Pre-auction estimates indicated the gadget-filled DB5 would go for between $ 4 million and $6 million. It exceeded them.

We Can’t Wait For Someone To Build A C8 Corvette 4×4

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray works well as a soft off-roader like the Huracan Sterrato.

If This Ferrari 458 Italia Video Won’t Get Your Heart Pumping, Check Your Pulse

The marvelous 4.5-liter, naturally aspirated V8 is the last of its kind, as for its successor Ferrari switched to forced induction.

Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita Roars With Bespoke Titanium Exhaust

Out of the three ever made, this CCXR Trevita is the only one in the States and used to be owned by Floyd Mayweather.

How About An As-Good-As-New 2002 Mercedes G-Class For $80k?

This G-Wagen has got a 63 AMG look, just 31 miles on the odo and, despite being in the UK, is left-hand drive.

Aston Martin Vantage Has Few Letdowns, Looks Drop-Dead Gorgeous

The engaging driving experience is 10 times better in a car that looks as good as the Vantage.

At 4,225 Pounds, The 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500 Is One Heavy Brute

Good thing Ford fitted six-piston brakes up front and four-piston ones at the rear to help the 760 HP ‘Stang stop as it should.

And Then There Were Three: BMW’s Finest Vie For The Crown Of Best M Car Ever

Picking a winner between the E30 M3, E46 M3 CSL and M2 Competition is certainly not an easy task.

2020 Subaru Outback Promises A Lot, But Does It Deliver?

Featuring a host of upgrades and lots of new tech while retaining its off-road capabilities, it does make a compelling case for itself.