Built as a homologation special to make the model eligible for racing in the European Touring Car Championship, the BMW 3.0 CSL was the first vehicle of the Bavarian company to feature the now legendary M stripes. It was an absolutely phenomenal machine of which only 1,265 were built. One of the remaining examples, though not fully original, is currently at the BMW Group Classic museum.
The classic car division of the brand runs a YouTube channel and it has some pretty cool videos, including a video with the V12-powered X5 Le Mans Concept. In the channel’s latest clip, two employees of the museum talk about the “sleek, stylish, and effortlessly cool” 3.0 CSL and explain some of its design elements that “would define BMW design for the next 50 years.”
You’ve probably heard people calling it the Batmobile and the reason for that, obviously, is its very aggressive aerodynamic package. Some of the aero components were not street-legal in some countries. For example, in Germany, the rear wing was illegal and that’s why the cars were shipped with the wings left in the boot for installation after purchase by the owner.
If you were hoping to see what’s under the hood, we have bad news. The example that’s featured in the video is actually a replica and the engine is out to be completely rebuilt. BMW wants to use this replica for races in the next season, and try to repeat the original car’s success in its first season in the European Touring Car Championship.
BMW enthusiasts probably know the 3.0 CSL had different engines depending on the production year. Initially, the motor was identical to the 3.0 CS, but in 1972 it was slightly increased above three liters so that the model can be raced in the "over three-liter" racing category. In 1973, the engine was given another increase in displacement to about 3.2 liters.