BMW is currently working on a more hardcore version of the M2 coupe badged as the M2 CSL. This is the first time since 2004 that the CLS nameplate will be used on a BMW model.
Due to arrive at the end of the current-gen M2’s lifecycle, the M2 CSL will follow in the older M3 CSL’s footsteps and offer a bare-bones interior and carbon-fibre bits to save on weight.
The engine is expected to be borrowed from the current M3 and M4. The turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol unit is expected to pump out 400hp, sending power to the rear wheels only via a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. While the automatic will offer better performance, the demand internationally for a manual transmission on performance cars will ensure the latter sells well.
The German manufacturer decided to introduce the M2 CSL after sales of the standard M2 exceeded predictions. BMW M vice president Dirk Hacker told our sister publication Autocar UK, “The M2 is tracking at 40-50% above our expectation in terms of sales, and demand for cars like the M2, or GTS and CS heritage models, is growing,” he said. “Any car that has true heritage to motorsport is an opportunity for us. New markets are always opening for those cars and that will increase, so long as we keep building cars that are sufficiently special.”
Prototypes of the M2 CSL have been spotted on the Nürburgring and on roads sporting a few cosmetic changes and larger brakes.
The BMW M4 GTS will be the last BMW M model to be badged as the GTS, paving the way for the CSL nameplate to be used from now onwards. The CSL moniker has a long history of being used on hardcore BMW cars, first used in 1972 on the homologation special version of the CS, the 3.0 CSL. The L was added to designate the car's lighter weight.