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The ‘Batmobile’ returns: BMW relaunches the 3.0 CSL with limited production run

Only 50 will be made, and you probably can’t buy one

The 'Batmobile' is back, and it's not the same one you're thinking of. PHOTO FROM BMW

Back in 2015, BMW unveiled the 3.0 CSL Hommage concept car at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, a one-off machine that was as spectacular as it was beautiful. The study reverently referenced the original “Batmobile” that had been introduced back in 1971, right down to the color Golf Yellow (color code 070).

Much to the dismay of many fans, BMW stated at the time that it would not go into series production. We’re not sure if management just had a change of heart, or if rich speed freaks simply bombarded the Germans with letters and e-mails until they caved in. Whatever it was, it’s seven years later now, and the carmaker has just announced a small production run of the 3.0 CSL based on the M4 CSL.

Yes, the divisive front grille is still there, but it's a fairly attractive and unique package. PHOTOS FROM BMW

When we say ‘small’, we really mean it: Only 50 cars will ever be made, making the new 3.0 CSL one of the rarest BMWs ever produced. The number is in line with the 50th anniversary of the M division, and while the Bavarians haven’t revealed the price tag yet, expect it to be astronomical. Not that it really matters, as most mere mortals—even if they have the cash—will not be able to buy one.

Customers for this rarest of rare motor wagons will be handpicked by BMW based on their past history with the brand. Good news for Bimmer collectors, bad news for everyone else. Finished in Alpine White and adorned with the typical M-colored stripes, which are painted in a complex process, the new Batmobile not only looks great but also packs a serious punch.

Under the hood sits the most powerful BMW straight-six ever installed in a road car. The S58 powerplant has been tweaked to produce 560hp and 550Nm, which should make for neck-snapping performance when you combine it with the unladen vehicle weight of just 1,624kg. That gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 2.9kg/hp, which, when mixed with the six-speed manual gearbox, should be good for plenty of smiles.

None of these parts are shared with the car’s 4-Series sibling, which is just about right. PHOTOS FROM BMW

Visually, designers have given the 3.0 CSL a unique look with flared wheel arches, a new and more subtle kidney grille with a frame in a matte-aluminum look compared to the M4, and a striking combination of roof and rear spoiler. The CSL is only remotely reminiscent of the 4-Series Coupe it is based on, but it is clearly still a BMW (and a proper good-looking one at that).

Folks at BMW have really paid a lot of attention to small details that will excite enthusiasts. The front apron has classic round air intakes; the fins on the hood direct the air like in the ’70s; and the matte-silver window frame emphasizes the Hofmeister kink on the C-pillar BMW logo. On the CSL, the four tailpipes are taking prominent pride of place in the carbon diffuser, and just like on the M4 CSL, the rear silencer is made of titanium.

No fancy Curved Display here, just the older iteration that drivers prefer. PHOTOS FROM BMW

The new 3.0 CSL has also been equipped with laser lights at the front and the rear, whereby the headlight housings have been reshaped and now differ from the ones you may have already seen on the M4 CSL. This ultra-rare machine rolls along on racing-inspired, gold-colored central-locking wheels that measure 20 inches at the front and 21 inches at the rear.

The rubber adorning them comes from Michelin, and was specially created for this car, complete with a “50” logo on the tire flank to match the anniversary year of M GmbH. Just like in the original model, all the power is channeled exclusively to the rear wheels, so we imagine those expensive rubbers may need changing quite regularly.

We hope that we see more modern 3.0 CSLs at the track. PHOTOS FROM BMW

That is, if the lucky buyers do what they should be doing with this road-going missile: drive the hell out of it at every possible opportunity. Sadly, we suspect many of these machines will never reach their top speed, which has been given as somewhere north of 300km/h. Instead, they will likely be sitting in private collections, gathering dust.

Life isn’t fair.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.