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The 3.0 CSL race cars were the first cars to be developed under BMW Motorsport GmbH. They were also the first to sport the newly designated official colors of BMW Motorsport - red, blue and purple - and the first to use ABS.

The 3.0 CSL won 5 European Touring Car Championships between 1973 and 1979, as well as national championships in several countries. CSLs were so successful they continued to win races into the late 1970s even though production ended in 1975 to make way for its successor, the 6 Series.

Thanks to the development of a four-valve cylinder head, the BMW six-cylinder engine grew from 3.2 to 3.5 liters and increased in horsepower from 340 to 430.

In the USA, BMW of North America campaigned a 3.5 CSL team in 1975 and won IMSA races at Sebring, Laguna Seca, Riverside, Daytona and Talledega. Drivers involved in the American success of the CSLs, included Hans Stuck, Sam Posey, Brian Redman, Allan Moffat, Dieter Quester and Benny Parsons.

3.0 CSL racers

BMW 3.0 CSL racecar

BMW 3.0 CSL racecar

Click for a larger image

The racers differed from the standard 3.0 CSL's in that they had the larger 3.2 liter engines and the distinctive spoiler. 

By 1974, BMW Motorsport was eager to homologate their only 3.5 liter engine for production-based racing. That homologation required the production of a run of larger engined road cars. The result was the fitting of their 3.2 liter (3153 cc) engine to the 3.0 CSL which increased horsepower by 6bhp (to 206bhp) and torque.

In addition to the larger engine, Series 3 cars were often supplied with a package of aerodynamic components so dramatic that the name "Batmobile" was soon applied. That package consisted of a very large rear wing, a more traditional rear spoiler and front fender spats. These components were very successful in competition.

There were 167 Batmobiles built in total (including the series 3.5 cars) all of which were finished in either Polaris silver or Chamonix white. 



CSL Racer

Engine: 6-cylinder in-line
Valve linkage: SOHC, 12-valve/DOHC, 24-valve
Displacement: 3191/3498 cc
Bore x stroke: 92 x 80 mm/94 x 84 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0 : 1
Power output: 340 horsepower at 7800 rpm
430 horsepower at 8500 rpm
Transmission: Getrag 5-speed
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut, aluminum
Rear: Semi-trailing arm, aluminum strut damper units
Wheels: Front: 16 x 13-inch BBS
Rear: 16 x 16-inch BBS
Tires: Front: 300/625-16
Rear: 350/650-16
Weight: 2341 lbs.
Years of construction: 1972-1975

Featured Sites

The CSL Art Car by Frank Stella. Click here for the Alexander Calder Art Car.

BMW 3.0 CSL page from BMW USA.

BMW 3.0 CSL from the cs-zone. Click here for race histories.

1977 Group 2 European Touring Car Championship has some wonderful pictures of CSL's racing in the 1977 European Touring Car championship for Group 2 cars.

Autologic BMW Models E9 3.0CSi 3.0CSL has info on all the E9 models, including the CSL coupe.

BMW 3.0CSL BATMOBILE from MCP Motorsport in the UK.

Posters from Auto Trend:

BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile black and white poster.

MUSEUM - 1973 BMW CSL from Denmark.

Motorbase pPicture and vehicle profile.

Carrera-Uni - BMW 3,0 CSL from Germany.

BMW CS Coupé - CSL has some nice pictures.

CSL Register from the UK has a writeup.

BMW 3.0 CSL page with pictures in Portuguese.

CSL's leading the way

BMW CS Page has info on the 3.0 CSL and other CS cars.

BMW History highlights the 3.0 CSL and other cars.

3CSL BMW Pictures has a number of wallpaper size pictures.

6 Hours Watkins Glen has some pictures and results of the 1979 race.

Oldie-Test BMW 3.0 CSL in German is an Auto Zeitung review from 1988 with b/w pictures.

Le Mans Register 1974 race entry sheet. The BMW CSL was the winner in the Touring Special class.

Cunningham BMW has a 3.5 CSL that races in vintage motorsport events, including the Summer '99 Monterey Historic Automobile Races.

Team Schnitzer event calendar from BMW Motorsport for the years since 1966.

Alpina GB has photos of Alpina racing including the 3.0 CSL.

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