More exclusive than Pagani? In Moosthenning, Lower Bavaria, the 3.0 CSL, which is limited to 50 units, is made in its own factory, which is intended to combine the exclusivity of manual production with BMW's high-volume quality standards.
585,000 euros is a lot of money. They appear even more opulent when they are the difference between two vehicles with very similar technical equipment. Heretically, one could reduce the BMW 3.0 CSL, limited to 50 units, to an M4 CSL teased with a lot of carbon in a historically inspired dress with manual transmission. The manual transmission carries only the 3.0, in the M4 CSL and the future M3 CS an eight-speed automatic works. In addition, the 3.0 gets ten extra horses (560 instead of 550 hp), but has to curb its torque to 550 Newton meters (M4 CSL: 650 Newton meters) to protect its transmission. Spicy detail: Precisely this transmission from ZF, which is also used in the standard M4, must be replaced after 50,000 kilometers as a precautionary measure due to the higher performance – at the expense of the customer. Whether a three-zero ever achieves this mileage is anyone's guess. ,
The technology is known in the best sense. The differences to the M4 are mainly in the details and the production. Because while all mid-range Ms - including the M4 CSL - tumble off the assembly line in Dingolfing, the 3.0 is produced almost entirely by hand on its own line.
Assembly line vs. manufacture
While the M4 body shell on which the three-zero is based is still being welded on the regular production line in Dingolfing, the body widening takes place immediately afterwards in the same special area where the M4 GT4 is also made, to be able to mount the wheel arches inspired by the old 3.0 CSL. Then it's time for painting. And this is where the manual work really starts, because the three-colored M stripes that run across the entire car are painted and not wrapped in foil. And it works like this: The primer and the dark blue of the three M colors are applied in the regular large-scale production process, in parallel for the main body and doors in Dingolfing and for the other add-on parts such as fenders, hoods and the cover of the towing eye in the components plant in Landshut. Landshut is home to the BMW individual paint shop. In addition to around 200 individual BMW paint finishes, the new two-tone option for the BMW 7 Series, special projects such as the 8X special series of the BMW 8 Series and the 3.0 CSL designed by Jeff Koons are also created here. ,
Body parts are painted, sanded and taped by hand - masked, as it is called in technical jargon - until the design is in place after up to seven coats of paint. First blue, then red, then light blue and white alternating with clear coat, before series production begins again for the final clear coat.The masking is done with special contour foils that are glued to the respective object with the help of laser projections and dummies that simulate the lines on the adjacent component. The challenge lies in painting the lines flush across the various components. Maximum precision is required here. The five executing painters were handpicked. "Not only do you have to have all the colors in your head, but above all you have to have a good feeling about where the paint has to go on each vehicle part," explains project manager Dr. Christian Cook. It takes no less sure instinct when masking. Not only for the M stripes, but also for the exemptions of the number 50 on the roof and the M Power lettering on the rear. Here, carbon fibers covered with clear varnish peep out between the white paintwork. Finally, it is polished by hand in several steps until the desired result is achieved.
Finest quality from the village
But the finished anniversary athlete can't be seen in Landshut yet. Much more a hodgepodge of different body parts in their different stages of painting. The assembly of the 3.0 CSL takes place in Dingolfing, more precisely at a small site outside the plant in the Lower Bavarian community of Moosthenning with a population of 4,700. In two 1000 square meter halls, which look more like an extremely clean workshop than a typical production line, the 50 vehicles are assembled by hand in around three months by 30 selected assembly specialists. The assembly of the body begins in hall one. The hood and trunk lid are meticulously checked with a gap gauge. It continues with panels and interior parts. The number one, which is announcing a particularly high collector's value, has just received its dashboard with the corresponding signet. Why is the number one not right at the front of the production line? "This is due to the grouping of right-hand and left-hand drive vehicles," explains the head of the Moosthenning location, Franz-Xaver Karl. Right-hand drive comes first, followed by vehicles destined for continental European markets. In order to comply with the high quality and, above all, documentation standards in the manufactory, tightening torques and installed parts as well as all other details are electronically documented. Production includes four work cycles per hall: Duration per cycle? Not a few minutes like in the big work, but a whole day. Instead of using the assembly line, the chassis is pushed one station further by hand on its transport trolley, quite pragmatically. ,
Body and drive become one
The technology follows in hall two. The engines come complete from the BMW engine plant in Steyr, the transmission from the supplier ZF.First, the aggregate train with engine, transmission and axles is pre-assembled on a movable platform to the right of the line. This is where the specialists also attach the 3.0-specific wheel carrier with a central lock. Later, the entire drive technology is married to the body in one go during the much-cited "marriage". This is followed by engine peripherals such as coolers and other units, brakes and everything else that a car needs to get from A to B safely and, in this case, fairly quickly. Attaching the 3.0 CSL logo to the boot lid requires a sure instinct and precision, and a little brute force when mounting the 20- and 21-inch wheels on the front and rear axles. The nut of all torque wrenches is used to apply the 930 Newton meters of tightening torque for the central locking screw on the golden rims. Finally, at the last station, the filling with liquids and a first start for the leak test follows, which envelops hall two in a pleasant rumble of row sixes. For acceptance, it then goes back to the main plant in Dingolfing, where standardized acceptance tests on test benches, further quality checks and a specified driving program on the company's own test track take place. Only then can the 3.0 CSL go to the customer. ,
But who are these customers anyway? With the 3.0 CSL, BMW speaks of a "gift to long-standing, loyal customers." However, this only applies to those in Europe, because the CSL has not been homologated for other regions. In fact, the selection process is in the hands of each market. In some countries, these customers who are particularly loyal to the brand are selected, in other places a lottery is held. So also in Germany. Eleven vehicles remain in Germany, the rest are distributed throughout Europe. Six right-hand drive find their way to the UK and Ireland. The respective market representatives of BMW also take care of the contract, which is why it is not known whether there are resale clauses to protect against speculators like the Ford GT once did. At this point it must also be noted that there will not be 50, but 51 3.0 CSLs. A vehicle with the number zero will find its way into the BMW Museum. And the price? BMW has never officially communicated it, but when asked whether the 750,000 euros rumored in many places is correct, it only says that the price is not communicated, but the 750,000 euros are not denied either. So the direction is right, which makes it 584,800 euros more expensive than an M4 CSL, but also many times more exclusive in its elaborate manufacture, which even the heretics have to acknowledge. ,
Big price tag, big effort: The production of the BMW 3.0 CSL is characterized by attention to detail and quality and is currently unique in Germany. 50 chosen ones will receive an exclusive collector's item that is technically based on off-the-shelf goods, but doesn't come off the shelf.