Collecting Cars

2003 BMW (E46) M3 CSL

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This BMW M3 CSL is a superb example of the coveted E46 model, presented with very good service history and in fine mechanical condition. Under the bonnet is the 3.2-litre S54 straight-six, producing 350bhp, with rear-wheel drive via the six-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) with paddle shifters. This car has covered 63,621 miles from new.

Supplied by Damon Hill BMW in Warwickshire in November 2003, the factory specification of this CSL includes the BMW Business stereo and CD player, climate control, and rear parking sensors. It was first registered in November 2003, and there are seven previous registered keepers. The present owner acquired the car around two years ago, and has since covered some 2,000 miles behind the wheel.

The bodywork presents very well, with flush shut lines and consistent panel gaps around the car. The only blemishes noted by the seller include a hairline crack in the front bumper paint near the air intake, and a small scratch on the rear bumper. Otherwise, the Silver Grey metallic finish looks smooth and even all around the body, and the carbon-fibre spoiler trims and roof panel are also in great shape.

This M3 CSL has received the important rear subframe reinforcement work, carried out by specialist Redish Motorsport in September 2015. It sits on the correct set of lightweight forged 19-inch double-spoke alloy wheels, which are all in good order.

In the cabin, the Amaretta synthetic suede and anthracite ‘Reflex’ cloth upholstery is in excellent condition, with no damage and only modest wear throughout. As is to be expected, there is some slight pilling of the synthetic suede on the steering wheel trim and the seat bolsters, but in general the interior presents very well indeed. The carbon-fibre door cards and centre console cover are in superb order, and this car has also received a subtle aftermarket upgrade of a full carbon-fibre centre console between the two rear seats. It has also been fitted with a Bury CC-9048 hands-free Bluetooth kit.

Mechanically, this CSL is in superb condition, having covered just over 1,000 miles since a major Inspection II service at BMW specialist Munich Legends in July 2019. As well as the scheduled maintenance items, it also received new rear brake discs and pads, fresh brake fluid, a replacement rear differential input shaft seal, and a new offside front suspension drop link. The battery was renewed, along with the offside xenon headlight unit and washer pump, the fuel filler cap, and all four tyre valves.

Prior to this, it was seen in September 2017 at 61,147 miles by Chandlers BMW when the airbag control module was replaced, a gearbox fault was rectified, and the nearside front coil spring was adjusted. In August 2017 at 61,050 miles, Stephen James BMW carried out an Inspection I service and replaced both front airbags as part of a recall.

The rear subframe reinforcement was carried out by Redish Motorsport in September 2015 at 60,167 miles, at a cost of £1,490. At the same time, a full Inspection II service was completed, including measurement of the valve clearances. The team at Redish also installed Powerflex subframe bushes and rear trailing arm bushes, new front and rear shock absorbers and coil springs, and replaced the camshaft hub bolts with upgraded BMW items.

The last MOT test was on 10 September 2019 at 62,787 miles, which resulted in a first-time pass with only one advisory regarding slight play in the offside front lower ball joint. The MOT tester also noted the presence of factory-fitted under-trays. The wheels are fitted with Michelin tyres all round, which are date-coded to 2012 and remain in good condition.

Accompanying this M3 are all of the original books, including the stamped maintenance record, the supplementary owner’s manual for the CSL model, plus the Technical Lexicon and other user guides.

Driving the M3 CSL back-to-back against the new M2 Competition in 2019, journalist Richard Lane wrote in Autocar that the former was “among the finest driver’s cars of all time, powered by perhaps the best straight-six engine ever made”.

This BMW M3 CSL is a contemporary performance hero, and one of just 422 original UK-market cars. Presented in great condition, this example benefits from regular servicing and needs nothing to enjoy immediately on the road. A rare and coveted collectable, it would be a great addition to any assembly of iconic modern classics.

Summary of service history:

  • 23 Oct 2003 - Pre-delivery
  • 9 Nov 2003 - 1,202 miles (running-in)
  • 19 Apr 2004 - 10,866 miles (Oil service)
  • 30 Sep 2004 - 22,354 miles (Inspection I)
  • 5 Apr 2005 - 31,917 miles (Oil service)
  • 4 Oct 2005 - 45,714 miles (Inspection II)
  • 19 May 2007 - 53,843 miles (Oil service)
  • 7 Apr 2009 - 55,582 miles (Inspection I)
  • 6 Apr 2011 - 56,789 miles (Oil service)
  • 22 May 2013 - 58,104 miles (Inspection II)
  • 1 Sep 2015 - 60,167 miles (Inspection II)
  • 7 Aug 2017 - 61,050 miles (Oil service)
  • 10 Jul 2019 - 62,585 miles (Inspection II)

All cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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