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Is BMW working on a new M3 CSL?

BMW's M performance parts may point the way for a new special-edition M3 and M4.

BMW’s M3 sedan and M4 coupe high-performance twins might have just been revealed, but the Bavarian brand could be working on even more hardcore lightweight models for the future.

Speaking to Australian media ahead of the launch of the 4 Series coupe, a BMW spokesperson didn’t rule out a new CS or CSL (Coupe Sport Lightweight) version of the upcoming M3 and M4.

“Lightweight is always a task for BMW and of course it’s a very good point for us, but it’s just too early to be going into details, so just stay tuned,” they said.

Though far from a confirmation, BMW has released lightweight, special-edition versions of each of its previous five generations of mid-size M car, most recently with the M3/M4 CS in 2018 that featured more power and 50kg less weight.

The last M4 also scored a GTS grade in 2016, which, again, boasts more power and less weight compared to the standard car. GTS was also the name of a more hardcore E92 M3 that launched in 2010.

The CSL nameplates however, was found on the beloved E46 M3, while he E36 M3 used the Lightweight moniker for its special-edition model on a diet.

The original E30 M3 wore Evolution and Sport Evolution names for its special edition versions.

Therefore, it would be a fair assumption that BMW is looking to replicate the success of its forebears with the new M3/M4, which are now powered by a 3.0-litre S58 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder petrol engine available in two tunes.

In the base M3/M4, the engine outputs 353kW/550Nm to the rear wheels, while the Competition grade ups the ante with 375kW/650Nm and all-wheel drive.

It’s not too hard to imagine BMW turning the wick up to squeeze a few more kilowatts from the engine, while also shaving a few kilograms from the kerb weight with a lighter exhaust and seats.

Maybe the lightweight special editions would even feature some M Performance parts as standard, such as the centre-exist exhaust and massive rear wing.

We won’t know if this is the case for at least another few years though, with BMW planning the Australian launch of the rear-drive M3/M4 in the first quarter next year and the AWD Competition grade due to land in late 2021.

The first production M3 Touring is then expected to hit showrooms, meaning the launch of a lightweight special edition M3/M4 might not happen until late 2022 or early 2023.