Coupe, Sport, Leichtbau. BMW only used the CSL badge on two cars during its history: the 3.0 Csl, a legend of the Tourism competitions nicknamed “The Batmobile”, and the special edition based on the M3 E46.

The already wonderful M3 E46, introduced in 2003 is widely recognized as one of the best M3 ever made, and the CSL version sits at the top, being effectively a “Lightweight” version of the already amazing e46, translation from the German Leichtbau. 110 kg lighter than a “normal” M3, it was equipped with a carbon roof, rear diffuser, interior panels and inserts on the front bumper in composite material directly derived  from motorsport, aluminum front hood and thinner rear windows. To complete the look the 19” BBS alloy wheels. Many technologies and materials derived directly from Formula 1, with the removal of most of the sound-absorbing fabric, electric seats and navigation system. Even the air conditioning and stereo system were optional, albeit free.

From a mechanical point of view, the in-line 6 S54 engine, had been optimized with camshafts modifications, valves, control unit and the intake system,  all these modifications made the inline six to produce 360 horsepower.

CS is instead the acronym of the latest and most pure sports car of the 2 Series range, which the Monaco brand has decided to attribute to the already excellent M2. If the Competition version, introduced in 2018 and equipped with the engine of the bigger sister M4, had proved to be a mature sports car, the introduction of the CS version could only intrigue us and make us want to compare it with the legendary CSL, a real benchmark for BMW sports cars.

So, on a gray afternoon in late winter, we manage to bring together both cars for a test on the hills of Franciacorta. The first thing we notice, having them one next to the other, are the dimensions. Although the M2 is the most compact in the M range, compared to the light and streamlined E46, it looks like a real “muscle car”, aggressive and ready to attack the roads. Numerous unique details characterize this limited series, full of Alcantara and carbon inserts, both inside and outside, including roof and hood to save weight. In the engine compartment we find the 6-cylinder from 3 liters S55 of M3 and M4, with an increased power of 40 horsepower, for a total of 450.

The winding roads are the perfect terrain for these two coupes, who chase each other accompanied by their magnificent soundtrack. We already knew that the normally aspirated engine of the CSL had a unique and singular sound, but the pleasant surprise comes from the M2, which despite being completely “stock”, has a really fantastic sound for a bi-turbo engine, worthy of a real M car. Once on board, holding the stunning Alcantara covered wheel, you immediately realize the quality of its magnificent chassis, solid and precise. With plenty of torque, the engine pushes immediately, with a constant crescendo of power up to the red line. Sinking the accelerator you can feel the tires looking for grip, throwing you on the horizon and literally devouring the road. Where the CSL delights you with its progression and lightness, the CS surprises you with its efficiency and precision.

So is it the CS acronym well deserved then? Absolutely. In a world now in which statistics and numbers are guiding the market, and we enthusiasts are forced more and more to compromise, the M2 CS is a real lust, a car that knows how to excite and probably that we can call “the perfect M”.

Driving it alongside the CSL E46 reminds us that in Monaco they have not forgotten their past at all, making us hope for the future M2 and letting us dream that sooner or later, the initials CS, will be flanked once again by that “L” that made the ancestor E46 so special.

Thanks to Nanni Nember Bmw

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