Earlier this month, we brought you news that BMW's one-year wonder, the 2011 1 Series M Coupe, is actually trading for more money today than it did when new. That sort of short-term appreciation is a major rarity with modern production cars, but apparently it's not the only BMW enthusiast coupe to enjoy far-above-average residual values. The not-for-North America 2004 M3 CSL, itself a single-year offering, apparently also fits that description, as we've just learned from Auto Express.

The M3 CSL ruled overseas BMW showrooms a decade ago, with just 1,400 examples built. Based on the well-regarded E46 M3, the rare two-door was relieved of extraneous bits for improved track work and driver fidelity, coming in at around 240 fewer pounds than a garden-variety M3. With carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic bodywork, thinner glass and a lot less sound insulation, the CSL was one of the more raucous cars of its day. Like the 1M Coupe, it was also one of the more connected cars of the era, with a retuned suspension, quicker steering, and a bit more power than its brethren.

As Auto Express points out, a good used one commands about the same money as a brand-new 2014 M235i – the closest thing BMW makes to a 1M Coupe today – which makes this video track battle an interesting new-versus-used showdown. According to AE, a well-sorted used M3 CSL will run UK consumers anywhere between £30,000 and £35,000 – roughly $50,000 to $59,000 US. That's a massive premium over the $10k-17k British buyers can expect to shell out for a comparable standard M3, similar to the story that plays out for the 1M versus lesser 1 Series variants.

While not an M3 (there's a new one of those nearly here, too), today's M235i continues to carry the torch for Bavarian driving enjoyment, with a 3.0-liter straight-six funneling its 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. That means it's got less power (but more torque) than the CSL, but it's also got a fair bit more weight to tote around.

So, which one is quicker 'round AE's test track? You'll have to watch the video below to find out.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      psarquis
      • 7 Months Ago
      The 2 Series has potential. I'm looking forward to a proper M2.
        apexmutt
        • 7 Months Ago
        @psarquis
        Same here. I want to see some blistered fenders on that body.
        Matt
        • 7 Months Ago
        @psarquis
        I have a M235i. It definitely will keep you amused until a real M2 comes out. After driving this for the last month, it's going to be hard to give it up for anything else aside from a M2. Probably the most fun I've had in a DD. I personally think it looks great. http://www.fquick.com/images/vehicles/full/56096376687.jpg
      DjBabel
      • 7 Months Ago
      Well done M235i! never thought it would be that close to the M3CSL in terms of track performance
      cantdrive55
      • 7 Months Ago
      Less talking, more engine noise please. Especially the M3 CSL.
      IBx27
      • 7 Months Ago
      Give me the real M3 any day.
      jz78817
      • 7 Months Ago
      am I the only one getting tired of BMW dicks blathering about "E-this" and "N-that" as though everyone is supposed to understand what they mean?
        Slideways
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jz78817
        Pretty offensive to Nissan fans like me as well. Am I a dick for knowing what RB-this, SR-that and VQ-whatever is? What kind of enthusiast are you?
        dea5787
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jz78817
        Oh no you didn't! I didn't realize that being a BMW enthusiast with this knowledge makes me a dick. Good to know. What kind of car enthusiast are you to not have respect for cars and their fans?
        IBx27
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jz78817
        It's not being a dick, it's called knowing your stuff. The W219 Mercedes AMG came with an M156, my EP3 has a K20A3, and you can go on with GM G-bodies and LT1's.
        johnnyhedwardsjr
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jz78817
        Yeah... Well I guess I'm being a dick too when I say things like "if you're going to buy a 911 you should never ever ever think about the 996. The 997 and 991's are where it's at... Unless you're old school and can find a clean 993.
        IBx27
        • 7 Months Ago
        @jz78817
        It's not being a dick, it's called knowing your stuff. The W219 Mercedes AMG came with an M156, my EP3 has a K20A3, and you can go on with GM G-bodies and LT1's.
      graphikzking
      • 7 Months Ago
      Wonder if having a full tank of gas in the m235 versus a half tank in the m3 CSL makes any difference. What's gas weigh per gallon? 6lbs x 9 gallons = extra 54 lbs sloshing around?
      D E S I G N
      • 7 Months Ago
      the new bmw design language will never have the timeless graceful design of the older bmw's. This is just a phad that will disappear very soon. and then it's back to the drawing board, literally
        S40Powered
        • 7 Months Ago
        @D E S I G N
        Exactly. Looking at the exquisite and timeless design of the E46 next to the 2 series makes it even more desirable.
      me
      • 7 Months Ago
      E46 m3 and E90 M5 are the last bmws I loved just looking at.... I still have to get one or the other...
      psarquis
      • 7 Months Ago
      I've watched that video 4 times and the M235i gets uglier each time. I've seen this car on the road and it looks a little better in real life, but not by much.
      malgu
      • 7 Months Ago
      M235i looks like a porker compared to the E46
      11fiveoh
      • 7 Months Ago
      Two of the best bmws made
      Oliver
      • 7 Months Ago
      Bit of a disappointing conclusion if I'm honest... you can't do a two-way test and say you would have both! Not many people would have the money for both and if they did, they should probably get a brand new M3/M4. Still I love both cars and it was a great video until the ending.
    • Load More Comments