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.