BMW CSL Hommage testing on the Nordschleife

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Though itโ€™s easy to be cynical about the BMW CSL Hommage (because nothing based on the current M4 will be made credibly lightweight, itโ€™ll cost lots more than the ยฃ130k CSL, and you probably canโ€™t get one) there is plenty to be encouraged by as well. Itโ€™s a manual, straight-six, rear-drive BMW, after all, one with some cool spoilers and what we hope are vaguely acceptable kidney grilles – and there have been plenty of excellent Beemers like that over the years. And weโ€™re not guaranteed many (if any) more, so count us among those eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Hommage. ย 

To all intents and purposes, the car caught testing is the one BMW M boss Franciscus van Meel was posing with a few weeks back. But out of his garage and onto the Nordschleife gives a better idea of exactly what BMW is lining up. Thereโ€™s certainly no doubting itโ€™s a big old beast, taking up a fair chunk of the North Loop and looking for all the world perhaps even larger than an M4. But maybe thatโ€™s the funky wrap.ย 

Up front itโ€™s got a couple of additional intakes that evoke the old M3 CSLโ€™s single front bumper cut out – and if the induction howl from this car is anything like that one weโ€™re all in for a treat. Though the big M3 kidney grilles are gone, the vents below suggest thereโ€™s plenty of cooling to be done. We know the S58 3.0-litre can go to 550hp in the CSL, but BMW says a six-speed manual couldnโ€™t handle any extra muscle. It’s officially why those markets that are offered a six-speed manual M3/M4 can only have it in non-Competition guise.ย 

Youโ€™ll remember the original mule had โ€˜6MT FTWโ€™ emblazoned on its rump, which is where all the manual rumours started from. Look closely, however, and youโ€™ll see this one goes without that sticker, replaced instead on the boot by an image of a Batmobile. And the second spoiler is missing from the roof. Maybe an auto CSL will happen again, like the M3โ€ฆ except look even closer and youโ€™ll see โ€˜6MT FTWโ€™ has been moved to the side. Phew. But this is definitely a (slightly) different rear end. Perhaps some different materials are being tested, or thereโ€™s something in the boot (remember the old M4 GTS water injection) or, er, this is just a different wrap. Suggestions welcome.ย 

Notable here as well are giant wheels, perhaps as big as the 20/21-inch staggered setup available on the Touring (19/20-inch is the standard Comp arrangement). There look to be some appropriately burly brakes behind them, too. In fact, these rims look a lot like the M Performance forged ones announced for the Touring yesterday. And even if not, theyโ€™ve got some proper M car dish to them – which is good. ย 

For now, there are no more concrete details, BMW presumably happy with an excited M car community guessing at what this Hommage could be and with plenty of other new metal to concern itself with in the meantime. But there wonโ€™t be long to wait, given this is a 50thย anniversary car and weโ€™re almost eight months through that golden year. Gotta be something special, though, given weโ€™ve already had one BMW CSL in 2022. Expectations remain highโ€ฆย 

Image credit | S.Baldauf/S.B.Medien

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