In theory, the BMW M4 is a rival to the Mercedes-AMG C63, but you always get the feeling Porsche is in its sights. To see how the best of Bavaria stacks up against Stuttgart at the end of 2022, let’s check out the first drag race between the BMW M4 CSL and the Porsche 911 GT3.
This strange rivalry has been going on for as long as I can remember. It became obvious in the E46 M3 era when it took on the 996 on the track with the first CSL pack. And when Porsche came out with the revolutionary mid-engined Boxster and Cayman, BMW tried to compete with things like the 135i and eventually the 1M Coupe.
Usually, Porsche sports cars were lighter but more expensive while BMWs came with amazing specs on paper. The same thing is going on with these two 2022 rivals, but let’s go through the numbers in detail.
The CSL badge dates back to the 3.0-liter race cars which won the European touring car championship in 1973, laying the foundation of the M brand. But it hasn’t been used on a production car since the 2003 E46 M3 we just mentioned. Lightness is the name of the game, setting the M4 CSL apart from models such as the Competition, CS, and especially the GTS.
They have saved 100 kilograms or 220 lbs for this M4 CSL compared to the normal coupe. It’s a significant reduction, achieved through excessive use of carbon fiber, in the trunk, hood, and roof. It’s got no rear seats, ceramic brakes, lighter wheels, and a titanium exhaust system. Unfortunately, the new M4 is pretty heavy, to begin with, so the coupe ends up at 1625 kg / 3582 lbs.
All about weight and traction
Under the hood is still the 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-6, which has been tuned to 543 hp (550 PS), 40 more than a regular M4 Competition, mainly done by increasing the turbo boost to a massive 30.5 psi. All 1000 examples of the CSL will have the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and there’s no AWD option for obvious reasons. The official 0 to 60 mph time is 3.6 seconds and BMW limits the top speed to 191 mph (307 km/h).
AWD would obviously have made the M4 faster, but then you wouldn’t have a rival to the Porsche 911 GT3. This car has always been the benchmark for a track car that can be used daily, and its technology stands out even against this mighty BMW.
The GT3 uses a naturally-aspirated engine, unlike normal versions of the 911. This 4.0-liter flat-6 is a work of Stuttgart art, making 502 hp (510 PS). Because it’s not turbocharged, the GT is way down on torque compared to the CSL, but Porsches have always had an ace up their sleeve. Because the engine sits right over the rear tires, traction is amazing, plus it only weighs 3,164 lbs with PDK.
So what exactly happens in this drag race? Well, exactly like all its predecessors, the new GT3 is faster than the equivalent BMW. Carwow’s did more attempts at launching than ever but could never get the M4 CSL to hook up off the line. And if you look closely, it’s never catching up despite the extra power.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the 911 GT3 is so popular with rich buyers looking for a car to enjoy over the summer. Even though it costs $162,450 compared to the $140,895 of the M4 CSL, there’s just something special here that goes way beyond drag racing. Plus, you can get the Porsche with a manual, like Adam LZ had on his GT3 which was unfortunately crashed about a week ago.