Currently reading: New conversion kit adds manual gearbox to E46 BMW M3 CSL
Owners of the lightweight coupe can now swap original SMG automatic for six-speed manual

Oxfordshire-based BMW specialist Everything M3s has launched a manual gearbox conversion kit for the E46 M3 CSL, replacing the much-maligned SMG automatic system with a six-speed shifter. 

The CSL (Coupé Sport Lightweight) was a limited edition version of the third-generation M3, which shed 110kg over the standard car with the use of plastic and carbonfibre body panels, a fibre-board boot floor, reduced sound insulation and reduced interior equipment. 

It’s commonly regarded as one of the most capable sports cars BMW has ever produced, but hampered by the poor performance of its six-speed SMG automatic gearbox.

Everything M3s’ conversion kit - which we tested last year (watch the video below) - replaces the electrohydraulic system with the standard M3’s more conventional six-speed manual ‘box and clutch set-up. 

Using 180 genuine BMW parts, the Banbury firm can swap over the two systems and recode the car’s engine management system in “a matter of days”. It claims the entire process is reversible, and gives the original components back to the customer to allow for restoration to the factory-fitted SMG system. 

Prices for the conversion begin at £3500, and although just 1383 CSLs were produced in 2004, Everything M3s claims to already have a waiting list. 

The firm’s founder Darragh Doyle, an ex-Formula 1 mechanic, said: “While we appreciate every iteration of M3, I was annoyed that the CSL - in my opinion the best of the best - never had a manual gearbox, so I decided to engineer my own.

“It is easier to live with in traffic and around town, while giving total control on a racetrack. A manual M3 CSL is the car that BMW should have always built.”

Read more

Matt Prior: The one thing missing from the M3 CSL? A manual gearbox​

Autocar Heroes: BMW E30 M3 vs M3 CSL vs M2 Competition - what's the best M Car ever?​

Best of Bavaria: Greatest cars from BMW M and Alpina​


Read our review

Car review

You’d imagine that a higher roofline and four doors would hinder the BMW M3 saloon’s capabilities compared to the M4, but you'd be wrong

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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Peter Cavellini 30 July 2020

Nothing new.

A year ago at least I watched an episode of Wheeler dealers, this series was based in America,and one of the cars they worked on was an M3 with the Robo box, turns out that you can remove the robot bit of the box and turn it into a manual,and along with a reprogram of the cars brain, it went like stink, saying this is how the car should've been all along.

cambuster 30 July 2020

Try as I have .............

........... I've never been a fan of automatic gearboxes. From "auto-shift-manual", through "dual clutch" and "CVT" and including the traditional torque convertor "slush matics" they in my experience always lack the ultimate control provided by a manual. In addition to the power-sapping, increased fuel consumption, and occasional gear selection confusions, they often prove (especially as the number of speeds increase) to lack the durability of a manual transmission (Japan, incl Aisin Warner, appear to make the most trouble free autos), and be extraordinarily expensive to repair. While they are  promoted for their now lightening speed changes I remain unconvinced that they can take that acceleration punishment.

Having said that Ford seem to have made a massive yet basic error in putting a Getrag box in the current 5.0L Mustang manual, it ripping it's syncros, but that's something of unique occurence these days.