Enzo Ferrari remarked that “the client is not always right”. And as usual, the man who effectively founded a religion wasn’t wrong.
For certain car makers, it pays to be visionary and forthright, come what may. Keep an eye on trends but pander to nobody; don’t relent to popular opinion. Integrity is everything. Yet sometimes the enthusiast tail must be allowed to wag the dog. And BMW, despite attaining true pariah status with its recent styling attempts, understood this explicitly when dreaming up what toys it might build to celebrate 50 years of M.
One of those toys was the new M4 CSL coupé – a hardcore, ‘lightweight’ special wearing a three-letter tag only ever seen twice before, most recently on the E46 M3 CSL of 2003 and before that on the homologation-special 3.0 CSL of 1972, now priced in the stratosphere.
When it comes to pandering to petrolheads, reprising the CSL was the lowest of the low-hanging fruit. An easy, juicy win. And yet the M4 CSL is a collectors’ trinket. Limited to just 1000 examples, with six-figure pricing to match, it can be had only in a very narrow range of colours, with decals and no back seats. Warmed garages await.
Priced on par with the Porsche 911, the second of M’s birthday presents to itself is no peoples’ champion but is at least intended to be used, and the idea itself is even more special that of the new BMW M4 CS. An M3 Touring has been fermenting in the minds of Garching engineers (and, not to get too weepy, in the hearts of the rest of us) for 20 years. Now, it’s finally – finally – here.