BMW M5 (E60) CSL: Ever heard of this one-off?

Ever heard of the BMW M5 CSL? In 2009, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the M5, BMW showed a very special E60 that could have done more. The one-off was not officially called the M5 CSL, but the ingredients alone – more power, less weight – sound like CSL. In addition, former BMW M boss Albert Biermann (now retired) is said to have said at the time that the anniversary model was the M5 CSL, which BMW never built. BMW M has now published a video in which the single piece is discussed for the first time!

OBD adapter

Carly adapter and Carly app

Order the Carly adapter now and save 15% with the discount code AUTOBILD!

Fault diagnosis, coding and used car check: Take back control of your car with the OBD adapter for Android and iOS!

In co-operation with

Carly logo

For the 25th anniversary of the M5, BMW wanted to show what the power sedan was made of. The problem: The E60 series was about to be replaced by its successor. The development of the M5 F10 presented in 2010 was already in full swing. Nevertheless, four years after the market launch of the M5 E60, the engineers wanted to demonstrate what would still have been possible.
The M5 E60 was built between 2005 and 2010. From 2007, the E61 was the second M5 (after the E34) to also be offered as a Touring. In total, over 19,500 M5 sedans and a good 1000 M5 Touring were sold. The highlight of the series is undoubtedly the 5.0-liter V10 naturally aspirated engine (engine code S85). With 507 hp and a maximum speed of 8250 rpm, the M5 was not only one of the most powerful sedans on the market, but also one of the most emotional cars ever.
A naturally aspirated V10 in a midsize sedan? Today unthinkable! Unfortunately, the M5 E60 does not have a good reputation as a used car. There are enough horror stories of connecting rod bearing damage, defective SMG gears and electronic problems. But that is only half the truth: the M5 E60/E61 and the M6 ​​E63 certainly have engine problems, but these are often due to a lack of maintenance and/or improper use such as insufficient warm-up.

Used BMW M5 with warranty

But back to the M5 with the code name CSL: For the 25-year special model, BMW has bored out the legendary S85 engine from 5.0 to 5.7 liters and given the V10 a specially made carbon intake. In addition, the maximum speed has been increased from 8250 rpm to almost 9000 rpm. A larger oil cooler was installed to supply the naturally aspirated engine with more air. As a result, the engineers quickly converted the front license plate recess into an additional air intake and simply mounted the sheet metal offset to the side. Instead of the standard 507 hp, the one-off should have released 630 hp to the rear wheels, according to BMW.

BMW M5 CSL (E60) 25 Years Edition

The additional air inlet is not exactly elegantly embedded in the apron, but it serves its purpose.

But that was not all, in order to reduce the weight of the E60 sedan, which is not exactly light at 1855 kilos, the Munich company decided on a carbon roof. While the M6 ​​(E63) and M3 (E92) were delivered with such a roof as standard at the time, this special component was denied to the M5 until this unique special model. In addition, the standard seats were swapped for Recaro bucket seats and the rear seat bench was thrown out, so that a total of almost 50 kilos could be saved.

M5 CSL with DKG instead of SMG

The real highlight of the M5 CSL is the transmission. In 2005, the M5 and M6 were presented with the latest version of the SMG gearbox (SMG III). This is an automated manual transmission – long before the first dual clutch transmissions were installed in production vehicles. While the SMG inspires its fans at the fastest shifting speed under full load with brutal shifting processes, it can get on your nerves in stop-and-go traffic or when maneuvering with delayed response and hard-to-control traction.
BMW M5 CSL (E60) 25 Years Edition

Hardly any changes in the cockpit: the BMW logo on the steering wheel is black and white.

In addition, the gearbox has some problems with age, which sometimes result in expensive repairs. At the time, however, customers had no choice: in Europe, the M5 and M6 were only offered with SMG, while the privilege of a classic six-speed manual transmission was reserved exclusively for US customers.

0-100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds

Why am I going so far now? Quite simply, in the special model shown in 2009, the SMG III transmission was quickly replaced by the seven-speed double clutch (M-DKG) developed by Getrag from the M3 E92. The advantages are obvious: even faster gear changes, a significant increase in comfort and a significantly less vulnerable DCT.

In the BMW V10 scene there have always been projects in which the SMG gearbox is replaced by a DCT, but this conversion involves extreme effort and high costs. The M5 CSL is said to be able to accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds (series 4.7 seconds) and to have circled the Nordschleife around 20 seconds faster than the normal M5 E60.
BMW M5 CSL (E60) 25 Years Edition

With an unconfirmed lap time of 7:52 minutes, the M5 CSL would be just as quick as the M3 CSL on the Nordschleige.

Visually, the E60, with its striking M stripes in the 3.0 CSL look and 25 years of BMW M5 lettering, remains standard, apart from the additional air intake. Now you may be wondering why BMW put so much effort into a vehicle that was planned as a one-off from the start. Why didn’t the extra strong, lighter M5 with the fast M-DKG come onto the market at least as a small series?

In 2009 the M5 25th Anniversary was presented

Ultimately, only those responsible at the time know the answer to this, but the most plausible explanation seems to be that the E60 series had already passed its zenith at this point. The development of the successor was already in full swing. The F10 M5 was launched in 2011. With a 4.4-liter V8 biturbo (S63) and 560 hp (later even up to 600 hp), it was a whole lot faster, but also significantly less emotional due to the change from the V10 naturally aspirated engine to the V8 biturbo.
In retrospect, a special edition like the M5 CSL would certainly have found buyers as a last hurray for the E60 and would be even more desirable today than the 25-piece limited special M5 25th Anniversary, which was unveiled in 2009 and launched in 2010. Apart from special door sills, the paintwork in “Frozen Gray” and a two-tone leather interior, this anniversary model did not come up with any technical changes. Incidentally, the M5 E60 was not the only CSL one-off!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button