News: Holy smoke, Batman! The BMW 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile' is back

3.0 CSL Hommage is a modern tribute to a classic racing coupé

BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage first pictures and details

EQUIPPED WITH wings big enough for a light aircraft and an engine and chassis designed to win races, the BMW 3.0 CSL was always bound to earn its “Batmobile” nickname when its most extreme version was launched in 1973.

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Now the German car maker is to pay tribute to one of its most coveted cars in the form of the modern-day BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage. The new car will be revealed officially on May 22 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, a classic car show held on the shore of Lake Como in northern Italy.

Until the dust sheet comes off the car, a single teaser picture has been issued of the 3.0 CSL Hommage – an approach that will doubtless leave a lot of car enthusiasts feeling as though they have an itch they can’t quite reach to scratch.

BMW says its chassis and body are built from carbon fibre and the interior is said to be “rigorously pared down” with only the bare essentials included for the driver. BMW is not yet revealing what engine, if any, sits beneath the bonnet.

The original, 1972 3.0 CSL (coupé sport leichtbau, or lightweight) took its name from the 3.0 CS on which it was based. BMW needed to create a racing version of its coupé that would win races in European touring car championships, beating its arch-rival, the Ford Capri. The first models came with a 3-litre straight-six engine.

The ultimate, 3.2-litre “Batmobile” incarnation was launched in 1973; a minimum of 100 had to be built and they had to have four seats in order to satisfy homologation requirements for the European touring car championship. In total 167 “Batmobiles” were built.

In Germany the outlandish rear wing was stored in the boot when cars were delivered to customers; authorities ruled that it was illegal for use on public roads.

Today the “Batmobile” model is highly sought after by collectors. BMW brought the CSL name back into  use for the M3 CSL in 2003 and could be considering creating a CSL version of the current M4.