So in 1971, BMW Motorsport (eventually known simply as “M”) went to work on a race version of the car, which by then was called the 3.0CS, as the stock engine had grown to 2986cc.
Taking the 3-liter inline-6, BMW set about making more power, by boring it out to 3003cc but also making the car lighter. BMW’s Motorsport division used thinner steel in the body panels, aluminum doors and hood, and synthetic windows. It was called the 3.0CSL, with the “L” standing for “leicht/light.”
With the new displacement, the car was qualified to race in the 3+ liter class of international sports car racing. It also meant the engine could continue to grow. In 1973, it was further enlarged to 3153cc, and the car was then fitted with crucial aerodynamic parts, like the two spoilers and front air dam. These parts earned it the nickname “Batmobile.”
The car dominated, winning the German Touring Car Championship in 1973, and owning the European Touring Championship from 1975 to 1975. The road version of the car is one of the most sought-after by collectors, and the race version of something of a motorsport god.
So when BMW unleashed a Motorsport version of the concept that honors this vaunted racecar, there’s a reason BMW fans freak out. They look right through the big wings, and aerodynamic body work, and see the iconic lines of the “Batmobile” beneath it. It certainly gave me chills.
The BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage R will appear live at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend.