Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
2 minute read
1 Sep 2020
11:24 am

BMW M8 poised for hardcore CSL makeover with hybrid straight-six

Charl Bosch

Despite the signs of a mid-engine layout, the CSL's electrified powerunit won't mirror the configuration last used on the M1.

BMW M8 Competition

A hardcore possibly CSL badged version of the BMW M8 could be heading for production if a new report from Spain is to be believed.

Last year, M boss Markus Flasch hinted that the all-new M3 and M4, due out on the 23rd of this month, could breathe new life into not only the CS designation, but also the equally mythic CSL name with claimed outputs of 390 kW and 405 kW respectively. Although nothing has emerged since then, the spotting of a semi-camouflaged M8 at the Nürburgring towards the end of last month has ignited speculation that a CSL variant could well become a reality.

In publishing the images, also picked-up by, reports that the test mule will swap the 4.4-litre bi-turbo V8 engine for the same S58 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six as the M3 and M4, but with electrical assistance as indicated previously by Flasch, that will result in a reported output of 515 kW, a significant uptake over the 460 kW produced by the M8 Competition.

The spying of the mule has added intrigue of different kind though in that it featured a glass rear hatch and plastic louvered vents in place of the side windows, suggesting a possible mid-engine layout not seen on any BMW since the M1. However, despite this claim being backed-up by the disguised rear facia, states that this won’t be case as the faux panels are supposed to provide distraction to the hybrid powerunit.

In keeping with the CSL mantra, the M8 will make extensive use of carbon fibre and other lightweight materials in order to keep the kerb weight down, with a further possibility being the removal of the rear seats, a lightweight bonnet, new rear bumper with integrated diffuser, plus a new boot spoiler. Likely to be retained though are the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox and the xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

Based on the publication’s claims, the M8 CSL could potentially be unveiled in 2022, but before then, don’t be surprised if more details and complete images emerge via leaks or official teasers.

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