The E46 BMW M3 CSL is one of the most revered M cars of all time. A track focused M3 with liberal use of the then exotic carbon fiber, the CSL pushed the limit of performance at the time while being incredibly engaging and rewarding. Unfortunately there was one major issue.

Bmw m3 csl

BMW engineers insisted on throwing every piece of technology they had at the car including the then new SMGII sequential manual transmission. While it made sense on paper given the slight performance edge over a manual, the SMG wasn’t nearly as satisfying. Having driven several M cars equipped with SMG I can attest to it only truly being a enjoyable transmission at 8/10s and above. Around town and in every day driving it is less than compelling.

So what to do? Swap it out for a manual. Carfection took a drive in one of the very first CSLs to undergo this surgery and (as expected) walked away utterly impressed. Check it out above.