Manual gearbox kit offered for BMW M3 CSL

BMW M3 CSL

The 2003 BMW M3 CSL is rightly lauded as one of the greatest M-cars of all time. However, its brutal SMG automatic gearbox – which offers sequential manual shifts via the lever or steering wheel paddles – has always split opinion.

For some, it amplifies the raw ‘DTM racer for the road’ experience. For others, it spoils the car. 

If you fall into the latter camp, help is at hand. Everything M3s, a BMW specialist based in Banbury, is offering a manual gearbox conversion kit for the CSL. For £3,500, it could make the best M3 (discuss) even better.

The aftermarket kit uses 180 genuine BMW parts, replacing the electrohydraulic element of the transmission with a traditional clutch pedal and gear lever.

After the SMG gearbox is removed from the car, a self-centering shift mechanism is added, followed by a new clutch and flywheel. The engine management ECU is also reprogrammed. 

Everything M3s says the whole process takes ‘a matter of days’ and ‘while there is a waiting list for the conversion, lead times are reasonable’.

Protecting your investment

BMW M3 CSL

Importantly for a classic that has soared in value in recent years, the conversion is fully reversible. The original parts can be retained and the car returned to standard spec – protecting the value of your investment

Everything M3s is owned by ex-Formula 1 engineer, Darragh Doyle. Speaking about the conversion, he said: “While we appreciate every iteration of M3, I was annoyed that the CSL – in my opinion the best of the best – never had a manual gearbox, so I decided to engineer my own.

“It is easier to live with in traffic and around town, while giving total control on a racetrack. A manual M3 CSL is the car that BMW should have always built.”

I sampled the E46 for our Retro Road Test and came away shaken and stirred. Here’s a snippet from the review, which you can read in full on Motoring Research.

‘Around town, it feels like a caged animal, the ageing SMG ’box venting its frustration with occasionally clunky shifts.

‘All of that is soon forgotten once you find the right road, though. With no turbo to spool up, throttle response is instant, the engine exploding to 8,000rpm, the gearbox banging each ratio home by brute force.

‘For all its straight-line performance, it’s the CSL’s handling that elevates it to legend status. The last car I drove that felt so tied-down yet adjustable was a Porsche Cayman GT4. High praise indeed for a BMW first launched in 2003.’

ALSO READ:

Bespoke Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by Ian Callum revealed in full

Coolest cars of all time: the people’s vote

New Autoglym Reflow allows damaged paint to ‘self-heal’

Related Articles

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Discover

Latest

Rare Ferrari racer becomes most expensive car sold in online auction

The Prodrive-built 2001 550 GT1 set the new record as part of the 2020 RM Sotheby’s Shift / Monterey online auction event

BMW Garmisch: the reborn Gandini concept that predicted the future

Marcello Gandini's 1970 Garmisch concept seemed to be lost forever. Until BMW decided to recreate it in 2019...

The 10 worst Ferraris ever made

Not even Maranello is perfect all the time – as this list of Ferrari fails shows

Colin Chapman’s Esprit ‘company car’ to be restored by Lotus

A Lotus Turbo Esprit owned by company founder Colin Chapman – and driven by British PM Margaret Thatcher – is being restored to its former glory.

Bespoke Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by Ian Callum revealed in full

Car design guru Ian Callum has given the Aston Martin Vanquish a modern makeover, with sharper handling, plenty of carbon and Apple CarPlay.