My personal icon: BMW M3 CSL, CAR+ November 2015 | CAR Magazine

My personal icon: BMW M3 CSL, CAR+ November 2015

Published: 24 October 2015 Updated: 27 October 2015

► Andrew Wolton’s personal icon
► BMW M3 CSL rapidly appreciating
► Examples soaring past £50k 

‘I’m by no means a lifelong BMW fan. I’d had a couple of Lotus Elises and I wanted something faster, to help me develop as a driver. I had a budget in mind and was flicking through the classifieds when the CSL jumped out at me. I did a a little more reading and warmed to the idea – the CSL had some very positive press reviews, and what really swung it for me was the performance for the money. At the time a lot of magazines were comparing the BMW M3 CSL to the Porsche 996 911 GT3 RS, with the BMW holding its own while being a third less expensive to run. I bought my current example for about £29k.’

‘It’s fantastic to drive. The SMG gearbox came in for a fair bit of criticism, and there’s no doubt it feels crude compared to the latest dual-clutch transmissions, but I’ve never had a problem with it, and I think the fast, hard upshifts suit the car’s character and sense of occasion. It also gives the car real versatility. I went to the British GP a couple of years ago, picking a friend up on the way down, and we just cruised to Silverstone with the transmission in automatic. On the way back, inspired by the F1 drivers, we went a bit quicker, and with the noise and the furious acceleration, my friend couldn’t believe it was the same car! CSLs are great on track too. This is my second CSL and I did a few trackdays in the first one, including a trip to the Nurburgring. It’s a really confidence inspiring track car; quick but neutral and friendly at the limit.’

‘Values are soaring. Immaculate examples are going for £60k. But I won’t be selling mine any time soon. What would I replace it with? I love the way it blends in like a 3-series, but when you’re in the mood it’s visceral and alive. BMW described it as a 110% car – they pushed every aspect of the M3 another 10% – and for me that’s how it feels.’

Andrew Wolton doesn't plan on selling his example any time soon