TGS talks to Ben Goh about the BMW M4 CSL : Light Speed

By davidkhoo, 28 February 2023

TGS talks to Ben Goh about the BMW M4 CSL : Light Speed

Performance Motors Limited, Singapore - Some nameplates get petrolheads in a tizzy, but among them, CSL is legendary to those ‘in-the-know’.

In fact, the automotive world is peppered with such ‘easter eggs’, which require some degree of anorak knowledge beyond that of a casual enthusiast to appreciate.

If you’re a big enough fan of M models, you’ll know that this G82 M4 CSL Coupe is only the third occasion BMW Motorsport GmbH has dusted-off the ‘CSL’ nameplate over the course of its storied 50-year history since its incorporation in 1972.

The first was the legendary E9 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ motorsports homologation special in 1973 and the second, the E46 M3 CSL in 2004.

However, we’re told that instead of the E46’s ‘Coupe Sport Leichtbau’, the CSL in the latest G82 iteration stands for ‘Competition Sport Leichtbau’, no doubt a nod to the M4 GT3 race-car from which it draws inspiration.

The G82 M4 CSL is a 1000-unit strong limited edition model made to celebrate BMW M’s 50th birthday.

At time of writing, we understand there’s just this single official unit in Singapore and as luck would have it, we managed to finagle a quick chat with its owner, Mr. Benjamin Goh – restaurateur, avid cyclist and a big petrolhead.

For as long as we’ve known Ben (from this author’s in-camp training days from over a decade ago), he’s always had a BMW M car.

In fact, his current garage of M models includes the F87 M2 CS, F82 M4 CS and the legendary E46 M3 CSL.

(Click HERE to read about our First Drive of the M2 CS)

However, other special models like the 1 Series M Coupe (or 1M for short) and the E92 M3 GTS have also passed through his hands.

(Click HERE to read about our drive of the 1M)

It’s clear Ben’s passion for the BMW M brand hasn’t changed, so let’s find out what he thinks about his new M4 CSL.

(Click HERE to read our First Drive of the G82 M4 CSL in our COTY2022)

TopGear Singapore (TGS) : Getting a M4 CSL is notoriously hard, what was your first reaction when you heard you scored an allocation for the M4 CSL?

Ben Goh (BG) : I’m super-happy to be allocated one of the 1000 units of the M4 CSL in the world.

I believe it is an honour and a privilege to be allocated the car.

At least my love for M over the years has been recognised by BMW Asia and for this, I really want to thank them.

TGS : What are some of your favourite details on the M4 CSL?

BG : When it comes to the CSL, two things are really special to me.

One has to do with its eyes, because the yellow DRLs are reminiscent of its race-cars in motorsports.

Also, if you look at the front, I already like the new look of the kidney grille, but the CSL also has front splitters that make the whole car a lot more aggressive than the normal M3 and M4.

Thanks to the titanium exhaust, the other great thing about the M4 CSL is its sound.

And with less sound absorption material, driving the CSL feels a lot more engaging, because of its evocative exhaust note.

TGS : You have an enviable collection of M models. What is it about BMW M that keeps you going back for more?

BG : As you know, BMW M has a famous slogan, ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ and I always tell people that the M cars through the years – from the E46 CSL till today – every model may be very different, but they have one thing in common: the engines.

BMW M makes fantastic engines and every M car is very well-engineered.

There are a lot of brands that just put parts together that aren’t well-integrated or as well-engineered, but for me BMW sticks to a philosophy that features well-integrated and very well-engineered machines.

TGS : What are some of your favourite M models of all time?

BG : The E46 M3 CSL is still my all-time favourite and I don’t think we’ll see any car in the future that can come close to it, which is also why so many petrolheads love the E46 M3 CSL so much too.

It isn’t fast (it has around 355 horsepower), but when you take it out and come to your first corner, you will fall in love with it.

The car is light (it’s around 1400 kilos) and in today’s context, it’s hard to find a car as lightweight, because of the additional safety and luxury features found in modern cars.

This sort of car will soon be extinct, so the E46 CSL will always remain in my garage and be my most-loved BMW.

TGS : Many things have changed and many brands have changed.

As a collector of older and more current M models, what about BMW M has stayed the same and what has changed?

BG : The M engine is a renowned high-revving engine that is very engaging. M engines are powerful and very reliable and considering some of my M cars are coming to 20 years old, I’ve never had a problem with the engines before – this is one thing BMW M has never changed.

At the same time, the driving dynamics for BMW M have remained the same, which is very important to me.

BMW M should never dilute the dynamics of its M cars and the M4 CSL proves the brand is still on-point as far as driver engagement is concerned.

Moreover, the M4 CSL will probably be one of the last great ICE performance machines and is just the sort of car that will become a collectible.

This is also why I will try to hold on to these BMW M cars for as long as possible.


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