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A CSL-Inspired E46 M3… & Cakes – Speedhunters



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How did we get talking about sweets? Well, before the shoot I had asked Hide-san what he likes to get up to in his M3, and one thing he said struck a chord: “Driving into the mountains to get anpan.”

Some of you might be wondering what in the world anpan is, so let me show you…

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Basically, anpan are little sweet breads filled with an azuki bean paste (like tiny kidney beans). At Ogipan, who have been operating near 50 years now, you’ll find a huge selection of fillings including pistachio, sweet potato and chestnuts.

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But the best laid plans often crumble. Hide-san and the lads ended up bypassing the anpan entirely in favour of curry agepan. These are deep fried sweet breads with a curry filling. Regardless though, it was well worth the drive.

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With our tummies full, we set off to find a place to take a closer look at Hide-san’s M3, because, as usual, the Ogipan carpark was packed.

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From the outside, it’s easy to see the CSL inspiration. The front of Hide-san’s car is sporting a Alsatek CSL replica carbon fiber front bumper, complete with the iconic single intake hole.

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Surrounding the M3-specific Gruppe M exhaust system is a Status Gruppe CSL-style rear diffuser. You might also notice a few stone chips here and there, and they’ve come about through all the track day action the car sees.

Hide-san started his automotive journey in an RPS13 Nissan 180SX, attending drift and gymkhana events as a college student. He made the jump to Euro cars when he had the chance to drive a friend’s E82 1M Coupe. Needless to say, Hide-san was impressed. He found himself a left-hand drive M3 and began building it up with a grip race focus.

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Sitting proudly above the quad-pipe noise-makers you’ll find an OEM CSL boot lid. A slap on the roof might leave you a little disappointed; that’s still good old steel, and not fancy carbon fibre like a real CSL. But don’t be too judgmental though, because you will find custom-widened rear arches.

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For Fuji Speedway lapping duties, Hiro-san has equipped his E46 with motorsport-spec Spirit coilovers, H&R sway bars, CSL camber arms and an OEM E46 330i ZHP quick ratio steering rack.

Being a man with unquestionable taste, Hide-san is also running RAYS Volk Racing TE37SAGA wheels in 18×10.5-inch at all four corners, wrapped up in Nankang CR-S semi-slicks. An Endless Mono6 brake upgrade up front ensures plenty of stopping power.

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CSL boot lids and bumpers, genuine or replica, find their way onto many E46 M3s, but they’re not what makes an M3 a CSL. There are a number of things which do, but primarily I would say it’s the 110kg (243lb) that BMW’s M division managed to shed from the stock M3’s mass. I mean it’s right there in the CSL name: Coupe, Sports, Lightweight.

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Fitting the carbon fibre roof is perhaps a bit of a stretch for Hide-san, as is sourcing some wafer-thin rear glass. But there are plenty of other things he’s done which tip this M3 closer to CSL spec.

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Inside, it’s very much ‘Mr. Dusseldorf takes a business trip to Hamburg’ comfortable, clinical and lavished with wood trim. But what really makes things special is that 6-speed manual shifter, something, to the lament of owners and motoring journalists alike, you won’t find in a real CSL.

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The Getrag 420G 6-speed is mated to the same S54 inline-six as the CSL via an OS Giken twin-plate clutch, but the engine internals remain as they came in the M3. Power gets to the rear via a BMW Motorsport 3.91 final drive gear and Cusco 2-way LSD.

The M3 motor does however get a bit of a nudge with the help of OEM CSL (DME) plus tuning, plus ‘M-Track’ mode. There’s also a Haimus Racing Tuning CSL air box, an OEM CSL air rail and OEM CSL MAP sensor, which all support better air flow and give the M3 a rather nasty-sounding (in a good way) induction note.

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They’re all subtle upgrades on their own, but together they give Hiro-san’s M3 a little more edge. They elevate it above fast executive coupe, and more in line with the track-focused CSL.

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The aggressive stance, improved handling and that spine-tingling intake noise make this CSL-inspired M3 an amazing daily driver and track day toy. Plus, you know if you get a hankering for anpan – or strudel for that matter – you can be at the bakery quicker than you can say Bavarian performance legend.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_
tobythyer.co.uk

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