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    GT3 vs CSL

    During this weekend I had the pleasure of driving the 03 GT3 Clubsport on the road and both the CSL and old GT3 Clubsport on a closed airfield circuit with timed laps.

    I have to start a bit brutally: the CSL is not even in the same league as a GT3!
    Visually it's more purposeful than an M3 and way more aggressive, it has presence.But compared to a GT3(old or new) it just pales...

    As soon as you get into the car you notice that the buckets are good, but fail to get you sucked into the car as the GT3s,
    they are surely less comfortable.The details are fantastic inside and out, and this is its strongest point:where the GT3 feels well engineered the CSL looks well engineered.
    turn the key and the other positive surprise: the engine barks into life quite menacingly, there is a lot of raspy induction noise, and the great achievement is that the sound is better inside the car than outside.
    Through the handling course with M-track mode turned on, the car behaves pretty neutrally, with a slightly oversteery balance and no sign of understeer and loads of grip.
    The problem is that all this grip isn't easily accessible because, although better than a stock M3, the steering is not very feelsome and also pretty light, this, coupled with a very effective but not involving sequential gearbox gives you a detached feel for what is happening on the road.
    There is also noticeable roll on the car, and this really surprised me, because it feels substantially firmer than a stock M3.But on the handling course you had to adjust to the fact that there really was a good dose of body movement when challenging its chassis.
    The engine though is a real beauty, it probably isn't that much quicker than a stock M3 and I think that in a straight line it wouldn't pull away from a 360hp GT3(let alone a 03 which is extremely quicker).But inside the cabin you get one of the nicest and more involving noises ever heard on a production vehicle, without it being very loud from outside.

    The GT3 (for coherence purposes I'll talk about the old one now, driven in the airfield circuit right after the CSL) is a very different beast.As a note I have to mention that this example had the Corsa tyres fitted and was a Clubsport spec car.
    You don't have frills in this car, no gimmicks or gadgets or nice carbonfibre to look at.Everything is functional to one thing: delivering the best handling experience possible.
    The weight of the controls lets the game away right from the off, the clutch is heavy, the steering although not very heavy(I found the one on the 03 GT3 to be a bit heavier, probably due to the 235 front tyres) is heaps more substantial than the CSL.
    As you start the car and enter the handling course you feel right away that the car is way stiffer, not only due to dampers and spring firmness, but from overall more structural rigidity.
    The engine doesn't sing as Munich's in line six, but has it covered on performance front, and as you get to the twisty bits you find you have a helm in your hands that comunicates everything, it tells you what is happening to the tyres, to the road,and also the seat of your pants is being given loads of information through those wondeful buckets.
    There is very little roll and the car is sharper and more planted than it's BMW rival, making it more alert, but also less immediate.You have to know how to interpret the tons of information it is giving you, knowing that if you do so correctly you will be going at a pace that very little with 4 wheels is able to match.

    So, is the CSL a bad car: absolutely not, it is a nice step forward from the M3 and a thrilling ride, it lacks a bit of depth to the experience.
    Can the CSL be a GT3 contender: to a true track enthusiast absolutely not.

    Sorry for the length of the post, but I think these two cars deserve a 360 degree comparison.

    Ciao a tutti!

    Thank you for the report Luigi!!! (nt)


    Excellent Report!

    Re: GT3 vs CSL

    wow, thank you very much luigi -- great, intersting report!!

    regarding the CSL: IMO BMW was not very consistant -- carbon roof, carbon in the cabin, no foglights, nice alcantara recaros, hard dampers, A/C optional... this really sounds like a pure street and track racer. but why no optional roll cage? why rear seats? from what i've heard this car is much to stiff to carry your kids around... and i'm disappointed about the straight line performance. autocar (UK) compared it with the standard M3 and it was actually a little bit slower from 0-100 mph (if i remember it right, that is). IMO the M GmbH has taken the in line 6 really to the edge. no improvement possible any more.

    Re: GT3 vs CSL

    During this weekend I had the pleasure of driving the 03 GT3 Clubsport on the road and both the CSL and old GT3 Clubsport on a closed airfield circuit with timed laps.

    Thank you for your report. I found it very interesting, except for one omission. What were the lap times for each car?

    Greg A

    Re: GT3 vs CSL

    GT3 360hp: 45.1 secs

    CSL: 47.85

    Me at the wheel back to back in same condition.

    Re: GT3 vs CSL

    Great post!

    Re: GT3 vs CSL


    Have you driven a Challenge Stradale? I am interested how it compares to the GT3.

    Excellent report by the way!


    Re: GT3 vs CSL

    Great report Luigi. Now it would be nice if you tell us the dif. between those two cars and your Modena, engine sound, handling and so on.


    Re: GT3 vs CSL

    Autocar in the Uk today published their Performance car of the year article that rated the 360CS as overall winner.

    Others in the test were the GT3 which came second, CSL 3rd, Noble, Caterham R500 SL55 and Pagani.

    The most interesting part of the article was with regards to the 0-60 and 0-100 times and the differance in wet and dry lap times

    360CS 0-30 2.3 0-60 5.3
    GT3 0-30 1.7 0-60 4.5
    CSL 0-30 2.0 0-60 4.8

    There are lots of facts and figures so if you can I would suggest getting a copy.

    One thing though, if a 360CS is Pounds60K more than a GT3 how much better would the GT3 than the 360CS with Pounds60K spent on it?

    Just a though



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