Acronyms these days are everywhere. From text message speak through to product marketing and company names we’ve been bombarded by them now for years.

Having spent a small amount of my murky past in the tech industry, it’s fair to say that over there, they love them. So much so that they even became known as TLA’s. Three Letter Acronyms to be precise. How quaint. Computer memory is RAM, the processor is a CPU but to me the acronyms were always S.H.I.T.

Eventually what happened is instead of using the acronyms it all reverted to the main thing that the product did. CPU just became a processor, RAM became memory and everything else the marketing teams decided to condense down became ‘other stuff’. The only people who either knew or even cared about knowing what these stood for were the geeks and the nerds but even they had to admit that they lost their appeal shortly after they appeared.

Shortening things though has always been something that people appear to want to do. From the periodic table to corporate brands, they are to be found seemingly everywhere. We always do it but every now and then it is not only is a necessity but it leads to something very memorable.


3M came from Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, M&M was from Mars and Murrie’s surnames from the company founders and BMW condensed from Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works). And it is with BMW that we have the chance to add a further three letters that car people know of; C, S and L.

These three stand for coupe, sport and lightweight and to be fair, had they been added to the rear boot lid in full then the dimensions of the car might have needed widening. Or they would have needed to be written in full to the Batmobile variant that we will be featuring in the not too distant future.

But for now, here we have the 3.0l CSL in all its well-used glory.

Compared to the modern 3-series cars, this seems small in stature, flimsy almost, sitting on those small sized alloys surrounded by wide walled rubber, lightly flared arches and thin window pillars. But there is no getting away from the fact that it has a stance that angularly faces forward asking for you to get in and drive it.

Rude not to I guess.


Climbing in and the seats have a bouncy feel while the shelf-like dash offers you the basic information dials you need to know and care about. With it’s wooded veneer and that now very familiar BMW branded steering wheel looking back at you, the one thing that I have to admit is that one of the oldest BMW advertising slogans rings true here; this already feels like an ultimate driving machine.

Steering is weighted perfectly and the feedback precise and direct. The contact between the wheels and the road surface feeds back perfectly through the right place to let you know what is going on, namely, your arse is in perfect harmony with the chassis and the road.

The issue with so many cars today is that there are a myriad of systems between you and the road you’re driving over and the technological trickery that is aimed at making the car safer actually removes the driving pleasure. Without those things here, this car feels like I’ve just passed my test for the first time and the learner plates are off. I’m alive, the car is alive and best of all, the roads we’re finding are an absolute dream to be on.

Yes, the paintwork is in need of slight attention with some small bubbling starting to show and the go-faster stripes are fading but this is a car you can drive everyday and enjoy all the time. Having always been a fan of the larger sized car, I expected that this would not suit me as much as a later version M5 but I get this car and actually would prefer one to the M5 for everyday use.


As usual, the photographer has noticed a road and backdrop that he likes so directs us to drop the car into a road blocking situation which luckily doesn’t result in a pile up before we head back out onto the winding country roads in a circuit that ends up back where we started.

This is a very well sorted little car that makes sense as an everyday classic but enters another level when the thing you want to do, above all else, is just go for a drive. Too many times people are looking for the next ‘big’ thing in the classic market or an investment piece to be hidden away from view but just stop and remember what the car was created for. To be driven. And this thing loves it.

The more you push it the more it gives back to you in return even here on the bumbling countryside lanes in winter. What must it be like on a lazy summers day with the windows down and the smells of a warm breeze coming in to the cabin? Ticking itself cool outside the pub while you sit in a beer garden as the sun goes down? Now that is CAF* in my opinion.

For now though, time to take the car back to its owner. As with the more rare Batmobile road and track car CSL versions, many owners love them and wouldn’t part with them and I can see why. They have an effortless cool about them, a very familiar face and, unlike a boisterous Bavarian that I once declined a shin-kicking competition with on a night out in Frankfurt, the aggressive stance is to be admired.


So if I am to give in to any abbreviations or acronyms, I think I can do a lot worse than BMW CSL.

SUV for a start.

*CAF: Cool as fuck.