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While some used sports car sales regularly cross into the hundreds of Gs, the fourth-gen BMW 3 Series, or E46, does not. Sales tend to stay under the $50k range with exceptions on trim and condition bringing in closer to $100k. In November 2022, though, one E46 M3 CSL smirked at its own comps and sold out of RM Sotheby’s for more than €325,000 – or over $350k…why?

Floor modelesque M3 CSL comes out of museum glass

While studying recent E46 sales figures, I came across a wild outlier. Used BMW E46 M3 CSLs are special, of course, with only 1,383 produced and just 841 built with left-hand drive. They have a stripped-for-speed weight, beefed-up suspension and brakes, and were the first CFRP roof in a BMW M production car. $350k, though, might be the highest in recent history. I hopped into RM Sotheby’s listing and soon understood the big cha-ching.

An early production CSL built in July 2003, this one is in pristine condition. It apparently spent most of its life in a museum. With only 4,698 km, or 2,912 miles clocked, this CSL has been driven so little that RM Sotheby’s straight-up warns the winning bidder to have it inspected before taking it full throttle.

The listing was also rooted in Munich, the birthplace of all M3s. Considering this CSL was a museum piece, perhaps the consigner is connected to BMW directly?

Considering the average U.S. market sale of E46 M3s YTD has been well under $50k, a CSL showing up as it did and ringing the bell as it should is just dizzying, well, sanity.

Read more MotorBiscuit sports car content in our Sedans & Coupes section.

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s. Sales data source: