The CSL was first produced in May
1971 as a lightweight version of the six cylinder coupe
and to homologate for European Touring Car Group 2
It had thinner body panels, no front bumper,
fiberglass rear bumper, racing latches to the bonnet,
side windows made from Plexiglass and alloy-skinned
opening panels, all to aid in weight reduction.
Top speed was unaffected, but acceleration was predominantly faster. The suspension
was stiffened by Bilstein gas shockers with advanced progressive-rate springs.
Wheels were fat (17.8 cm) alloys with chrome wheel-arch extensions to keep them
legal. 169 were produced, and all with left-hand drive.
Originally the CSL was
fitted with a 2958cc carburetor version of the in-line six, in August of 1972
as slight bore increase to 3003cc allowed it to enter three-liter Group 2 competition.
Simultaneously the twin carburetors were replaced resulting in increased power.
539 of this model were made.
In October 1972 the British right hand drive version
was established and came with the "RHD City Package" to appeal to drivers that
desired the lightweight racer but also wanted comfort.
Much of the weight previously
stripped from earlier models was then put back. The British bought around 500 of these cars,
put off by its high price (at the time they were pricier than an Aston or Jensen), its easily damaged panels, its
bucket seats and the fact that it was fairly awkward getting in and out of. In
August 1973 the 3.2 liter (or "Batmobile") was released.
Left hand drive only, it housed a 3153cc 3.2 liter 206 bhp engine but was still
badged as a three liter. It had a weird-looking wing that apparently was intrinsic
to its success in the European Touring Car series; created in a Stuttgart
wind tunnel, the radical wing helped the CSL easily outpace competitive Capri's and cut lap times by a staggering 15
seconds at the Nurburgring
The last CSL's that were created in 1974-75 had minor differences like the three
wing rear batwing and an adjustable drivers headrest.