Overview of the Turner Motorsport CSL Style Intake

I decided to run a CSL style carbon fiber intake on my track E46 M3 to see if I can squeeze more horespower. Let’s be honest though, the looks and sound is probably half the reason why most of us justify the cost – including me. However, it’s easier to justify a CSL intake now because Turner Motorsport have developed their own version of the CSL intake.

The price? It’s very reasonable considering competitors. They have an intake-only option for $1,499, but they are also providing kit options starting at $1,999.95.

Summary

  • The Turner Motorsport CSL Intake (w/ supporting mods) made a solid +54.23 whp and +17.84 wtq over stock.
  • Bare minimum cost to fully convert into CSL intake is around $2,530 for 6MT; around $2,690 for SMG.
  • Carbon fiber quality is great, however weave pattern runs opposite of authentic CSL.
  • Initial production batch comes with weak epoxy points for hose connectors.

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Turner Motorsport CSL Style Intake

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Unboxing the Turner Motorsport CSL Style Intake

ECS has an intake line designed in house which is produced under the name Kohlefaser Luft-Technik however the Turner CSL Intake is not the same. When I received the package I was honestly surprised how small the box was. When I opened it up, I noticed there wasn’t a lot of side padding for protections so I held my breath hoping nothing got damaged.

⚠️ Edit 6/17/2020: A representative from Turner reached out to me and confirmed these are not "white label" but developed in-house by the Turner engineering team with many hours going into the R&D. Their trumpet design is in fact different than the OE CSL box and designed to produce more airflow.

I did a full inspection and luckily nothing was damaged! All breather hose valves, IAT bungs and overall structure of the intake was nice and clean. By the time I publish this article I will probably already have notified them of the packaging recommendations. I would hate to receive this intake damaged. However I do want to point out, as I did in the DIY guide, the epoxy for the lower breather tube that connects to the ICV is weak and it actually detached while I was installing the hose. This is something I’m sure they’ll improve for later production runs.

The entire carbon fiber structure of the intake is composed of two parts: intake body and inlet. The trumpets on the intake body appear very nice and is a 1-piece mold part of the entire intake body.

I also noticed the carbon fiber weave is going a different direction than the OEM CSL airbox. You probably won’t have noticed it and it’s not a big deal to me, but just something I noticed.

Turner Motorsport CSL Style Intake Review and Install DIY - E46 M3
Turner Motorsport CSL Style Intake Review and Install DIY - E46 M3
Turner Motorsport CSL Style Intake Review and Install DIY - E46 M3

Dyno Testing

⚠️ Update 8/17/2020: A lot of people seem to be in shock from the dyno results and I suspect some people are selectively reading this article. So for those that want extra clear cliff notes, here they are:

  1. “No way it’s 52 whp gain!” – Yes way. The comparison is against a completely bone stock car – not just a stock intake. Read the dyno chart please. I have notes contained at the bottom to compare all my historical dyno results. I’ve dyno’d my car there for a very long time now so I have data on a lot of different setups. Again, please read.
  2. “Dyno numbers are way too high!” – Dyno numbers are subjective. There are too many variables with different types of dynos and they all read a little or a lot differently. Even the same dyno/model can read a little differently. The point here is, I eliminated the variable as much as possible by testing on the same dyno. Same car, same altitude, similar temps. If the CSL airbox dyno results seem high, then compare it against the other setup results. The other results are “high” as well. So what does that mean? As long as it’s an apples to apples comparison on the same dyno and car, the delta difference is what you need to look at. Again, I detailed this in the article and I’m not sure why there is so much confusion.
  3. “OMG. He must have some secret mods.” – No. I’m simply running an OEM CSL tune, Turner Motorsport airbox, headers, BW exhaust. No cams. No crazy engine internals. If you’re seriously doubting these results, go ahead and call EAS and tell them your story on dyno numbers.

Just as we do for all of our dyno tunes and testing, we went to European Auto Source in Anaheim, CA to run the dyno. We have historical data with our previous setups, so we can benchmark the data with stock and other modified setups. In the dyno chart below, we compare 5 different runs – all from the same car. Keep in mind these tests were not done all on the same day, so there are minor factors that come into play such as varying temperature, humidity, engine health, exhaust setups, etc.

Setups Tested

Details on the supporting parts are outlined in the bottom of the dyno chart e.g. Stock (91 octane) run is on catted headers, RE exhaust, stock intake.

  1. Stock (91 octane)
  2. Catless + B-Spec Tune (91 octane)
  3. Catless + B-Spec Tune + Eventuri intake (91 octane)
  4. Catless + MSS54HP CSL + CSL intake (91 octane)
  5. Catless + MSS54HP CSL + CSL intake (~E35 blend)

Gains Comparison vs Catless + MSS54HP CSL + CSL Intake (91 Octane)

Comparison is against the 91 octane run since for us in CA this simulates a more realistic scenario as we don’t have 93 octane at the pump. 93 octane testing was done for additional insights.

Setup WHP WHP Gain Δ WTQ WTQ Gain Δ
Stock (91 octane) 286.37 54.23 19% 245.43 17.84 7%
Catless + B-Spec Tune (91 octane) 315.01 25.59 8% 247.33 15.94 6%
Catless + B-Spec Tune + Eventuri intake (91 octane) 321.17 19.43 6% 246.23 17.04 7%

Parts List & Cost

The table below is a full parts list to do the Turner Motorsport CSL Intake conversion. Again, this is a full parts list. If you read the DIY article we put out, you’ll find out exactly what I did and did not use. You don’t need to buy everything in the parts list.

Quantity Item Price Link
1 CSL Style Intake – Gloss  $1,499.95 View Product
1 CSL Style Intake – Matte  $1,499.95 View Product
1 CSL Vent Valve Bracket  $41.00 View Product
2 Washer  N/A View Product
1 Hex Bolt  $1.05 View Product
2 Hex Nut  $0.99 View Product
1 CSL Air Shut Off Valve  $111.95 View Product
1 CSL Air Filter  $149.95 View Product
1 S54 Silicone Throttle Body Boot Set  $109.95 View Product
1 Turner Plug-And-Play IAT Relocation Kit  $117.90 View Product
1 CSL IAT Sensor  $26.95 View Product

Additional for SMG

1 CSL SMG Expansion Tank Bracket  $29.95 View Product
1 CSL SMG Expansion Tank  $128.95 View Product

Optional

1 CSL Dipstick Tube  $89.95 View Product
1 CSL Oil Dipstick  $32.95 View Product

Along with the parts you need to buy for the CSL airbox, you also need to figure out your ECU and Alpha-N/MAP sensor setup. That is not baked into the parts list cost.

MSS54HP ECU

The earlier E46 M3 models came with an MSS54 ECU while the later models came with an updated MSS54HP ECU. In order to run the CSL tune, you need the MSS54HP ECU. There are various shops that can make the conversion to MSS54HP ECU such as Kassel Performance. If you want a custom tune, well that’s going to be more.

MAP Sensor

What is a MAP Sensor? Well we did an article for that and you can take a read on our Wire MAP and IAT Sensor for MSS54HP CSL ECU DIY guide first. TLDR: If you want to run a CSL box you have two options 1. Alpha-N or 2. MAP sensor. The following chart below is under the assumption of a MAP sensor with a MSS54 non-HP ECU conversion.

Quantity Item Price
1 MSS54HP CSL ECU (Kassel)  $     460.00
1 BMW E46 M3 S54 CSL MAP Sensor Conversion Kit  $     235.00

Alpha-N

If you don’t want to do the MAP sensor route, you can choose Alpha-N tuning. These are hard coded values your engine uses to calculate load. Since it does not have a MAP sensor to calculate air mass, it uses throttle position and RPM to calculate load. There is a lot of debate for MAP vs Alpha-N, but the best way to go is using a MAP sensor since it can calculate dynamic changes in the environment e.g. higher elevation conditions where there is less oxygen. This is especially important in areas/tracks that experience large temperature fluctuations within a span of hours. Alpha-N requires custom tuning and is usually more than the price of a MAP kit.

Turner Motorsport CSL Intake DIY

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Final Thoughts

So there you have it. A look at the Turner Motorsport CSL Intake with comprehensive dyno testing. Let me know in the comments below on what you think of this kit and whether or not you would consider buying this.

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Summary

At a final cost of around $2,500 (minimum), it is a lot of money to get more power, but the Turner Motorsport CSL Intake does make significant power for the S54 NA motor. And I didn’t even talk about the acoustics. Turner have claimed some bold statements, but after seeing the product first hand and dyno testing, they’ve certainly backed their claims. If you’re serious about NA power and shopping for CSL boxes, I would highly recommend you get this product.