More power, less weight for limited edition BMW M3 CS


BMW has turned the dial on the M3 sedan up to 11 with the introduction of a new Competition Sport version. BMW describes cars with the CS moniker as “exclusive M models equally at home on road and track” which means extra power, extra performance, extra carbon fiber, extra handling, and extra cost, of course.

The familiar S58 three-liter TwinPower turbo straight six motor gains 40-hp over the M3 Competition thanks to increased boost and tweaks to the engine management software. The internals are unchanged, but were designed sufficiently tough to handle the power hike, with a rigid, sleeveless closed-deck crankcase, a forged lightweight crankshaft, and a cylinder head with a 3D-printed core for optimal cooling. This powerhouse produces a total of 543 hp from 6250 rpm to its 7200 rpm redline, and a 479-lbft rush of torque is available from 2750rpm to 5950rpm. Sitting on revised, rigid engine mounts the CS is said to have an even sharper throttle response, while a dual-branch exhaust with a titanium silencer saves a little weight and adds to the aural excitement.

Like its lesser M3 siblings the CS utilizes an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and drives all four wheels through its M xDrive system. By default the setup is rear-biased but a fully-variable Active M Differential ensures the power always goes to the wheels that will handle it best. Hard launch the CS at it will hit 60 mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds, and all CS models get The M Driver’s Package lifting the top speed limiter to 188 mph.

The car’s suspension hardware is unchanged over the Competition, but rewriting a few lines of code (it’s more complex than that!—Ed) provides a unique tune for the DSC system, M Dynamic driving mode and the tuning of the electronic dampers. The power steering and braking also get a little fettling for the increased demands of CS spec.

M Compound brakes are standard, but drivers can opt for carbon ceramic units to sit behind the 19-inch front and 20-inch V-spoke alloy wheels. Buyers can pick Gold Bronze or matte black rims and choose calipers in black, red or gold. Track-focused Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires are a no-cost option.

BMW’s carbon fiber fabricators have been kept busy in a bid to shave a few pounds. The roof is carbon, the hood is carbon and so are the front splitter, air intakes, mirror caps, rear diffuser and rear spoiler. Move inside and you’ll find the same material used for interior trim, shift paddles and M Carbon bucket seats. Throw in the savings from the titanium silencer and the CS tips the scales 75 pounds lighter than the Competition. That said, at 3915-lbs total, it’s hardly a lightweight. Look back to the E46 M3 CSL and it was more than 200 lbs lighter than the standard car. Progress, eh?

As the pounds have piled on in the intervening years so have the dollars. The M3 CS will cost $119,695 including destination charges. U.S. production begins in 2023, but exactly how many will be built still remains a mystery.

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