The F80 M3 and F82 M4 have been around for a while, but BMW and M division have done a good job of keeping things fresh as competition grows fiercer. Earlier this year, the German automaker revealed the beefed up M4 CS, slotting just above the M4 Competition Package. Today, BMW revealed the limited-run M3 CS, a lighter, more powerful and more capable version of the definitive compact sport sedan.
This car really isn’t that much of a surprise. Since the M4 CS was revealed, we’ve seen a few prototypes out and about. Most of the changes to the M4 CS were applied to the M3 CS. The new car will slot just above the M3 Competition Package, making it the most capable M3 currently on sale. The engine gets a new tune, but the real news is the weight savings and slight increase to aero.
Output from the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six is up to 453 horsepower and 443 pound-feet, up 28 hp and 37 lb-ft over the standard M3. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The transmission also comes with an oil cooler. The M3 CS hits 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 174 mph. IT gets an M sport exhaust system with stainless steel tips for improved sound and airflow.
In addition to the boost in power, the M3 CS sheds 110 pounds from the standard model thanks to extensive use of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, or CFRP. A CFRP front splitter, rear diffuser and rear Gurney flap help improve aero and lift. The hood and roof are also made of CFRP, reducing weight by about 25 percent relative to steel panels. It also helps lower the car’s center of gravity. Other weight-saving parts include forged light-alloy wheels, 19s up front and 20s out back. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires are standard.
The M3 CS comes standard with BMW’s Active M Suspension with Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. Each mode adjusts the car’s damper settings. The three modes also adjust the weight of the electrically assisted power steering. In addition to the suspension, the M3 CS comes with the Active M Differential. The limited-slip unit talks with the stability control system to measure the the accelerator position, rotational wheel speeds and yaw rates to determine the best and most efficient way to distribute torque. In M Dynamic Mode, the stability control allows for some rear-end slip allowing for “mild drifts.”
The rest of the chassis is generally the same as the M3 Competition Package. That means the M3 CS comes with a double-joint spring strut axle at the front and a five-link axle at the rear, and aluminum wheel carriers. The rear subframe is bolted rigidly to the body to keep things all in check. Like all M3s, carbon ceramic brakes are optional.
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