The all-new BMW M3 CS is a prime example.
It brings even greater intensity to the racing allure that marks out the company’s successful high-performance models for the premium midsize segment.
An intelligent lightweight construction featuring a large number of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) components, plus increased engine power, a bespoke chassis setup, exclusive design features and a specification precision-honed to deliver an exhilarating performance experience on the track, combine with the functionality and everyday usability of the M3 Sedan.
The powertrain concept for the new M3 CS teams a 405 kW/550 hp six-cylinder in-line engine with an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and the M xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system. These combine to produce a 0 to 100kph time of 3.4 seconds and supreme driving talents that can be enjoyed from each of its four seats.
The new M3 CS will be built in a limited run at BMW Group Plant Munich from March 2023, with its phased launch getting under way the same month. The USA, Germany, the UK and Japan are the most important sales regions for the new special-edition model.
A more power/less weight formula instils the new M3 CS with compelling performance qualities and an exclusive aura. It draws its power from a specially upgraded version of the high-revving six-cylinder in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology developed for the M3 and M4 models. This 3.0-litre unit also forms the basis for the engine that powered the BMW M4 GT3 to the DTM touring car title at the first time of asking in 2022.
The engine under the bonnet of the new M3 CS therefore also boasts a wealth of technological details derived directly from the race-car unit. The unit’s considerable upgrade potential paved the way for a 30 kW/40 hp hike in peak output compared with the M3 Competition Sedan with M xDrive resulting in 405 kW/550 hp.
This increase in power was achieved courtesy of targeted revisions to the engine’s M TwinPower Turbo technology and required no concessions in terms of stability or durability. The adjustments primarily involved raising the maximum charge pressure of the two mono-scroll turbochargers from 1.7 to 2.1 bar and making some model-specific tweaks to the engine management.
In addition, a specially designed engine mounting with increased spring rates creates an extremely rigid connection between the power unit and the vehicle’s structure. A press of the accelerator is therefore greeted by even sharper engine response and direct transmission of its power to the drivetrain. The engine puts peak torque of 650Nm on tap from just 2,750 rpm and sustains it all the way to 5,950 rpm. It generates maximum output at 6,250 rpm and tops out at 7,200 rpm.
The unit’s specific performance characteristics are dominated by its unabated power delivery through to the upper rev range. This is accompanied by the emotionally stirring soundtrack produced by the dual-branch exhaust system featuring electrically controlled flaps, a titanium rear silencer with weight-minimising design and – in customary M fashion – two pairs of tailpipes painted in matt Black.
Selecting the SPORT or SPORT+ modes for the engine setting in the M Setup menu dials up the drive sound to produce a note with unmissable racing car undertones. This injects real aural drama into proceedings, particularly with gear changes and the accompanying adjustments in rev speed.
The drive torque unleashed by the engine in the new M3 CS is relayed via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. This is operated using either the M-specific selector lever on the centre console or the carbon-fibre shift paddles on the steering wheel. The driver can use the Drivelogic button integrated into the selector lever to alter the transmission’s shift characteristics, with the choice of comfort-oriented, sporty and track-optimised settings.
The traction and agility of the new M3 CS are both enhanced by the presence of M xDrive all-wheel drive, which uses an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the transfer case to ensure fully variable and super-smooth distribution of the engine’s power between the front and rear wheels. The multi-plate clutch’s oil supply has been optimised to keep the all-wheel-drive system performing effectively even under hard driving on the track. The system’s rear-wheel bias and the way it teams up with the Active M Differential at the rear axle – whose operation is also fully variable – add to the signature M feeling when accelerating or powering through corners.
The M Setup menu lets the driver switch from the default 4WD setting to 4WD Sport mode, which directs an even greater proportion of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. Drivers can also switch off the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system altogether and engage 2WD mode. By sending drive power solely to the rear wheels and suppressing any intervention from the control systems to stabilise the vehicle, this setting engages skilled drivers in the driving experience to an even more intense degree.
The engine, transmission and M xDrive join forces to produce stunning acceleration times. The new BMW M3 CS takes just 3.4 seconds to power from 0 to 100kph and 11.1 seconds to reach 200kph from rest. The midrange surge from 80 to 120kph is over in 2.6 seconds (in 4th gear) or 3.3 seconds (in 5th gear). The M3 CS comes with the M Driver’s Package as standard and has an electronically limited top speed of 302kph.
The chassis technology in the new M3 CS has been tuned precisely to the engine’s performance characteristics, the overall vehicle concept and its weight distribution. The model-specific settings for the DSC system and M Dynamic Mode have also been geared to the specific demands of high-speed circuit driving.
Standard specification for the special-edition model includes M Compound brakes with brake callipers painted in a choice of Red or Black. There is also the option of M Carbon ceramic brakes whose brake callipers are available in matt Gold or Red.
Also on the standard equipment list are forged M light-alloy wheels in an exclusive V-spoke design with a Gold Bronze finish. These particular M light-alloy wheels can also be ordered in an optional matt Black finish. Measuring 19 inches in diameter at the front axle and 20 inches at the rear, the wheels are fitted as standard with track tyres that have been purpose-developed for the special-edition model and measure 275/35 ZR19 at the front and 285/30 ZR20 at the rear.
As an alternative to these tyres, which are specially designed for circuit driving, customers also have the no-cost option of high-performance tyres with the same dimensions.
Besides its carbon fibre roof, the special-edition model also uses this lightweight, high-tech material for its bonnet, front splitter, front air intakes, exterior mirror caps, rear diffuser and rear spoiler. Its centre console, the shift paddles on the steering wheel and its interior trim strips are likewise all manufactured from CFRP. The standard M Carbon bucket seats also do their bit to keep weight down in the cabin. The titanium rear silencer, meanwhile, shaves more than 4 kilograms off the weight of the exhaust system fitted on the new M3 CS. The various lightweight design measures bring about a total weight saving of some 20 kilograms compared to the BMW M3 Competition Sedan with M xDrive.
Body rigidity can be further increased by specifying a package of high-precision strut braces for the engine compartment that have also been engineered for lightness. The cast aluminium elements connecting the spring strut towers to the front end feature a weight-optimised geometry that has been precisely matched – with the help of numerical models – to the forces applied in various driving situations.
The Frozen Solid White metallic paint finish available for the exterior is exclusive to the latest special-edition model from BMW M GmbH. Exposed carbon-fibre surfaces for the roof, the two indents chiselled into the bonnet, the front splitter, front air intakes, M exterior mirror caps, rear spoiler and rear apron combine with the Black side skirts and M gills to provide a stunning contrast to the new paint finish. Signal Green solid, Brooklyn Grey metallic and Sapphire Black metallic are available as alternative exterior colours.
The vehicle’s front end sports a weight-saving, frameless BMW kidney grille with a stripped-back air reminiscent of racing machines. Designed especially for this model, identifying features include red contour lines and the “M3 CS” badging on the upper of the two horizontal grille bars. Both the model badge at the front and its counterpart on the boot lid have black surfaces with a red border.
The BMW Laserlight headlights included in standard specification add another particularly striking flourish to the front end of the new M3 CS. By illuminating yellow instead of white – both during the Welcome sequence when the vehicle is unlocked and while low beam or high beam is switched on – they reference successful GT racing cars.
Inside the new M3 CS, the driver and front passenger are welcomed as standard by M Carbon bucket seats in a model-specific design. Fully electric and heated, they feature integral head restraints along with an illuminated model badge, resulting in a unique blend of racing flair and long-distance comfort. The use of CFRP in the structural elements of the seat cushion and backrest as well as the eye-catching cut-outs in the side bolsters and below the head restraints are testimony to the seats’ weight-minimising construction.
The M Carbon bucket seats are upholstered in Merino leather and feature an exclusive design in a Black/Red colour scheme with distinctive contrast stitching. This bi-colour finish is repeated for the two seats in the rear compartment of the sedan. The door panels are trimmed entirely in Black leather in both the front and the rear, while red “CS” lettering adorns the lightweight-design centre console. The standard equipment roster for the M3 CS also includes M seat belts with a woven stripe pattern in BMW M GmbH colours, door sill plates bearing the inscription “M3 CS”, an Anthracite-coloured headliner, interior trim strips in Carbon Fibre finish and an M Alcantara steering wheel with CFRP shift paddles and a red centre marker.
The M-specific control/operation system includes the Setup button on the centre console, which enables direct access to the settings options for the engine, chassis, steering, braking system and M xDrive. Two individually configured setup variants can be stored permanently, together with the preferred settings for the engine note, the DSC system, the Automatic Start/Stop function and the shift characteristics of the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission, and then retrieved using the M buttons on the steering wheel.
Also fitted as standard in the new M3 CS is the M Drive Professional system. Consequently, not only does the special-edition model benefit from the M Drift Analyser and M Laptimer functions for evaluating and recording driving skills and performance at the track, it additionally comes with M Traction Control, whose ten stages provide the ideal tools for pushing the car hard on closed circuits.
The M Mode button on the centre console – also part of the M Drive Professional package – can be used to adjust both the level of driver assistance system activity and the content shown in the information display and optional Head-Up Display, with a choice of ROAD, SPORT and TRACK settings.
The new M3 CS boasts the latest-generation BMW iDrive vehicle experience based on BMW Operating System 8, which includes the BMW Curved Display for the cockpit. This is formed by a 12.3-inch information display and a control display with a screen diagonal of 14.9 inches, which are housed together behind a curved glass surface.
The information display’s graphical layout and the M-style content shown there lend themselves to a focused, performance-led driving experience. All driving-related data as well as vehicle status and settings information are neatly arranged within it. The familiar M Shift Lights appear at the top of the information display, while the driving stability system, M xDrive and traction control modes are all indicated at the lower edge. Special widgets containing information on the current vehicle setup, as well as tyre pressure and temperature can be added to the control display’s home screen.
The standard BMW Live Cockpit Professional comes with functions including the BMW Maps navigation system, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, smartphone integration, telephony with wireless charging and a WiFi interface. The BMW Head-Up Display with M-specific readouts and the BMW Drive Recorder are both available as options.
The new M3 CS additionally offers customers a select choice of comfort features and driver assistance systems, with the focus on intense driving pleasure. It is equipped as standard with the latest version of Comfort Access, two-zone automatic climate control, the Harman Kardon Surround Sound System, Park Distance Control, Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and the Speed Limit Info system. An alarm system, automatic boot lid operation and the Driving Assistant and Parking Assistant systems can be added as options.
The arrival of the latest M model comes at a time when BMW M GmbH has once again achieved record results. Global sales of performance and high-performance cars rose to 177,257 vehicles during the 2022 financial year. This represents an increase of 8.4 per cent compared to the previous year, despite the continuing challenging conditions in the area of logistics and supply chains. The most important single market in 2022 was again the USA, with the second most important sales region again being the German domestic market, followed by the UK.