More power, less weight for limited edition BMW M3 CS

by Nik Berg
25 January 2023 2 min read
More power, less weight for limited edition BMW M3 CS
Photos: BMW

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

The familiar S58 three-litre TwinPower turbo straight six motor gains 39bhp 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.

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This powerhouse now produces a total of 543bhp from 6250rpm to its 7200rpm redline, and a 479lb ft 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 (4kg) and adds to the aural excitement.

Like its lesser M3 siblings the CS utilises 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 60mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds, and all CS models get The M Driver’s Package lifting the top speed limiter to 188mph.

The car’s suspension hardware is unchanged over the Competition, but changing a few lines of code (it’s probably 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 tyres are a no-cost option.

BMW’s carbon fibre fabricators have been kept busy in a bid to shave a few kilos. The roof is carbon, the bonnet 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 20kg lighter than the Competition. That said, at 1760kg total, it’s still a bit of a heffalump. Look back to the E46 M3 CSL and it was 110kg lighter than the standard car – or at 1385kg, more than a third of a tonne lighter than the new CS. Progress, eh?

As the pounds have piled on in the intervening years so have the… well, pounds. The M3 CS will cost £115,900, a £33,000 jump over the M3 Competition, or £1650 for every kilo you’re saving. Assuming you manage to get your name down for one – BMW hasn’t yet revealed production numbers – you’d better get on a diet to make those weights savings really count…

This article was originally published on Hagerty US.

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