BMW has revealed an alternative to the M4 CSL in the shape of the M3 CS saloon. Though it is lighter and more powerful than the M3 Competition, it has been developed with a little less focus on track use than the M4 CSL coupe. Like that car, the M3 CS will be in production for a limited amount of time.
M4 CSL engine with all-wheel drive
As in the BMW M4 CSL, the new M3 CS's engine maxes out at 550hp, produced at 6,250rpm. Up 40hp on that of the M3 Competition, the increase has been made possible by increasing maximum turbo boost pressure - from 1.7 to 2.1 bar - and the associated tweak to the engine management. Peak torque is still an astounding 650Nm from just 2,750rpm.
The only gearbox option in the M3 CS will be the eight-speed M Steptronic auto with Drivelogic, while the car also gets M xDrive as standard for all-wheel drive with various modes of operation - including a rear-drive setting. The electronically controlled rear differential (Active M Differential in BMW-speak) is present and correct as ever.
BMW quotes a 0-100km/h time of just 3.4 seconds for the M3 CS, which is 0.3 seconds quicker than the rear-drive M4 CSL coupe can manage. The CS is only 0.1 seconds quicker to 100km/h than the M3 Competition xDrive, however.
Bespoke chassis tuning
Though the core chassis of the M3 is unchanged, BMW M does claim to have given the CS a wide variety of unique settings, including bespoke wheel camber settings, dampers, auxiliary springs and anti-roll bars. The adaptive damping has also been tweaked, as has the electromechanical M Servotronic power steering system.
'M Compound' brake discs with red callipers are standard, while M Carbon ceramic brakes are optional - available with red or matt gold callipers. A gold-bronze finish is also used on the forged alloy wheels, measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the back, and shod in 275/35 ZR19 and 285/30 ZR20 track tyres, respectively.
Weight reduction thanks to carbon fibre
Compared with the BMW M3 Competition with M xDrive, the M3 CS is 20kg lighter. That's thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the bonnet, front splitter, front air intakes, exterior mirror caps, rear diffuser spoiler on the exterior, along with the centre console, the shift paddles on the steering wheel and various trim strips inside - not to forget the M Carbon bucket seats and the titanium exhaust silencer.
Some of that carbon lends the M3 CS its unique design, as there's exposed material on the bonnet, while the aerodynamic splitter under the restyled kidney grille is more prominent than in other M3s. Red and black is used on the M3 CS badging throughout, while the standard BMW Laserlight headlamps use yellow instead of white for a distinctive appearance that references GT racing.
Inside, the usual motorsport theme is extended, starting with a new interpretation of the M Carbon bucket seats, again using a red and black palette. The same colours are found on the conventional rear bench seat, while the CS logo garnishes the pared-back centre console.
In spite of the racing references, the M3 CS is generously well-equipped. As you would hope for a car that retails in Ireland for €211,660...