Bavarian brand’s M division boosts its perennial favourite with more speed and poise, at a price
- Unique design features
- Interior tweaks
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Copious carbon-fibre parts, added urge everywhere and a top speed of more than 300km/h are the main highlights of the 2023 BMW M3 CS, details and images of which were unceremoniously leaked last week.
The hardest-hitting of the mainline M3 sports sedans, the M3 CS sits above the standard M3 and M3 Competition and has a (governed) top speed of 302km/h.
The 2023 BMW M3 CS is due to be launched at the Daytona Speed Week festival this weekend, when the German car-maker’s next generation of sports racers will also make their track debut.
BMW has admitted M3 CS build numbers will be limited when production begins in Germany in March, but it has not confirmed a final figure.
With the M3 Competition xDrive listed at $175,300 in Australia and the M4 CSL coupe – the closest spiritual stablemate to the M3 CS – listing at $303,900, we’d expect M3 CS pricing to start around $250K in Australia.
The all-wheel drive M3 CS will boast bigger wheels and tyres too, to cope with acceleration that hurls the 1765kg sedan to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds and to 200km/h in only 11.1sec.
Power output for the four-seat M3 CS has been boosted by 52kW from the stock M3’s 353kW and by 30kW from the Competition’s 375kW, and now sits at 405kW.
Taking lessons from the DTM M4 racer, which switched from V8 power to production-based engines last season, the 3.0-litre inline twin-turbo six-cylinder features 3D-printed cylinder-head cores to improve the engine’s temperature management.
Maximum torque remains unchanged from the M3 Competition at 650Nm from 2750rpm all the way through to 5950rpm, with the power peak waiting to take over at 6250rpm. The engine spins out to a limiter at 7200rpm.
While BMW admits to some engine management tweaks, the largest credit for the power hike sits with the twin monoscroll turbochargers, for which maximum boost pressure has been raised from 1.7 to 2.1 bar.
Any excess exhaust pressure is sent through a pair of branched exhausts, with electronically operated control flaps, a titanium rear silencer and two pairs of matte-black tailpipes exiting beneath the rear bumper.
The M3 CS still uses an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission that operates automatically, via the sequential shift lever or through the steering wheel-mounted carbon-fibre paddles.
The oil supply for the multi-plate centre clutch has been adjusted for more consistent track performance, while the active locking rear differential is unchanged.
The M3 CS defaults to its all-wheel drive system, but can be driven with a rear-biased all-wheel drive set-up or, with the Dynamic Stability Control disengaged, as a rear-drive sports sedan.
The top level of BMW’s sports sedan mainstay now runs on 275/35 ZR19 front Michelin tyres and 285/30 ZR20 rear rubber, both up one size on the stock M3 and M3 Competition for added braking, cornering and acceleration prowess.
The M3 CS’s suspension set-up retains the active damping of the stock M3 and the Competition, but it has been heavily retuned on the presumption of more track work.
It has ended up with a different anti-roll bar, retuned springs and more negative wheel camber, while the electromechanical steering has also been retuned for the larger tyres.
It also gets more carbon-composite parts, to offset the extra cooling required for the more powerful engine setup.
Unique design features
The 2023 BMW M3 CS will come with long-range laser headlights as standard equipment, along with an ‘M3 CS’ badge in the controversial floating kidney grille.
Like the M4 CSL, the M3 CS gives a nod to M’s motorsport origins, with yellow DRLs and headlights, rather than white, when the car starts up.
It will also introduce a Frozen Solid White colour that is unavailable in other M3s, while exposed carbon-fibre features on the roof, parts of the bonnet, the front air intakes, front splitter, mirror caps and rear spoiler.
The M3 CS only comes in three other alternative colours: Brooklyn Grey metallic, solid Signal Green and Sapphire Black metallic.
The stock brake calliper colours are either red or black, but the optional carbon-ceramic brake package can be had in either red or matte-gold.
The stand-out interior change for the 2023 BMW M3 CS is a pair of unique two-piece, carbon-compound bucket seats, which are heated, heavily bolstered for track work and have an integrated head restraint.
A standard red-and-black colour scheme for the merino leather trim extends to the rear, where the doors trimmed in black leather.
The M3 CS not only comes with all the features of its siblings, like the lap timer and drift analyser, but adds 10-stage traction control.
The M3’s curved display screen continues to house a 14.9-inch instrument cluster and 12.3-inch multimedia screens behind a single curved screen.
Standard equipment runs to two-zone climate control, Harmon Kardon surround sound and auto braking and lane keeping, while an alarm and automatic boot lid operation will be options in Europe.
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Keyword: BMW M3 CS debuts – officially