MUNICH, Germany – BMW’s M division brings its latest performance-enhancing Club Sport treatment to the fifth-generation M3 with the introduction of the new limited-edition M3 CS.
Planned to be made available for North American order beginning in May 2018, the 453-hp twin-turbocharged 4-door sedan follows the recently introduced M4 CS coupe, with which it shares its mechanical package.
Building on the developments already brought to the M3 Competition Package, the M3 CS adopts a number of lightweight body components in line with the approach taken with the M4 CS. Included is a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic hood and roof – the latter of which is claimed to provide a 13-lb. (6-kg) reduction in weight over the steel structure used by the standard M3 alone.
Other lightweight components include a carbon-fiber front splitter, a lift-reducing, trunk-deck-mounted Gurney spoiler and sizable diffuser.
Inside, the M3 CS adopts the lightweight M sport seats and sport steering wheel from the M3 Competition Package. Borrowing a cue from the new M5, there’s also a new red starter button.
Despite the focus on performance, features such as BMW’s Professional navigation system, climate-control air conditioning, a Harman Kardon sound system and the rear seats are retained as standard. Buyers can, however, option the new 4-door with unique Alcantara and leather accents.
At 4,394 lbs. (1,995 kg), the BMW M claims a 110-lb. (50-kg) reduction over the standard M3. Although not a signification reduction, insiders suggest it is sufficient to lower the M3 CS’s crucial center of gravity below that of the already heavily focused M3 Competition Package.
Power for the M3 CS comes from the same evolution of BMW M’s twin-turbocharged 3.0L in-line 6-cyl. direct-injection gasoline engine unveiled in the M4 CS.
With 453 hp at 6,250 rpm and 443 lb.-ft. (601 Nm) of torque on a band of revs between 4,000 and 5,380 rpm, the longitudinally mounted unit develops 28 hp and 37 lb.-ft. (50 Nm) more than that used by the standard M3. It also packs an incremental 3 hp and 37 lb.-ft. more than the less-heavily tuned evolution of the engine developed for the M3 Competition Package.
This gives the M3 CS a weight-to-power ratio of 7.7 lbs. (3.5 kg) per hp. This is a 0.6-lb. (0.3 kg) per-hp improvement on the standard M3.
Power is channeled through a standard 7-speed DCT and electronically controlled M-differential to the rear wheels. BMW quotes a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 3.7 seconds, making the M3 CS the fastest-accelerating roadgoing M3 model yet.
The top speed for the latest M3 is limited to the same 174 mph (278 km) as that of the M3 Competition Package.
Along with the bump in power and torque, the new engine also receives a reworked sports exhaust featuring what BMW M describes as a CS-specific exhaust note.
The M3 CS rides on a specially tuned version of the M3 Competition Package’s suspension. It is combined with standard 19-in. front and 20-in. rear wheels shod with 265/35 and 285/30 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, respectively.
In line with the M3 Competition Package, the M3 CS also employs BMW M’s compound brake package featuring 4-piston calipers up front and 2-piston calipers at the rear.
The M3 CS will be produced at BMW’s Regensburg plant in Germany with volume limited to 1,200 units. Pricing is yet to be announced, though BMW M insiders suggest the last of the fifth-generation M3 model line will attract a hefty premium over the M3 Competition Package. As with the earlier M4 CS, U.S. allocation will be limited.
An all-new M3 based on the next-generation 3-Series sedan due out in 2018 is planned for North American sale in 2020.