- New limited-production, high-performance M3 CS debuts.
- Unlike the similar M4 CSL, the M3 CS features xDrive all-wheel drive for quicker 0-60 mph times.
2024 BMW M3 CS Lets You Run Hot Laps at Willow Springs with Four Friends
Though we're not sure if there's enough headroom for all those helmets
Last year, BMW launched a hardcore, track-ready version of the M4 coupe called the CSL. Limited to just 1,000 examples worldwide, the CSL extracted more horsepower from the twin-turbocharged inline-six, then put the M4 on a diet by making extensive use of tough but lightweight carbon fiber and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) body panels.
Now it's the M3 sport sedan's turn for a track-attack model. Like its two-door sibling, the 2024 BMW M3 will be limited production (this time, BMW isn't saying how many models will be built) with an extreme emphasis on performance. Many of the M4 CSL's upgrades are carried over — though unlike in the two-door, the M3 CS's rear seats remain. Bombing around Willow Springs with four friends in tow? It's possible, though definitely not recommended.
What's under the M3's hood?
All M3s are powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, but the transmission, drive type and output all vary depending on which trim you get. The base M3 pumps out a healthy 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual. Upgrade to the Competition, and the engine produces 503 hp and 479 lb-ft. It's paired exclusively to an eight-speed automatic. The Competition xDrive alters the formula with an all-wheel-drive powertrain, though there is a rear-only mode hidden in the settings.
The M3 CS's powertrain is identical to that of the Competition xDrive, though output is bumped to 543 hp. The inclusion of the xDrive all-wheel-drive system stands in contrast to the rear-drive setup of the M4 CSL. Because xDrive is so efficient at putting power down to launch the car off the line, the M3 CS's zero-to-60 mph sprint time of 3.2 seconds is actually 0.4 second quicker than the M4 CSL despite the sedan being roughly 300 pounds heavier. At the same time, a carbon-fiber roof, carbon-fiber bucket seats and a CFRP hood, spoiler and interior trim all add up to a touted 75 pounds of weight savings compared to the M3 Competition xDrive.
BMW offers two brake options: the standard M Compound rotors or a set of carbon-ceramic brakes that should resist fade on track days. They sit inside forged wheels (19 inches up front, 20 inches at the rear) wrapped in your choice of a traditional high-performance road tire or, as a no-cost option, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s.
BMW engineers have also included a titanium exhaust and retuned the stability control system, adaptive dampers and steering to give the CS a unique and presumably harder-edged sound and feel compared to other M3 models.
How's the M3's interior?
At its core, the M3's interior is a leather-wrapped variation on the 3 Series, but the CS goes even further to differentiate itself from its relatively affordable roots. The wheel is also coated in grippy Alcantara faux suede, which helps keep moisture from building on the rim during white-knuckle motoring. Pricey carbon fiber decorates the center console, dashboard, steering wheel and seat centers — the last of which essentially funnels the legs of driver and front passenger into separate channels. The seats also have a red insert unique to the CS.
The 2024 BMW M3 CS takes the upgrades offered by the M4 CSL and wraps them in a more approachable package with seating for five. If you want one, act soon since these models will be produced in limited quantities, from a starting price just under $120,000.