The 2018 BMW M3 CS is the latest attempt by BMW to refine its current-generation M3 sports sedan (and M4 coupe and convertible) into an evocative performance machine worthy of its heritage. Essentially a four-door version of the M4 CS unveiled earlier this year, the M3 CS aims for the Goldilocks zone of performance.
Like the M4 CS, the M3 CS sheds weight thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), and adds power. The difference is that now you can get that extra agility and muscle in a more practical four-door sedan package. It could be the perfect family sedan, assuming your spouse and kids can stomach lots of high-g cornering.
The M3 CS uses the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six as every other M3/M4 variant. But the CS produces 453 horsepower (9 hp more than the standard M3 with the Competition Package) and 443 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful production M3 ever made. That gets the CS from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited to 174 mph. BMW’s seven-speed M-DCT dual-clutch automated transmission is the only gearbox option.
BMW’s experience with CFRP from the i3 and i8 is brought to bear on the M3 CS. The lightweight material is used for the roof, front splitter, aerodynamic “Gurney flap,” and rear diffuser. Overall, BMW claims the CS weighs 110 pounds less than a standard M3.
The M3 already comes with an impressive array of performance hardware, so much of the work BMW did to create the CS involved tweaking and tuning. The M Sports exhaust system was tuned to create a CS-specific sound, and the adaptive suspension system and active limited-slip differential that were already part of the M3’s Competition Package were adjusted to wring out extra sportiness.
The M3 CS rides on model-specific alloy wheels, sized 19 inches in front, and 20 inches in the rear. BMW says the design was inspired by wheels of its DTM race cars, and were made as light as possible. Other visual changes include a model-specific front splitter and rear diffuser, and a two leather-lined interior.
BMW will build just 1,200 copies of the M3 CS, with 550 earmarked for the United States. Orders can be placed starting in May 2018, with pricing to be announced closer to that date.
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