Faster, lighter, more powerful: The limited edition BMW M3 CS
BMW M takes a standard BMW, with its"driver's car" blend of sportiness and luxury, to another levelof power and handling. But sometimes the M people take that evenfurther with "special edition" models like the M4 CS and its new sibling, the M3 CS, intowhich a comprehensive list of race-bred technology has beenintegrated. The order book for this latest offering will open inJanuary and there will be only around 1,200 built.
Fromthe outside, the M3 CS instantly makes its intentions clear. While,of course, BMW's up-market style language sets the tone, the accentis unmistakably M Series and clearly states that this is ahigh-performance sports saloon. What is not so obvious at firstglance, however, is that underneath that purposeful stance is alightweight aluminum body structure and the extensive use of carbonfiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) body panels, keeping the car's kerbweight down to only 1,585 kg (3,494 lb). As an added bonus,the CFRP panels lower the car's center of gravity, endowing it withhandling agility that its creators say surpasses the standard M3.
Asexpected, the interior continues the well-balanced blend of luxuryand sportiness with extensive use of leather and Alcantara in two-tone silverstone and black, with front seats from theM3 Competition Package and an M sports steering wheel in anthraciteAlcantara complete with a silver 12 o'clock marker to let you knowwhere steering center is if you lose it while enjoying a bit ofsideways action. The top-shelf ambience is complemented withhigh-quality ancillaries: the climate control is automatic, the soundsystem is by Harman Kardon and the navigation system is BMWNavigation Professional.
Whichbrings us to the red start/stop button and the in-line six-cylinderengine – a configuration that BMW has long endowed withturbine-like smoothness – it switches into life. In this case, itis a 3.0-liter unit with peak output of 460 hp (338 kW) at 6,250 rpmand maximum torque of 442 lb.ft (600 Nm) from 4,000 rpm through to5,380 rpm. Read "very drivable" for an engine that puts out 10 more horsepower and 10 percent more torque than the M3 withCompetition Package.
Expect zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.9 secondsand a top speed that is electronically limited at 174 mph (280 km/h). Apparently the BMW M3 CSM has already posted an impressive 7 minutes, 38 seconds lap time on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring.
All those power figures are achieved thanks to BMW's well-provenhigh-precision fuel injection, Valvetronic variable valve timing andDouble-VANOS variable camshaft timing combined with twinturbocharging – all built on a rigid but light cylinder block. Thecrankshaft is a lightweight forged unit for free-revving powerdelivery and the lightweight magnesium oil sump is baffled tomaintain oil supply during cornering or braking forces of up to 1.4 g.
Gettingall that power to the rear wheels is achieved via a seven-speeddouble-clutch transmission (DCT) with Drivelogic managing theelectronic control that includes the M Launch Control function tohelp with that eye-popping zero to 62 mph rush. For "driver'scar" pleasure, the DCT can be manually controlled via paddles onthe steering wheel, while for congested traffic or "I've hadenough smiles for one day" mode it can be set to fully automatic.
Further down the drivetrain is the Active M Differential withelectronically-controlled limited-slip function integrated with theDynamic Stability Control (DSC) system. Accelerator position, wheelrotational speed and body yaw rate data are all fed into the DSC toensure optimal traction and stability via the engine management andbrake control systems. However, the driver still has some choices inall this. M Dynamic Mode can be selected that allows more wheel slipand even moderate drifts, letting the driver have more responsibilityfor stability management.
Optimizingthe effects of the dynamically-controlled torque distribution to therear wheels and the precision of the M Servotronic electromechanicalsteering, all the tires are kept in constant contact with the road byAdaptive M suspension that features lightweight aluminum componentsand for which there are three settings: Comfort, Sport and Sport +,each with its own damper settings. Keeping the rest of the un-sprungweight low are the 10-spoke forged light alloy wheels carryingsemi-slick but road-legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires: 265/35 R19 at the front and 285/30 R 20 at the rear. Michelin Pilot SuperSport tires designed to provide better grip in the wet are available asan option.
Withall that speed and corner exit capability, the need for powerfulbrakes is obvious. While the M3 CS come standard with the M3'slightweight M compound brakes with four-pot front calipers andtwo-pot rears, those wanting even less weight and extended durabilitycan opt for M carbon ceramic units with six- and four-pot calipers,respectively.
Thesophistication and capability of this limited-run, special-editionoffering seems guaranteed to make it very desirable. Perhaps evencollectible. The lucky owners will have a completely practical,four-door saloon available for everyday use that, without anymodification, will undoubtedly prove itself to be a fearsome trackday toy.
The BMW M3 CS will be produced in a limited run of 1,200. No official pricing has been announced at this point, but as "the most powerful standard production vehicle of all time in the M3 model series," we'd expect there to be a premium attached.