The BMW M division celebrated its 50th anniversary last year by launching a number of new models, one of which was a hardcore M4 CSL.
There was no similar hardcore version of the M3, which probably left fans of the more practical M thoroughbred a little sour. It turns out they only needed to be patient, as BMW M on Tuesday revealed a new M3 CS for the 2024 model year.
The CS cars fill the gap between the Competition grade and hardcore CSL. They up performance via the typical means of more power and less weight, and this is true for the latest M3 CS. The car is confirmed with the same 543-hp rating as the M4 CSL, generated by BMW M’s familiar twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6. The performance boost over the 503 hp of the M3 Competition is courtesy of extra boost pressure and tweaks to the ECU.
The engine gets mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system, and at full performance should deliver a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds and top speed of 188 mph. The all-wheel-drive system, a unique setup of BMW M, uses a multi-plate clutch to transfer torque between the axles. The system features a rear bias, and a 4WD Sport mode can further intensify this bias. Should the driver want a classic rear-wheel-drive feel, there’s also the option to have all of the drive torque sent to the rear wheels only.
Additional chassis mods include aluminum strut braces to boost rigidity, uprated brakes (carbon-ceramic rotors are available), and unique tuning of the stability control, wheel camber, dampers, and anti-roll bars all aimed at enhancing track performance. The wheels can be ordered in a gold color or matte black, and measure 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear. The wheels come with performance tires as standard but buyers can fit track-ready Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires as a no-cost option. In each case, the tires measure 275/35 up front and 285/30 at the rear.
For weight reduction, BMW M engineers used lightweight carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastic for the hood, roof, front splitter, front intakes, side mirror caps, and rear spoiler. Carbon parts are also used throughout the cabin, including for the standard bucket seats that also feature Merino leather trim. A titanium muffler rounds out the list of weight-saving mods that all up add to around 75 pounds. The stated curb weight is still some 3,915 pounds, though.
Also inside is the new dash introduced across the 3-Series range for 2023. It eliminates the traditional instrument cluster cowl, leaving a 12.3-inch floating screen for the instrument cluster that is conjoined with a second 14.9-inch floating screen for the infotainment hub. Both screens feature M-specific displays in the M3 CS.
Also fitted as standard is M Drive Professional, a package that includes both the M Drift Analyzer and M Laptimer for recording drives for later evaluation. M Drive Professional also includes M Traction Control, which lets the driver adjust the traction control between 10 settings, and the M Mode drive mode selector, which has Road, Sport, and Track options.
The 2024 M3 CS is confirmed to be a limited edition—BMW M hasn’t said how limited, though—and is set to arrive later this year with a starting price of $119,695, including a $995 destination charge.
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