No more than 1200 examples of this very special BMW M3 will leave the line in Regensburg before production ceases this year, and every single one will be rightly cherished. It’s a lightweight, track-ready version of a four-door M car already deserving the status of modern icon, and its rarity will only add to its value.
Take one BMW M3. Give it a new, aggressive carbon-fibre front spoiler and a matching carbon-fibre Gurney flap at the rear. Treat it to a new CRFP (carbon-fibre reinforced polymer) front bonnet, with a deep vent just above and behind the grille, and an CRFP roof. Equip with lightweight 19 inch-alloy wheels at the front, 20-inchers at the rear, shod with semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. At the rear the M Diffuser is also made of CFRP and the tail lights are a special darkened design. Getting the picture?
Inside, it’s the same story of less-is-more. The seats have a narrow but supportive central seat back with cut-out side supports, saving weight. Alcantara covers the steering wheel, dashboard and centre console (also lighter than standard), there are no superfluous switches and the instrumentation, following BMW tradition, is driver-centric.
The BMW M3 CS is available in the following colours:
In the M3 CS, BMW’s S55 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six develops 460hp, and 600Nm of torque, marginally more than the M3 Competition Pack. It’s coupled to a 7-speed DSG transmission and can hit 62mph from rest in just 3.9 seconds, with the top speed a limited 179mph in the right circumstances (Bruntingthorpe runway perhaps, or an autobahn). The extra 10bhp over the M3 Competition Pack is not in itself a dramatic improvement, but the M3 CS also offers recalibrated electronic stability control, an active M differential and a choice of three steering modes. Weight, too, is down but it’s more where the weight has been saved – BMW claim that the CS’ lightweight roof and bonnet lower the centre of gravity. The Adaptive M suspension has been tuned for maximum agility and steering precision. You won’t notice the difference on the Saturday run to Sainsbury’s, but out on the track the difference becomes more marked.
Pared back it may be, but the M3 CS still provides a civilised driving environment, with climate control, park distance control, high-beam assistant and BMW’s iDrive-operated Professional infotainment system. A Harman Kardon sound system is fitted as standard.
Drivers of the M3 CS won’t want to be nannied by intrusive safety systems but they’re there as a backstop and the degree of intervention can be selected according to the setting and mood. The M3 CS also comes as standard with BMW ConnectedDrive Services, including BMW Emergency Call, BMW Online Services, BMW TeleServices and Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI).
Verdict: if this is your kind of car you won’t be worrying too much about the fuel economy figures or even the practicality of those semi-slick Michelin Sport Cup tyres in grey, rainy Britain. This is a very rare, very special car for the days when you have a track day booked or a high-speed trip to the Nürburgring planned. The four-door BMW M3 has always been at the heart of BMW M Performance, and the CS is the latest and best of its kind. The future could bring all-wheel drive (the M5 already has it) or even part-electrification. The M3 CS is proper old school M Sport, and this could be your last chance to snap one up.