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First Look: 2018 BMW M3 CS

Lighter + More Powerful = Absurdly Fast

by on Nov.07, 2017

The 2018 BMW M3 CS will be the fastest and most powerful version of the M3 yet.

Take your already impressive BMW M3, add some lightweight carbon fiber body panels and then punch up your Twin-Power six to a whopping 453 horsepower and you’re talking some serious performance numbers.

And that’s what the Bavarian automaker will be delivering with the debut of the 2018 BMW M3 CS – a four-door take on the M4 CS model already blazing its way out of BMW showrooms. The most powerful M3 of all time, it will make a whopping 453 horsepower, enough to hit 60 in just 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 174 mph.

A Real Performer!

We’ve gotten our hands on the first official pics and specifications for the long-rumored M3 CS and its nothing if not an impressive package that will all but certainly find a ready following for those who’ve wanted to take the familiar M3 to new levels of performance.

(Click Here for a first look at the new BMW X2.)No, it’s not quite as extreme as the BMW M4 GTS; it doesn’t get the water injection system that helps deliver a jaw-dropping 500 hp. (We’ll have to wait to see if BMW will eventually give the GTS treatment to the M3 as well.) But it does add a number of GTS features to the M3 line.

The M3 CS will hit 60 in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 174 mph.

That starts with plenty of carbon fiber, including the M3 CS hood and roof. A quick perusal of the exterior also reveals the addition of a new “Gurney flap,” also in carbon fiber. It’s borrowed from the M4 GTS and helps reduce rear lift. The front splitter is also made of the lightweight compound.  All told the car is about 110 pounds lighter than the conventional BMW M3 – and it also boasts a lower center of gravity.

A closer inspection finds the M3 CS features high gloss Shadow Line trim and darkened taillamps. Up front, the CS gets unique twin headlight units and a more slender take on the classic BMW twin-kidney grille. Larger front intakes drive air to the engine and brakes. Ten-spoke aluminum alloy wheels are finished in Orbit Grey Matt and are shod with extremely sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring 265/35 R19 up front and 285/30 R20 at the rear.

The overall design is meant to give the CS the appearance of being “cut from a single mold, (with) a muscular athletic look,” suggests BMW in its first official comments about the M3 CS.

But it’s what you don’t see that really matters. Like the stock M3, the CS starts out with a TwinPower 3.0-liter inline-six making 453 horsepower, but that’s a 28 hp boost. The twin-turbo package also delivers 443 pound-feet of torque, up 10% from the standard M3’s 406 lb-ft.

The TwinPower 3.0-liter six makes 28 hp and 37 lb-ft of torque more than a standard M3.

Credit modifications such as two mono-scroll turbos, as well as a high-precision direct injection system, as well as variable valve lift and camshaft timing. BMW bills the package as the highest-revving twin turbo on the market, with a 7,600 RPM redline.

Numerous steps have been taken to reduce engine friction and cut weight, while the oil system relies on the expertise of BMW’s racing operations. It’s designed to keep the engine well lubricated, even at 1.4 Gs of lateral and longitudinal forces.

At the back end, there’s a dual-brand, four pipe exhaust system made of stainless steel and bearing the familiar “M” logo.

Power is channeled through a seven-speed M Double Clutch gearbox. Drivers will be able to use the paddle shifters if they’d like to operate the box manually. The gearbox even has its own oil cooler.

To scrub off speed, the M3 CS shares the “base” M3’s braking system: fixed four-piston calipers up front and twin-piston calipers in the back. But there’s also an optional Carbon Ceramic brake package, with six-piston front brakes and four-piston calipers at the rear.

(Why does BMW want to take away your car keys? Click Here to find out.)

The M3 interior is awash in Alcantara and leather.

The 2018 BMW M3 CS rides on an extreme version of the marque’s Adaptive M Suspension and can be switched between Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes, with different damper settings for each. The CS also gets BMW’s M Active Differential

Inside, the 2018 BMW M3 CS is lavished in leather and Alcantara, and since no one is always pushing things to the limit – on the highway, at least, there’s also a Harman Kardon audio system and onboard navi package.

We hope to hear more about fuel economy, pricing and the on-sale date at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.

(BMW teams up with Ford, Daimler and VW to create a pane-European high-speed EV charging network. Click Here for the story.)

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