The 2024 BMW M3 CS offers a thrilling driving experience, albeit at the expense of passenger comfort. Built on the G80 generation M3 chassis, this Competition Sport model features lightweight carbon-fiber reinforced plastic components, shedding approximately 75 pounds in weight. Despite its sport sedan heft, the M3 CS feels incredibly nimble on the road.
During testing at BMW’s Performance Driving School, the M3 CS showcased its endurance, enduring numerous laps trailing an instructor-driven M5. The specially tuned electronic power steering adds to its agility, allowing for quick side-to-side movement that defies its sedan classification.
The M3 CS offers various driving modes that significantly affect its behavior. Notably, the brake pedal can be adjusted between comfort and sport settings, with the latter providing an impressively forceful bite. Equipped with six-piston fixed calipers and M-Compound brake pads, the stopping power matches the pulling power of the car.
The transmission tuning also plays a significant role, with comfort mode offering smooth shifts akin to a torque-convertor automatic. Switching into Sport Plus unleashes quick and powerful shifts, enhanced by the electronically controlled multi-plate clutch in the transfer case, which enables optimal power distribution between the front and rear axles.
This mechanical prowess sets the M3 CS apart from its predecessors, effortlessly transferring power to the road. Whether taking corners or accelerating out of them, the differentials and all-wheel-drive system confidently handle the task. While two-wheel-drive mode allows for sliding, utilizing all four wheels ensures maximum control.
Track performance is where the M3 CS truly shines. Its updated 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six engine delivers a remarkable 543 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Combining this power with the lightning-fast transmission results in an exhilarating driving experience, although the induction sound may not be the most melodious.
The M3 CS’s torque curve is noteworthy, offering an impressive pull from 2750 to 5950 rpm. This eliminates the need to downshift excessively during corner exits while also facilitating seamless highway passes.
On the street, the M3 CS is reasonably comfortable, provided you’re behind the wheel. With ample low-end power, reinforced engine components, and responsive brakes, it outperforms most other sedans in terms of capability and durability. The M Performance interior offers a pleasant environment, although adjusting to the large dual screens may require some acclimatization.
Potential concerns for street driving include protecting the carbon-fiber front splitter, which hangs low, and adjusting to the rapid 14.6:1 steering ratio, which offers remarkably quick lane changes.