2018 BMW F80 M3 CS: Dog Eat Dog
We're just about halfway through the life cycle of the F80 platform, and so far we've seen the M4 GTS, "30 Years M3" M3, and the M4 CS - an F82 cradled between the GTS and the Competition Package. All three notable versions are limited-edition, so if your pockets weren't deep enough or you weren't fast on the trigger the F80 M3 CS is your only opportunity to get your hands on BMW's latest special performance saloon. Until the next one comes around considering we still have three years to go.
Many of the upgrades that were applied to the M4 CS are copied and pasted to the M3 CS. Push the pulsating start button and the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six in front of you roars to life. BMW finagled with the mono-scroll turbos so boost is built just above idle speeds, though in order to reach its maximum 453 horsepower you'll need to be at 6250 rpm. Peak torque is 443 lb-ft at 4000 to 5380. In comparison to the base M3, the CS sports 28 more horsepower and 37 additional lb-ft. Arc-sprayed cylinder walls and a lightweight forged crankshaft raise the redline to 7600 rpm.
Although the engine receives the same upgrades as the M4 CS, the M3 CS makes 1 more lb-ft of torque. These minor details make no difference when paired to the 7-speed M Double Clutch transmission as they both lurch from zero-to-100 kmh in 3.9 seconds. The shared S55 engine uses a baffled magnesium dual wet oil sump to save weight and remain in operation when facing up to 1.4 g of lateral force. BMW also threw in a specially tuned active sport exhaust and an unlimited top speed of 174 mph (280 kmh) while they're at it.
Also like the M3 CS, many parts of the body are now made from different materials to save weight. These include the carbon fiber hood, roof, front splitter, rear diffuser, and rear spoiler. Its suspension borrows most of its parts from the Competition Package, changing out the links and wheel carriers to a lighter forged aluminum material. Forged alloy wheels subtract unsprung weight at the corners wearing 265/35 R19 and 285/30 R20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. More usable Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires are also available. All in (or out), the M3 CS weighs 110 lbs (50 kg) less than the base M3, dropping the curb weight down to 3494 lb (1585 kg).
Its interior is typical M3 with a few upgrades. Most of the panels are covered in leather and Alcantara, while the M Sport seats are derived from the Competition Package. Merino leather upholstery is used on the back seats, and its two-tone grey and black color scheme is bespoke to the M3 CS. The steering wheel is covered in Alcantara so it'll look nasty after a few months of use. Spectating plebeians can recognize the M3 CS by its downforce-inducing Gurney Flap on the rear deck lid or by one of its five paints - Alpine White (standard), San Marino Blue Metallic, Lime Rock Grey Metallic, Frozen Dark Blue II Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic.
There aren't many optional extras to choose from in the M3 CS as BMW fits many of the would-be options as standard. Parts like the Active M differential, Harman Kardon sound system, LED headlights, and Shadow Line trim are already included. The only performance-oriented decision is to go with the base 4- and 2-piston brake calipers or upgrade to M Carbon Ceramic brakes with 6- and 4-piston calipers.
However, given its £86,380 ($113,000) starting price, the M3 CS steps so far above its category it'd be easier to purchase a BMW M5 for the same amount of money. With the M5 you'll get more interior space, an advanced all-wheel-drive system, 4.4-liter V-8, 600 horsepower, 553 lb-ft of torque, 189 mph top speed, and a zero-to-100 kmh in 3.4 seconds. You also won't have to fight over the 1200 (550 coming to U.S.) M3 CS units BMW plans to produce, and you'll be driving on a more recently updated platform. We understand the M3 is a cool car, but when there's intra-manufacturer conflicts like this we say it's better to go with the car that gives better value. If you believe value exists for cars over $100,000.