2023 BMW M3 CS unveiled, priced for Australia

The most powerful and track-focused version of the new BMW M3 sports-sedan range has debuted, ahead of first Australian showroom arrivals later this year.

The 2023 BMW M3 CS has been unveiled in Europe, ahead of first Australian deliveries in the second half of this year.

The new G80-series M3 CS is the second generation of the nameplate, building on the regular version of BMW’s smallest four-door M car with more power, less weight, and sharper suspension and steering.

BMW says a “limited run” of cars will be built, starting in March – but it’s unclear how many will be produced, and how many will come to Australia.

Prices in Australia will start from $249,900 plus on-road costs – $74,600 more than the M3 Competition xDrive model ($175,300) it’s based on, and close to $100,000 dearer than the entry-level manual M3.

Whereas the previous-generation M3 CS of 2018 was rear-wheel drive, the new model is offered exclusively with ‘M xDrive’ all-wheel drive, connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The familiar 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol engine has been tuned to produce 405kW and 650Nm – 30kW more than the standard M3 Competition xDrive, and matching the related M4 CSL special-edition coupe.

BMW claims a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 3.4 seconds for the CS – 0.1 seconds quicker than the model it’s based on – plus 0-200km/h in 11.1 seconds, and a top speed of 302km/h (up 12km/h).

The additional power comes from increased turbo boost pressure and revised engine software, according to the car maker, while there are new, stiffer engine mounts that are claimed to deliver “even sharper engine response”.

As with the standard M3 Competition xDrive, the all-wheel-drive system pairs with a limited-slip rear differential, and switch to a rear-wheel-drive mode with the stability control system turned off.

The M3 CS shaves off 20kg compared to the M3 Competition xDrive, thanks to carbon-fibre reinforced plastic for the bonnet, front splitter, front air intake inserts, side mirror caps, rear diffuser, boot-lid spoiler, steering wheel shift paddles, centre console, and dashboard inlays.

There are also M Carbon front bucket seats as standard, plus a titanium muffler that cuts 4kg alone, connected to black exhaust tips.

Beneath the skin, the M3 CS gains retuned adaptive suspension and steering systems, reworked stability control software, and an aluminium strut brace under the bonnet.

The wheels – available in gold or matte black – measure 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear, wrapped in 275/35 R19 front and 285/30 R20 rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 track tyres as standard (a more road-focused tyre is optional).

M Compound brake discs with six-piston front and single-piston rear calipers – finished in red – are standard, while carbon-ceramic brake discs with red calipers are optional.

The M3 CS will stand out from regular M3s on the road with a front end derived from the M4 CSL, with red-accented grille inserts, a larger splitter, and a new bonnet with twin stripes.

The laser headlights mirror other BMW M CS and CSL cars with yellow running light signatures, said to be inspired by GT endurance racing cars. There’s also a tweaked rear spoiler, and M3 CS badges with red outlines.

Four colours are available: Frozen Solid White metallic, Brooklyn Grey metallic, Sapphire Black metallic, and the Signal Green pictured in these launch images.

Inside, the M3 CS loses the standard car’s middle rear seat, and scores standard-fit carbon-fibre bucket seats with electric adjustment, heating, an black and red Merino leather upholster with contrast stitching.

Other changes include M3 CS door sill plates, three-stripe seatbelts, an Alcantara steering wheel with a red centre marker, and a carbon-fibre centre console that swaps the centre armrest and storage box for a small armrest and an open storage tray to save weight.

The M3 CS benefits from the 12.3-inch instrument display and 14.9-inch iDrive 8 centre touchscreen now standard in the regular M3.

Standard features carried over from the M3 Competition xDrive in Australia include keyless entry, dual-zone auto climate control, a head-up display, wireless phone charging, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio, and tyre pressure monitors.

However, it misses out on lane centring assist, automatic parking, and adaptive cruise control. Autonomous emergency braking is standard, however.

Local buyers can option carbon-ceramic brakes for $16,500 – while the different exterior paint colours, wheel designs and tyre compounds are no-cost options.

The 2023 BMW M3 CS is due in Australian showrooms in the second half of this year.

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Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020.

Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines at a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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