2024 BMW M3 CS Tested: Lizard Brain


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From the October 2023 issue of Car and Driver.

Why wait for Elon Musk’s ethically dubious Neuralink? If you want to feel telepathically connected to something, buy a BMW M3 CS. Behind its David Cronenberg body-horror visage is a lighter, stronger M3 that responds with such immediacy that it’s as if there’s a cable from the USB port jammed into your brainstem.

The M3 CS’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six makes 543 horsepower, 40 more than the M3 Competition and 70 more than the standard model. Torque remains unchanged from the Comp at 479 pound-feet. Unlike the equally track-focused M4 CSL, the CS is all-wheel drive, though the system can decouple the front axle to enable rear-drive heroics. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission offered because it’s quicker than a human.

Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic carries the weight (or lack thereof) in the M3 CS. BMW uses it liberally, from the roof to the cabin trim. The cabin also sheds weight by replacing the center armrest with an awkward stub of a thing that’s ergonomically frustrating in daily driving. BMW’s lightweight (and, if you’re thick of thigh, cramped) carbon bucket seats are standard. All of this contributes to a curb weight of 3890 pounds, 39 less than the M3 Competition xDrive we tested and 310 more than the M4 CSL.

Then again, daily driving is clearly not BMW’s goal for this car. The M3 CS defaults to its smoothest suspension setting but can’t negate the impact harshness from the thin-sidewall Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires. Switch to a firmer setting anywhere but an obsidian-smooth track, and you’ll regret it. The steering is quick and never relaxed on-center, riding a fine line between telepathic and twitchy. It’s a rowdy point-and-shoot affair.

The M3 CS’s liposuction pays off. With a 2.7-second 60-mph time, it’s a tenth quicker than the M3 Competition xDrive and six-tenths quicker than the CSL (thank you, all-wheel-drive traction). It crosses the quarter in 10.7 seconds at 129 mph, so you can brag that you own a 10-second car. Around the skidpad, there’s more understeer than expected from the Cup 2 Rs. An average of 1.06 g’s is quite low for a track tire and barely exceeds the Competition xDrive’s result. But the sticky tires and an $8500 carbon-ceramic brake package keep deceleration nice and tidy, stopping the car from 70 mph in just 146 feet.

Andi Hedrick|Car and Driver

2024 bmw m3 cs

Andi Hedrick|Car and Driver

You may have noticed that the M3 CS only marginally outperforms the M3 Competition xDrive, despite a starting price that’s $34,400 higher. If you’re chasing every tenth on the track, that could be worth it. But if you’re just peacocking at the office, we’d stick with the Competition and save a bit on physical therapy.

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2024 BMW M3 CS
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear/all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan


Base/As Tested: $119,695/$132,695
Options: M carbon ceramic brakes w/ gold calipers, $8500; Signal Green paint, $4500 

twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 183 in3, 2993 cm3

Power: 543 hp @ 7200 rpm

Torque: 479 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm 

8-speed automatic


Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 15.7-in vented, cross-drilled carbon-ceramic disc/15.0-in vented, cross-drilled carbon-ceramic disc

Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2

F: 275/35ZR-19 (100Y) Extra Load DT ★
R: 285/30ZR-20 (99Y) Extra Load DT ★


Wheelbase: 112.5 in

Length: 188.8 in

Width: 75.5 in
Height: 56.6 in

Passenger Volume: 98 ft3
Trunk Volume: 13 ft3
Curb Weight: 3890 lb


60 mph: 2.7 sec

100 mph: 6.4 sec

1/4-Mile: 10.7 sec @ 129 mph
130 mph: 11.0 sec

150 mph: 16.1 sec
170 mph: 23.7 sec

Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.0 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.7 sec

Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 188 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 146 ft

Braking, 100–0 mph: 295 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 1.06 g 


Observed: 19 mpg

75-mph Highway Driving: 30 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 460 mi

Combined/City/Highway: 18/15/22 mpg 


Headshot of Andrew Krok

Senior Editor

Cars are Andrew Krok’s jam, along with boysenberry. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, Andrew cut his teeth writing freelance magazine features, and now he has a decade of full-time review experience under his belt. A Chicagoan by birth, he has been a Detroit resident since 2015. Maybe one day he’ll do something about that half-finished engineering degree.

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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