Is the BMW M3 better than the 3 series?

What is the difference between a BMW 3 Series and a M3?

The first BMW M3 originated when BMW built a homologation special, a limited run of vehicles required by motorsports governing body to allow a particular model of car to race, in the German DTM series. That first M3 featured an eye-catching widebody kit and a wide variety of bespoke parts with a strong motorsport focus, in the end only the bonnet roof and sunroof were shared with the regular 3 series.

Through the generations of the BMW 3 series that trend has continued and although loosely based on the 3 series, the flagship M3 model is a unique vehicle that takes inspiration from the world of motorsport and places performance at its core.

Compared to the regular 3-series the M3 features more powerful engines, upgraded suspension parts, larger brakes and re-skinned bodies.

Find out more about the new and refreshed BMW 3-Series here.

The performance focused BMW M3 CS 

The latest iteration of BMWs motorsport inspired M3 is the special edition BMW M3 CS which boasts an intelligent lightweight construction that incorporates a large number of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic components, increased engine power, a bespoke chassis setup, exclusive design features and a specification honed to deliver an exhilarating performance experience on track, combined with functionality and everyday usability.

Under the bonnet is a 405kW and 650Nm six-cylinder inline engine with an eight speed M Steptronic transmission and the M xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system. The result is a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.4 seconds, while still being able to carry four passengers in comfort. 0-200km/h takes 11.1 seconds, and the standard fitment of the M Driver’s Package results in a top speed of 302km/h.

This performance is made possible by an engine that was derived from the unit used in the BMW M4 GT3 that competes in the current DTM series and utilises a variety of the technological details derived directly from the race car unit. The unabated power delivery is complemented by an emotionally stirring soundtrack that is produced by the dual-branch exhaust system featuring electrically controlled flaps, a titanium rear silencer and two pairs of tailpipes painted in matt black.

Power is delivered to the road via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic that is operated either via the M-specific selector lever on the centre console or the carbon-fibre shift paddles on the steering wheel. Traction and agility are enhanced by M xDrive all-wheel drive, which utilises an electronically controlled multi plate clutch to ensure distribution of the engine’s power between the front and rear wheels. The systems rear-wheel bias and the way it teams up with the Active M Differential on the rear axle add to the characteristic M driving dynamics when accelerating or powering through corners. 

Motorsport inspired suspension

Individually tuned axle kinematics and bespoke camber settings, dampers, auxiliary springs and anti-roll bars optimise steering precision, and transmission of lateral forces. The electronically controlled dampers of the adaptive M suspension and the electromechanical M Servotronic steering feature a model-specific setup.

Standard fitment includes M Compound brakes or optional M Carbon ceramic brakes and forged M light-alloy wheels in an exclusive V-spoke design that measure 19 and 20 inches respectively and which are fitted with track tyres that have been purposefully designed for circuit driving.

Lightweight thanks to the use of carbon fibre

Extensive lightweight design measures include the use of components made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic both inside and out including a carbon fibre roof, bonnet, front splitter, air intakes, exterior mirror caps, rear diffuser and rear spoiler as well as the centre console, shift paddles and interior trim strips result in a total weight saving of 20 kilograms.

Exclusive design features

As has been the case through all generations of the BMW M3, the latest model incorporates a number of design features that result in a much more aggressive design than the standard 3 series. Exposed carbon-fibre surfaces adorn the roof, bonnet, front splitter, air intakes, M exterior mirror caps, rear spoiler and rear apron. 

The front end features a weight saving frameless BMW kidney grille with a stripped back air reminiscent of racing cars. BMW Laserlight headlights are included as standard specification and illuminate yellow instead of white as on GT racing cars. The BMW M3 CS is also available in a variety of exclusive colours.

Inside story

Inside the driver and front passenger are welcomed by M Carbon bucket seats that are partly constructed from carbon fibre in order to save weight. Upholstered in Merino leather and featuring a black and red colour scheme with distinctive contrast stitching, they ensure both comfort and the perfect position from which to enjoy this special vehicle. M seat belts with a woven stripe, door sill plates with the M3 CS inscription, anthracite coloured headliner, interior trim strips in carbon fibre, an M Alcantara steering wheel with CFRP shift paddles and a red centre marker round off the interior.

Find out more about the new BMW M2 Global reveal here.

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