BMW M3 CS Review (2023)

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The front seats are M Carbon buckets, though they are electrically adjustable, a point that Hacker uses to highlight again that this is not an M3 devoid of creature comforts. To that end, and unlike in the M4 CSL, the rear bench remains intact. 

In total around 15% of the car has been changed over the M3 Competition (although the price has gone up by 35%, to an eye-watering £115,900), Hacker saying this is not a better M3 but a different flavour of the M3, one in dynamic positioning terms that settles nicely between the M3 Competition and M4 CSL.

You recognise this immediately. Even in the Road driving mode with everything in its least aggressive setting (the driving modes retain the almost bamboozling level of configurability), it feels a car more alert and alive than the M3 Competition without feeling compromised on the road. It will happily potter through town or cruise on an A-road knowing that its time will come when you find a more enticing run of asphalt.

And when you do… the M3 Competition is no slouch, yet the M3 CS feels substantially quicker across all speeds. There’s a real force to the way it accelerates, the upshifts feeling crisper and even more precise. While the exhaust is louder, the car still has a stealthy vibe and an almost effortless way of gathering pace. Much like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio in that regard.

Accelerating with that force, you’d think bumps, scars and crests in the road might keep your hands rather busy on the fantastic-feeling Alcantara-wrapped wheel, yet the suspension does a great job at smoothing everything out. While things happen quickly, it all still feels so predictable and controllable, the body control quite remarkable. 

The ride is unsurprisingly firm but not shockingly so, nor again compromising the car’s broader appeal. To that end, it feels more like an M3 Competition than a car created in pursuit solely of a Nürburgring lap time. That it can do both makes it all the more impressive. 

A track will reveal its limit handling more, but there is so much grip that you really have to push to disrupt the M3 CS’s stability. It turns in very sharply and feels resistant to understeer, a playful on-demand squirt from the rear axle raising a smile when you squeeze the throttle exiting a corner. It can take corners at speeds that an M3 Competition simply can’t, and you’re able to raise more of a smile while doing so. 

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