With Three M3s, Which One is for Me?

by Bimmerfest.com Member - Michael Accardi on November 17, 2017, 4:06 pm

By: Evan Williams

Shall I compare the M3 to a summer's day?

The base model art more lovely. Or at least more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of the Competition Package. And the CS' lease hath all too short a production run.

There are now three versions of BMW's venerable M3. That's the four-door one, now, in a change that will forever be confusing. The break down is as follows: there's the fast one--that's the base car; the faster one--the Competition Package; and the fastest faster one--the CS.

So what are the differences, and which one do you want?

It feels wrong calling the "regular" M3 a base car. After all, it has a 3.0L twin-turbo S55B30 inline six that manages an impressive 425 hp. Backing that up is 406 lb-ft of torque available from 1,850 rpm all the way to 5,500. Cog-swapping is handled by you, at least if you want it to be. A six-speed manual is standard, but BMW M's double-clutch box on the option box.

Putting that power to the ground is BMW's Active M differential. The limited slip unit uses data from the stability control to send power to each rear wheel for optimum grip.

The standard suspension gives drivers a good blend of handling without ruining ride comfort. It's sharp, precise, and right.

If it all sounds pretty great, you're right. It is. And if it's not enough, you can add carbon ceramic brakes to make sure that your body will fade long before the brakes do. The roof is carbon fiber as well, taking pounds off up high, where you most want it.

But what if you want a little bit more?

Enter rough winds.

When you order an M3, there's a big box that says "Competition Package". Tick that box if you think that the standard M is too soft. You'll get an extra 19 horses under the hood, bringing the total to 444. The CP gets an M adaptive suspension. With that comes stiffer springs, stiffer damping, and thicker anti-roll bars. The adaptive suspension's modes make the stiff car even stiffer for a more involving drive-- so long as the pavement is smooth. The differential gets a new mode that allows for more oversteer on command.

It also gets special 20-inch lightweight forged wheels and it has a louder exhaust with black-chrome tailpipes. The unique M Sport seats are lighter and the belts get M stripes. Ok, that last one doesn't make it faster, but the belts are undeniably cool.

Now, summer's lease hath all too short of a production run, just 1,200 units of the M3 CS, the hardest M3 of them all, will be produced worldwide.

The car gets stiffer suspension, 10 more hp than the CS, and 37 more lb-ft of torque than the base M3. It's dual-clutch gearbox only affair because this is a track focused car and that transmission is faster on track. A carbon front splitter, hood, rear diffuser, and special spoiler make it 110 lbs lighter than the standard dual-clutch M3. Under the CS are stickier tires and lightweight wheels.

So which one's eternal summer shall not fade?

If you want to shift your own gears, the CS is instantly eliminated. It's also extremely limited, so even getting one could be near impossible. The Competition Package is probably what you need. Comfort mode for the commute and a choice of options for the track.

But there's nothing wrong with the standard car. It'll still eat the lunch of almost any compact sedan, plus a few supercars that are more than a few years old. There's something to be said for simplicity. The pleasure of a good vanilla ice cream.

Who are we kidding? Get the Competition Package, get it in Yas Marina Blue or Austin yellow, and blow the doors off of just about anything at your track day. And never shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade.

Leave a Comment

You must be a registered member to comment on stories. Please take a moment to register for your free account now. If you already have an account, log in using fields below.

3 responses to With Three M3s, Which One is for Me?

CaseyClements commented:
November 21, 2017, 2:50 am

carsheadline commented:
November 22, 2017, 2:49 pm

Lol, are you just copying and pasting articles from other sites? Without even leaving any link credit to the source?
Michael Accardi commented:
November 22, 2017, 4:16 pm

Originally Posted by carsheadline View Post
Lol, are you just copying and pasting articles from other sites? Without even leaving any link credit to the source?
LOL, are you a suspicious forum trying to drive traffic to your site by making dubious claims on a legitimate forum?

I think so...