The Truth About Cars - M3 CS

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by Redline Racer, May 20, 2005.

  1. Redline Racer

    Redline Racer Subaru Tecnica International

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    Cool review, that I thought the M3 appreciating members may like :bigthumb:

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    The M3 CS is one of those rare cars that makes you change your driving habits. Grasp its suede-effect steering wheel and you find yourself in a single-minded pursuit of corners. You hunt for wiggly arrow road signs like a lion searching for a wounded Wildebeest. You scan for curving off-ramps that lead to... curving on-ramps. You waggle to your destination as if you're trying to shake a bad guy. Sure, the 333hp M3 CS can obliterate a straight line. But it’s a reverse scuba diver at heart. It lives for the bends.

    The CS in question stands for “Competition Sport”. It's the performance-enhanced version of the performance-enhanced version of BMW’s venerable 3-Series. It’s also the last hurrah of the current M3 before the new model, based on the latest generation 3-Series, inspires fresh reverence and awe. To pump-up the volume on the M3’s Swan Song, the CS option package adds 19” wheels and tires, dramatically bigger brakes, a faster steering ratio (14.5:1), a less intrusive handling Nanny, aluminum interior trim and optional Interlagos Blue paint. Oh, and $4000.

    Unlike its Euro-spec counterpart, the M3 CSL, the CS is not a stripped-down, lightweight flyer. It’s a full-fat M3 with a bit more grip. Make that a lot more grip. OK, a double-helping of grip, with a side order of grip, and a large grip cola. Not to mention the extra control that comes from the significantly sharper steering and the enhanced security provided by the car’s seriously savage stoppers. All of which puts us back where we started: attacking a sharp corner at speeds that would, seemingly, make a recovery driver’s day.

    But no, the M3 CS dispatches tight turns with so much flat-bodied, sure-footed poise that cornering quickly becomes more addictive than iced coffee in August. If you’re brave enough to write your name in rubber on the outside of the envelope, you can switch into Sport mode, switch off Dynamic Stability Control and put your faith in The Gods of Opposite Lock. At that point, the CS offers even more easily-adjusted tail-out action than a “normal” driftastic M3. The uber-uber-3 is more of a four-wheeled scalpel than a German sports sedan. It offers lateral-G jockeys the kind of finely-honed handling capabilities normally reserved for race-prepared vehicles. And that’s where I’ve got issues.

    The car’s name, “Competition Sport”, is an open invitation to flog your M3 at a purpose-built race track. In case you missed the point, BMW’s website spells it out: “For those looking to get even more track-oriented performance out of the legendary M3, we offer the Competition Package.” Here’s the problem: take your “track-oriented” M3 CS onto an actual race track for anything resembling a "competitive event" and BMW could void your warranty. And don’t think you can cheat. The M3 CS’ black box records the time, date and shift points during all your high-speed sorties.

    That sucks. The M3 CS’ genetic propensity for a closed course-- and antipathy towards real world slogging-- is obvious from the moment you set off. The brakes are fade-free, but they bite like an amphetamine-crazed rattler. The steering is perfect for mid-corner corrections, but the car changes direction if you even THINK left or right. The suspension is ideal for well-groomed private tarmac, but the chassis jostles when driving over a gum wrapper. The wheels and tires offer more hold than a case of hair spray, but curbing those forged twin-spokes is easier than, um, not curbing them.

    In fact, driving the BMW M3 CS at slow speeds is a lot more challenging than you’d imagine. Even if you discount the tightness of our box-fresh test car’s six-speed gearbox (1800 miles on the clock), getting all the mechanical elements to work together harmoniously requires no small amount of concentration, and a light touch. In that sense, the CS is a true driver’s car. Unlike the “base” M3 (or any current model Porsche), smooth piloting requires large amounts skill, planning and practice. Auto-pilot is not an option.

    As you might imagine, give the M3 CS a proper pasting and it all makes perfect sense. But that still begs the question: where? If the race track is verboten, where can you drive a CS fast enough to fully exploit its astounding capabilities? For pistonheads, the obvious answer is “anywhere you can”-- unless, of course, a member of law enforcement is asking the question. Driving an M3 CS on a public road is a direct challenge to any sense of self-restraint and, thus, your right to drive.

    In the final analysis, the BMW M3 CS is the right car for the wrong world: a track day tool that's a bit too highly strung for the daily grind. That said, there are plenty of pistonheads who'll put up with anything for a moment or two of cornering perfection. And there will come a time when the Bimmer's warranty expires. CS owners live for that day.

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    Courtesy of The Truth About Cars; Robert Farago
     
  2. pmoney

    pmoney OT Supporter

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    Nice post, and m3>*.

    But, is this something special in the UK? Like 3er 'SE' or 'Sport' Saloons?

    I have never heard of 'competition sport'. There is ZCP, comp package, and the article mentions that as an additional option, but what exactly does the CS have thats different from an ordinary e46 m3?
     
  3. Redline Racer

    Redline Racer Subaru Tecnica International

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    As far as I'm aware, it's just another name being used for the competition package avaliable in the USA, which comes with:


    M Cross Spoke forged lightweight alloy wheels, 19 x 8.0 front, 19 x 9.5 rear; 225/40R-19 front and 255/35R-19 rear performance tires,
    Cross-drilled compound brakes,
    M track mode for DSC,
    Competition Package Aluminum Interior Trim,
    Alcantara steering wheel and handbrake,
    More direct steering ratio.
     
  4. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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  5. CalSpeedRacer

    CalSpeedRacer i lurk

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    the writer sounds like an idiot. why would the competition sport (which sounds the same as the stateside ZCP) be any tougher to drive smoothly. i mean ok so the steering ratio is a bit more aggressive but i doubt in everyday driving its very noticeable. that's really about it. its not like it has a more aggressive clutch, lighter flyweel, different gear ratios, different throttle mapping, etc.
     
  6. pmoney

    pmoney OT Supporter

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    Yeah definitely.
    "Unlike the “base” M3 (or any current model Porsche), smooth piloting requires large amounts skill, planning and practice. Auto-pilot is not an option."


    WTF? It does for any high horsepower, high strung, rear drive car. But, the understeer prone m3 is easier for a regular driver to handle at the limits than the rear heavy porsche which requires a lot more "skill, planning, and practice".
     
  7. CalSpeedRacer

    CalSpeedRacer i lurk

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    all modern 911's (993+) are tuned for understeer at the limit also. it seems like the only 911 of late that takes talent is the GT2.

    of course when it comes to 911's i'm a 100% magazine racer since i've never driven one, much less tracked one.

    i have however tracked my 100% stock e46 m3 and while it may understeer at the limit, i am guessing that there are few drivers that can pilot the car to the extent that this is the limiting factor in their lap times. i swear, sometimes this car makes me feel like superman. it's very easy to drive very fast which admittedly has its pro's and con's
     
  8. pmoney

    pmoney OT Supporter

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    The rear heavy porsches require a bit of a different style when driving at the limit...which like you said the magazine folks have never done.

    THe problem with many newer vehciles, such as the e46, e90 is that they handle very, very well and will beat 'old cars' around the track, if they were of equivalent size and weight. But, they handle great right up to the limit, which when you hit it you had no idea its coming. The sudden dropoff is so very much different than in an e30.
     
  9. ISO9002

    ISO9002 New Member

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    Nicest M3 ever! Definitely would go with the Competition Package!
     
  10. VANOS

    VANOS .

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    i think he is making the competition package out to be more than it is.... the performance improvements are not that substantial
     
  11. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    Agreed. My M3 handles way better than the perf packaged M3 and for half the $4000.
     
  12. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    Ground Control SA coilovers w/ Front camber plates
    19" BBS RS-GTs in diamond black for street
    18" SSR Comps painted black for track
    Brembo Gran Turismo BBK front and rear (355mm, 345mm) red
    Tubi exhaust
    Schroth Ralleye 4 harness for track
    More to come......engine is next :big grin:
     
  13. Merli

    Merli gplus.to/merli OT Supporter

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    Recent pics needed STAT! :o
     
  14. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    :rofl:
    Car is at dealer getting inspection. I'll try to take some new pics this weekend.

    I got a 2.5 Z4 as a loaner. Man, that car is fun! Lots of low end torque, great exhaust note for stock and you can chirp 2nd easily:big grin:
     
  15. Flummox

    Flummox New Member

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    cool, I wish I was a car.
     
  16. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    Here are some updated pics as promised :)

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  17. Mitchj

    Mitchj OT Supporter

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    That site is a load of crap, iv read other reviews and they dont know what their talking about.
     
  18. CalSpeedRacer

    CalSpeedRacer i lurk

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    you're in norcal rite? i'm trying to figure out what suspension to get and i'd appreciate a quick ride to see what the GC SA kit feels like.
     
  19. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    Sure we could arrange something. What other systems are you looking at because honestly GC is the best out there unless you want to go crazy with Moton or something.
     
  20. CalSpeedRacer

    CalSpeedRacer i lurk

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    yea thats basically what i'm hearing. seems like the gc complete street kit is a great option. although, i'm not sure if i'm gonna track the m3 again. i'm pretty much set on getting a miata or e30 for that purpose. so, having said that, i'm thinking i might be alrite with a cheaper and softer kit like pss9's.
     
  21. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    yea, i hear ya. anyway, let me know when you're free and you can drive mine to see what you think.
     

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