It’s not often we hear about the old-school E46 BMW M3 CS, the lesser known sibling to the legendary E46 M3 CSL. Despite its relative obscurity, the E46 M3 CS was actually a fantastic little car, one that was an excellent middle-man between the standard M3 and the simply magnificent CSL. If you want to know what driving that middle-man is like, check out this POV drive video from AutoTopNL.
In this new video, we get put in the driver’s seat of an E46 BMW M3 CS, which is the closest most of us are going to get. It’s an ultra-rare car, the original M3 CS, so most of us are not likely to even see one, never mind drive one. So this is the closest we’re going to get to actually driving the CS.
The E46 BMW M3 CS wasn’t a full-on CSL but it was close. Essentially, BMW took some CSL bits and slapped them on the standard M3. So it got the sharper steering, better brakes, stiffer suspension and steering wheel from the CSL. While its wheels look similar, they’re actually not the same forged lightweight units as the CSL. Still, that’s pretty close to the legend.
Its engine is still the standard E46 M3 engine but that’s not bad thing. So it gets a 3.2 liter naturally-aspirated I6 engine, making 333 hp, and it revs to almost 8,000 rpm, sounding incredible doing it. In this video, we get to hear that engine scream to redline and it makes a glorious noise as it makes that journey.
What’s also interesting is how much slower the steering ratio seems to be compared to modern cars. It looks like it requires so much more steering lock than a modern sports car and the steering rack in this CS is faster than the standard M3’s.
This video is likely the closest we’ll ever get to driving an E46 BMW M3 CS, so it’s pretty awesome to watch. Take a look.