There's a lot to look forward to here.
It's been almost two years to the day since we last saw the BMW M3 CS. Back then, we were still bemoaning the inclusion of the now-familiar BMW grille present on both the M4 and M3. Now, two years and an entire pandemic later, we're getting our best look at the top-trim M3 yet. As expected, it's a distillation of the current M3 design ethos, though we do expect a raft of mechanical changes to hone the M3 into a more track-ready weapon.
Our spy captured this test car leaving some kind of BMW gathering. Maybe it was a cars and coffee for camo-covered BMWs, as we see another prototype in the background. Regardless, the M3 CS has shed much of its camo livery since we last saw it, which made us raise an eyebrow. First, why on earth are the rear windows still covered? And second, exactly how big is that front splitter?
Happily, we may have some answers for both. First, the rear windows. When we saw the camo-covered BMW M4 CSL, we learned that the rear windows were covered to hide a distinct lack of rear seats. In this case, we suspect that the camo is hiding a pair of bucket seats like those in the M5 CS. Duh.
Regardless, the big news is the front end. We can see that BMW has made some changes to the kidney grille's pattern, which mirrors that of the M4 CSL. It also appears that the radar cruise sensor has been relocated or removed entirely. That's good news for BMW grille haters, as the sensor often gets in the way of modified front clips. Below that sits an enormous splitter. It appears BMW has also changed up the rest of the grille, adding some more scoops and intakes to the nose. Some of those will be used to cool the carbon-ceramic brakes, which are given away by BMW's trademark gold calipers. We're also betting on some refined headlights, hence the camo and pre-production units you see here.
The fact that the mirror caps are covered suggests that these will be constructed from carbon fiber, and we wouldn't bet against fender and hood changes either. There's not much going on at the rear, which appears to be identical to the current M3 Competition, but we might be looking at a new shade of green, although that could be the light playing tricks on us. Mechanically, we're not sure what to expect out of the M3 CS. Previous spy shots show an automatic transmission, but we're optimistic and won't rule out a manual 'til we see the production version, however unlikely that may be in a speed-focused car like this. As of now, we're expecting around 540 horsepower, and there's no word yet on which wheels will be driven. We're going to have to wait for BMW M's 50th-anniversary celebrations later this year to learn more, before a full launch in spring 2023.