The BMW M3 CS and M4 CSL are pinnacles of performance. BMW offers its potent powertrain with two or four doors, but there are differences between the two hiding under the sheet metal that affect their drag racing capability.
The M3 CS And M4 CSL pack the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre S58 inline-six engine. It produces 550 bhp and 479 pound-feet (650 Newton-metres) of torque in the two cars and pairs with the brand’s eight-speed automatic transmission.
Gallery: 2024 BMW M3 CS
The two differ in the number of wheels they power. The M3 CS has BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, while the M4 CSL has rear-wheel drive. This gives the coupe one advantage over the saloon – weight. The M4 tips the scales at 1,625 kilograms (3,582 pounds), while the M3 weighs in at a chunkier 1,765 kg (3,891 lbs).
Sadly, the M4 couldn’t cash in on its weight advantage until the cars faced off in the rolling races, although it did have a little luck against the M3 in the first two drag races. That’s because the M3 raced in rear-wheel-drive mode, struggling to get off the line without launch control and giving the M4 two solid victories.
All of that disappeared in the last three drag races when the M3 raced with all four tires spinning. The sedan pulled away from the M4 right at every launch, needing just 11.1 seconds to complete the quarter-mile track. The M4 completed the race in 11.5 seconds.
BMW claims the M3 CS can sprint to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds. While it takes the M4 CSL 3.6 seconds to reach the same speed, their top speeds differ. The automaker electronically limits the CSL to 191 mph and the CS to 188 mph.
The rolling races were the M4’s bread and butter. The lighter coupe pulled away in each run, finally utilising its one advantage to secure three back-to-back victories. The M4 would ultimately lose to the M3 in the brake test, but not by much, with the two stopping at nearly the same distance.
BMW went to great lengths to lighten the M4 CSL, cutting 110 kg (240 lbs) from the vehicle using lightweight soundproofing, carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics, and a titanium rear silencer. It also eliminated the coupe’s rear seats. The M3 CS also underwent a diet, with the saloon dropping about 35 kg (75 lbs).