BMW fans eagerly await the imminent arrival of the new 3 Series, but the straight-six powered E46 M3 has not been mothballed yet... The M3 CS, though not as powerful as the CSL, is bound to become a collector’s item.

BMW fans eagerly await the imminent arrival of the new 3 Series, but the straight-six powered E46 M3 has not been mothballed yet... The M3 CS, though not as powerful as the CSL, is bound to become a collector’s item.

The E46 M3 CSL is a very rare sight in South Africa. The CSL, click here to read the January 2005 road test, was available in limited numbers and all examples were eagerly snapped up even before the CSL's official launch. The carbon-fibre trimmed CSL was discontinued early in 2004 while the company prepared for the new E90, but the M3’s still around…

According to BMW AG, the M3 CS, though fitted with the M3’s 3,2-litre straight six powerplant (252 kW at 7 900 r/min and 365 N.m at 4 900 r/min), is fitted with some of equipment offered on the exclusive CSL, including 18-inch disc brakes, a direct steering rack and M Track mode for track racing situations.

Exterior modifications will include the 19-inch alloy wheels previously seen on the CSL, while on the inside, extra leather trim will be added to the steering wheel and emergency brake lever.

The CSL produced 265 kW and 370 N.m, figures slightly up on those of the CS, but its improved performance was largely due to the latter's lighter body.

However, the same will not be true for the next generation M3, which will be powered by a shortened version of the M5's F1-inspired V10 powerplant.

Gone are the glory days of the M3's classic straight-six muscle power... The next M3 will be powered by a 4,0-litre V8 with a possible output of 310 kW and a much lighter body than its predecessor.

It is predicted that the new M3 (artist's impression by Duwyne Aspeling) will be fitted with a seven-speed SMG gearbox and limited-slip differential for maximum traction. The suspension layout will mimic the M5 and recently launched M6, with struts at the front and a multiple-arm rear axle.

Two other M machines from BMW will soon be unveiled in South Africa - the M5 within the next few months and the M6 by the end of 2005. It is not yet known whether the M3 CS will be available on the South African market, however.

Original article from Car