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The final BMW M bosses

The BMW M5 CS is a modern classic, and it's priced like it. Can you feel just as special in an M3 CS (and save a little in the process?)

Absolutely no one picked that beaten-down Diablo. I think the arcade seating was too much to overcome. Today, let’s talk the final boss of modern M cars – the M5 CS.

The 2022 BMW M5 CS vs the 2024 BMW M3 CS

See the M5 listing here

See the M3 listing here

Coupe. Sport. That’s what CS means. And like the letter M being applied to 6,000-lb SUV, the badging isn’t necessarily accurate. But that doesn’t make the M5 CS any less special.

Sometimes, cars just have that “it” factor. On the surface, the M5 CS isn’t all that different from a regular Competition model. Matte paint. Gold wheels. Yellow DRLs. Fancy seats.

But when you drive one, it’s immediately clear that this isn’t just a badge job.

Can the same be said for an M3 CS? You’d think so, but the improvements aren’t as apparent. Perhaps because the regular M3 is so good, much more direct than the larger M5.

But now, the F90 is well out of production. Would you want one for an elevated price?

The 2022 BMW M5 CS

The M5 CS in Frozen Brands Hatch Gray Metallic. Photo: Cars & Bids

There’s just one model year and only a few color options, but there are a ton of special details unique to this car. This example has:

  • 5,900 miles
  • Bid to $120,000 so far
  • Clean CarFax
  • PPF, tint, and AutoTecknic front mud flaps – pretty much unmolested
  • Minor scratches on one wheel and the front splitter – about what you’d expect for a cream puff like this.
  • The front seat is a bit chewed up for such low mileage, but I think living with them can be hard.
Hard not to be in love with the look of the M5 CS.

The CS has a subtle exterior, but inside it’s the only F90 to receive carbon buckets as an option. The back seats are so cool – buckets and the deletion of the middle seat (you didn’t need that anyway). You even get to keep the armrest for this CS.

The price of $120k will surely rise. These have gone for as much as $172,000, though perhaps there might be a slight dip once the new G90 comes out. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Special as it is, it’s still an M5 that weighs 4,114 pounds. Not exactly tossable. Hmm…

The 2024 BMW M3 CS

The M3 CS in Frozen White.

I know, I know – it’s a 3 Series, not a 5 Series, so it can’t be quite as good. In the M3’s case, you get those carbon fiber hood stripes, the only grille that matters, and wheels that I perhaps wish I had.

  • 1,195 miles
  • $119,995 – listed at a Cadillac dealer. Perhaps a Blackwing called their name.
  • Clean CarFax, one owner
  • This car isn’t even broken in yet – in fact it’s 5 miles away from yelling at you in German.
  • I will say that it was bought in New York, shipped to Florida, now for sale again up here. I ask: why?
  • No visible damage, but I think a PPI would be in order for this kind of MSRP.
  • Looks totally stock to me.
You can always do this ridiculous green instead.

And – that’s it. Considering that new this car could very well be marked up to $150k, I’d call this quite a deal. Missing are some things that make the M5 special, like those buckets in the back, and also things that make an M3 convenient, like an arm rest.

The problem with this particular M3 is that it’s already so good. You’ll never miss the extra 40 horsepower, you can buy the look for a lot cheaper, and even the M2 CS had a carbon fiber roof that the regular Comp model never had. It’s hard to see the additional value here. And at 3,915 lbs, it’s just 199 less than the M5. Maybe tossable isn’t going to happen with either one.

So, what will it be? Spend the extra $50,000 for the M5, or take the M3 and keep (most) of the attention on Sunday mornings?

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