Only 1,200 will be made, with 550 of them reserved for the U.S. market.

It feels like it was just last week when BMW took the covers off the M3 CS, but the high-powered sports sedan actually made its debut back in November 2017. The ultimate expression of the current-generation 3 Series is making the headlines once again as an extended image gallery has been released to show the hugely desirable M3 at the race track and during a scenic drive in Maisach, Bavaria in Germany.

Unlike the M2 Competition and the recently launched M5 Competition, the M3 CS is not a standalone production model as it’s only a special edition available in limited numbers. BMW will be making “approximately” 1,200 units, with around 550 of them heading to the United States. The “CS” suffix brings a wide array of improvements compared to a regular M3, with one of the most important being a weight loss of 110 pounds (50 kilograms) thanks to an extensive use of carbon fiber. Take for example the hood, which is made from CFRP and weighs around 25 percent less than the hood of the standard M3.

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At the back, the reason why the diffuser – also made from CFRP - may seem familiar is because it was borrowed from the M4. The sports exhaust system has been specifically designed for the M3 CS, as well as some of the other exterior components to allow the special edition stand out furthermore. A relevant example would have to be the 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged alloy wheels inspired by those fitted to the M4 race cars competing in DTM. Optional carbon ceramic brakes can be added to guarantee a superior stopping power.

If we were to nitpick, the lack of a manual gearbox is a disappointment, although we’re not so sure many people will miss it since the seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic does offer the option to manually change gears using the shift paddles installed behind the steering wheel. The gearbox is responsible for channeling 460 horsepower to the rear wheels, which is up by 10 hp compared to the M3 with the Competition Package. Torque has gone up by 37 pound-feet (50 Newton-meters) to 442 lb-ft (600 Nm) to grant a sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) in 3.9 seconds en route to an electronically governed top speed of 174 mph (280 kph).

Spy shots have shown BMW is already in an advanced testing phase with the next-generation M3, so we might get to see it around the end of the decade. Meanwhile, the regular next-gen 3 Series is expected to debut in the latter half of 2018.

Photos: BMW

Gallery: BMW M3 CS