Review: BMW M4 CS

Review: BMW M4 CS
Review: BMW M4 CS

With the CS, BMW has finally perfected the M4

The BMW M4 CS is the slightly more real-world follow-up to the remarkable M4 GTS that debuted in 2016. That car was a highly specialised limited-series car selling for a six-figure ticket: the CS is a little more mainstream and will be on sale for two years, right up until the 4 Series is replaced. BMW will make as many as it can sell: if it’s brilliant, you won’t have to fight to get one on your driveway, as you did with the GTS.

The new CS brand is one we’re going to become familiar with on M cars. See it as branding for hotted-up M cars, a line that takes the exotica you’d get on GTS models and makes it more affordable for slightly more mainstream consumption. Here, for example, you still get a lightweight carbonfibre-reinforced plastic bonnet and rear diffuser, and weight-saving interior door trim, but there are also rear seats. Front seats are more conventional than the GTS’s lightweight carbon buckets. So too is suspension, which loses the pricey coilover setup of the GTS.

BMW M4 CS

Yes, then, the CS is lighter than a regular M4, but not as light as a GTS. Its engine also doesn’t have the trick water injection system, simply taking the upgrades used by the M4 Competition Pack and upping the power a little more. This, combined with the marginal weight saving and sticky Michelin Cup tyres, delivers a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds.

BMW M4 CS

BMW M4 CS

Price: £89,130
Engine: 3.0-litre, six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged petrol
Power: 454bhp
Torque: 442lb/ft
Gearbox: Seven-speed twin-clutch automatic
Kerbweight: 1580kg
0-62mph: 3.9sec
Top speed: 174mph
Economy: 33.6mpg
CO2/tax band: 197g/km, 37%

It feels much like the regular M4 Competition inside, albeit with manual seats rather than electric operation. The stereo is cheaper, climate control system more basic while Alcantara trim adds to the more motorsport feel but without going to extremes. Less sound deadening means more exhaust noise in the cabin, which is a good thing, and the extended 7600rpm redline means it’s more exiting in feel.

In action, it’s clear than this is a more satisfying take on a regular M4. It’s faster, the chassis has been improved considerably and the perceivable benefits to steering feel, grip and control are small but significant. It’s simply a better, more able car than the regular M4 Competition, one that you feel more confident in, more comfortable pushing to the limit.

BMW M4 CS interior

Even though the engine has theoretically been little changed, the electronics tweaking BMW’s engineered results in a much stronger feel in the mid-range, and a lot more excitement as revs raise towards the extended redline. Some rivals are more powerful, but you never feel this is lacking.

The M4 CS is a clever car. It doesn’t go to the extremes of the GTS, but does hone the regular M4 package in a comprehensive way that brings improvements throughout. Handling is better, the engine is stronger, the noise is richer, yet the general all-round demeanour hasn’t become too extreme or track-focused. You can still use it every day. It’s so able, you’ll probably want to.

Factor in the appeal of a new CS sub-brand, and you have a car that should put the M4 back at the top of its sector at last. The slightly disappointing standard car has been honed into a machine that could top the sports car class – that’s how impressive this new M4 CS is. We now can’t wait to get it to the UK, match it to an Alfa Romeo Giulia QV and Mercedes-AMG C63, and find out.

BMW M4 CS

 

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