First Drive: BMW M4 CS

12th June 2018
Chris Knapman

Steering the new BMW M4 CS on to a roundabout I shift to second gear and gently lean on the throttle to feel the front tyres biting into the road surface. As my exit appears I flick the indicator to the left and guide the car into the turn, imagining that old trick of there being a piece of string connecting the bottom of the steering wheel with my big toe. Only as the lock unwinds can I begin to apply more power.


Rolling on to the dual carriageway the response is instant and exciting as the CS starts to deploy 600NM through the wide rear tyres and then, with the steering finally pointing straight and the road ahead both empty and dry, I push the loud pedal all the way to the floor. I’m still not sure whether it’s exhilarating or alarming that even when such care is taken that the CS will still lose traction under such conditions, but at least the moment is over quickly, for it really doesn’t take long at all to reach the national speed limit in one of these beasts.

As for what exactly one of these beasts is, you can think of the £89,130 CS as the midpoint in the M4 range, more finely honed than the standard car but without the extreme nature of the stripped-out GTS. The price, of course, puts it firmly into Porsche 911 territory, but despite also being a coupe (a saloon version of the CS is also available in M3 guise) the two cars are very different in character.

When you first climb into an M4 CS the pared-down door panels with their fabric pulls and the mass of Alcantara might make you think this is some kind of track special, but really these exist for aesthetic reasons only. After all, there’s still a decent infotainment system complete with satnav and DAB radio (although the deletion of the door speakers means audio quality is somewhat lacking), the sports seats are chunkily comfortable and unlike the GTS the rear seats have been left in place. Combined with a large boot this actually makes the CS a surprisingly practical proposition. 

Or at least it would if the wheels weren’t kerb-grazingly enormous (19s at the front, 20s at the rear) and the lowered ride height didn’t make the front splitter want to graze every speed bump in town. This aggressive stance is courtesy of the same suspension upgrades you’ll find on a Competition Package version of the M4, which donates its revised springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.


In other areas, the CS is closer to the GTS, like in its rear diffuser or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (note that BMW UK opted to equip its CS press demonstrator with more wet weather-friendly Michelin Super Sports). And in some, it’s bespoke CS, like in its 460hp output from the 3.0-litre, twin-turbo straight-six, which puts it 10hp above the Competition Package but still 40hp shy of the water-injected GTS.

What comes of this, as indicated by that earlier accelerative exploration, is a car that is sure to grab your attention, whether you’re braving your way from 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds or blipping down through the fabulously quick dual-clutch gearbox. Yes, the M4 CS is spiky if you’re not smooth with the throttle, but that can be regarded as much a part of its appeal as it is any inherent flaw.

The result is a car you learn to get the best from over time, building confidence in its many and varied driving modes and clever Active M differential, and enjoying a level of focus to the steering and chassis that is significantly more engaging than in a standard M4. 

That it does all of this while still being comfortable enough to be used for long journeys, yet different enough to feel genuinely special is all part of the appeal. Whether that appeal is worth almost six figures is something only buyers can answer, and their enthusiasm might be tempered by the knowledge that unlike the GTS this CS is not a limited-edition model.

However, put the question of money to one side and there’s also little doubting that this car represents as good an interpretation of the current generation of M4 as we’ve yet seen. 

The Numbers

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive

PS/Nm: 460/600

0-62mph: 3.9sec

Top speed: 174mph

Price from: £89,130

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