BMW has done it.
It would be too cliché to say the M4 CS is the car the M4 always should’ve been, so instead we’ll say the CS package has finally unlocked the potential that’s felt to lurk inside the M4 package.
Always ferociously fast and capable, the F80/F82 M cars have too often felt to need steel nerves and lightning reflexes to drive quickly, particularly on a bumpy road and/or in tricky conditions.
Thanks to sunny skies throughout our time with the CS, we can’t answer if the latter has been solved, but on a dry road it’s a stunning driver’s car. There are many elements that make up a CS, but without doubt the one change that has had the greatest effect is the fitment of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
Lifted from the M4 GTS and wrapped around staggered lightweight rims measuring 19 x 9.0-inch and 20 x 10.0-inch front and rear respectively, the trick rubber (265/35 front; 285/30 rear) enhances every aspect of the M4’s performance.
Patience is needed to build temperature – more road-focused Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres are available as a no-cost option – but once hot the Michelins stick to the road like glue.
Despite an extra 7kW/50Nm from the 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six, the CS has traction like no M4 before it, deploying all 338kW/600Nm to the tarmac and catapulting out of second-gear hairpins where a standard car would be scrabbling and sliding once the boost arrived.
The extra grunt and traction is obvious in the 4.05sec 0-100km/h and 12.01sec at 197.25km/h quarter mile times we recorded and the ease with which it eats up a standard M4 in a straight-line at Winton Raceway.
The engine still isn’t exactly the most sonorous unit around, but it does sound harder and angrier than the standard car and, unlike the hardcore GTS, there’s no need to fill a water tank in the boot to access the extra urge.
Where the sticky Michelins really earn their keep, though, is in the bends. The CS brakes are the same as the standard M4’s, however, the extra grip slashes the 100-0km/h stop to just 30.42m, one of the best results we’ve ever had from a standard production car.
Lateral grip is equally tremendous, adding even greater understeer resistance yet with added security at the rear. Not that the car is over-gripped, for it’s still happy to adjust its balance mid-corner or paint thick black lines on corner exit if you’re early and aggressive with the throttle.
The change in demeanour is such that it seems unlikely that it’s down to the tyres alone, but sadly BMW doesn’t provide any information on the suspension changes beyond “a fresh round of revisions over the M4 Competition Package in terms of spring/damper settings.”
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The rear-end can still hop over bumps, but there’s now greater control and the MDM stability control mode allows greater flexibility. It’s an intoxicating drive.
Unfortunately, the M4 CS has a couple of severe blots on its copybook. The first of which is the lightweight interior lifted from the GTS. It may very well save a few kilograms, but it also eradicates virtually all storage space, leaves you with cheap-looking single-zone climate control and door trims that look like a kindergarten arts and crafts project.
This reduced level of practicality and luxury only makes the $211,610 price tag even more ludicrous, especially when for serious track work the $15,000 carbon-ceramic brakes are a must due to the lacklustre stamina of the standard stoppers.
The M4 CS is an awesome machine and looks fantastic, with its sexy black 10-spoke wheels and sculpted carbon bonnet, front splitter and subtle lip spoiler, but when you can fit an M4 Pure with carbon brakes and Cup tyres and have change from $160,000, there’s simply no way the CS can justify an extra $50K, improved though it is.
If money is no object, the CS is the best M4 there is in terms of outright ability, but it’s mostly a case of right car, wrong price.
4 stars out of 5
Likes: Brilliant dynamics; looks awesome
Dislikes: Ordinary interior; crazy price tag
2017 BMW M4 CS Specs
Engine: 2979cc inline-6cyl, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
Power: 338kW @ 6250rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 4000-5380rpm
0-100km/h: 3.9sec (claim)