BMW M4 CS review
The M4 CS is BMW’s ultimate high-performance driver-focused sports coupe, but it comes with a very high price tag
In its standard form, BMW’s M4 is a very impressive performance coupe that competes against some tough opposition such as the Audi RS5 and Mercedes-AMG C63. For some buyers the standard M4 isn’t quite sharp enough though so BMW introduced the Competition Package to the range. This adds just under 20bhp along with uprated suspension components and settings, plus upgraded seats, bigger wheels and some minor styling revisions. The package adds £3,000 to the price of your M4 which, given the changes, doesn’t seem like bad value for money.
For those wanting the ultimate M4 driving experience there’s also the range-topping M4 CS model, a machine that’s been finely honed by BMW’s M division to be even sharper than the M4 Competition. It takes that car as its base, adds another 10bhp and has an even more responsive chassis set up, along with plenty of bespoke styling cues such as a carbon fibre bonnet and front and rear spoilers. Inside there are some embellishments such as lightweight door trim panels with fabric pulls rather than door handles and swathes of Alcantara trim with CS badging. It’s only available with BMW’s M DCT dual-clutch transmission but comes with a hefty £87,150 price tag — £20,000 more than the M4 Competition Package.
However, on the road you can see where the extra money has gone. The more powerful engine not only has more horsepower but also more mid-range urge too and it’s an astonishingly fast car, accelerating from 0-62mph in less than four seconds. It sounds better too, with more of a growl from the exhaust which is one of our criticisms of the standard M4. The engine uses two turbochargers, there’s virtually no turbo lag when accelerating and it has a very sharp throttle response. This makes the M4 CS seem very, very lively.
The CS’s chassis set up features new springs and dampers with different settings for the stability control and electronically assisted limited-slip differential and these changes make the M4 CS a more involving car to drive. The grip from its high-performance Michelin tyres is sensational and the car’s feedback allows the driver to really push the M4 CS to its limits. There’s no doubting that this is the best BMW M4 driving experience this side of the track-inspired M4 GTS from a couple of years ago.
But even though the M4 CS is a wonderful car for enthusiastic drivers, it can also be a refined coupe for tackling more mundane tasks such as commuting and long motorway drives. Its adaptive dampers allow you to switch to a more pliant Comfort setting where it exhibits a decent ride quality even on its large alloy wheels and low-profile tyres. There’s room for four adults inside and while head and leg room are a little tight in the rear, it’s not claustrophobic like some high-performance coupes. At 440-litres the boot is of a decent size.
There aren’t many drawbacks to the M4 CS in practical terms, although a lack of door pockets on the lightweight trim panels leaves very little space for storing odds and ends. You’d also have to be careful not to catch the carbon front spoiler on kerbs or driveways as it’s expensive to replace. The only real drawback to the M4 CS is its very high price – you could buy a Volkswagen Up! GTI and have a very good holiday for the family for the price premium over an M4 Competition model.
There’s no doubt the BMW M4 CS is the sharpest, fastest and most rewarding M4 to drive. The exterior and exterior upgrades are, for the most part, stylish and functional and go some way to showing that you’ve bought the most expensive model in the range. Its very high price is just about the only drawback and you’d have to ask the question whether it’s worth paying the premium over the already very accomplished M4 Competition.