At the Shanghai Motor Show, BMW took he wraps off a lighter and more powerful version of their M4 coupe called the CS that’s positioned above the Competition Pack but below the bonkers track-ready GTS.
Ostensibly, the ‘CS’ tag resurrects a hallowed name from BMW M car lore, with the previous model to wear that being the much loved M3 CS (a less expensive interpretation of the limited run E46 M3 CSL) and one that may or may not stand for ‘Club Sport’.
In 2016, BMW also launched an M4 to fill the gap between the rest and the GTS. Confusingly, it was also called the CS, though that one stood was an acronym for ‘Competition Sport’, but was only sold in Spain.
There were those of us who were a little disappointed upon learning that BMW did not alter the engine and powertrain package of the F80 M3 or F82 M4 when they underwent their respective mid-life facelifts recently, but the only way to get a more performance focused version of the same car would be to invest in the Competition Package, but to some those didn’t move the needle far enough. Basically, it was GTS envy.
But with the CS, which BMW says will only produce in an undisclosed limited number and only over the next two years (we expect the next-generation 3 Series and 4 Series unveiled within that time too), seems to bridge the gap, taking the best bits of the M4 GTS while not going overboard with the track-spec treatment. There’s still iDrive and rear seats, so the case can still technically be made for it as an ideal car for a young family. Technically.
Under the bonnet lies the same S55 3.0-litre straight-6 twin-turbo engine, but more powerful at 343kW (the regular M4 has 317kW) and 600Nm of torque, mated to a 7-speed M-DCT dual-clutch transmission. Shame that BMW didn’t include a manual option as they do on the M4 Competition Pack. And no, the fancy water injection system that allows the engine to operate with higher boost pressures is still the preserve of the GTS.
The trade off is, again, more day-to-day usable M4 with quicker shifts. A standstill to century dash takes roughly 3.8 seconds, just edging out the M4 CP thanks to the extra power and lighter weight. The diet measures includes the same carbon fibre hood as the GTS as well as a carbon diffuser.
Next up are the lightweight wheels that reduce unsprung rotational mass, which are 19-inchers at the front and 20s at the rear, and can be paired with an optional carbon brake rotors but by default are uprated callipers and pads shared with the Competition Pack, as are much of the upgraded suspension, steering components and geometry.
A set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres come as standard which should endow the CS with an added amount of grip and response, a nice complement to the lighter forged aluminium wheels (Style 763M). Naturally, the M Adaptive Dampers and limited slip M Differential return.
Inside, the new M4 CS has underwent a further weight reduction exercise. There’s less leather and more Alcantara, contrasted with white stitching and additional trim bits finished in exposed carbon fibre. As mentioned, the rear seats remain but the doors handles are replaced with cloth pulls and we suspect there’s less sound insulation throughout the cabin.
According to BMW, extensive testing at the Nurburgring during the CS’ development phase yielded a brag-worthy lap time of 7 minutes 38 seconds, placing it within swinging distance to the racy GTS but markedly quicker than a standard M4.
Topping it off is a special set of exterior paint options specific to the CS, including the San Marino Blue Metallic seen here as well as matte Frozen Dark Blue II and Lime Rock Grey Metallic.