RE: BMW M4 CS: Driven

Wednesday 31st May 2017

BMW M4 CS: Driven

BMW sprinkles some GTS fairy dust on an otherwise less hardcore M4 coupe - is it any less special?



'Getting warmer' might be how you'd summarise the BMW M Division's repeated attempts at producing a really great current-generation M4. Having launched the standard M4 in 2014, it addressed the questionable reception the car received in some quarters with the Competition Package in early 2016, having already announced the memorably expensive and hardcore M4 GTS a few months earlier. And then came the M4 DTM Champion Edition: yet another limited-run model, based on the GTS with a slightly different aero kit and some stripes. Which makes four new M4 coupes in just three years.

This one's Lime Rock Grey, FYI
This one's Lime Rock Grey, FYI
If I'd bought an 'F82' M4 coupe in 2014, I'm not sure how I'd feel about the procession of revisions, additions and limited-run specials that BMW has crammed in since, all of them 'developing' the appeal of the car doubtless sold to me as the definitive modern German performance coupe. I'd hazard a guess that I'd have some questions, at the very least. Questions like "why couldn't I buy the Competition Package three years ago?" and "why might my car have needed one in the first place?" Also, "why did you need to make the £120,000 GTS before you could make an M4 that didn't sound like another Saturday night on the PlayStation with my eldest son?"

Having asked them, I'm not altogether sure how willing I'd be now to part with the thick end of £30,000 more than my last M4 cost in order to secure one of these: the new £89,130 M4 CS. But be that as it may. Let's give BMW M the benefit of the doubt here and assume that, at every point it has been giving us the best M4 it possibly can, rather than holding something in reserve in order to provide a reason to come back to the showroom in a year or so. You might find that a tricky thing to do when you read about the CS' powertrain and suspension setup, but give it your best shot.

Just a little GTS influence in here
Just a little GTS influence in here
CS-Express
The M4 CS slots into the current M4 line-up mid-way between the Competition Package car and the wild GTS circuit special - and, like the much-loved 'E46'-gen M3 CS did with parts from the CSL, it adopts certain bits you might have found on the GTS at a lower price. In no particular order, they are the lightweight vented bonnet and rear diffuser (both made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic) and the lightweight interior door panels (look, no speakers) and centre console. The car's seats are little changed from those of the Competition Package car - and unlike the GTS, the CS has back seats to match. Back on the outside, the CS gets a new fixed-height front splitter and rear gurney spoiler (also both in CFRP), the latter cutting a much more restrained dash than the GTS's huge wing.

Available with seven-speed 'M DCT' automatic gearbox only, the CS engine uses the same forged crank, baffled sump, extra oil pump and quad-piped exhaust as the M4 Competition gets, but produces 460hp and 442lb ft of torque - the second of those figures a sizable 10 per cent improvement over the Competition Package car. At each corner are new forged alloy wheels whose look is different from those of the GTS, but whose dimensions are exactly the same (19in up front, 20in at the back, with an extra half-inch of width and 20mm of tyre section at the rear). And, just like the GTS, the CS gets Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as standard, or can have more wet-weather-friendly Pilot Super Sports as an option.

Amazingly, that's it: at least as far as nuts-and-bolts hardware is concerned. The engine required no new internals to make that extra power, just a new ECU program; and the suspension nothing in the way of added spring or anti-roll stiffness whatsoever. The car's power steering, adaptive dampers, active locking rear differential and electronic stability control systems have all been retuned, of course - and to no small effect, which we'll come to. But it's still true to say that, wheels, tyres and weight-saving measures apart, all that separates an M4 CS from an M4 Competition Package is software. Sounds... well, profitable.

An M4 with actually alright steering? Finally!
An M4 with actually alright steering? Finally!
M4 on the floor
And you'd simply never believe that could be true after back-to-back driving with a Competition-spec car and the new CS: something BMW UK made possible for us with a drive out to the Nurburgring last weekend for the N24 endurance race.

The CS steers like a car that's not only more grippy and incisive-handling than the standard M4 but more talkative, too - filtering more contact patch feel through its rim than even the Competition Package car. BMW M says every single damping mode offers better body control, and it feels like it. The car enters a fairly fast bend more flat and settled than its lesser rangemates; has smarter handling response and a greater sense of precision about its steering particularly over the first quarter turn of angle; and has more settled and less floaty vertical body control over bigger long-wave bumps. In 'comfort' mode, it also remains compliant and pretty quiet-riding and altogether more usable than an M4 GTS was on the road.

When comes to ultimate handling balance, I suspect the CS remains a natch less instantly adjustable than some of its rivals - the slight redistribution of tyre contact patch having made for a more secure feel to throttle-on cornering, and the car's 'cup' rear tyres adhering very strongly to dry tarmac even with that extra portion of mid-range torque to transfer.

Power is up, but it's the torque boost that counts
Power is up, but it's the torque boost that counts
So, where a Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe might be punted easily into oversteer under power and with the stability control disabled, and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio hustled into it at least in part by the sheer grip of its front axle, the M4 CS tends to prefer to hunker down and stay on-line. You'd need to be going very quickly, I suspect - more quickly that you ever could away from a track day - to get the car to roll into a slide. While the CS's locking diff will begin to nudge the rear wheels into neutrality under power, the car's sense of purpose as a performance machine prevents it from indulging in too much hooliganism at road speeds. It quite plainly wants to be taken more seriously than that - and it'll reward its driver with compelling enough thrills in its own way.

Turbo tactics
The engine, meanwhile, has been even more widely transformed: it sounds better and pulls harder than an M4 Competition's engine, and now feels even more worthy of comparison with those of its rivals from Affalterbach and Turin. The slight sense of meekness about the M4's mid-range torque delivery is long gone. The CS feels like it's quicker than its base car everywhere from about 2,500rpm upwards, and although it still doesn't seem to hit full stride until 5,000rpm is showing, it can accelerate much harder than a lesser M4 at more run-of-the-mill revs.

A much better M4, but's it's much more costly too
A much better M4, but's it's much more costly too
Pulling from lowish revs in a higher gear is also a richer experience here than in an M4 Competition because - well, because you can hear a lot more of the car's engine and a lot less of its stereo pretending to be its engine. Instead of the perfectly smooth, digitally synthesized warble of the lesser car you get a much deeper, spikier growl from the CS's exhaust under load which, while not as savage as the titanium-piped throb of the GTS, is nonetheless much more likable for its authenticity.

Does all of that add up to justification of a £28,000 premium? It'll depend, I guess; perhaps on how you feel about your current M4, but just as likely on how the market responds to the car, how well it retains its value, how the monthly payments work out and how much you like the BMW's particular neat-and-fast-and-tidy take on rear-driven handling character. I certainly wouldn't argue that this is the best M4 that BMW M has made to date - but, unlike the 'E46' CS (a bit of a bargain, as memory serves), it could certainly have been cheaper.


BMW M4 CS
Engine:
2,979cc twin-turbo straight-six
Transmission: 7-speed M DCT dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 460@6,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 442@4,000-5,380rpm
0-62mph: 3.9sec
Top speed: 174mph
Weight: 1,580kg (EU, with driver)
MPG: 33.6mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 197g/km
Price: £89,130

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Words: Matt Saunders]

Author
Discussion

Jazzer

Original Poster:

1,463 posts

140 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
Can you just imagine the depreciation on this thing?

You'd have to be nuts to buy one of these!

The current M3/M4 are not really good enough and lack that special feel.

No attempt to tart them up will change that.

JEA1K

1,668 posts

159 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
That's what was said about the CSL (E46) ...

MitchT

12,145 posts

145 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
I like the blue but why on earth would anyone choose to buy a car in that drab bank holiday monday sky grey colour? Also, £89k for an M4 when you could buy an appreciating modern classic like a Ferrari 360 for the same or less. Am I missing something?

LaurasOtherHalf

14,066 posts

132 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
No M3cs then?

jakesmith

2,763 posts

107 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
MitchT said:
I like the blue but why on earth would anyone choose to buy a car in that drab bank holiday monday sky grey colour? Also, £89k for an M4 when you could buy an appreciating modern classic like a Ferrari 360 for the same or less. Am I missing something?
New car in depreciation shocker
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Gandahar

5,992 posts

64 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
I'm not sure how it will depreciate but £89k?

The AMG E63S with 612bhp, 4matic and drift mode is £88k. So it is a more opulent, faster and lairy (when you want it to be) and the engine sounds a lot better too.

Plus enough left over for 1000 of these

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?i...


which probably just about fill the boot of the estate version ...... whistle

Which brings me to another point, how much is the new AWD M5 going to cost? If that is £90k or so also who wants to by this M4 ?

Edited by Gandahar on Wednesday 31st May 11:53

SFO

4,630 posts

119 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
way overpriced for a few bits of extra carbon

vpr

2,609 posts

174 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
MitchT said:
I like the blue but why on earth would anyone choose to buy a car in that drab bank holiday monday sky grey colour? Also, £89k for an M4 when you could buy an appreciating modern classic like a Ferrari 360 for the same or less. Am I missing something?
Yes more than likely the buyer might want the car to actually work, take his kids with him and all their luggage too

rare6499

220 posts

75 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
I just find it strange that you have to spend an additional 30 grand on an already expensive performance car to get something which you should get in the first place.

Too much money.

High Roller

63 posts

109 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
Well at that price they're sure to be as rare as hens' teeth - cue the predictable interest from tedious car investors. BMW polishing an automotive turd IMO. At 90K the car is up against some serious metal that has far more performance / cache than this.

David87

5,021 posts

148 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
Thing is though, I specced up an M3 Competition Pack car the other day and it was pushing £80k once you add all the nice bits on. This isn't actually that much more, but it's still very expensive!

AshBurrows

1,762 posts

98 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
MitchT said:
I like the blue but why on earth would anyone choose to buy a car in that drab bank holiday monday sky grey colour? Also, £89k for an M4 when you could buy an appreciating modern classic like a Ferrari 360 for the same or less. Am I missing something?
It's faster, it fits more people, it's better equipped, it's new, it has a warranty, it's reliable, it's good on a circuit, parts aren't as stupid money and easy to find, it's more economical, it's comparatively understated, it's fking new etc etc

Vocht

1,205 posts

100 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
If I wanted something fast, special and blue, I'll save myself £10k and get this thank you. Manual too!



http://www.amarisupercars.com/detail/64838/ferrari...

GTEYE

1,208 posts

146 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
Factor in the likely 27-30% discount and it makes more sense....

But more seriously, the Competition Pack has to be the sweet spot in the range. The CS is just too pricey.

Muhtanti

5 posts

19 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
First M4 then M4 GTS (super limited and special) then the M4 CS (super and special) and in the future probably the M4 C (like the normal M4 but in the special limited colors from the CS) and then on top the final more special more limited extra M4 CSL. When will this limited bullst end? They turn the turbos a bit up to generate more power and that's it.

MikeGoodwin

1,312 posts

53 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
MitchT said:
I like the blue but why on earth would anyone choose to buy a car in that drab bank holiday monday sky grey colour? Also, £89k for an M4 when you could buy an appreciating modern classic like a Ferrari 360 for the same or less. Am I missing something?
Because there are people who will buy these cars. Dealers will price them as investments and a future classic so they will hardly depreciate if not be priced above the retail price. And people will pay it. Just like hexagon do with ordinary bmw cars and malton porsche do with their stock.

beanoir

949 posts

131 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
MitchT said:
Also, £89k for an M4 when you could buy an appreciating modern classic like a Ferrari 360 for the same or less. Am I missing something?
Function?

E65Ross

21,514 posts

148 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
MitchT said:
I like the blue but why on earth would anyone choose to buy a car in that drab bank holiday monday sky grey colour? Also, £89k for an M4 when you could buy an appreciating modern classic like a Ferrari 360 for the same or less. Am I missing something?
Yes.

The Ferrari is a 2nd hand car (do you expect BMW to price their market against cars that are over 10 years old?)
The Ferrari has no back seats
The Ferrari has a much smaller boot
The Ferrari doesn't have support for child seats IIRC
The Ferrari will cost loads more to insure
The Ferrari will cost loads more to service
I suspect the Ferrari will be less reliable

I could go on. But yes, you're missing something.

It's still expensive, mind.

RamboLambo

4,843 posts

106 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
You can sprinkle glitter on a turd but it will always be a TURD ( in this case just a very expensive one )

GranCab

1,267 posts

82 months

Wednesday 31st May 2017
quotequote all
2017 pre-regd. M4s with Competition Pack for sale @ Sytner's from £55,000 .....

http://www.sytner.co.uk/car-search/7177258-bmw-m4-...