In what's probably best described as controversial period for BMW, the recent 'CS' M cars have been a real highlight. Yes, they've been expensive, and, yes, they've been little quicker than the respective Competition models, but all of the CS BMWs - M2, M3 and M4 - have been fantastic to drive. So here's hoping for more of the same from the latest, the M5 CS.
Like both M3 and M4 CS, this M5 gets only 10hp over the Competition. Still, given that car already made 625hp from its twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, the limited-run model is now the most powerful M car in history. BMW says that 635hp (torque remains unchanged at 553lb ft) is enough for a 62mph sprint in 3.0 seconds, 124mph in 10.4 seconds and a 189mph top speed, the latter usually an optional extra for the M5. A new sports exhaust is also fitted, with an 'M Sound Control' button, delivering "a distinctive M-specific sound that accentuates the engine's strong production of power and appetite for revs." On the basis that the M5 hasn't really delivered aurally thus far - both AMG E63 and Audi RS7 make nicer turbo V8 noises - it'll be interesting to note what effect the new quartet of pipes have.
And the CS is so much more than a bit more power. First off is some meaningful weight loss, the car shedding almost 70kg over a standard M5 thanks to CFRP being used for the bonnet and spoiler, plus standard fit ceramic brakes - those rotors saving 23kg on their own. BMW says the chassis has been optimised to take advantage (and to best prep the CS for track driving), with a 7mm drop in ride height, retuned bearing springs and a further refinement of the damper control. Like the Competition, the M5 CS uses dampers from the M8, said to deliver a significant improvement in limit handling.
Speaking of which, the CS will be delivered as standard on a Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyre; the dimensions are identical to the standard M5 - 275/35 R20 up front, 285/35 R20 at the back - albeit now with forged wheels. The Gold Bronze finish is standard, too. Honest. BMW says the chassis upgrades - which also include a Sport damper mode "ideal for laps of the Nurburgring" alongside Comfort and Sport Plus - have created a car that "fuses exceptional track performance with luxury and everyday usability."
Then there's the look of this CS. Again, the changes are relatively minor - but there will be no doubt about which this M5 this is. Some of the giveaways are more obvious than others - the wheels are matched with Gold Bronze accents across the car, and those Laserlights really are tinted yellow like an old Citroen - but in one of the two greys offered alongside the green it would be more subtle. Other notables include a new front splitter design and carbon mirror caps.
The inside is just as audacious, the CS smashing together the luxury and the track car world in one incredible interior. Ever seen four Merino leather trimmed carbon buckets before? Now you have. How about integrated headrests to save weight... with illuminated logos in them? The Nurburgring is embroidered into carbon fibre, electrically adjustable, heated bucket seats with a memory function for the driver. It makes no sense at all, really. But you want to try it, right?
Additional bits for the CS denied to the Competition include an Alcantara wheel, carbon shift paddles, red CS badging and - frustratingly - the deletion of the armrest that's becoming a CS tradition. And really should stop. Otherwise, it's the same very impressive M5 interior, with a 12.3-inch instrument display, a heads-up one in addition and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. Once buyers have got over the seats and the naff CS sill finishers, it's still a very fast, very accommodating 5 Series in there.
So, the CS is rather more than just a green M5, as had been hinted at with the prototype drives in the German media - sportauto got one around Hockenheim faster than an R8 RWD and a Corvette C8. That said it costs rather a lot more than a regular M5, too; BMW hasn't yet said how many will be made, but those UK buyers who want one will have to part with £140,780. With a standard Competition on offer at £102,323 (or £118,560 with the Ultimate Pack), buyers are really going to have to want the extra CS kudos. Not to mention turn down alternatives like the Panamera Turbo S (£135,610) and Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S (£145,495). Still, it's becoming very much par for the CS course; a £140k M5 being no more surprising than a £75k M2 or £90k M4. Whether it will be worth that sort of money is another matter entirely, but there isn't long until we find out - first deliveries are due in the spring.
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