BMW M4 CS

Fettled M4 delivers the goods, but at an almighty price

b y SCOT T N EWMAN

ENGINE 2979cc inline-6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo / POWER 338kW @ 6250rpm / TORQUE 600Nm @ 4000-5380rpm / WEIGHT 1580kg / 0-100KM/H 3.9sec (claimed) / PRICE $211,610 B MW has done it. It would be too clichť to say the M4 CS is the car the M4 always shouldíve been, so instead weíll say the CS package has finally unlocked the potential thatís 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 weather conditions.

Thanks to sunny skies throughout our time with the CS, we canít answer if the latter's been resolved, but on a dry road itís a stunning driving 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) enhance every aspect of the M4ís performance.

Patience is needed to build temperature Ė more road-focused Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres are available as a no-cost option Ė 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 to catapult out of second-gear hairpins where a standard car would be scrabbling and sliding once the boost arrived.

The extra grunt and traction are 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.

B Itís still not exactly the most sonorous unit around, but it does sound harder and angrier than the standard car and, unlike the hardcore GTS, thereís 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 M4ís, however, the extra grip slashes the 100-0km/h stop to just 30.42m, one of the best results weíve 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 itís still happy to adjust its balance mid-corner or paint thick black lines on corner exit if youíre early and aggressive with the throttle.

The change in demeanour is such that it seems unlikely that itís down to the tyres alone, but sadly BMW doesnít provide any information on the suspension changes beyond ďa fresh round of revisions over the M4 Competition Package in terms of spring/damper settings.Ē The rear-end can still hop over bumps, but thereís now greater control and the MDM stability control mode allows greater flexibility. Itís 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 base-grade 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-tick option box 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, thereís 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, and that includes the ultra-exclusive GTS, but itís mostly a case of right car, wrong price. M

If money is no object, the CS is the best M4 there is, and that includes the ultra-exclusive GTS

STAR RATING 4.0

Like Brilliant dynamics; looks awesome; exclusivity Dislike Ordinary interior; crazy price tag