Words: Calvin Chan
Published: April 20, 2017
It’s no M3 CSL, but it’s close enough. BMW just unveiled the new special-edition M4 CS, lighter and more powerful than the standard M4, but more practical for everyday use than the M4 GTS. Think of it as bridging the gap.
CS, which stands for Club Sport, adds power and reduces weight, bringing the fight to the Mercedes-AMG C 63. It is also the introduction of a new pyramid scheme for BMW’s future vehicles – starting with the original M car, then a Competition Package, followed by a limited-edition CS model, and ending in a track-oriented GTS model. Yes, that means you can expect CS models for the M2, M5 and M6 as well.
As the vanguard, the M4 CS adds 10 hp and 37 lb-ft to the Competition Package, for a total of 460 hp and 442 lb-ft. For comparison, the standard M4 makes “just” 425 hp and 406 lb-ft, so the CS is quite the step up. 0-100 km/h comes in 3.9 seconds, up to an electronically limited top speed of 280 km/h. A 7-speed dual clutch transmission is the only option (manual is unavailable), and the suspension has also been retuned for a sportier ride.
The same four-piston front brake calipers and two-piston rears are standard – carbon ceramics are an option. New alloy wheels designed specifically for the CS are also fitted on with standard Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires: 265/35R19 in the front, and 285/40R20 in the rear. Less aggressive Michelin Pilot Super Sports can be optioned out at no extra cost. The CS also receives the same exhaust system as the M4 Competition Package, so I would not expect any change in noise.
The real story however, is the weight loss. The M4 CS replaces the hood, roof, front splitter, rear diffuser, and the driveshaft with a lighter carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (the same stuff used for the BMW i8 monocoque). BMW even went to the extremes of stripping the interior to its bare essentials, including getting rid of the door handles, replacing it with a pull strap.
Most of the leather is gone, and in its place are Alcantara (lots of it) and natural fibre materials – the same kind of stuff used in the eco-friendly BMW i3. But not to worry, the CS still has a radio, automatic climate control, and leather seats. The steering wheel can also be optioned out with Alcantara at an extra cost.
The M4 CS is probably the best-looking M4 to date. Instead of those tacky gold GTS wheels, this one looks proper with a carbon fibre front splitter, a rear lip spoiler, and a rear diffuser carried over from the GTS. A new San Marino Blue paint colour is also available, which was previously featured on the BMW M6. The CS also features those beautiful OLED lights that we first saw in the M4 GTS, adding a 3D effect to the design.
No news on Canadian pricing but judging by the announced price of EUR 116,900, we expect the M4 CS to cost around $105,000. Production starts July 2017, and models will be offered for the 2017-2019 model years.
Short version M GmbH is presenting another exclusive limited-run special-edition model in the shape of the new BMW M4 CS (fuel consumption combined: 8.4 l/100 km [33.6 mpg imp]*; CO2 emissions combined: 197 g/km*). The M4 CS fills the gap in the line-up between the M4 Coupe with Competition Package and the uncompromisingly track-focused BMW M4 GTS. With its accentuated sporting presence, the new M4 CS continues the decades-long tradition of successful M special editions which began in 1988 with the E30 BMW M3 Evolution. The new BMW M4 CS will be built at the original BMW plant in Munich.
The M4 CS also sees BMW M GmbH introducing a new nomenclature for its models. Positioned above the standard M models will be the performance-boosted Competition versions. Then come the CS special-edition models, a notch higher still. Positioned on top are the performance-maximising “brand shapers” which display a clear motor sport or club sport character but are also fully road legal.
The 3.0-litre high-performance engine raises the output of the M4 with Competition Package by 10 horsepower, to 460 hp. State-of-the-art M TwinPower Turbo technology allows the M4 CS to dip below the four-second mark for the 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint, stopping the clock at 3.9 seconds. The top speed of the M4 CS, which comes as standard with the M Driver’s Package, is electronically limited to 280 km/h (174 mph). With its two mono-scroll turbochargers, charge air cooler, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-VANOS fully variable camshaft timing, the six-cylinder in-line engine and takes a clear and consistent aim at the higher echelons of performance, but is equally committed to developing significant torque from low engine speeds and achieving high levels of efficiency (fuel consumption combined: 8.4 l/100 km [33.6 mpg imp]*; CO2 emissions combined: 197 g/km*).
The new BMW M4 CS is equipped as standard with the seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) with Drivelogic. This cutting-edge transmission has a separate oil cooler and enables both automated gear changes and manual interventions using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. It changes gears in fractions of a second with no interruption in the flow of power, but employs a long seventh gear to keep revs low and minimise fuel consumption over longer motorway journeys.
The suspension of the new BMW M4 CS largely mirrors that of the M4 with Competition Package. The links and wheel carriers at both the front and rear axles are made from forged aluminium and are therefore extremely light. That keeps the unsprung masses low and benefits driving dynamics. The M4 CS is fitted as standard with Adaptive M suspension whose geometry has been tuned to deliver optimised performance on both the road and track. The new BMW M4 CS has also been honed on the most demanding test track of them all for high-performance sports cars: the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife. Its ’Ring lap time of 7 min. 38 sec. puts the CS in super-sports car territory.
Ensuring the best possible grip in all driving conditions are the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system – which includes M Dynamic Mode – and the Active M Differential. The control systems for the Adaptive M suspension, DSC and Active M Differential have been modified to suit the dynamic requirements of the BMW M4 CS, as has the set-up of the electromechanical steering. The driver has the option of adjusting the steering and suspension settings to their personal preferences or the demands of the route at hand. To this end, they can select one of three driving modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+) at the touch of a button. While Comfort mode is particularly well suited to poor road conditions, city driving and short journeys, Sport will be the mode of choice for keen drivers looking to push on over twisty country roads. And for those heading to the track with their BMW M4 CS, Sport+ mode will pave the way for the fastest lap times. Sport+ fettles all the relevant systems to deliver the best possible dynamics. Should the driver get a little too excited, DSC will intervene in an instant. However, in M Dynamic Mode (MDM) it will also allow controlled drifts.
Also very much at home on the race track are the light-alloy wheels (front: 9 J x 19, rear: 10 J x 20) designed exclusively for the M4 CS and fitted as standard with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (front: 265/35 R 19, rear: 285/30 R 20). These semi-slick cup tyres, which are also road-legal, provide unbeatable grip and supreme lateral stability at high track speeds, as well as optimum traction out of hairpins. The M4 CS can also be ordered with Michelin Sport road tyres at no extra cost.
The interior of the new BMW M4 CS sets out squarely to create a sporting ambience. Lightweight M sports seats trimmed in leather/Alcantara get the ball rolling and the dynamic flavour extends all the way to the door panel trim made from compacted natural fibres and featuring pull loops. The bonnet – with its characteristic air outlet rearwards of the powerdome – and roof are made from the lightweight, extremely rigid and high-tech material carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
The generous use of leather and Alcantara allows the M4 CS to create a compelling and well-resolved ambience brimming with sporting intent and undeniable class. No M4 CS driver will need to compromise on the nicer things in life. Indeed, among the standard features on board are automatic climate control, a version of the BMW HiFi system Professional adapted to the signature acoustic demands of the M4 CS and the Navigation system Professional.
True to form, the BMW M GmbH designers have given the new M4 CS looks that reflect the car’s sporting intent. The signature feature of its prominent front end, complete with cutting-edge twin LED headlights, is the front apron with large, three-section air intakes. These serve up feed an ample supply of cooling air to both the high-performance engine and the fade-resistant M compound brakes with four-piston callipers at the front and two-piston callipers at the rear. The new model-specific front splitter was made from exposed carbon fibre exclusively for the M4 CS special edition. In the interests of aerodynamic efficiency, it teams up with the rear diffuser carried over for the BMW M4 GTS and the likewise newly designed, exposed carbon-fibre Gurney spoiler lip on the boot lid to minimise dynamic lift. Innovative rear lights with OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology introduced by BMW M GmbH exclusively for the M4 CS and M4 GTS break new ground, while the front splitter, Gurney and rear diffuser, together with the long CFRP bonnet, flowing, coupe-like roofline, elegantly sporty M exterior mirrors and muscular wheel arches, allow the new BMW M4 CS to cut an extremely dynamic figure, even when it’s standing still.
The BMW M4 CS will be priced at EUR 116,900.