Kyalami - BMW, those masters of creating ever-more specialised market niches, have squeezed a new derivative into their M4 range which means you can now order your M4 in hot, hotter, sizzling, and full Habanero-chili spec.
It’s called the CS and it fills the gap between the M4 Competition and the track-focussed (and sold-out) M4 GTS.
A limited edition of which only 3000 units will be produced worldwide, the M4 CS coupé goes on sale in South Africa this week for R1 838 500, and we drove it at its media launch at Kyalami ahead of its public debut there at this weekend's first-ever BMW M Festival.
Its pricetag is a big 426 grand hike over the M4 Competition Package, but apart from the ‘limited edition’ exclusivity it does offer some extra power and sportier interior and exterior garb.
Motive force comes from the M Division's twin-turbo straight six 3-litre, with power increasing from 331kW to 338kW while torque’s taken a bigger jump from 550 to 600Nm. This cuts the claimed 0-100km/h sprint time from 4 seconds to 3.9 seconds, while the electronic speed governor has been raised to 280km/h.
A sports exhaust with a quartet of 80mm pipes comes with electronically controlled flaps to manage the acoustic charisma.
The rear wheels are fed through the regular seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch transmission with launch control, and the grip’s supplied by track-focussed semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres: 265/35 R19s upfront and 285/30 R20s at the rear. The M4 CS can also be ordered with Michelin Sport road tyres at no extra cost.
High-gloss shadowline trim gives the car a racier styling edge, as do Organic LED (OLED) tail lights with a 3D effect.
A new front splitter and boot spoiler - both made of exposed carbon fibre - improve the aerodynamics while the CS sheds 30kg of weight due to some of its components, including the bonnet, being made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. Like the standard M4 it also has a CFRP roof.
There’s further weight saving in the cockpit in the form of lightweight M Sport seats and the traditional door handles are replaced by fabric loops (although this is more for show than any discernable weight saving). The sported-up cockpit is coated in alcantara, carbon fibre and leather, but this isn’t any kind of stripped-down racetrack special: the M4 CS comes fully-specced with climate control, high-end infotainment, satnav, and all the other luxury goodies.
Set loose on the track, the CS delivers the goods with a strong surge of power and a racy roar. The dual-clutch gearbox snicks through its ratios with great finesse and the brakes accept repeated punishment without complaint. Fade-resistant M compound brakes come standard and carbon ceramic discs are available optionally.
If the intention of this sportier setup was to reduce understeer and quicken the turn-in, it’s a success, but as I found out during my few laps around Kyalami it also makes for a fairly twitchy-handling car. I found the Competition Package M4 to be a more forgiving and settled car (but no less fun) when I drove the two cars back to back around the track. In spite of its grippy semi-slicks the CS is more of a tail-happy beast that required a much smoother, steadier driving style to keep it on the black stuff.
Nevertheless, the M4 CS is BMW’s second-fastest car around the famous Nurburgring circuit and its 7:38 laptime is just ten seconds slower than the track-specialised M4 GTS.
THE BMW M4 LINE UP
M4 Coupe - 317kW/550Nm - R1 276 236
M4 Convertible - 317kW/550Nm - R1 440 162
M4 Coupe Competition - 331kW/550Nm - R1 412 136
M4 Convertible Competition - 331kW/550Nm - R1 576 062
M4 Coupe CS - 338kW/600Nm - R1 838 500
M4 GTS - 368kW/600Nm - Sold Out