It's been less than a week since BMW presented to the world the new M4 CS, garnished with press photos showing the car at outrageous drifting angles, or at least what you can still see of the car from the smoke.

Of course, there are no complaints about this. Quite the opposite because whether with or without smoke and mega-sideways angles - the semi-hardcore coupé in the new Frozen Isle of Man green with the golden rims and red brake callipers unleashed various "want-to-have" reflexes in the author of these lines. Whether this still holds true after the first drive on the Salzburgring... Let's find out!


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Exterior | Interior | Driving report | Things to know | Conclusion


What is that?

Did you stumble across the term "semi-hardcore coupé" in the introduction? And thought to yourself: What kind of rubbish is that? Well, I strongly suspect that this genre is unlikely to establish itself as a new trend segment, but it fits the M4 CS quite well. 

Because it doesn't kick your own spine or ear canal as hard as the M4 CSL from 2022, but compared to a conventional basic M4, it does saddle up quite a bit on the "I'm getting serious now" scale.  

BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test
BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test

A brief chat with M4 CS project manager Robert Pilsl makes things even clearer: "The M4 CSL is not really an 'all-day driving car', whereas the M3 CS and M4 CS are designed to be capable of both racetrack and all-day driving."

So there you have it. It can be a bit extreme, but not so much that the famous trip to the bakery mutates into a daily nightmare. What exactly does that mean? The rear seat remains in place and, unlike the CSL, it is neither lowered nor does so much insulation fly out that you can determine the entire family tree of the pebble you have just driven over. The racy ball joints on the wishbones are also omitted. The rubber mounts remain.

Now the grumbler could claim, "Oh look, they're charging another €60,000 extra for a front splitter, three carbon fibre parts and a few fancy logos". And the grumbler would not be entirely wrong, because the M4 CS costs a horrendous £117,100. As a reminder: a normal M4 Competition is £26,580 cheaper. And also as a reminder, the M4 CSL, the super-special M4, was available for £128,820 two years ago. 

Gallery: BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test

So is it really just the carbon parts? Of course not! For example, we have the CSL performance level with 550 PS, we have all-wheel drive and a weight saving of - well - 20 kilos. For which, of course, the aforementioned carbon parts are largely responsible. But also a titanium rear silencer, which shaves off 4 kilograms. 

Apart from that, the suspension has been dealt with in a relatively straightforward manner - even without lowering the car. There are new springs, dampers and stabilisers, more negative camber at the front, lighter wheels (also down 4 kilos) and an optional and very large strut in the engine compartment, which stiffens the car considerably. All driving dynamics systems have been adapted to the new components. The unavoidable Nordschleife time? 7 minutes and 22 seconds. This makes it less than four seconds slower than the M4 CSL and a good 10 seconds faster than an M4 Competition. 

Fast data BMW M4 CS
Engine In-line six-cylinder biturbo; 2,993 cc
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Drive system All-wheel drive
Power output 550 PS at 6,250 rpm
Torque 650 Nm at 2,750 - 5,950 rpm
Base price £117,100

Exterior

BMW has once again had its carbon fibre furnace push a few extra layers for the CS. In addition to the front splitter and the bonnet (minus 1.5 kilograms), which you won't get on a normal M4, there are also carbon air intakes, mirrors, rear diffuser and spoiler lip on the boot lid.

Apart from that, you can recognise the new facelift headlights on my smurf blue test car, whose yellow lights you definitely won't get on a conventional M4 either. If you're keen on the wheels: Code 827M - in either black or gold. And let's not forget the sharp CSL kidney grille. The most popular tuner retrofit part is standard here.

Dimensions BMW M4 CS
Length x width x height 4,801 mm x 1,918 mm x 1,399 mm
Wheelbase 2,857 mm
Unladen weight 1,835 kg
Boot capacity 440 litres
Payload 430 kg
Towing capacity erm ... no!

Interior

The most important CS-specific component in the interior is certainly the new CFRP centre console, which looks pretty cool and saves 4 kilos of weight. But as you know, if you want to be beautiful, you have to suffer, and it's mainly your own arm that will suffer, because the armrest is now completely absent. We already know this from earlier CS models and the CSL. On the racetrack it doesn't matter at all, on a 4-hour motorway stage there are definitely better things.

BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test
BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test
BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test

Furthermore, the M4 CS awaits its illustrious clientele with a new, flattened (why???) Alcantara steering wheel and carbon bucket seats, which are also available in the normal M4, but not with the chic black and red upholstery. I apologise, at least in part, for statements from earlier tests in which I cursed the performance seat like a reed sparrow. I don't know whether my seat flesh has become more resilient or I've become less mimosic in general, but now the hot seat felt relatively okay. I think it goes without saying that it grips like a vice on the track. 

A word about the facelift interior itself: I thought it was nicer before both in terms of the layout of the dashboard and the unusually windy button switches on the air vents. 

Driving report

Ah, what I haven't mentioned so far. In the CS, the trackday aficionado can opt for the radical Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R, which sticks to the tyres harder than liberal parties in government. The Cup 2 without the "R" is fitted as standard. However, if you don't want to surf away directly in heavy downpours, a UHP tyre such as the Michelin PS 4S is also available on request. 

Fortunately, the weather at the Salzburgring had a heart for brute grip, so we were able to fit the aforementioned Cup 2 R tyres in bright sunshine. The effect of this black gold (in the truest sense of the word, by the way, because the luxury tyre melts away just as quickly) leads to a veritable succession of penetrating wow moments. It's hard to approach a bend so stupidly that the car doesn't simply stick to the ground as if stapled to it and shoot out the other side without a hint of a shift. 

The BMW engineers initially had some reservations because they had never tuned the superglue Michelin in conjunction with all-wheel drive before, but then realised relatively quickly that this is a very profitable combination. In this constellation, you can feel the track attitude of the car even better.

We know that the M all-wheel drive is very rear-heavy. In MDM mode with the ESP loosened, you can definitely slip a little. Here, on the other hand, you really have to push the car to the limit and almost overdrive it to even minimise the insane traction.

BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test
BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test
BMW M4 CS (2024) in the test

You are then rewarded with a slight slide that also pushes you forwards. A great feeling. All this on the track, mind you, with the intention of driving a sensible line. If you want to turn expensive rubber into heroic billows of smoke, this car will definitely not put any obstacles in your way, the 2WD mode is also on board here and there is really no lack of power. 

So really, really not. Gentlemen (and ladies too, of course), how quickly the three-litre biturbo in this Boss configuration pushes the landscape out of the way! The fact that it produces 40 PS more than the M4 Competition may not sound like the world - the torque remains the same and let's be honest, the 20 kilos weight saving are more than negligible. But the extra power is clearly noticeable, especially in the upper regions of the rev range. That's when the rear-wheel drive really gets going. 

Another delicacy is the noise that escapes from the titanium rear silencer. It sounds noticeably bassier and more voluminous from the four blue tailpipes. However, nothing has happened to the gearbox on the CS. It fits just fine. A dual clutch from Zuffenhausen is always a little drier and faster, but if you set the ZF automatic to the heaviest of the three stages, it also rattles like a whip in the box. 

Criticism? There is some, yes. The M4 CS is perfectly suitable as a track tool, don't get me wrong. Everything works perfectly, it's really fast and it's a lot of fun. But it remains a mid-range coupé weighing 1,835 kilos and although you sit in it really damn well (and damn low if you wish), there's still a bit of air between the driver and what's being fed into his hands from the road. 

For me, this is still partly due to the steering wheel rim, which is now more bulbous than the thickest Munich white sausage. The steering itself is once again very quick and direct, but also a little more numb than I had hoped. 

On the other hand, it has to be said that no thoroughbred sports car with that last bit of extra sharpness is as relaxed as this M4. Unlike the CSL, it does not spring like a furniture dog, but on the contrary is admirably sensitive and good. 

Driving performance BMW M4 CS
0-62 mph 3.4 seconds
Top speed 188 mph
WLTP fuel consumption 10.2 litres (27.7 mpg-UK)
emissions 232 g/km CO2
Nordschleife time 7:22 minutes

Worth knowing

It's pretty safe to assume that this year, or next year at the latest, a corresponding M3 Touring will join the CS family. We've already seen some eye-catching prototypes, but who knows what the guys at the BMW Nürburgring test centre put together when they're bored. So I asked again and got the usual grin that officials give when something is up but they're not allowed to say anything yet. 

Conclusion: 8.5/10

Especially with the Michelin Cup 2 R tyres on the track, an absolute beast with unshakeable traction reserves and noticeably more punch than in the conventional M4. In terms of handling, it feels closer to the M4 Competition than to the much more extreme M4 CSL. In contrast, however, it is fully suitable for everyday use with a surprisingly high level of comfort. 

For me - the old (and only) disease of the M3/M4 - there could be more authenticity and touch in the steering and, of course, it is sinfully expensive. But if you want one of the less than 2,000 units (production will continue until next June), you'll have to stretch yourself now.