There may not be an M car in the history of BMW as controversial as the M4. Not only did it mark a name change for the famed M3 Coupe but it also marked a regression in the purity that the M3 always embodied. To amend this, BMW developed the M4 Competition Package, which helps sharpen the car up with better suspension, steering, lighter curb weight and added power. But the Competition Package wasn’t the best driving M4. That’s the M4 GTS, which is a stripped out, hardcore monster, developed to destroy race tracks. However, it’s too extreme, too expensive and completely sold out. Now, though, BMW has developed a Goldilocks variant of the M4, something more performance-oriented than even the M4 Competition Package but far more livable than the M4 GTS — the BMW M4 CS.
The BMW M4 CS sits right smack in the middle of the M4 Competition Package and M4 GTS and it’s truly the Goldilocks Edition of the M4 lineup. It manages to blend some of the hardcore performance of the M4 GTS with the everyday usability of the standard M4 Competition Package but, to be honest, seems like it will be better than both.
Let’s start with the exterior. It begins with the BMW M4 Competition Package and adds some more extreme aero, wheels and body bits from the M4 GTS. For instance, the BMW M4 CS gets the same carbon fiber hood as the GTS, except its painted to match the body color. It also gets a unique fixed front lip spoiler in carbon fiber, which is a lot smaller than the one on the GTS, so there’s no fear of scraping it over the tiniest of bumps. At the back, there’s a small carbon fiber decklid spoiler, OLED taillights and a carbon fiber rear diffuser.
There are also three colors specific to the BMW M4 CS as factory colors, not Individual options. The first is the San Marino Blue Metallic, as shown in the pictures and was a popular Individual color on the standard car. There’s also a Lime Rock Grey Metallic and a very special Frozen Dark Blue II, the latter of which is a matte finish and will only be available on a limited number of cars.
It also gets the new Style 763M wheels which debuted on the M2 and M3 at the 2017 NYIAS. The new wheels are 20″ at the rear and 19″ at the front, weighing in at just 10 and 9 kilograms each, respectively. So not only do they look great on the M4 but drastically reduce rotational unsprung mass. They also come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires as-standard. So these new wheels and tires should help the M4 CS to handle and ride better, as well as making it look better. All in all, this is the best looking M4 variant, as it’s more aggressive and racier than the Comp Pack car and less insane than the M4 GTS.
Inside, the BMW M4 CS gets some GTS treatment as well as some of its own design bits. The naked carbon fiber door panels and door straps are pulled from the GTS but the rest of the car is unique to the M4 CS. Its seats are partially leather and alcantara with alcantara trim throughout the cabin and white contrast stitching, rather than the M4 GTS’ orange. It also gets an alcantara steering wheel with center line and a unique “CS” logo embroidered into the alcantara dash trim. The M4 CS also ditches the GTS’ orange roll cage for a pair of back seats, making it far more usable everyday.
Under the hood lies a variant of the M4’s S55 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6 engine that now makes 460 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque for CS-duty. That extra power is created via tuning and not with water-injection like on the M4 GTS. While the M4 Comp Pack is available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT, the M4 CS is only available with the DCT. Thanks to the additional bump in power output and the dual-clutch transmission, the M4 CS is said to run 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, though we expect it to be a tenth or two quicker than that. The M4 Competition Package with the same gearbox can clock 3.9 seconds to 60 mph, so with the extra power and torque and a bit lighter weight, we think this will be quicker than advertised.
Putting all of that power to the rear Michelins is a newly revised electronically-controlled limited-slip M Differential, as well as the same M Adaptive Dampers and revised steering as the M4 Comp Pack. To be honest, we felt the adaptive suspension and steering on the Comp Pack were far superior to the standard car and more than sharp enough for daily performance driving. So with lower weight, more power and better wheels and tires, the new M4 CS should be the best all-around M4 yet.
It also gets the same Comp Pack brakes, which are four-piston calipers up front and two-pots at the back. If you opt for the BMW M Carbon Ceramic brake package, that upgrades to six-pistons up front and four-pistons at the back with carbon ceramic rotors and pads. Though, with how much this package costs and how little it helps on the road, we’d only recommend this if you’re going to track your car often. The standard brakes are far good enough for even intense road use and are both quieter and more comfortable in daily driving than the ceramics.
BMW claims that all of these upgrades not only make the M4 CS look better than the standard car and driver better than the standard car, but that they also make it considerably faster. BMW tested the M4 CS extensively on the Nurburgring, because of course it did, and it apparently clocked a time of 7:38, which puts it right in between the M4 GTS and standard M4. That also makes it about as fast as a Lexus LFA and Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera around the ‘Ring.
We have no doubt that the BMW M4 CS will be faster and more technically impressive than the standard M4. It’s lighter, more powerful and will likely be sharper. What we’re hoping is that it brings us even closer to that BMW M driving experience we miss so much. BMW got close with the Competition Package, which is what gives us hope for this M4 CS. This new car is already the best looking M4 of the bunch and seems to bring over just enough of the M4 GTS’ lightweight approach to make it more fun without compromising its everyday usability. More importantly, though, is that it seems like a special car, a car that customers will love to own. That makes the BMW M4 CS the Goldilocks Edition of the M4 lineup.