BMW M4 CS review: When M gets it just right

bmw m4 cs review 01 front cornering
Rather than cranking the dial up to 11 as the CSL did, this car aims for a perfect 10

Getting excited about the BMW M4 CS requires an understanding of its big sibling, the M4 CSL. That was the 1000-off, extra-special M4 that came out a couple of years ago, and while it was hideously expensive, it was also the first product in two decades to which M felt comfortable assigning its most venerated nameplate: the lesser-spotted ‘Coupé Sports Licht’.But the ripsnorting M4 CSL wasn’t a unanimous knockout. With its bonnet stripes it looked OTT and, at £130,000, it cost the same as an Audi R8. The driving experience was also broadly that of the regular M4 Competition. Which, to be clear, is no bad thing. But if you deign to dish out those hallowed letters, then some people will expect a ramp-up in drama akin to that of stepping from a Porsche 911 Carrera S into a full-blown GT3, and the CSL wasn’t that car. At 1650kg, neither was it all that licht, even if the 100kg saved over the Comp wasn’t bad going.So the CSL remains a touch unloved, even if it is undoubtedly an extraordinary M4. My go in one back in 2022 was brief, but the way that endless nose folded itself into corners – simultaneously flat and instant, but fluid and natural – left an impression. Compliance was borderline but the handling fizzed with energy and the souped-up straight six was a thuggish delight with a metallic turbo rasp. If anything, the real issue was thatthe thing was too oversteery.A sideways glance at the throttle pedal could loosen the tail. Punting the CSL down a damp B-road was a cold examination of your synaptic aptitude. It was brilliant but feral.Which brings us to the new, ‘lesser’ M4 CS. It promises to bottle most of the CSL’s vivacity but with sweeter road manners and fewer wayward handling impulses. 

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