BMW are making some fantastic M cars at the moment and in particular, the 4 series M Division range. Let’s start with timeline shall we. Currently you can get yourself an M4, an already brilliant two door sports coupe car. Want something more? BMW will offer you the Competition Pack version of the standard car, the package brings more power, new suspension set up and wheels, plus mild styling revisions and extra equipment. Don’t get me wrong, both cars are incredible, the definition of perfect in my opinion over the other German rivals. However, you can go two steps further than that.
THE ULTIMATE M4, THE GTS.
While the normal M4 and M4 Competition Pack has to make do with 317kW and 331kW, the GTS has been tweaked to produce 368kW. This is also due to the new water injection system, the first to be used in a production car in almost 20 years. There’s more to it than that, it has a roll cage, lighter race seats, a front and rear splitter and an array of carbon fire bits to make weight as light as possible. Handling has been improved with serious suspension, damper and steering upgrades. Together, this is the most powerful, track focused and adjustable M4 you can buy.
THE M4 + MARCO WITTMANN = CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION
You and I both owe DTM driver Marco Wittmann a beer. Why? Because thanks to him winning the DTM in 2016, BMW have made the commemorative M4 DTM Championship Edition in his honour. With the GTS being a limited run and only 700 being made worldwide, and 23 making it to South Africa, the GTS made quite the collectors item. With only 200 being made ever, and 15 making it to South Africa, the M4 DTM was an equally exclusive model. So what did you get? Well it’s an identical copy of the GTS minus the track ready front splitter and orange colours. What you do get is the full BMW Livery treatment, which in my opinion, looks gorgeous.
SO WHAT IF I DONT WANT A HARDCORE GTS OR DTM BUT NOT THE TAME COMPETITION PACK?
BMW have a solution for you. Bridging the gap between the hardcore GTS and DTM models, and the standard M4 and M4 Competition Pack lies the M4 CS. This is once again a limited edition car, however this time 3 000 units will be made and just 60 making their way into South Africa at R1 838 500.The CS badge gets you something that that the others simply cannot offer, and that is livability. It compromises where the other models lack or sacrifice in search of something greater.
THE DARK HORSE POWER UNIT.
Power comes from the familiar twin power turbo 6 cylinder engine found in every M4, however it now makes 338kW. While this may only be 7kW more than the Competition pack but 30kW down on the GTS and DTM, it’s how well BMW seem to get this car to put it’s power down that makes all the difference. Driving this car full steam ahead at it’s launch on the racetrack really gave me perspective on the full potential of the CS. Sure it may not have the figures as the other counterparts in the segment but in this chassis it just feels very well balanced, and that for me makes the difference. Torque is key in a balanced engine and with the CS matching the hardcore models at 600Nm, it adds for a sweet spot when pulling away from a corner or even at low speeds. Combined, this will mean you will get to the next traffic light and 100km/h in 3.9 seconds.
RACETRACK CHARACTERISTICS, REAL WORLD LIVABILITY RIGHT?
Driving the CS is superb and tight, but not hardcore thanks to revised suspension, better steering input and handling set up. Our test united was fitted with the potent M carbon ceramic brakes with gold-coloured, anodised six-piston brake callipers for the front and four-piston callipers for the rear which provided for a fade free grippy track session throughout the day. The ten-spoke wheels are fitted as standard with road-legal Michelin cup 2 tyres (front: 265/35 R 19, rear: 285/30 R 20). These tyres combined with the updated steering and handling set up provides for a more confident turn in when it comes to corners that gives it a huge edge over the standard cars set up.
ROLLCAGE? NOPE, HOW ABOUT BACK SEATS INSTEAD.
The CS really is a road going version of the GTS you want. With seats in the back and a roll cage gone, you will get the added benefit of a less stiff and bumpy ride. This means more space for you and your mates but more importantly, practicality.
I DONT SEE A WING OR SPLITTERS? IS IT STILL HARDCORE?
The CS is by no means a slouch or a dressed up standard M4. While it may have lost its wings, fins and water injection from the more aggressive siblings, it does keep aggression and purpose. How you may ask? Well the CS is what I like to call low-key. The front bonnet, which is now 25 per cent lighter than a standard M4’s has a larger air vent positioned ahead of the signature M power dome to draw cool air through the new front bumper. There’s also a carbon-fibre front splitter and carbon fibre roof. The rear features a flush curved boot spoiler and a diffuser on the rear both formed from carbonfibre. Combined with the lighter front seats and doors from the GTS and DTM, the new CS is 32kg lighter than a standard M4.
After spending time with the M4 CS, I can say in my own opinion that this is the M4 we have always wanted to live with. Sure, track weapons are epic, and the wings and roll cages give you more street cred with the boys and girls at the bar, but if you are waking up each day and using it without thinking, the CS nails it on the head. There is no compromise of seats, no murmurs to yourself of “I wish it had more power” and for first time ever, no complaints that your M car isn’t really track ready enough.
The CS is greatly impressive, not only in the way it drives but how it makes you feel. It really is the best M4 you can currently buy because it addresses the issues we all had in the back of our heads. The car now makes the right amount of power and puts it down better, the handling and tyres are greatly improved and the looks are just what you want, nothing outrageous yet seriously competitive. This car really is the everyday racetrack weapon for your Monday to Sunday.