The 2025 BMW M4 CS Asks, 'What CSL?'

Well here it is. Like the four-door M3 CS before it, we knew the M4 CS would arrive. As the Brits say, this CS does exactly what’s on the tin. That means sandwiching between the top-line CSL and the Competition badge just a rung below.

Our hero coupe rings up at $124,675. It’s spendier than the Competition trim, of course. It’s also slightly more powerful, lighter, and faster overall. The inverse is also true; The CS undercuts CSL on price, but can’t match the hard-edged focus of BMW’s limited-production halo car.

To nail its Goldilocks blend, the CS borrows from each of its brothers. It takes CSL odds and ends to decrease weight and increase visual punch. Take for example the gorgeous carbon-fiber center console, a carbon-composite hood, and titanium exhaust resonator. All are used to cut pounds and mix some CSL flavor into the CS (plus amortize the costs of those swanky CSL components). All said, the CS weighs 77 pounds less than the xDrive Competition.

Quick Specs2025 BMW M4 CS

Twin-Turbo 3.0-Liter Six-Cylinder

Output543 Horsepower / 479 Pound-Feet
Weight3,850 Pounds
0-60 MPH3.4 Seconds
Base Price$124,675

From the M4 xDrive Competition, the CS borrows its rear-biased all-wheel drive system (called xDrive), setting the CS apart from the rear-drive CSL. We’ve long considered the xDrive Competition the standard bearer of the M3/M4 lineup. It remains the best value, so far as nipping the heels of supercars is concerned; A Nissan GT-R by way of Bavaria.

Of course, BMW’s ubiquitous 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six lives under the hood. You’ll know the engine by sound alone—every M4 sounds like you’ve stuffed tube socks up its tailpipes. This one’s no different.

The CS’s ‘six lays down 543 horses at 6,250 rpm and 479 pound-feet from 2,750 to 5,950 rpm. That’s up 20 horsepower from the Competition while maintaining the S58 engine’s trademark torque curve—flat and long as a salt bed.

2025 M4 CS

From one perspective, the CS is a budget CSL. From another, it’s simply a more-capable M4 Competition. Both are correct, but I’d give the edge to “CSL-lite.”

For all its extra lightweighting, visual fizz, and trim-specific touches, the CSL laps a race track only marginally quicker, making the M4 CS the second-fastest production Bimmer to ever snake through Hatzenbach, blitzing its way to a 7:21.99 ‘Ring time. That’s less than four seconds off the CSL.

Over a lap that long (more than 12 miles), that four-second disparity could be down to atmospheric conditions, spring rate, tire pressure, or something so marginal we wouldn’t think to consider it. From the perspective of a pit-wall stopwatch, these cars are identical.

That plays out in their handling too. Whether RWD or AWD, the M4 lays down power equally well. From a dig, the xDrive M4 holds a traction and acceleration advantage over the CSL, but I don’t think there’s much between the two drivetrain layouts otherwise, from either performance or experiential perspectives.

2025 BMW M4 CS First Drive Review

Pros: Track Performance, Big Power, Bigger Grip

Probably because these coupes both ride on Michelin’s uber-gummy Cup 2Rs (though they’re optional on the CS), sized 275/35 up front and 285/30 out back. The CS wrap its French rubber around a set of multi-spoke wheels in matte gold or black, complimenting the four available paint colors: Riviera Blue (think Smurfs), Frozen Isle of Man Green (think dusty cloverleaf), Brooklyn Grey Metallic (think anodized steel), and Sapphire Black Metallic (self-explanatory). All four paint colors were on hand for comparison, and after ample consideration, we’ll take ours in blinged-out Vader spec: black on gold.

BMW gathered its multicolored fold of CS testers at Austria’s Salzburgring, which lives on the aptly named Jochen Rindt Strasse, just over the German border. After an opportunity to sprint the coupes down some derestricted autobahn, we headed to the track to poke at this BMW’s track-day bona fides.

Of course the CS takes to track work like wildfire.

2025 BMW M4 CS First Drive Review 2025 BMW M4 CS First Drive Review

The eight-speed automatic works flawlessly, cracking off quick, precise upshifts down Salzburgring’s back straight, under full engine power. Then the transmission hits equally swift, settled downshifts when braking deep into Salzburgring’s tricky and high-speed turn 11.

At this track and any other, however, you’ll want to select your own gears via the paddle shifters. The ECU gets behind the ball when you need power the most, often a gear (or even two) too high when digging out of the Salzbugring’s low-speed chicanes.

The brakes performed flawlessly too. Carbon-ceramics are available, as are a set of standard “M Compound” brakes with calipers in either red or black; The ceramics are available with red- or gold-finish calipers. Either are well-suited to track work.

xDrive provides buckets of grip on corner exit, but never penalizes with torque steer or push, regardless of how clumsily or heavily you pick up the throttle. Whether or not you care about lap times, xDrive is the correct choice for the M4. It makes ultimate lap times that much easier to reach, bestowing ultimate confidence on the meatbag behind the steering wheel.

2025 BMW M4 CS First Drive Review

If the CS has one flaw, it’s the M Carbon bucket seats. They’re suburb-looking things with a cool fabric insert running up the seatback. The thrones are fully power adjustable. They’re heated. They’re gorgeous. They’re just not very comfortable. And for many peoples’ frames, they won’t provide enough support in fast corners and they’ll ache your backside on long road trips.

Every member of the BMW M4 family goes quick enough to stress your breathing in high-speed corners. Hardcore trackday bros will yearn for a deeper, single-piece bucket like Porsche offers in its RS products. Without an option that extreme, they’ll opt for something with Recaro or Sparco embroidered high on the fixed seatback.

We drove another BMW M car prototype alongside the CS. Same track, back to back. The prototype’s adjustable-bolster seats offered exceeding support for your torso and far, far more comfort via plush leather and a deep well of under-seat padding. Track speeds were similar between the two cars, but I felt far more secure driving the prototype on track.

Your body type and experience will vary. Just give the CS a good long test drive before you decide for yourself.

From one perspective, the CS is a budget CSL. From another, it’s simply a more-capable M4 Competition.

Overall, it was a marvelous little stint at the Salzburgring.

The CS’s Michelin Cup 2Rs are masterful things when the weather allows. There’s a sliver of happy Narnia, right in the tires’ useful operating window, a magic spot between unwieldy ice-cold marbles and useless gooey campfire mallows.

With ambient temperatures just cresting 70 degrees Fahrenheit in Salzburg, the M4 worked its 2Rs into that happy zone within maybe three-quarters of a lap. There they lived for the remainder of our short lapping sessions, which isn’t always a given; Think of these tires as the ones you’d throw on for a qualifying session. They’re not here for a long time; they’re here to nail a fast one.

The 2Rs bite right after the first greasy smidge of slip, a sensation you feel through the CS’s steering wheel as a kind of grainy buzzing rumble. The sensation gives way only when you’ve asked too much from the M4’s front end. It’s not the most-feelsome steering in the CS (and I don’t consider the 2R’s as most-feelsome things either), but the CS offers enough of the right feedback through your hands and haunches to get you up to speed on a new track within mere corners. That’s the mark of a confident sports sedan.

There are no surprises beyond its grip, either. The M4 is surefooted and stupid-quick in any guise. The CS just offers a bit more.

2025 BMW M4 CS First Drive Review

Cons: Hard Seats, Expensive Rubber, High MSRP

That’s what you get with this CSL-lite. A bit more spring. A bit more damper. A bit more roll bar. More-direct and responsive steering and probably the best-looking exterior in the fold. It’s not much, but it’s not nothing.

I’ve had maybe a hundred racetrack laps across every trim level in the M4 portfolio, and the CS’s front end does feel a smidge more eager to turn in than any of the lesser M4 variants. It telegraphs a bit more road feel and transmits a bit more noise to the driver. And as far as a difference in on-track character to the CSL, there’s mere inches between the two cars. Not miles.

The M4 CS’s interior feels appropriately spruced for the price. There’s a new steering wheel with a flat bottom and a slash of red fabric at 12 o’clock, a pair of carbon shift paddles sat just behind the wheel’s rim. It feels special in there, far more special than a similarly priced Porsche 911 and funkier than the equivalent Mercedes or Audi, with plenty of “///M” fanfare to satisfy the type of buyer who’d spring well beyond six figures for a Bavarian track special.

2025 BMW M4 CS First Drive Review

Does the CS justify the price delta between its siblings? For me, it doesn’t. The M4 Competition xDrive offers 90 percent of the CS’s performance, but I’d give up time at the track to save thirty-six grand ($88,300 MSRP).

In the context of the CSL, however, you’d have to say the CS does justify its asking price. The pair are equally fast on a racetrack and look identical from 10 feet away. For my money, the CSL doesn’t feel any more special than the CS.

If you have to have the bestest, baddest M4 on the lot, this is your huckleberry, as the limited-run CSL is all gone. If value enters the equation, then the competent, supercar-quick M4 xDrive Competition beckons.


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2025 BMW M4 CS
EngineTwin-Turbo 3.0-Liter Inline-Six
Output543 Horsepower / 479 Pound-Feet
TransmissionEight-Speed Automatic
Drive TypeAll-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH3.4 Seconds
Maximum speed188 Miles Per Hour
Weight3,850 Pounds
Seating Capacity4
Cargo Volume16.0 Cubic Feet
Base Price$124,675
On SaleSummer 2024

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