BMW M4 CS
Recipe for greatness hampered by missing ingredients
WHEN YOU look at the numbers, it’s a bit hard to see how the M4 CS finished so far down the order. I mean, its lap times are up there at the very sharp end, the standing-start stuff is epic and its brakes are nothing short of phenomenal – while they last, at least.
But for all that, it never really wants to give you as much on the track as some of its peers. And while working for it is one thing, the BMW was just a bit too mute. On the other hand, Reynolds loved the thing instantly, suggesting that his honed reactions and perceptions were simply better tuned to the subtle way the CS telegraphs its responses. Either way, you’ve got to respect the thing for the instant torque it generates from just three litres, and the DCT transmission is urgent and no-nonsense.
My PCOTY started with me not really liking the CS’s Winton manners, moved through a growing admiration for its on-road purpose and finished with me taking the M4 back to Melbourne the back way, over the mountains and through the forest.
It’s a route I use all the time and I must have driven it hundreds of times before. Point is, I reckon the CS was as fast point-to-point as anything else I’ve ever punted over the same road. Part of that is the things that make it boogie from rest, but an equally important part is that it’s so good at maintaining velocity that you don’t have to drive it like a lunatic to maintain a good average pace.
Unfortunately, its road-car credentials are blunted somewhat by some truly bizarre fitments and omissions. Let’s start with the air-con. Now, I know weight is critical but c’mon… is single-zone air going to make any discernible difference? Then there’s the lack of anything remotely resembling a cup-holder. True, I know racecars don’t have cup-holders, but the CS remains a car for the road first and foremost and being able to drive to your track day without having to juggle a half-strength soy latte because there are no cup-holders would be nice.
And then there are those ridiculous door-pull straps instead of conventional door pulls. Okay, so they save 50 grams apiece (maybe), but they’re mounted right in near the door hinge, giving you sweet buggerall leverage for slamming the door. And there’s still conventional handles! I also struggle with the material used for the door trims. Yes, it’s very lightweight, but it looks and feels like recycled Maccas trays.
Nit picking? Not really – not when these odd packaging decisions compromise the whole car for so little gain. So we’ll stand by the voting process that saw the fourth-quickest, fourth-fastest and fourthtrackiest car come home seventh.