Model Perspective: BMW M4 CS

543-hp BMW coupe hits “the sweet spot”

Like fellow German automaker Porsche, BMW has become expert in slicing and dicing even the apparently smallest of niches, filling the gaps with “just right” models for the most discerning performance-driving customers. That’s why Porsche offers so many variations on the 911, and it explains why BMW offers five different M4 models, including the recent addition of the 2025 M4 CS coupe.

If the 543 horsepower mentioned above reminds you of the M4 CSL, that’s because it is the same engine. Dropping the “L” from that departed track-focused version of the car also drops about $17,000 from the price while adding in a notable dose of driving comfort and civility.

Some in auto media are calling the M4 CS, which starts around $125,000, the “sweet spot” of the M4 line. You’ll need to decide soon if it’s sweet enough for you, because BMW is offering just 2,000 of them.

2025 BMW M4 CS on road rear view
BMW will offer just 2,000 of its M4 CS model for 2025, and no more after that. (Source: BMW)

Following Porsche’s Example

It’s a good bet that Porsche’s ongoing success with the 911 owes much to the product strategy that spans a $115,000-$290,000 price range. That’s today, and it includes 2024 and 2025 models. Check back every few months to see what other models Porsche might have added or subtracted.

In Munich, meanwhile, BMW is doing something similar with the 4 Series, which, you might know, is based on the same mechanical fundamentals as the 3 Series sedan. And yes, there is also a 4 Series four-door hatchback that BMW calls the Gran Coupe. There are also 4 Series convertibles, and even an EV.

The pricing floor starts at just over $50,000 for a 430i coupe (a real coupe, as in two doors) and tops out with the $125,000 M4 CS, the subject of our story. It’s not quite the gamut offered with the Porsche 911, but it shows the inherent solid performance engineering baked into the basic car that lets BMW stretch it that far.

Green 2025 BMW M4 CS on road
The 2025 BMW M4 CS combines last year’s CSL engine with all-wheel drive. (Source: BMW)

What Track Memberships are Made For

As mentioned, BMW discontinued the M4 CSL, which was the plan all along for that limited-production model (just 1,000 cars). Consider that one for the super faithful. Also, consider that one a bit too extreme for anyone without a private track membership. Although street-legal, the rear-wheel drive CSL was not exactly street-friendly. But that was its mission.

The CS is hardly a softie. It’s got the same 543-hp tune for its 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine, which is a 20-hp hike over the M4 Competition xDrive model (all-wheel drive). Despite that badge, the M4 Competition is not a racecar. Below the Competition xDrive is the Competition (503 hp, rear drive), and below that the standard M4 (473 hp, rear drive).

Aside from yet another 20 hp over the M4 Competition xDrive, what does choosing the CS get you? If you have a track membership, you will absolutely understand.

2025 BMW M4 CS engine view
Photos don’t show much of it, but this BMW M 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six makes 543 horsepower. (Source: BMW)

For Road and Track

As noted, the limited-production BMW M4 CSL was one for owners with track memberships, a car perhaps too brutal to drive every day. It should surprise exactly nobody that it sold out immediately. The CS is for the driver who wants to put more than just track miles on the car, and perhaps even use it as a daily. The CSL starts with a full four-seat interior, versus the CSL’s stripped-down two-seat layout.

Under the hood, the CS gives you the same 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six as the CSL, meaning 543 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of torque. This impressive piece of engineering delivers exactly 100 more horses than the turbocharged 3.0-liter flat six in a 2024 Porsche Carrera 4S coupe, which starts at about $139,000.

The Porsche is smaller and about 400 pounds lighter than the approximately 3,800-pound BMW M4 CS. The CS, though, is about 50 pounds lighter than the M4 Competition xDrive coupe on which it is based, thanks to a lighter exhaust with a titanium muffler, lighter wheels, carbon-fiber roof and hood, and standard M Carbon front seats. Even the exterior mirror caps are carbon fiber.

2025 BMW M4 CS racing-style seats
If your body fits the seats, you may find the BMW M4 CS comfortable enough. (Source: BMW)

Built for Speed

As you’d expect from that set of specs, the BMW M4 CS is very quick and fast. The eight-speed automatic transmission offers three selectable modes: Auto, Sport, and Manual. BMW says the CS will do 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, though auto media that have tested its M3 CS sedan counterpart suggest it will be even quicker than that. BMW also claims 0-200 km/h (124 mph) in 11.1 seconds. The standard BMW M Driver’s Package programs an electronically limited top speed of 188 mph. 

The suspension and brakes were tuned to allow the M4 CS to make the most of its prodigious power and behave like a lighter car on road or track. The Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires are 275/35ZR-19 in front and 285/30ZR-20 out back.

Selecting Track mode tweaks throttle response, adjusts the all-wheel drive torque split to favor the rear axle a bit more, and dials back stability control engagement ever so slightly, all to make the CS more playful on the confines of a closed track.

For more track fun, the M4 CS coupe comes standard with M Drive Professional, a roster of functions including M Drift Analyzer, M Laptimer, and M Traction Control. The latter allows the driver to set the car’s four-wheel traction control system intervention at one of 10 levels.

Green 2025 BMW M4 CS on track
The BMW M4 CS comes track-ready, but with added comfort over the discontinued M4 CSL. (Source: BMW)

Not Everyone’s Daily Cup of Tea

As one might surmise from the photos, the M Carbon seats are more track-focused than comfort-focused. So, while the CS might be a better overall road driver than the more extreme CSL, these seats will not fit everyone. What’s more, the steering wheel rim is very thick, and there is no center console armrest at all.

At launch, the new M4 CS will be available in two BMW Individual paint finishes: Riviera Blue and Frozen Isle of Man Green metallic. In the end, what we have with the 2025 BMW M4 CS is a somewhat tamer version of the CSL that certainly lives up to the marque’s time-honored “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra. It still has that racer’s edge that might make it a bit too ultimate as a daily commuter for some drivers. We have no doubt the 2,000 cars to be offered will sell out quickly.

2025 BMW M4 CS dashboard view
The M4 CS cockpit is more civil than the CSL’s but still performance-focused. (Source: BMW)
Jim Koscs
Written by Jim Koscs, Audamotive Communications