From the January 2022 issue of Car and Driver.
Most car companies are content with an ounce here and a gram there when they pull weight out of their cars. So when BMW announced that the new M5 CS would be 230 pounds lighter than the 4243-pound M5 Competition, we were skeptical. As bariatric physicians and our tech department are fond of saying, the scales don’t lie. At the weigh-in, the CS registered 4096 pounds, or 147 pounds less than the Competition. Not quite the result promised, but still a big move in the right direction.
To drop those pounds, a carbon-fiber hood joins the standard M5’s carbon-fiber roof, but the main weight loss comes from removing sound-deadening material and swapping the luxury-grade thrones for the lightweight racing-style front seats from the M3. BMW didn’t pull out all the stuffing, though, as the CS remains placid, measuring a low 66 decibels at 70 mph, matching a 2018 M5 we tested on the same surface.
To make the most of the lighter M5, BMW wrung 10 extra horsepower out of the Competition’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. With 627 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque churning through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, the M5 CS posts a 2.6-second time to 60 mph and a quarter-mile speed of 130 mph in 10.6 seconds. The trans pops off shifts and shows its commitment in its most race-car-like mode as it slots itself into the right gear under braking to give you what you need for the corner.
Pirelli P Zero Corsa PZC4s are a no-cost option. Likely thanks to the Corsas, steering feedback is clearer and there’s simply more of it. While the weight loss is excellent, it doesn’t result in a completely different driving experience. We’d guess that fitting these aggressive tires to an M5 Competition and removing marzipan from your diet would likely have a similar effect. But you would miss out on the CS’s revised dampers. Unlike in every M car we can recall, selecting the most aggressive damper setting, Sport Plus, doesn’t turn the suspension to granite, and the ride quality remains appropriate for a sports sedan.
On the skidpad, the CS delivered an easy and controllable 1.02 g, 0.05 more than the Competition. Combine the extra grip, the secure body control, and the enlivened steering, and you get a canyon-ripping sports sedan that will shrink most sports cars in its rearview mirror.
Perhaps you’re wondering what CS stands for. Maybe it’s Challenge Special or Calorie Suppression. What we know is that when BMW pulls weight out of a car and adds those letters, it will include a Customer Surcharge. At least your $143,995 covers all the Competition hardware and the M Driver’s package that bumps up the top speed and comes with some driving lessons. That price is barely more than what you’ll pay for a comparably equipped Competition, and the CS’s tires and tuning make for a quicker, livelier, and more dialed-in M5.
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