The BMW M5 CS is probably the most extraordinary model available from the brand right now, and is among the most compelling BMW models of the last few years, ranking among the likes of the M2 CS—but you probably already knew that. Although the formula of making things lighter, removing seats, and adding carbon-fiber and horsepower in pursuit of performance seems like it could come at the expense of the overall driving experience, with the M5 CS, it results in the exact opposite. The automotive press seem to agree that the M5 CS is not only exceptionally fast, but also a phenomenal driver.
In two recent videos from evo and Carfection, the M5 CS earns strong acclaim from journalists that have made careers out of evaluating the best of the best in terms of what you can drive.
The first video features Henry Catchpole reviewing the M5 CS for Carfection. Catchpole starts the review off by saying he’s a bit afraid and perhaps even ashamed to admit just how great the M5 CS is, which is a bit of an unfortunate testament to what’s happened to BMW’s reputation despite building ever faster and more powerful cars. Throughout the drive though, the veteran automotive journalist says the M5 CS possesses a key quality of a truly a special car, in that it feels special at any speed, and that it’s always clear the car is coursing with the feeling of a genuine M model.
The M5 CS may have only ten more horsepower and the same torque as the M5 Competition, but the weight savings of approximately 141 pounds (according to Car and Driver), along with the steering and the tuning of the suspension make for a driving experience that’s reminiscent of the legendary M cars of the past, and better than that of many modern supercars, according to Catchpole. Perhaps that’s why the video title describes the M5 CS as a supercar in disguise, something that was once true of the genesis of the lineage, the E28 M5. Among Catchpole’s only complaints are the 627-horsepower, 4.4-liter S63 M V8‘s sound and exhaust note, and the transmission, both of which also come up in the evo video.
Spoiler alert: the BMW M5 CS bested the likes of the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition, Hyundai i20 N, Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition, Porsche 911 GT3 Touring, Lamborghini Huracan STO, and its own stablemate, the M3 Competition, in evo’s 2021 car of the year video.
The praise heaped on the M5 CS in the evo video is worth hearing for yourself, particularly in the context of some of the supercars mentioned above and reviewed alongside it. Although some were initially skeptical, a number of the journalists who drove the M5 CS came away extremely impressed, saying it does everything “massively better than an M5 Competition,” and summarized it as “fluid and natural” and “bloody marvelous.” Among the only shortcomings evo identified with the M5 were—once again—the engine sound and exhaust, while the transmission was described feeling sharper and faster in comparison with the similar ZF eight-speed automatic unit found in the G80 M3 Competition.
This is the second year running that a BMW, specifically a BMW M car of the CS variety, has won evo‘s car of the year comparison, with the M2 CS having been bestowed the honor for 2020. The M5 CS is in a completely different league and weight class than the small and more nimble M2 CS though, and which stands as a testament to whatever’s going on behind the scenes at BMW M these days. It should be noted that the G80 M3 Competition still finished a respectable fourth, and evo Editor Stuart Gallagher says the latest M models shouldn’t be dismissed because of their controversial looks.
Nevertheless, the M5 CS still outperformed the M3 Competition in every metric by a significant margin according to evo, which means if you want one, you should see about procuring an example of the limited-production super sedan posthaste.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG. Videos courtesy evo, Carfection.]