by Karl Furlong
The new BMW M5 CS initially appears to be a bit of a raw deal alongside its standard M5 sibling. You need to spend close to $40,000 more and all you get in return is 27 more horsepower, a 0-60 mph time that's quicker by 0.3 seconds, and one less seat. Your son or daughter in middle school will likely be able to tell you that this is a particularly poor return on your much pricier investment. But the M5 CS is a sports sedan for thrill seekers, not accountants. This is BMW's M Division reminding Mercedes-AMG and Audi's RS division that when it isn't trying to appeal to all people, it can still make the number one sports sedan in the world. With its twin-turbo V8 tuned to deliver 627 hp, a reduction in weight over the normal M5, and a 0-60 time of under three seconds, the M5 is the quickest and most powerful BMW M car ever and more than a match for the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 rather than a mere AMG E63 or Audi RS7. But even these startling numbers are overshadowed by the manner in which the CS drives. It's infinitely more engaging and lighter on its feet than even the M5 Competition, doing away with the muted, numb sensations of the non-CS model. Calculators and spreadsheets can only tell you so much - on a quiet, twisty road or preferably a race track, the complex equation that is the M5 CS suddenly makes all the sense in the world.
The 2022 BMW M5 CS is an all-new arrival. It's not only the fastest and most powerful M5 yet, but also a new benchmark for BMW M in general. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 627 hp, more than any other BMW power plant currently in production. It's gone on a diet too, with BMW managing to cut 230 pounds of weight relative to the M5 Competition. Stiffer engine mounts, 10% firmer springs, and a lower ride height than normal all contribute to its more engaging handling. Outside, Gold Bronze detailing around the grille and forged wheels announce the presence of this very special sedan, while the interior seats just four, with even those at the back getting racy individual seats. The M5 CS will only be produced for the 2022 model year.
In the USA, the BMW M5 CS has a price of $142,000. This MSRP excludes a destination charge of $995. That's quite a bit more than the base M5, which starts at $103,500 before adding the $7,600 Competition package. Also more affordable is the Mercedes-AMG E63 S - as a 2021 model, it starts at $107,500.
See trim levels and configurations:
4.4L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
The near-flawless powertrain is matched by the best chassis tuning that has come out of this generation of the M5. Yes, the new M5 CS is tangibly more fun and capable than the standard car. BMW has equipped it with 10% firmer springs, a lower ride height, stiffer engine mounts, and a firmer anti-roll bar at the back. Throw those sticky Pirelli Zero Corsa high-performance tires and the weight reduction into the mix, and it's clear why the new M5 CS feels so different from the driver's seat.
All of these elements combine to make the M5 CS feel a lot more precise than the M5 or M5 Competition. Where the Competition's rear axle becomes unsettled more quickly, the CS remains utterly controlled in its movements. The front-end bites hard and although the steering still isn't brimming with feedback, its responsiveness is spectacular. In 4WD Sport, perhaps the best of the drive modes, more power is sent to the rear axle, allowing for fun, crushingly effective corner exits without losing control, and you can sense just a little oversteer. Switching the xDrive system into RWD-only mode requires a skilled driver, but they'll be rewarded with a car that remains remarkably manageable.
When you're on your way home from the track and have everything switched over to their most comfortable settings, the M5 CS impresses you once more. Yes, there is an underlying firmness to the ride, but it remains a steady, smooth cruiser and is quiet enough to be used for longer trips out of the city. The brakes, too, are up to the job. The M5 CS encourages you to push harder for longer, but it can stop with just as much confidence. If there is a criticism, it's that the conventional automatic can't quite match the crisp responses of the car's steering and engine. A DCT would've made this an even more memorable driver's car, but as it is, the new M5 CS is a triumph.
The 2022 BMW M5 CS is easily the best example of the current F90 M5 generation, and that's high praise considering that the standard model can hardly be described as a disappointing car. That CS moniker is much more than two extra letters tacked onto the trunk lid - this is a more focused, faster, lighter, less clinical sedan than the standard M5. There's an immediacy to its responses that is thrilling, yet it hasn't come at the expense of the sedan's ability to cruise quietly at the speed limit all day long. On the downside, it's very expensive, the automatic transmission lacks the razor-sharp responses of a dual-clutch, and only three of your friends can come along for the ride. None of these factors ends up being a dealbreaker, because the CS treatment has elevated the M5 above its AMG and RS-badged rivals. BMW's fastest and most powerful M car ever more than lives up to the hype and if you can afford one, you won't be disappointed.
There are no other trims or configurations so you should probably buy the first M5 CS you can get your hands on, before production ceases. We'll have ours in Frozen Brands Hatch Grey metallic with the Pirelli tires.
If the M5 CS is BMW's wildest four-door model, could the AMG GT 63 S be the same for Mercedes? It certainly makes a strong case for itself. Whether or not you buy into the four-door coupe concept, the GT 63 S is a heck of a looker and it backs up its looks with some serious firepower. The boisterous V8 makes 630 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, more than the M5 CS, but the Merc is heavier so takes two tenths longer to reach 60 mph. The GT 63 S also astounds through the corners and has its own RWD mode for on-demand smoky burnouts. Plus, it also has a stunning interior and there are more options to tailor the cabin exactly as you want it. But the improvements BMW has made from the M5 to the M5 CS are so impressive, it's more exclusive as it will only be made for one year, and the price of the M5 CS is nearly $20,000 cheaper than the 2021 GT 63 S. We'll take the BMW.
The BMW M8 Coupe temporarily took a hiatus for the 2021 model year but it's back as a 2022 model. Relieved of its rear doors, the sleeker M8 will appeal to buyers who don't need the practicality of a sedan. Now only available in Competition specification, the M8's V8 makes 617 hp and it's just a tenth of a second slower to 60 mph, so there's nothing in it between these two, although the CS has a higher top speed as it gets the M Driver's Package as standard. The M8 Competition coupe is very agile for its size but doesn't feel as raw and connected as the M5 CS. Even the sensation of sitting in its softer seats doesn't evoke the same reaction as slipping into the CS's carbon buckets. At the back, the M8 Competition's cramped seats make the M5's second row feel like an amphitheater. Once you've specced M carbon buckets and the M Driver's Package for the M8 Competition, it's nearly as expensive as the M5 CS. We'll happily take the sedan.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW M5 CS:
Check out some informative BMW M5 CS video reviews below.