2022 BMW M5 CS Review: An Exclusive Magic Show
|4.4L V8 Turbo
|627 hp, 553 lb-ft
|US fuel economy (MPG):
|CAN fuel economy (L/100KM):
|Starting Price (USD):
|$104,495 (inc. dest.)
|As-Tested Price (USD):
|$147,995 (inc. dest.)
|Starting Price (CAD):
|$124,480 (inc. dest.)
|As-Tested Price (CAD):
|$173,280 (inc. dest.)
The 2022 BMW M5 CS is the most powerful production Bimmer ever, and that is the least important factoid you need to know about this car.
The “regular” M5 Competition is hardly lacking poke. The sheer violence of that car’s launch is still embedded in my mind six months after we drove it. That beast was almost certainly spitting out more than the quoted 617 horsepower, just as I’m sure the supposed 627-horsepower CS is.
I get it. This will likely be the last purely combustion-powered M5, so the headline figure matters. But BMW has done so much more here than add a few extra heads to the corral. The 2022 M5 CS is a comprehensive rethink of the Bavarian icon: lighter, stiffer, and sharper. It comes attached to a frightening price tag, but if you want the best M5 of recent history, the CS is it.Get a Quote on a New BMW M5 CS
The CS is a limited-edition model that builds on top of the M5, which itself had a freshening up for 2021. Power is up, while torque is unchanged at 553 pound-feet, though the peak lasts for longer now. The same fast-acting eight-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels, with both torque vectoring and an Active M rear differential to ensure it goes to the wheel(s) with the most grip. If you’re really feeling frisky, the M5 CS can switch over to pure rear-drive mode, just like the other M5s.
A more important number than +10: -230. That’s how many pounds BMW has chopped out of the M5 for CS duty (105 kg). Much of that comes down to the magic weave that is carbon fiber: The roof is obvious, but the more aggressive hood, front splitter, mirror caps, and diffuser are all made of the stuff, too. Inside, the front bucket seats are as thin as they are aggressive, and they too are carbon-backed. Even the second row gets buckets, so this four-door is now a four-seater. Standard carbon-ceramic brakes shave another 50-something pounds on their own.
It all comes wrapped in a pretty Frozen Deep Green Metallic paint, resting atop oh-so-cool bronze 20-inch wheels. The LED bits in the headlights glow yellow now, too, though legislation means not all the time, sadly.
Does that all sound a little extreme for what is a large, 4,100-pound four-door? Yep, and I thought so too.
Then I drove it.
More than a numbers game
It takes a single trip down one of my regular testing roads to reveal the transformation. The M5 Comp felt a little aloof at speed, the suspension needing extra time to catch up with the rest of the car. That’s not the case here. The CS is hunkered down, alert—but never nervous. Increased front negative camber helps the sticky P Zero Corsas find even more grip in corners. The M5 CS changes direction faster than a dog spotting a bacon-wrapped squirrel. That doesn’t make sense because the M5 CS doesn’t make sense. Something this big shouldn’t be able to do this, and make it all look so easy.
The M engineers have retuned the suspension to take into account the lower curb weight and reduced unsprung weight. There are also stiffer springs and a quarter-inch (6 millimeter) reduction in ride height. The result is a keen sport sedan with huge reserves of talent. Best of all, it’s approachable, with a clean, feelsome steering rack that gives the driver plenty of information on what’s happening at ground level. This makes the M5 more approachable, which sounds a little nuts for something with 627 horsepower. But it never feels daunting, instead involving the driver every step of the way. There’s more than a little of the magic from the M2 CS here, even if the M5 is auto-only. In fact, the eight-speed is great here, lightning-quick when it needs to be, and capable of near-imperceptibly shuffling between the ratios when it doesn’t.
BMW also provides all manner of customization to fine-tune the experience. Transmission shift speed, steering, engine, suspension, exhaust; it’s all customizable from a dedicated menu. Drivers can tailor the settings to their liking, and also map their custom setups to the wheel-mounted M1 and M2 buttons. This allows for quick access to, say, your backroad blast settings. Sticking to the presets, Sport tightens the whole package up nicely, and loosens the driver assists just enough to allow for small angles. Meanwhile, Efficient turns this big bruiser into a pretty darn comfortable highway cruiser. There’s less sound deadening than before, but it’s still impressively hushed at highway speeds. Even here, the CS feels shot-through with impressive body control.SEE ALSO: 2021 BMW M3 Review: More Pedals Equal More Fun
I can’t resist lighting the fuse at least a few times, though. When the EVs take over, BMW’s 4.4-liter turbo V8 will go down as one of the best of the breed. It’s an animal of an engine, catapulting the M5 down the road no matter what the digital speedo reads when the foot drops. It sounds angry too, rushing to redline with a roar from those quad pipes. Stomp the other pedal and the deceleration is even more visceral, the big carbon discs hauling the CS up way faster than you can say Sicherheitsgurt Prellung.
The M5 CS’ seats are nearly identical to the ones found in the M4 Competition I drove earlier this summer. They’re very pretty, and details like the light-up badge and faint outline of the Nürburgring offer up a sense of occasion. They are also very unforgiving. The little nub on the seat bottom—ostensibly to keep your legs apart during driving—gives off real Mom-asking-if-you’ve-gained-weight vibes. If, like me, you prefer your steering wheel quite close, then it can be hard to extricate yourself from these carbon thrones.SEE ALSO: 2021 BMW M4 Competition Review: Smells Like Success
That said, they’re very comfortable once I’m installed in them, the thick bolstering keeping me upright despite the massive g-forces the CS is capable of. There’s no ventilation though, which can be an issue during hotter days.
Unique to the CS are second-row buckets, too. No longer will back-seat passengers feel left out of the party.
Beyond the buckets, the CS is largely the same interior experience as the regular M5. The carbon fiber weave across the dashboard is pretty obvious; the increased Alcantara quotient less so. BMW has simplified the center console on its quest to remove weight, but it’s all screwed together with typical Bavarian efficiency. Wireless Apple CarPlay works without issue, and it’s easy to take calls without having to yell or crank the volume. The trunk is so big I can comfortably crawl in.
What’s the competition?
The M5 has traditionally fought the AMG-fettled Mercedes E-Classes and Audi’s RS6 and RS7. They’re both worthy adversaries for the Comp, but the CS is on another level, both in performance and price. AMG’s upcoming 800-horsepower GT 4-Door will no doubt align closer with the M5 CS’ performance stats, but I seriously doubt it will offer this sort of involving handling balance.
If you’re more about that straight-line speed, Dodge will sell you the 797-horsepower Charger Redeye for less than the cost of a base M5. It’s practically a super-powered older E-Class, anyway. Cadillac’s freakishly talented CT5-V Blackwing is savagely quick and very at home on a race track, as well. It’s also something of a bargain, at least as far as 668-horsepower sedans go. Plus, it’s the only one to come with a six-speed manual.
Maybe your tastes skew more Buchloe than Munich. For around the same outlay as the CS, Alpina will offer up its 8 Gran Coupe-based B8. Same basic engine, but a different tune, and a vastly different personality, all serene continent crusher.
What exactly is that outlay? Try $142,995 ($168,380 CAD), including destination. Our tester features one extra-cost option: the Frozen Deep Green metallic paint, for a cool $5,000 ($4,900 CAD). The sticky track rubber, bronze wheels, and matching brake calipers are all no-cost options.SEE ALSO: 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing First Drive Review: Do Not Go Gently
Verdict: 2022 BMW M5 CS Review
As I returned the 2022 BMW M5 CS, I expressed my initial reservations about the car to my friendly neighborhood PR person. They nodded, and explained that the CS is about exclusivity at least as much as performance. For some, even an M5 Comp is too common, and the single model year of this CS only increases its rarity. Only 25 are destined for Canada, for example. Reframed that way, the CS almost makes sense.
I’m coming at this logically though, and purchases in this rarified air are anything but. Never mind that one could achieve practically all the performance improvements here on their own, for less than the $40k over the base M5. What matters is that this is the best-driving M5 to come out of the factory in a long time, involving and dramatic while maintaining genuine everyday usability. What’s more, it will stand as a high-water mark for purely combustion-engined versions of the car. For the lucky few who park it in their driveway this year, that’s worth the price of admission alone.
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- The strongest turbo V8 in the game
- Much sharper to drive
- Can still relax when needed
- Unfriendly seats
- Huge price increase
- One model year only
Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.
More by Kyle Patrick