The ever-escalating battle for sport sedan supremacy just turned once more. This time, it’s BMW’s turn to claim the high ground. And in case you needed more proof of how brutal this war has become, think of this: the new BMW M5 CS isn’t just the most powerful sedan the brand’s ever made, it’s the most powerful production car it’s ever released onto the streets, period.
Admittedly, the twin-turbo V8 didn’t need that much work to get there. A few tweaks have tuned the engine to pump out 627 horsepower, 10 more than the existing M5 Competition. Peak torque remains the same as that model — 553 lb-ft — but it’s available over an ever-so-slightly-wider band of engine speeds, hanging around from 1,800 to 5,950 rpm.
Light up the launch control and get a clean start, and BMW claims that power enables a 0-to-60-mph sprint of 2.9 seconds on the way to a top speed of 190 miles per hour. (Considering Car and Driver saw the regular 600-hp M5 beat that 0-60 acceleration claim, we’re betting the M5 CS can actually do better.)
That’s not just because of the extra power, though. The M5 CS doubles down on bettering its power-to-weight ratio by cutting pounds. Weight is down 230 pounds versus the M5 Competition, by using lighter components like carbon-ceramic brakes and new carbon-fiber body parts, like the roof, spoiler and bulging hood.
As on other new M5s, M-tuned all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic are both the only ways to put the power down to the pavement. And as with other M5s, both are extraordinarily adjustable, with three different levels of shift speed for the latter (as well as the choice of manual or automatic shifting) and the ability to toggle between regular AWD, extra-rear-biased 4WD Sport and burnout-tastic rear-wheel-drive.
Furthering the wide array of ways to set up the M5 CS are an active exhaust that lets you choose between four levels of tone and volume, three levels of stability control, three different dashboard and infotainment setups, a trio of steering resistance options and a trio of suspension damper settings. Rather than force you to fiddle with a pipe organ-like number of buttons, however, the M5 CS places them all on the 12.3-inch iDrive touchscreen, and provides a hard button shortcut — SETUP — to take you right to them.
That interesting green seen on the photo car? It’s called Frozen Deep Green Metallic, and it’s one of a pair of optional new colors for the M5 CS, the other being Frozen Brands Hatch Grey Metallic. A non-matte version of that paint serves as a standard color for the new model, as well.
Overall, the M5 CS is largely based on the M5 Competition, so it should drive largely like that car — which is to say, fast and involving to a point that boggles the mind. BMW did slip a couple mentions of the Nurburgring Nordschleife into the press release, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the Bavarians unleashed the newest, hottest M5 on the fabled track at some point in an attempt to knock off the Jaguar XE SV Project 8, the current holder of the quickest lap time for sedans at the lengthy track.
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Inside, it’s largely status quo when compared with the refreshed 2021 M5 models. CS badging peppers the interior, and the Alcantara-covered steering wheel now boasts a red 12 o’clock marker and carbon fiber shift paddles. As on other M5s, a pair of red preset buttons on the wheel enable the driver to call up a pair of bookmarked configurations for the car’s many, many systems.
The biggest change versus lesser M5s are the new seats. The comfortable, multifaceted front thrones found in the CS’s brethren are gone, replaced with the thin, lightweight carbon fiber-framed buckets that debuted in the new M3 and M4.
The new buckets are single-piece seats, with integral headrests that boast a map of the Nurburgring (see what we mean?). Illuminated M5 logos provide a bit of pizzazz, as well, matched with light-up M5 CS badges on the door sills. Even the center console has been fiddled with to save weight.
The M5 CS comes only in a four-seat configuration, with the rear bench’s token middle spot axed in favor of weight savings and better lateral support for the two remaining passengers. Both of those seats also score a little map of the Nordschleife on their headrests, as well.
If all this has left your phone or keyboard covered in involuntary drool, trust us, you’re not alone. But if you want to park the M5 CS in your driveway, you’ll have to be relatively quick on the draw. The car will only be available for the 2022 model year, with U.S. versions arriving sometime in the latter half of the year. The base price: $142,995. Which, all things considered, doesn’t sound all that bad...
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