2017 BMW M4 CS: ‘emotional manual’ ditched in favour of ‘superior DCT’

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Fast is fast is fast, and with manufacturers ever-more keen to chase performance numbers, elements that slow things down, such the humble old manual gearbox, tend to fall by the wayside. Sadly for DIY gear-change enthusiasts, this is the case with the recently revealed 2017 BMW M4 CS.

Intended to be a mid-point between the 331kW/550Nm M4 Competition and 368kW/600Nm M4 GTS, the new BMW M4 CS is again powered by the F82 M4’s familiar twin-turbocharged in-line 3.0-litre six-cylinder S55B30 engine, however touting outputs of 338kW and 600Nm.

But while the M4 Competition and standard M4 Coupe are both available with a six-speed manual transmission, the M4 CS mirrors the Porsche 911 GT3-rivalling M4 GTS in being offered exclusively with BMW’s seven-speed automatic double-clutch transmission (DCT).

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Aimed at helping the latest M4 reach 100km/h from a standstill in 3.9 seconds – 0.1s faster than a DCT-equipped M4 Competition and 0.3s faster than a manual M4 Competition – BMW says other factors, including the CS’s torque increase, played a part in the decision to only offer the sports car with two clutches and not one pedal-operated one.

“The M DCT is superior to a manual in terms of performance,” BMW Australia corporate communications and product communications manager Adam Davis told CarAdvice.

“The manual transmission is a very emotional asset, but it does not fit with the track-biased concept of this vehicle.”

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Another influence on car brands is demand. And as Porsche Cars Australia recently told CarAdvice in regard to its own 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, buyers simply aren’t opting for a stick over paddles. Similarly for BMW Australia, manual M4s only account for a mere 2.7 per cent of local M4 numbers.

So, will a manual option ever be made available on the BMW M4 CS? Well, given it’s a limited-run special-edition model with only around 2000-3000 believed to be on the production schedule, the chances are slim to none. A manual M2 CS, however… watch this space.

That said, if you’re excited about the new M4 CS and you’re one of the 97.3 per cent of people who’d prefer their M4 to be self-shifting, then good news: BMW Australia is eyeing off a local allocation of cars and earmarking a late 2017 arrival date.

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Other points to get excited about are the M4 CS’s electronically limited 280km/h top speed, 1580kg kerb weight (70kg up on an M4 GTS but 35kg down on an M4/M4 Competition), and 7min38sec Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time – the latter being 10 seconds off the semi-stripped and semi-caged-up M4 GTS.

Ensuring it looks the part, the M4 CS also rides on model-specific 19-inch front/20-inch rear light-alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (265/35s up front and 285/30s out back), and comes standard with a carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) bonnet and roof, a unique exposed-carbon-fibre front splitter and boot-lid spoiler, a rear diffuser pinched from the M4 GTS, and lightweight leather and Alcantara M sports seats.

When it comes to Australia, the M4 CS will follow in the footsteps of previous limited-number ‘M’ specials, including the E46 BMW M3 CSL (23 units), F82 BMW M4 GTS (25 units), and F82 BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition (10 units).

Stay tuned to CarAdvice.com for more information on the 2017 BMW M4 CS as it’s revealed.