We’ve had this conversation before. Are modern sports-cars focusing too much on track use as opposed to road use? Late last year we attended the launch of the new BMW M2 CS, a car that is marketed as a track ready BMW. The launch took place in Kyalami Racetrack, a fitting location for such a car. We all walked away giddy about the cars new suspension setup, the looks and how it sounds. It was only after scrolling through my social media feeds, did I see another journalist make an important statement that made so much sense. He tweeted “Gotta love the audacity of BMW launching their most track focused car on a racetrack, the one place owners can’t drive it without voiding their warranty.” This sentiment is very true, especially in South Africa where BMW’s carry a Motorplan (Warranty) that can easily be voided if customers fiddle or use their vehicle on track. However, that’s not the point of this article. Let’s bring it back to the M5 CS that we’re all drooling for. This has got to be the hottest M5 to date and it’s also BMW most powerful production vehicle ever.
From the gorgeous Frozen Deep Green paintwork, to the Gold Bronze wheels and kidney grille, the car looks extremely mean and in facelift guise, looks even better. The figures are outstanding, 437kW/750N.m and a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.0 seconds. In a 1 825kg family saloon? My word. The addition of M Carbon ceramic brakes also means that you’ll be able to stop this behemoth with much ease. But here’s the thing, this car is world renowned for its ability to be a family orientated sedan on the one hand and then a sports car murdering missile on the other. Unfortunately the M5 CS however has regressed when it comes to the former. I was very disappointed to find out that the CS only comes in a four seater configuration. Why?! Yes BMW have gone through stringent measures to reduce the weight of this vehicle, resulting in a 70kg reduction. The loss of weight is due to the use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic in various places and of course, the inclusion of a 2-seater lightweight-construction rear bench unit. I don’t know what a standard 3-seater bench weighs, but I’m sure the potential buyers of the vehicle wouldn’t care if the M5 CS was only 50kg’s lighter but provided the same practical attributes of a standard M5.
By making the M5 CS a four seater, BMW have removed one of the most charming characteristics of the car, it’s true family appeal. The reality is that most M5 CS owners won’t spend majority of their time on track, the same way most M5 drivers don’t. In fact, only a handful of sports car customers use their vehicles on track. These vehicles are meant to be dual purpose, especially a vehicle like an M5. As cars keep progressing in their abilities and more special editions are being made, often times manufacturers love focusing on the track prowess of their cars. Meanwhile they don’t tell you how squeaky carbon ceramic brakes are when cold or the fact that using your vehicle on track may result in a Motorplan suspension. On the other hand, many people have spawned only two children, so perhaps it’s not the end of the world and the CS is a limited production car, but still – an M5 is not supposed to be a 4- seater. Very few M5 CS’s are going to make their way to South Africa and I could bet my house that they’re all sold. So perhaps this article is a waste of time, but it just baffles me that BMW M would make such an astonishing vehicle, but then take away a simple yet critical element of the M5, it’s middle seat. All this is done in the name of weight saving, in a vehicle that essentially isn’t allowed on track. Am I missing something?