BMW M4 CS vs Audi R8 RWS

The BMW M4 CS is the best variant of the current-generation BMW M3/M4. It’s the best balance between savagery and comfort. It’s not as extreme as the M4 GTS, nor as normal as the M4 Competition Package. It’s just that extra bit sharper without being impossible to live with. But it isn’t the only new German to become a more driver-oriented version of itself. The new rear-wheel drive Audi R8 RWS is here (albeit briefly, as only 999 were made) and EVO Magazine recently compared both cars.

Despite the massive hype, when the Audi R8 RWS, it was met with a sort of “That’s it?” attitude. Not that it’s bad, because it’s still an incredible car to drive, it’s just not that different feeling than the standard car. Again, not that that’s a bad thing but the standard R8 isn’t the purist of driver’s cars. Still, the standard R8 is awesome to drive and the RWS is just a touch better, a touch more thrilling.

 

The Audi R8 RWS is, essentially, a standard R8 V10 just without a front driveshaft or front axles. So it still has a 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10, making 532 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. It has some suspension tuning tweaks, to adjust for the lighter weight and less front end mass. But that’s really it.

What about the BMW M4 CS, then? Well, it’s the most hardcore M4 you can buy. Its 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine makes 464 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque and it gets a steady diet of carbon fiber to keep weight down. It’s also rear-wheel drive.

Both cars have seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes as their only options and both have clever rear differentials.

 

The Audi R8 RWS has the better engine of the two, no doubt. Its free-breathing V10 revs past 8,000 rpm and makes the most glorious, hair-raising noises. It’s also very approachable to drive fast, with immense front end grip and sharp, accurate steering. If there’s a complaint, it’s that it’s too easy to drive quickly and is too polished.

As for the M4 CS, it’s just as fast as the Audi, thanks to having torquey turbochargers, but it’s more of a handful. Its front end is ever sharper than the Audi’s but its rear end is easily overwhelmed by the engine’s torque, which is apparently able to break traction in fifth gear. It’s also a bit stiffer than the R8, giving it some unwanted wheel hop over rough bumps and making it more upset through mid-corner road imperfections. So the Audi R8 is smooth and fast while the BMW M4 CS is fast and violent. That probably makes the M4 CS more fun and more engaging but, in the wrong conditions, scarier too.

 

But which one is a real driver’s car? According to EVO, neither of them, really. Both cars have some serious flaws to the way they drive, enough to rid them of their true driver’s car badges. The BMW M4 CS is too violent and too sketchy in anything other than perfect conditions and the Audi R8 RWS is a bit too sterile, too clinical, to be a proper driver’s car. Still, they’re both excellent to drive. It probably  just comes down to personal preference.

[Source: EVO Magazine]

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