A host of little upgrades and performance-infused enhancements make quite a big difference to the cabin of the BMW M5 CS.

There’s a steering wheel with extra gloss black trim and Alcantara wrapped around its rim; some carbonfibre shift paddles; new red stitching for the car’s leather trim; one less storage cubby than in an M5 Competition (BMW has removed the armrest cubby to save weight and covered the gap with a fixed leather cover); and a ‘CS’ badge on the dashboard. The high-quality material feel of the G30-generation BMW 5 Series remains pervasive, though.

F90-gen M5 had round instruments with chrome bezels in 2018 but got octagonal digital instruments as part of last year’s facelift. We preferred the old ones.

This is the first M5 to use the new ‘M carbon’ lightweight front seats. They have a slightly different design and colour scheme from those we saw on BMW M3 and M4 Competitions earlier this year. However, the curious hard carbonfibre inserts to be found front and centre on the cushions remain. The seat positions you even lower at the wheel than in any other current M5, in a driving position that feels instantly special.

It’s dead straight, really low, superbly well supported and, despite the aggressive appearance of the bolsters, comfortable over extended use.

This wouldn’t be the ultimate M5 if BMW had compromised its full sized-saloon practicality, of course. Comfortable, adult-sized passenger accommodation is therefore afforded in the CS’s second row, although that comes in two, individually sculpted seats. This means the car is a strict four-seater (there’s no middle cushion and no fifth seatbelt) and it can’t be had with a folding rear seatback, even as an option.

Back to top

The standard equipment level gives you digital instruments and a large colour head-up display, and between them you can select and configure exactly how much information you want to be broadcast so close to your eye line, and in what style. BMW’s M-specific display mode focuses and simplifies what is shown quite effectively, but even here there’s a hint of affected pizzazz about the layout of instrumentation, which could be clearer and simpler.

BMW M5 CS infotainment and sat-nav

You’d expect a very fulsome infotainment offering on a £140k M car – and BMW couldn’t have offered a much more generous one. Live Cockpit Professional, with a 12.3in touchscreen and BMW’s latest OS 7.0 software, is standard, as is a 12.3in digital instrument set-up, a good-sized M-specific head-up display, the enhanced Bluetooth phone system with wireless charging and wi-fi hotspot, and the Harman Kardon premium audio set-up.

The infotainment system is among the clearest and easiest to use on the market. It retains an iDrive-style physical input device, although you can issue it voice commands if you prefer. These are recognised with dependable accuracy once you’re familiar with the specific phrases it best knows, but navigating the system via the screen or the rotary wheel is often easier.

BMW’s Connected Package Professional is also included for free. This includes a data sim with the car for always-on networked services such as cloud-based navigation routing.