By Robert Nichols
Few cars have consistently deserved to be held as performance benchmarks, but for the past 30 years the BMW M3 (now the M4) has been the one to beat.
For release in the spring of 2016 BMW has developed a high performance edition of the M4 Coupé – the M4 GTS. This is indeed a rare opportunity for 50 lucky Canadians, as worldwide there are only 700 being made. There is no information on pricing and the technical information is limited, but we do know a few titillating details.
The M4 GTS is a hard-core street legal track day car that has blitzed the Nürburgring-Nordschleife track in an impressive 7 minutes and 28 seconds. The inline 6 uses technologies like water injection and twin mono-scroll turbochargers to develop 493 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. The engine displaces 3.0L, will spin up to 7,600rpm, is capable of launching the car from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds and will keep you pressed into the seats all the way to the top speed of 305 km/h. Who needs coffee in the morning with a GTS waiting in the garage?
Some of you may be curious how water injection works?
Not to get too scientific, but the technology relies on the fact that water will absorb heat from the surrounding air when it under goes a change of state. In the case of water injection the change of state is from a liquid to vapour as the water is injected as a mist into the intake manifold plenum where it evaporates (into a vapour) and absorbs some of the surrounding heat. The result is a significantly lower intake air temperature, which lowers the risk of the engine knock while allowing the turbochargers to force in more air, thus allowing more fuel to be injected producing more POWER! Other benefits include the ability to advance the ignition timing even further, and despite the increased output, the engine should not undergo any additional stress because the temperature is lower. Ultimately this will prolong engine life by minimizing wear; see science can be fun.
In addition to the water injection, the BMW twin-turbo inline 6 cylinder will also utilize high precision fuel injection, variable valve lift control and Double-VANOS continuously variable camshaft timing. The power will be sent through a 7-speed double-clutch transmission that will make you feel like a pro with lightning quick up-shifts, perfectly rev-matched downshifts and a manual mode launch control system that ensures you will get of the line in a hurry.
If you want to go fast you need to shed weight and the M4 has gone on a serious diet.
To start with the forged and polished alloy wheels (available in acid orange) are made as light as possible and wear Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires, 265/35 R19 up front and 285/30R20 in back to deliver the ultimate handling and feedback to the ultimate driving machine. Keeping the rubber on the road is a track focused coil-over suspension and light weight carbon ceramic brakes will haul everything to a stop with little fade.
The diet affected both interior and exterior components as well. Inside you will note carbon fibre seats, a lighter centre consul and no back seats. The engineers were so fussy they even removed the door handles and replaced them with door pull loops. The weight saving goes beyond what we can see to the point of replacing the normal instrument panel bracing with a carbon fibre piece. Outside the carbon fibre parts list continues and includes the hood, roof and adjustable front splitter. The planetary, and functional rear wing is mounted to CNC-machined aluminum mounts aloft the CFRP(carbon fibre reinforced plastic) trunk lid. All of this fussing has left the M4 GTS weighing 100 kilograms less giving a power to weight ratio of 3 kg/hp.
The M cars have always been nice to look at but this version, although good looking, gives off a distinctly sinister vibe. The titanium exhaust system saves 20% more weight (when compared to the regular M4 exhaust) and promises to excite with a roar and rumble much loved among the enthusiast crowd. There really is nothing quite like the wail of an inline 6 at the limit.