Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
4 minute read
8 Dec 2016
10:14 am

BMW’s M4 GTS is a track machine

Mark Jones

This impressive car will drill the standard M4 into the reeds in terms of speed.

Very much like the previous BMW E46 M3 CSL, the new BMW F82 M4 GTS is set to become a sought after modern day icon.

And just like the predecessor CSL, the GTS is pricey, comes in a limited number of units, and can go around corners almost like nothing else you can buy today off the showroom floor.

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Okay, so it cost around R2.2 million, only 700 were made in the world, and the 23 we were allocated for South Africa have all been accounted for.

So that is why I said cost, because you can’t buy one at that price, and I have seen them being advertised for R2.9 million.

Which also pretty much means that what I say from now on doesn’t really count for anything, because they all have homes.

The car is at least 30kg lighter than standard at 1 465kg, and this is thanks to the likes of carbon-fibre bucket seats, a lightweight centre console, the lightweight construction of the rear seat panelling and boot area partition, special lightweight door and side panel trim and door pull loops in place of solid door handles.

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On the outside of the GTS, the newly designed bonnet, roof and adjustable front splitter are also constructed from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

The adjustable rear wing, too, is cut from this light but extremely durable high-tech material. It rests on intricate, CNC-machined aluminium mounts fixed to the CFRP boot lid which likewise demonstrate how every detail, no matter how small, has been honed to minimise weight.

Teaming up with the diffuser – again, made from carbon fibre – below the rear bumper, the rear wing optimises the flow of air and reduces lift at the rear axle. The grumpy exhaust system has a titanium muffler, which allows a weight saving of 20 percent on its own and also sounds a warning to would be challengers.

The GTS uses the same six-cylinder in-line turbo engine from the BMW M3/M4, but adds innovative water injection technology to give the 3.0-litre unit a substantial power boost to 368kW with the torque increased to 600Nm.

The car is claimed to race from a standstill to 100 km/h in a mere 3.8 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 305km/h.

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The standard-fitted seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) has had its Drivelogic shift programs and Launch Control retuned to match the increased engine output as well. The weight-minimised, exclusive M light-alloy wheels in starspoke 666 M Styling are forged and polished, and come in Acid Orange.

They are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (front: 265/35 R19, rear: 285/30 R20) which are adapted specifically to the BMW M4 GTS and also play a role in the car’s outstanding handling abilities.

There is also a three-way M coilover suspension that has been specially tuned for the GTS, and can be adjusted to individual tastes and therefore also to the demands of different race circuits, if you know what you are doing.

I would suggest that unless you do know what you are doing, leave the adjustment tool in the boot.

The lightweight M carbon ceramic brakes are amongst the best I have ever felt on a road car or race car and slow the GTS down like you have deployed a parachute before you turn into any corner in anger.

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And the test car came with the optional Clubsport Package that adds a further racy appeal to the GTS by including a roll bar in Acid Orange behind the front seats, a race-specification six-point harness and a fire extinguisher.

When I first got in the car, the outside temperatures were high, the car was running on 95 octane pump fuel versus the 98 octane the GTS calls for, and the car felt a bit off. I expected the car to be a bit more sensitive to heat and fuel thanks to the increased boost.

I wondered if anybody had bothered to fill the six litre water bottle in the boot for the water injection system, and they hadn’t. So I filled the bottle and headed off to Gerotek to do some testing, and it is here that things get a little murky. Because you need to understand that this car is fast in a straight line, but it is even faster on a track where there are corners.

It is quick off the line thanks to launch control and big 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres on the rear, but the standard M4 Coupe will get past it from about the 400m mark and keep going.

It is all because the spoilers front and rear are doing their job of sucking the car down onto the tar, and while the GTS might not get its straight line claimed numbers as a result, it will drill the standard M4 into the reeds with a Nurburgring time of 7:27.88 versus 7:52.00.

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