IT’S called a “concept” but don’t be fooled. To all intents and purposes, this is the new BMW M4 GTS, a high performance, limited edition version of the M4 coupe which follows in the black tyre tracks of some very sought after cars, including the M3 GTS, M3 CSL and M3 Sport Evolution.
BMW will reveal this M4 Concept GTS later today, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a high society car show on the Californian coast. It previes the final production car that’s due to go on sale next year, in limited numbers.
The car is aimed at drivers who want a more extreme version of the M4, one that’s better able to handle the stresses and strains of being taken by the scruff of its neck and thrashed around a race track.
The concept is simple – remove weight, add power – and proven in popularity with competitor cars such as the Porsche 911 GT3 and Cayman GT4. It’s the latter of those two Porsches that BMW’s M high-performance division is thought to be privately nervous about.
So its engineers set to on the M4, adding manually adjustable front and rear carbon wings, a carbon-reinforced plastic bonnet, larger diameter and wider wheels and tyres and an interior that features racing accents such as bucket-style seats and a suede-covered steering wheel.
Whilst all those changes help reduce weight and better use the air to pin the M4 GTS to the road, it’s what can’t be seen that is likely to have the greater impact on setting a smokin’ lap time at a track day. The M4 GTS features an unusual water-cooled injection system.
In laymans terms, a five litre container is stored in the boot, and water is sprayed as a fine mist into the intake manifold of the 3-litre, six-cylinder twin turbo engine. According to Frank van Meel, the man charge of BMW’s M division, this cools the air significantly enough to allow the engine to run at higher turbo boost pressure and with earlier injection timing.
The German car maker isn’t revealing the final technical specification of the M4 GTS yet, but Van Meel has previously said the water-cooled system would allow the engine to run with power as high as 500bhp – a substantial increase from the current model’s 425bhp.
BMW won’t say when the production model will be revealed or go on sale, nor how much it will cost or how many will be built.
However, judged by the last generation M3 GTS, from 2010, which was largely hand built and limited to just 150 cars in total and 15 for the UK, we anticipate it would cost over £100,000. BMW insiders say the UK market should get a greater proportion of the production run this time, and it will go on sale mid-2016.