As we stated in a recent article and from our interview with Dr Kay Segler, BMW will be releasing a limited edition version of the M3 – effectively a road going version of the M3 GT4 which will be called the M3 GTS. Take a look at the video above which was released this afternoon on BMW’s YouTube channel.
Based on the same 4 litre V8 as fitted to the regular M3, but with its capacity increased to 4.4 litres and power output exceeding 450 bhp, the GTS will have stunning performance. The GTS is supplied like the previous E46 M3 CSL with a stripped out cabin, minus radio, A/C and other fripperies but no doubt these can be specified as options if the customer chooses. The M3 GTS will also come with a roll-cage and fire extinguisher, so its ethos is very much in the same vein as Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS.
The prototype is said to have already lapped the Nurburgring in under 7 minutes 40 seconds, and is some 160kg or so lighter than the E92 M3 on which it is based. No news yet as to whether it is fitted with KERS, or what kind of production volumes we can expect.
The GTS will come fitted with 225/35 Pirelli PZero Corsa tyres at the front and 285/30 at the rear fitted to 19″ wheels and for the first time on an M-car the M3 GTS comes fitted with fixed calipers – ably assisted by six pistons at the front and four at the rear.
The chassis is fitted with a bespoke set of springs and dampers, adjustable in compression and rebound and developed with track days and club racing in mind. The M3 GTS is also fitted with an adjustable front splitter and rear wing, generating positive downforce and allowing precise adjustment to suit the conditions and track layout.
BMW’s motorsport engineers looked closely at the weight saving measures from the E46 M3 CSL, but since many of these features were already included in the standard E92 M3 (such as the carbon reinforced plastic roof), they had to go one step further.
Lightweight bucket seats were a must, but this time they removed the rear seats completely. Several new lightweight solutions have been used – the use of Macrolon for the car’s windows in the back, new insulation materials, the lack of air conditioning, navigation and radio and then to top it off the M3 GTS is fitted with a titanium rear exhaust. No mention has made of a carbon fibre air intake, which will come as a surprise given the character it brought to the M3 CSL, but perhaps the titanium exhaust brought the M3 GTS already perilously close to acceptable noise limits.
All these measures when combined result in a weight of around 1490 kilograms – which although approximately 160kg lighter than the regular E92 M3 will still leave it nearly 110kg heavier than its spiritual predecessor, the E46 M3 CSL.
But the M3 CSL lacked those final track-oriented touches and in this regard the M3 GTS is a far more complete proposition. The interior has been prepared for installation of the 6-point seatbelt included for use on the track. There are also mounts for the roll-over protective structure bolted on from the B column. A fire extinguisher and battery master switch/emergency shut-off preparation are also included and whilst they don’t make the car any lighter, they do make it much safer than its predecessor when driven to its full potential.
The car is fitted with a 7-speed M dual clutch transmission with adapted shift characteristics. But the engine is surely the highlight of this M3 GTS. Using a en engine exclusive for the GTS, the engine builders of BMW M have developed a power unit based on the M high-performance engine of the current BMW M3: with a capacity of 4.4 litres and an output of some 450 bhp.
BMW have stated that their aim is to clearly beat the lap time of the legendary M3 CSL on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which was recorded back in 2003 at 7 minutes 50 seconds, so rumours of the 7 min 40 sec lap achieved by a recent development driver is bound to have put a smile on the engineers faces.
The BMW M3 GTS will be made-to-order and the price as shown in the pictures below is expected to be EUR 115,000.- for delivery in Germany, including 19% VAT. (approx. £100,000 at today’s exchange rate, although both the 911 GT3 and M6 Coupe are priced at EUR 116,000 in Germany and subsequently both are priced at around £84,000 in the UK).
First cars are are due to be supplied from May 2010 and will initially be supplied only for the German market, further countries will receive cars from summer 2010.