BMW debuts its 450 PS M3 GTS – the fastest ever M3

Hot on the heels of Porsche’s new track-ready model announced earlier this morning, BMW follow on with their 444 bhp M3 GTS. The headline details were revealed to us last November, namely a stripped out and lightened M3, with only two seats but fitted with a 4.4 litre version of the standard cars’ 4.0 litre V8.

The performance figures, if not in the same league as the GT2 RS are still impressive making the GTS comfortably the quickest model in BMW’s current range. Accelerating in just 4.4 seconds from zero to 62.5 mph, reaching the 1000-meter mark from a standstill in 22.5 seconds, on its way to a top speed is 191 mph. No mention is made of the usual BMW speed limiter, so let’s also take the opportunity of recognising the M3 GTS as the fastest production car BMW have yet produced.

Okay, this is perhaps a slightly hollow victory given that the M6 can exceed this figure if derestricted, but nonetheless it’s worth noting.

“The BMW M3 is an icon and internationally synonymous with the highest level of dynamics,” explains Dr. Kay Segler, CEO of the BMW M GmbH. “Our aim was to develop a model variant that would prove its outstanding potential both on the road and at club sport racing events. The BMW M3 GTS is pure M feeling, embodying the brand values in a highly concentrated form.”

For two decades the BMW 3-series has represented the epitome of successes in motorsport. The number of touring car racing victories and titles is unsurpassed by any other rival, and now with the M3 GT2 causing something of a sensation in endurance racing, BMW believe it is time to reflect this success back in their road car range.

More displacement, more power, more torque

The power required for high performance in motor sports is delivered by an 8-cylinder engine featuring a high-revving concept. With its unparalleled pulling force, which is constantly available over a very wide engine speed range, the V8 engine developed exclusively for the BMW M3 by BMW M GmbH features refined performance characteristics that are closely oriented towards the requirements of motor sports. A version of this power unit with further increased displacement, power output and maximum torque was exclusively conceived for the BMW M3 GTS.

The increase in displacement from 3,999 to 4,361 cc is achieved by a cylinder stroke that has been extended from 75,2 to 82 mm. In the enlarged combustion chamber, a maximum power output of 331 kW/444 bhp (BMW M3: 309 kW/414 bhp) is delivered at 8,300 rpm. Maximum torque has been increased by 40 Nm to 440 Nm and is available at an engine speed of 3,750 rpm.

Characteristic constructional features derived from motor sports, which include the crankcase designed as a bedplate construction and made of a special aluminium-silicon alloy, individual throttles, knock sensors featuring ionic-current technology and a dynamically optimised wet-sump oil supply have been adopted from the original power unit. The lightweight sports exhaust system developed for the BMW M3 GTS with model-specific primary catalytic converters and titanium rear silencers ensure optimum exhaust flow.

Transmission of power is effected by means of the M Dual Clutch Drivelogic gearbox developed for the BMW M3. This 7-speed transmission operates according to a principle also developed for motor sports and permits gear shifting without interruption of traction for extremely dynamic acceleration. Its gear shift characteristics have been exclusively tuned to the modified engine featured by the BMW M3 GTS.

Watch the M3 GTS being put through its paces by a professional test driver. Click to view on SkiddPlayer.

High-performance suspension with adjustable racetrack set-up

The car’s suspension technology also derived from motor racing is based on the front and rear axle construction featured by the BMW M3 Coupe. Contrary to that, the BMW M3 GTS features a rigid rear-axle support as well as a coilover suspension, the dampers of which are independently variable in the traction and compression travel. Moreover, camber on the front and rear axles and vehicle height are variable for motor racing purposes. The car is lowered by 16 mm at the front and 12 mm at the rear.

The high-performance brake system featured on the BMW M3 GTS has been designed as a fixed-calliper construction and comprises six pistons on each of the front wheels and four pistons on each rear wheel. Compared to the BMW M3, the brake discs are 18 mm larger in diameter at the front and 30 mm larger in diameter at the rear. Furthermore, steel-armoured hoses are used.

Specific tuning of the stability control function DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), including ABS and the M Dynamic Mode (MDM), make allowances for the increased dynamic potential of the BMW M3 GTS. Optimum transfer not only of acceleration torque but also of the brake torque is also guaranteed by mixed tyres on matt black, 19-inch M light alloy wheels featuring a Y-spoke design.

Aerodynamics: Optimised components with variable adjustment

In order to optimise air stream and for on-demand adaptation of downforce characteristics, the BMW M3 GTS is fitted with motor racing-oriented front apron and rear wing elements. They offer the possibility to adapt the car’s aerodynamic characteristics according to the racetrack profile and other basic club motor sport requirements. The air duct elements in the front apron are also variable, as is the position of the rear wing. The tail assembly is based on the corresponding component featured by the BMW 320si in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).

Any colour so long as it’s orange

The BMW M3 GTS will only be available in a unique orange colour. Additional model-specific features are the matt black exterior components such as the BMW kidney grille, roof trims and alloy wheels as well as the side gill elements made of dark anodised chrome.

In addition to the standard CFRP roof on the BMW M3 and titanium rear silencers, an exceptionally light construction of the centre console and door panels, the use of polycarbonate side windows at the rear and a polycarbonate rear window, dispensing with seats in the rear compartment and acoustic insulation configured specifically for the vehicle all serve to guarantee weight optimisation. The unloaded weight of the BMW M3 GTS according to DIN is 1,530 kg including roll bar and M Dual Clutch Drivelogic transmission (BMW M3: 1,600 kg). Automatic climate control and audio system supplied as standard comfort features in the BMW M3 can be fitted if the customer desires.

The interior of the BMW M3 GTS reflects a predominant focus on optimum performance and the highest level of safety on the racetrack. The range of equipment includes thoroughbred racing bucket seats, carbon interior trims and an Alcantara® M steering wheel. Door and sidewall linings in the rear compartment are also made of Alcantara®.

The BMW M3 GTS is equipped as standard with a roll bar fitted behind the B-pillars. Furthermore, the car body offers fastening points for six-point safety seat belts and an optional extension for the roll cage. The car is fitted with three-point automatic seatbelts for road use. Additionally supplied six-point safety seat belts for driver and front seat passenger and a fire extinguisher complete the range of equipment.

The M3 GTS will be priced at €136.850 in Germany with deliveries beginning in July 2010. UK prices are likely to be considerbly ‘higher’ than any current model in the range (M6 included), but won’t be confirmed until the end of 2010 before right-hand drive cars go on sale in January 2011. The number of cars allocated for UK market will be very small, so it’s not surprising to hear that they have already all been sold.