It’s been a year since BMW split their M3 range in half, separating the coupe from the sedan and thus creating the new M4. The M3 and M4 are arguably the best vehicles ever to roll out of BMW’s M Division, offering all new levels of performance with a downsized, turbocharged engine. But for those looking for an even hardcore version of the M4 might be in luck, with BMW’s M Division presenting an initial preview of a high-performance model for use on the road and, above all, on the race track: the BMW Concept M4 GTS.
Founded in 1972 as BMW Motorsport GmbH, BMW’s M Division caused a stir in the automotive world with its iconic BMW M1 racing car, developed the first turbocharged engine to ever a the Formula One World Championship and was the force behind what remains the world’s most successful racing touring car – the Group A BMW M3.
BMW say the Concept M4 GTS continues that tradition, offering technology honed in race competition, increased power and a commitment to lightweight design and potentially a limited production run. Frank van Meel, President of BMW M Division had the following to say about it, “While the BMW M4 Coupe embodies the ideal combination of motor sport genes and unrestricted everyday usability, the BMW Concept M4 GTS previews an emotionally powerful and exclusive special model conceived with an eye for trailblazing technology and a keen focus on the race track. Despite its outstanding track ability, it is still fully road-legal. This is racing technology for the road in the truest sense.”
The BMW Concept M4 GTS showcases new technologies that are destined to filter their way down into a new production model that will be unveiled at a later date. The M4 GTS has features such as a water injection system, which has the potential to significantly boost power and torque output. It achieves this by injecting a fine spray of water into the plenum of the intake manifold, where it then vaporises and cools the intake air significantly. As a result, the final compression temperature in the combustion chamber is reduced, enabling the turbocharged engine to use higher boost pressure and earlier injection timing.
In line with the Concept M4 GTS track aspirations, it also features a manually adjustable front splitter and rear wing – both manufactured from carbon fibre with an exposed finish. Another example of the engineers’ rigorous adherence to lightweight design is the CFRP (carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic) bonnet, which lowers the car’s weight and centre of gravity further still. A wide front air intake optimises airflow and minimises front axle lift.
The dynamic and exclusive presence of the BMW Concept M4 GTS is accentuated by the exterior paint shade Frozen Dark Grey Metallic, with the Acid Orange accent on the front splitter creating an effective contrast. The lightweight, forged and polished light-alloy wheels in 666 M styling also feature an Acid Orange accent. The 9.5×19″ (front) and 10.5×20″ (rear) wheels are fitted with Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres (265/35 R19 at the front, 285/30 R20 at the rear). The mixed-size tyres provide the ideal conduit for the stand-out dynamic attributes of the BMW Concept M4 GTS.
The strong performance potential of the turbocharged six-cylinder in-line engine already demands an exceptionally sophisticated thermal management system for the engine and ancillary units. To ensure optimal operating temperatures in all situations, the M Division engineers have developed a highly innovative and effective cooling system. It comprises a main radiator plus additional radiators for the high- and low-temperature circuits, transmission and turbocharger in order to keep temperatures stable. The turbochargers are cooled by means of an indirect intercooler, assisted by an additional electric water pump.
While it remains a concept for now, there are strong signs that BMW may put the M4 GTS into production in 2016.