Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



First drive: BMW M4 GTS. Image by Uwe Fischer.

First drive: BMW M4 GTS
BMW makes a very special M4 in its lighter new GTS, with more power and intensity.

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> BMW reviews

BMW M4 GTS

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Water injection for more power, lots of carbon, less seats and coil-over suspension create the sensational new BMW M4 GTS, the latest and greatest limited-run special from the Bavarian's M division.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: BMW M4 GTS
Price: £120,770
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six petrol
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-door, two-seat coupé
CO2 emissions: 199g/km
Combined economy: 33.0mpg
Top speed: 189.5mph (electronically limited)
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
Power: 500hp at 6,250rpm
Torque: 600Nm at 4,000- to 6,250rpm

What's this?

A special BMW M car, or at least a bit more special than the norm from BMW's tri-colour striped division. The GTS follows the firm's tradition of adding a limited series model, that's a little bit more, well, bonkers, than the already slightly unhinged norm. They used to be based on M3s, though given the M3 model is now only a four-door saloon, the M4 takes on the role. BMW developed this more powerful, lighter and more track-focused M4 GTS in plain sight too - remove the stickers and flashing lights from the roof of the MotoGP Safety Car and it's essentially the M4 GTS.

Not that you need flashing roof lights and a chasing pack of limited imagination motorcyclists to attract attention, as the M4 GTS comes with a unique carbon fibre bonnet, a massive rear wing and a low jutting chin spoiler that's wide enough (when extended to maximum attack) to stand on. If that's not all enough to have caught your eye then there are also orange trimmed wheels shod with some track-orientated Michelin tyres, an orange roll cage visible through the rear windows in the void left by the binned seats (assuming you've ticked the Clubsport option, as pretty much everyone has - did we mention it's already sold out?) and those tailpipes at the back are titanium, too. Fire it up and those pipes are noisy, in a very good way, this M4 not needing any half-arsed sound symposer to rouse you. Play about with the different modes and it goes from merely slightly obnoxious to the sort of devilishly boisterous, shrieking metallic blare that underlines racetrack-refugee status, and likely to get you a furrowed brow from the man with the decibel meter at any track day you take it to. Best keep it on the quieter setting then, at least until you're downwind and as far away from the pit lane as possible.

How does it drive?

Brilliantly. We'll be bold and say that it'll be great everywhere, despite only having sampled it on track, Barcelona's 2.89-mile Circuit de Catalunya. We were lucky enough to get behind the wheel of that MotoGP safety car last year, too, so the production-read M4 GTS wasn't entirely surprising, though no less appealing.

The engine that makes those titanium tailpipes sing has been extensively revised, with lighter internals reducing rotational mass, making for a faster revving unit, though it's the addition of a water injection system that's the big news. Water and combustion are uncomfortable bedfellows, but BMW injects distilled water into the intake plenum, which evaporates and cools the intake air, helping reduce the likelihood of pre-combustion engine knock, allowing for a higher compression ratio and greater boost from the turbos. The result is 500hp, which is plenty, and that's achieved without any reduction in economy. Seems all those health freaks talking about staying hydrated are onto something after all.

Impressive as that engine is, it's not the defining feature of the GTS. That's the steering and suspension. All that track time around the world as the MotoGP safety car has been put to good use, BMW M adding an adjustable coil-over suspension set up to the GTS, while there's also different bushing, lighter suspension components and wheels, more track-biased tyres, revised mountings for the steering rack and more besides. Basically it's been fiddled about with extensively, and that's apparent as soon as it starts rolling. As if the cage, six-point harness, basic door cards with their straps for handles and the blare from that lightweight exhaust weren't reminder enough this is a special M4, the steering wheel underlines it.

There's absolutely masses of feel, the rim telegraphing exactly what the front wheels are doing, the turn-in far more incisive and the weighting near perfect. It all makes the standard M4's steering feel dim-witted and mute in comparison. It's clearly stiffer, though BMW M's CEO Frank van Meel says he'd dial back that suspension a bit more around the surprisingly bumpy circuit, as mid-corner bumps unsettle it a bit at high speeds. The specification reads like it should be a bit of a handful, but the GTS is a hugely approachable car, its limits very easily read, relinquishing its grip subtly, making the transition into tail-led oversteer feel as natural as it would in something like a Caterham rather than a big, ballsy coupe. When you've got your head around just how agile and faithful it all is, you can push it ever harder. The ceramic brakes are mighty and that engine is so quick to respond and seemingly never-ending in its enthusiasm for revs and the useful resultant shove that comes with them. Clamped in the bucket seats with those six-point harnesses obviously helps with the racecar feeling, but the immediacy with which it does everything is the real tell, though with it so incisive everywhere else the M DCT twin-clutch transmission does feel a little bit like it's struggling to keep up. Regardless, you'd have an absolute hoot at a track day in it, and it's bound to be just as much fun getting to and from the circuit as well.

Verdict

Only 700 examples of the M4 GTS are going to be built, which is a shame, as this is how the M4 should be as standard. Let's hope BMW follows what it did with the M3 CSL, and offers all the best bits in a slightly cheaper package. They could call it the M4 GT and nobody would buy the standard car. Those lucky gits with deposits secured on the M4 GTS can rest assured that BMW's latest M special is very special indeed, and will be a rock-solid future classic. Let's just hope that doesn't mean we'll be seeing these in the classifieds in ten years' time with delivery miles and a telephone number price tag, as this is a car that demands to be driven, and driven very hard at that.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

1 1 1 1 1 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 13 Apr 2016



  www.bmw.co.uk    - BMW road tests
- BMW news
- 4 Series images

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.



2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by Uwe Fischer.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by Uwe Fischer.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by Uwe Fischer.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by Uwe Fischer.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by BMW.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by Uwe Fischer.
 

2016 BMW M4 GTS. Image by Uwe Fischer.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©