The upcoming BMW M4 GTS has been spotted testing in production-ready form for the first time, just days after the thinly veiled conceptual version was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours.
Designed to be a powered-up and pared-down track-focused variant of the M4, the GTS is due to go on sale early in 2016. This first test mule is disguised in the form of the M4 MotoGP safety car, which also previewed the new model.
One of the chief developments for the M4 GTS is an innovative water-injection system for its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine. Also included is a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic bonnet, OLED tail-lights, altered aerodynamics in the form of an adjustable front splitter and prominent boot deck-mounted rear wing as well as an upgraded chassis.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Concept M4 GTS, BMW M boss Frank van Meel said: “While the M4 embodies the ideal combination of motorsport genes and unrestricted everyday usability, the Concept M4 GTS previews an exclusive new model with a keen focus on the race track. Despite its outstanding track ability, it is still fully road legal.”
BMW did not revealed a power figure for the Concept M4 GTS, although M division engineers have revealed that the new water injection system, which injects water vapour into the intake manifold to cool the air entering the engine, brings an 8% increase over the 425bhp of the M4’s standard engine, indicating a new peak of around 460bhp for the upcoming M4 GTS. A similar increase in torque is also anticipated.
Already tested by Autocar on a smaller turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, the water-injection system serves to reduce knock, enabling the M4 to use higher boost pressure with earlier injection timing. To keep temperatures in check, BMW has reworked the cooling system with two additional radiators and a revised intercooler assisted by an additional electric water pump.
The Concept M4 GTS also received a carbonfibre-reinforced bonnet, which is claimed to lower its weight and centre of gravity over the standard M4 for even sharper performance and agility.
In keeping with its track-focused nature, BMW provided the Concept M4 GTS with a carbonfibre front splitter and rear wing, allowing the driver to adjust downforce accordingly. Further modifications were centred around the suspension, with 9.5 Jx19in wheels up front and 10.5Jx20in rims at the rear. They were shod with 265/35 R19 and 285/30 R20 Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres respectively.
When it goes into production in 2016, the M4 GTS will continue a tradition of special models from BMW M division, including the M3 Sport Evolution (1990), BMW M3 GT (1995), BMW M3 CLS (2003), M3 GTS (2010) and M3 CRT (2011).