BMW has launched a lighter, more focused version of its BMW M3 saloon - but British buyers won’t get the chance to buy it. The M3 CRT - Carbon Racing Technology - has been unveiled on the eve of the Nürburgring 24 Hours in Germany.
It’s designed to showcase BMW’s latest developments in carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), a material that will be used extensively in the forthcoming i3 and i8 eco-models.
The BMW M3 CRT uses the new material in its bonnet - where it brings a weight saving of around 50 per cent over the regular aluminium unit - and the front seats. Other features include a new spec of soundproofing and two individual rear seats which take styling cues from the front items.
The overall weight saving over the regular saloon is around 45kg, at 1580kg; however, BMW says that when the limited-edition model’s standard equipment list is taken into account, the equivalent figure is around 70kg.
The adjustments also place a little more weight over the rear axle (now 48.4 per cent); BMW claims this improves agility.
The new model gets the same spec of engine as the hardcore, ultra-expensive M3 GTS - which means the 4.4-litre V8 produces 444bhp at 8300rpm and 440Nm at 3750rpm. That’s enough to take the CRT from 0-62mph in 4.4sec, 0.5sec faster than the regular saloon.
BMW GB has elected not to take the car because it perceives the M3 as a saloon and coupé; although the four-door is sold here, its volumes are tiny compared with those of the two-door and drop-top variants.
The move is a second blow to M division enthusiasts in the UK, following BMW GB’s decision to not offer the latest M5 with a Driver’s Pack that lifts its top speed to 190mph.
In any case, the M3 CRT is unlikely to be cheap; just 67 examples will be made. That’s 68 fewer than the total production run of the M3 GTS, which cost well in excess of £115,000.