The year was 1972. BMW's M Motorsport department had just been developed with the intent to dominate the European Touring Car Championship and the Formula 2 Championship. They started with the legendary 3.0 CSL and it wasn't until the introduction of the M1 in 1978 that the world saw its first M-badged road car. Shortly thereafter we were introduced to the M3, a car that would go on to become the most successful touring car of all time. Along with its big brother, the M5, the BMW M3 shared success on and off the track, so much success in fact that BMW decided to fill some “gaps” in the M lineup. In 2011 BMW released the 1M, albeit an entertaining car even by today's standards it was eventually discontinued to make room for the M2 in 2016. The larger end of the scale saw the M4 released in 2014. Two years later the first production versions of the M4 GTS started hitting the streets. This track-focused version of the M4 was limited to a production run of just 700 examples (300 for the US and just 50 in Canada) and as its exclusivity suggests, this car was designed to serve as a gift to BMW fanatics who are looking for a little bit extra, or should we say a little bit less...
When we say less, what we really mean is more. That is to say, less is more. This has become a popular ethos in the automotive world in the form of “track-day” vehicles, a genre popularized by legendary machines like the Porsche 911 GT3RS. The M4 GTS is BMW's way of throwing their own light-weight hat into that ring, boasting an 80-pound weight reduction from the standard M4, some of the most apparent weight-saving techniques are visible from the cockpit. Firstly, the standard upholstery found in the M4 has been replaced with the same lightweight recycled composite material found in the i3. All cup holders and storage compartments have been eliminated. Grab handles on the doors have been replaced with polyester straps. The electronically adjustable leather seats have been ditched for Alcantara bolstered racing seats that are manually adjustable and even the back seats have been replaced with an ostentatious bronze roll cage. That bronze is a theme colour on the GTS, giving tasteful subtle accents of colour on both the inside and out.
In stark but complementary contrast to the rich Mineral Grey paint, the same bronze finish has been applied to the rims and the adjustable front splitter. Along with a spoiler sitting prominently on the rear deck, these major design cues set the GTS apart from a regular M4. Improving not only the looks but downforce as well, these visual differences are an important part of the GTS objective, to go faster. Much like the base M4, the GTS applies the use of carbon fibre for the hood, roof and trunk lid, keeping centre of gravity low and making access to the beautiful engine bay and curious water pump shockingly easy.
Opening up that shockingly light trunk lid reveals what might be considered one of the most unique modern-day mechanical engineering decisions made by a major automotive manufacturer, a water injection system. The GTS' twin-turbo straight-six is cooled by a 1.5-gallon tank of crisp, clean distilled water that has left the automotive community slightly bewildered as to why the engineers at BMW chose to use technology that hasn't been seen in a car in nearly 20 years. For the answer, simply refer to the aforementioned objective of the GTS, to go faster. This highly effective system takes the 17.2 psi boost found in the standard M4 and ramps it up to 21.6. In turn, there is a 70 horsepower increase to 493hp and a 40 lb/ft torque increase to 443. All that power makes the GTS significantly more boisterous than the rest of its M stablemates. No electronically manipulated exhaust notes here, just pure unadulterated inline-six battle cry! With only 1117 km (694mi) on the odometer, the original owner purchased this particular GTS with the intention of preserving it in a collector-worthy state. Everything from the ground up remains in pristine factory-quality condition, a blank slate ready for the next owner. This vehicle is completely EPA / DOT certified for the State of California.
As the price tag and production numbers clearly indicate, this isn't your everyday M4. Yes, many of the badges on the car are the same, but that's where the similarities stop. The objective was to make a fast car go faster and that's what they did. In typical Motorsport fashion, everything from the interior to the intercooler was completely redesigned. This complicated equation of weight reduction, improved performance standards and a hefty power increase equate to a 3500 lbs BMW coupe that can lap the Nurburgring as fast as a Carrera GT. Fast, precise and highly capable this GTS eagerly awaits the right enthusiast who appreciates the endless list of modifications that sets this car apart from the standard M4. Just a few minutes with this special vehicle and you'll quickly realize that Porsche doesn't have a monopoly on specialty track-day performance anymore.
Price: $131,995 obo