>> Updated story - BMW has just released two videos of its new £100k M3 GTS in action. Click here to watch it going sideway in style.
BMW might not be producing an M3 CSL, but this is something much better. Called the M3 GTS it’s a stripped-out 450bhp road-racer designed to take on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
It’s a response to those that thought M Division might have lost its way: 'The BMW M3 GTS which we are currently preparing in our BMW M production workshop is a response to frequently expressed customer wishes', said M Division’s CEO Dr Kay Segler at the unveiling. 'This M3 is even hotter: lower weight, more power - including an increase in capacity - and lots of technical details which were only previously available on the tuning market, if at all.'
Segler also announced plans for a sub-M3 model.
The BMW M3 GTS has more power? Where from?
M Division has enlarged the M3’s 4.0-litre V8 to 4.4-litres, and together with a lightweight titanium exhaust system, power has gone up from 414bhp to around 450bhp. The other changes you can’t see are the revised suspension set-up, which is now adjustable for compression and rebound.
And what you won’t also see are the rear seats, air-con and sat-nav – the current M3 already has a carbonfibre roof to cut weight so M Division had to look elsewhere to reduce the kilos. There is also an Alcantara-covered steering wheel, bucket seats (with a six-point harnesses) up front, and lighter-than-glass Macrolon for the rear windows, so despite the addition of a roll cage and a fire extinguisher, the M3 GTS weighs 1490kg, a massive drop from the standard M3’s 1675kg kerbweight.
And the tweaks outside?
By now you must have notice the blacked-out 19-inch aluminium wheels wrapped in 255/35 tyres at the front and 285/30 runner at the rear, and six piston callipers at the front and four piston callipers at the rear. Then there’s a matt black adjustable front splitter and a rear wing, but no rear diffuser as BMW claims it achieves enough downforce from the wing.
And how much is all this going to cost?
When sales start in Germany next May it’ll cost €115,000 (£103,000), and sales follow in other markets in the summer of 2010. Each M3 GTS will be built to order and be made in the same M Division workshop at the GT4 race cars.
And this sub-M3?
For those that thought BMW’s M Division had lost their way with the X5 M and X6 M, the announcement of the M3 GTS and of a model below the M3 will be a more than welcome.
'The X5 M and X6 M have just gone out to dealerships and round off the top of our product range', said M Division CEO Dr Kay Segler at the unveiling of the M3 GTS. 'But what I would most like to see is for BMW M to stay a young brand within people’s reach. This is why a product below the BMW M3 more important to me than a super sports car which is only accessible to a few. As I have already mentioned in other interviews, we are currently looking closely at the options in this area. I hope to be able to tell you more the next time we speak.'
We’ll bring you more news just as soon as we hear it.
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