The first hint that BMW was going to spring a special surprise for its 100th birthday next year was the concept M4 GTS it unveiled at this month’s Pebble Beach Concours.
The clincher that the two-door has gone far beyond concept stage is the spy picture above, showing the production-ready GTS testing at the Nurburgring circuit, hidden under the form of the M4 MotoGP safety car.
The pictures on this page of the disguised car doing track work were taken almost while the covers were being pulled off the concept in California.
The track car shares the concept’s carbon-fibre front splitter and rear wing, OLED tail-lights, upgraded suspension, 19-inch rims at the front and 20-inch at the back. The bonnet is also made of lightweight material, helping to lower the car’s weight and centre of gravity for improved agility.
BMW M boss Frank van Meel said at the concept launch: “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.”
The M4 GTS is due to go on sale in Europe early next year. It will almost certainly be available in right-hand-drive later in the production schedule, although, like many other details about the car, this hasn’t been confirmed.
It injects water vapour into the intake manifold to cool the air entering the engine, thus bringing a roughly 8 per cent increase in power. The standard M4 engine delivers 317kW – the M4 GTS is expected to generate around 345kW.
The water-injection system comes with compromises – it serves to reduce knock, enabling the M4 to use higher boost pressure with earlier injection timing, but to keep temperatures in check, requires two extra radiators, an electric water pump and a revised intercooler.