The M4 coupe was already a performance icon when BMW announced the limited-edition M4 GTS, a muscular, race-ready version with a souped-up engine (complete with a water-injection system) and toughened suspension. It was intended for the track: The back seat was removed, and the interior door handles were replaced by cloth pull-straps, all in the interest of reduced weight. But the M4 GTS still had enough creature comforts to pass muster as a commuter car. BMW announced plans to produce just 700 M4 GTS cars, with 300 said to be allocated to the United States. They were snapped up, largely by both racers and collectors. Buyers had to be approved by BMW, with preference given to previous M owners or those with track and racing experience.
Used BMW M4 GTS Models
The M4 GTS' production run was as short as could be, with just 700 cars produced for the 2016 model year, according to BMW. The M4 GTS came in a single trim level with no options, and most of the equipment fitted to the car focused on performance. The GTS featured a manually adjustable sport-tuned suspension (using hand tools rather than switches on the dash), manually adjustable aerodynamics, carbon-ceramic brakes, an active locking differential and a titanium exhaust system. The car also came with a standard-fit four-point roll bar in the space that would otherwise have been occupied by the rear seat. Though the car reduced mass through the extensive use of carbon fiber and lightweight trim (including cloth pulls to replace the door handles), the M4 GTS still came with creature comforts such as navigation, dual-zone climate control and a head-up display. Bulging bodywork, with many pieces made from carbon fiber, distinguished the GTS from lesser M4s.
One of the most remarkable features of the BMW M4 GTS was its engine. The GTS used the same basic 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder as the M4, but it was boosted to 493 hp and 443 lb-ft, an increase of 68 hp and 37 lb-ft of torque over the regular M4. The engine's secret weapon was a water-injection system. When the revs rose above 5,000 rpm, water from a trunk-mounted tank was sprayed into the intake plenum, lowering the temperature of the intake air (which is heated when compressed by the turbochargers). Cooling the air charge allowed the turbochargers to produce more boost. If water injection was not available — for example, if the tank ran dry — engine output peaked at 444 horsepower.
Every M4 GTS employed a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission (which BMW called M-DCT) and rear-wheel drive. BMW cited a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, a 0.3-second improvement over the regular M4 with the dual-clutch, and a top speed of 189.5 mph. Despite delivering so much more power, the M4 GTS had the same 19 mpg combined rating as the regular M4. Its 16 city and 23 highway ratings were each 1 mpg lower than the figures for the M4 with the same transmission.
For a car designed primarily for track use, the M4 GTS was remarkably comfortable, with leather-lined sport seats that wrap around their occupants. Generous use of lightweight trim made the cabin worthy of BMW's luxury-brand status. That said, did anyone buy the M4 GTS for its amenities? The driving experience was the real appeal, and the M4 GTS delivered it in buckets. The water-injected engine delivered a harder punch (and a louder and less refined exhaust note) than the standard M4, and its adjustable suspension and spoilers allowed the driver to fine-tune the driving experience as conditions required. The brakes delivered epic stopping power and strongly resisted fade. Though the M4 GTS was comfortable enough for daily driving, it's worth keeping in mind that the suspension and aerodynamics could only be adjusted by hand from outside the car, which increased the chances of scraping a very expensive chin spoiler on a speed bump or sharply angled driveway.