Used 2016 BMW M4 GTS Review

Edmunds expert review

The 2016 BMW M4 GTS is a limited-edition, muscled-up version of the already sporty M4 coupe. Track-day euphoria is the goal, though you can still use the GTS as a commuter car (albeit a less practical one). The M4 GTS will undoubtedly become a future collectible if you manage to find one for sale.




What's new for 2016

The M4 GTS is a new special-edition model for 2016.

Vehicle overview

The BMW brand is synonymous with performance luxury cars, and its M subdivision creates some of the most lust-worthy vehicles around. Among them, the M3 sedan and M4 coupe are the most performance-focused due to their size and racing pedigree. But occasionally BMW releases an even more serious version of these cars for the most hardcore car fans. And for the first time, U.S. customers can now get a non-diluted version of one of these hopped-up M cars in the form of the 2016 BMW M4 GTS.

The two-door M4 GTS is designed with the track-day enthusiast in mind. Power output from the turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine rises to 493 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque — a gain of 68 hp and 37 lb-ft — thanks to a new water injection system. The system significantly reduces engine temperatures, which allows it to operate under more aggressive settings. The GTS also features a number of adjustable settings from suspension height and stiffness to the amount of aerodynamic influence provided by the front chin splitter and rear wing.

BMW dispensed with fancy, electronically controlled parts, as well as the rear seats, and replaced the interior door handles with cloth strap door pulls, all in the interest of keeping things lightweight. With that said, BMW understands that many of their customers don't live on the racetrack and do want to use their M4 GTS as a regular car. With features such as parking sensors, adaptive headlights, navigation and a head-up display all standard, the GTS is far from spartan.  

BMW plans to produce 700 M4 GTS cars worldwide, with 300 allocated to the U.S. Therefore, if you're not one of the lucky 300, perhaps you'll have success seeking out some of the other rare sports coupes on the market. For starters, there's the Porsche Cayman GT4, a mid-engine, 385-hp coupe with sublime handling and a manual-transmission-only configuration that ensures maximum driving involvement. For those who prefer paddle shifters, the 575-hp 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR is an excellent alternative. We also love the 526-hp 2017 Ford Shelby GT350R as it gives you much of the M4 GTS experience but for less than half the price. However, the M4 GTS is still the rarest bird of this flock and will likely be a collector's item decades from now.




Trim levels & features

The 2016 BMW M4 GTS is a two-door, two-passenger special edition that's based on the high-performance M4 coupe. The M4 is based on the company's 4 Series and offered in coupe and convertible body styles.

Beyond exterior paint colors, there aren't any options on the M4 GTS because everything is included. Standard equipment includes lightweight, 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy wheels with summer tires, carbon-ceramic brakes, a manually adjustable sport-tuned suspension, selectable driving modes, an active locking differential, adaptive LED headlights, organic LED taillights, a performance titanium exhaust system with quad tailpipes, a sport body kit, exclusive exterior body panels (including a "powerdome" hood and wider rear fenders), an adjustable front chin splitter, a three-way adjustable rear spoiler, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, and leather front sport seats trimmed in Alcantara (simulated suede).

Standard technology features include a navigation system, a head-up display, an 8.8-inch central display, screen, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface, BMW remote services, a six-speaker audio system, HD/satellite radio, a USB port, and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

Also standard with the GTS is the M Driver's package that includes a higher top speed of 190 mph (up from 155 mph) and one day of professional driving instruction at a BMW performance center.



Performance & mpg

The rear-wheel-drive M4 GTS is propelled by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. It's the same one out of the standard M4, but here it generates 493 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque, a gain of 68 hp and 37 lb-ft of torque. The main difference is the addition of a water injection system. Water (from a trunk-mounted tank) is sprayed at a very high pressure into the intake plenum, which significantly cools the temperature of the air entering the engine. The system allows the turbocharged engine to be tuned more aggressively, and in turn it produces more power.

The GTS is only available with the seven-speed automated manual (M-DCT) transmission with integrated launch control and rev-matching downshifts, which is usually an option on the regular M4 models.

The M4 GTS is estimated to deliver a 0-60-mph time of about 3.6 seconds, according to BMW, and has a delimited top speed of 190 mph. This is a significant improvement over the M4 Coupe with an M-DCT, at 3.9 seconds to 60 mph.

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the M4 GTS stand at 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway). This is a small penalty to pay given that the standard M4 Coupe performs marginally better with the same transmission at 19 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway).

Safety

Standard safety equipment for the 2016 BMW M4 GTS includes antilock brakes, carbon-ceramic brake discs, traction and stability control, front side airbags, active front knee protection, and front and rear parking sensors. The BMW Assist system, which is included, provides emergency services (SOS button and automatic collision notification) and remote services (stolen-vehicle recovery and remote lock/unlock).

The stability control system integrates several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use and automatically snugging the pads to the rotors when the driver abruptly lifts off the gas. None of the standard M4's optional active safety features, such as surround view cameras, blind-spot monitoring or lane departure warning, are available.

Lastly, a standard factory-installed roll bar occupies the back of the cabin, where the rear seats used to be. The bar provides additional protection for occupants in the event of a rollover and serves as convenient mounting points for racing-style seat harnesses in the event an owner wants to add them.

Driving

The 2016 BMW M4 GTS kicks the M4's level of sporting dedication up a couple notches. What used to be more of a dual-use machine is now one with capabilities that are best appreciated on a closed road course. The turbocharged engine hits harder and sings a louder and more compelling song through its titanium exhaust — a tune that's less synthesized than the standard M4's. The automated manual transmission snaps off gear changes as quick as you can request them through the steering-wheel paddles but will also operate like a traditional automatic with three selectable auto shift modes. If you do plan to drive the GTS daily, know that it will be without the comfort of an electronically adjustable suspension or the guarantee that the aggressive carbon chin splitter won't kiss a driveway ramp or parking stop. Or worse.

Although the water injection and boost in engine output garner most of the attention, it's the steering and handling that surface as the real standouts once you're behind the wheel. The M4 GTS' suspension is fully adjustable for ride height and both compression and rebound dampening. Though this allows you to extract maximum performance on various smooth track surfaces, the changes have to be done manually. The GTS also benefits from a specially tuned steering system, designed to work with its revised front-suspension geometry. The details of the changes are difficult to translate from pure engineering speak, but the result is a far more precise and connected feel to the front wheels.

With all the extra speed the GTS generates, there needs to be sufficient means to haul everything back down. Working with the wider, stickier tires are large carbon-ceramic brakes that return strong, fade-resistant stopping power from high speeds yet provide unusually good pedal feel and modulation in casual driving.

Interior

The cabin of 2016 BMW M4 GTS looks similar to the M4's but with some key differences. To start, the rear seats have been removed for weight savings and replaced with glass-reinforced plastic trim and a carbon bulkhead. Additionally a factory roll bar is also installed for additional rollover protection and easy installation of racing harnesses if heavy track driving is in your plans.

The M4 GTS is a paradox of spartan luxury. On one hand, it has the style and conveniences of a modern luxury car, such as a navigation system with a touchpad iDrive controller, HD and satellite radio, a head-up display and ambient mood lighting, yet it does away with traditional door handles in favor of lightweight door pull straps, boasts unapologetically basic analog gauges and has manually adjustable sport seats. High-quality materials including carbon fiber, sueded Alcantara, and silver aluminum trim are used generously to create a simple but clean design.

The M4 GTS cabin feels roomy with GTS-specific sport seats that wrap around you, providing ample support for counteracting the higher cornering forces afforded by ultra-sticky summer tires. And for the days your special track toy needs to serve more domestic duties, the trunk offers a decent amount of cargo room at 11 cubic feet.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.