BMW plans hotter M3/M4 for 2016

words - Michael Taylor
Track-focused models on the agenda at BMW's M Division
It might be BMW’s 100th birthday in 2016, but it’s the M division that’s planning the cherry on top of the cake with a light-weight, track-pack version of the all-new M4.

Senior BMW M sources have hinted at a two-seat version of the upcoming M4 – similar in philosophy to the limited-edition GTS – complete with more power from the twin-turbo six-cylinder engine and a lot less weight.

Sources have hinted that M is trying to get its manual-only track tear away M4 GTS beneath the 1400kg barrier, although they admit that will be a very difficult task.

The M4 coupe, which will make its production debut at January’s Detroit Motor Show, will weigh a touch less than 1500kg in its lightest guise, with a six-speed manual gearbox in place of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a bare minimum of luxury options.

Yet M is planning to cull weight by stretching the M4’s use of carbon fibre from the current roof and boot lid to include the bonnet and the front wings, while it will switch the steel doors to aluminium. It will also be stripped inside, with the rear seats removed completely and the electronically operated front seats replaced with a stiff, light carbon shell covered in thin padding. Alcantara will replace leather throughout.

“The E46 M3 was 1495kg and the CSL was 100kg lighter,” one BMW M source pointed out.

“For what we are planning, look more to the M3 GTS than the CSL. We have concepts for a special model and this [the M4] will be the homologation basis.”

Yet our sources at M GmbH insist a more-blistering M4 hotrod would be unlikely to repeat the road-going heroics of the E46 M3 CSL, simply because it now employs most of the CSL’s techniques in production already.

“It’s difficult for a CSL today. We have already major steps that we would have taken, like thinner glass and lighter seats and lighter wheels and less sound deadening. We’ve already done all of that,” our source insisted.

“We add weight to the standard car because of the M4’s bigger brakes and stronger suspension and the locking diff, then we try to take it all out again in other areas, which was the CSL philosophy.”

M also denies that it has a lot to gain from the light-weight production techniques developed for BMW’s i Division, with mass production carbon-fibre for the i3 and i8.

“We know they are saying that, but look around those cars. A lot of stuff we can see in an i3 came from M, not the other way around.”

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Published : Thursday, 3 October 2013
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