BMW Previews Lightweight, Hardcore M3 GTS

#BMW, #M3

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A year ago, BMW revealed it had no plansto produce a successor to the hardcore, lightweight, track-tuned M3 CSL. Today, we find the German manufacturer is preparing to launch the new M3 GTS -- another hardcore, lightweight, track-tuned M3.

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Why the change in heart? From what we can glean from the M division’s fan page, the answer is lap times -- Nürburgring lap times, to be exact. Not only has that figure become a status symbol of both a performance car’s credentials, it also speaks to the abilities of a manufacturer’s engineering and development skills. BMW wants to smash the ‘Ring time of the M3 CSL, which was reportedly able to lap the track inless than 8minutes.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">Let’s start with what the folks at M added to the M3. Yes, there’s the wild front diffuser and rear spoiler. Both are adjustable, and help force the bespoke 19-inch wheels to the ground. Those black wheels are wrapped with sticky 225/35 rubber up front, and 285/30 tires out back. M also fits a fully adjustable suspension, along with a fixed caliper brake system. (Each front caliper has six pistons; the rears sport four.)

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">M also manages to add a decent helping of power. The GTS uses the same 4.4-liter V-8 found in the M3, but power is boosted to nearly 450 hp. That figure eclipses the 414 hp produced in the stock road car, and approaches the 485 hp produced by the M3 GT2 race car. Unlike the GT2, which uses a sequential six-speed gearbox, the M3 GTS sports a tweaked form of the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission found on the base M3.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">For all M manages to add to the M3, there’s quite a bit it strips away. GTS cars do without air conditioning, radio, navigation systems, and a rear seat (M does fit a roll cage in the latter’s place, however). Even the rear windows are devoid of glass; they’re instead fashioned from a composite material. The diet seems to have helped, as approximately 419 pounds of content have been stripped from the car.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">We wish we could bring you more specifications, but BMW has yet to officially (or completely, rather) launch the car. It does, however, state it plans on offering the car to German buyers in May 2010, with deliveries to the rest of Europe and other markets (not us, sadly) commencing in the summer. Pricing is expected to run approximately $171,000.

<;P class=MsoNormal target="_blank">Source: BMW M-Power

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