Monday, March 21, 2011

BMW M3 GTS 2011 - First Drive Review

With the launch of the E92 BMW M3 now almost three years behind us, we’ve resorted to testing tuner and racing versions of the car for our M3 fix. Thankfully, BMW is introducing a lighter, more powerful version for 2011, so we had an excuse once again to slide behind the wheel. Awesome side note: BMW M GmbH chief Kay Segler says the internal code name for the M3 GTS was Jägermeister, a reference to the famous German digestif and frat fuel with a history of sponsoring motorsports.

Segler and crew came about the weight loss the easy way: They removed stuff. There are no rear seats, the center console and the door trim have shed a few pounds, and even air conditioning is optional. The back window and the rear side glass have been replaced with polycarbonate (the front windows and the windshield remain glass). The M3's audio system was discarded, and so was a lot of sound insulation. The only music comes from the ultralight titanium exhaust system.

Weight loss is less than what we had expected—just over 100 pounds. Considering that’s partly because the standard roll bar and the fire extinguisher eat up some of the savings, though, we’re okay with it. Although three-point seatbelts come installed in the car, six-point harnesses are included as well.

Power rises from 414 hp to 444, arriving at the same 8300 rpm as in the regular M3. Maximum torque rises from 295 lb-ft at 3900 rpm to 325 lb-ft at 3750 rpm. It wasn’t easy, though: M had to bore the engine from 4.0 to 4.4 liters, a lot of effort to gain 30 hp and 30 lb-ft.


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe


ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 266 cu in, 4361 cc
Power (SAE net): 444 bhp @ 8300 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 325 lb-ft @ 3750 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual

Wheelbase: 108.7 in Length: 182.9 in
Width: 71.0 in Height: 54.6 in
Curb weight (mfr’s est): 3550 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 3.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.0 sec

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