If you want to go very fast, turn a lot of heads and buy into a premium badge, then the BMW M4 is a safe choice. It’s extremely capable, good to drive and, as a result, is extremely popular. However, if that isn’t enough for you – if you want to turn the dials to 11 and go just a little bit faster, and turn just a few more heads – then there is an option for you: the M4 GTS.
Fitted with a huge spoiler, jutting front lip and – on our car – ‘look at me’ orange alloy wheels, it’s there for those who find the standard M4 a little too subtle. It can back these looks up with genuine performance, however, boasting a power increase from the standard car’s 425bhp to 493bhp. This is mainly down to the car’s use of water-cooled induction. It also gets carbon ceramic brakes, a roll cage and even a fire extinguisher. And for those who think these extras may come with just a small premium over the M4 look away now – the GTS weighs in at a hefty £120,500, more than double the standard car’s cost.
Looks and image
There’s no way you’d fail to notice the GTS. Its spoiler, splitter and orange highlights combine to create a car that won’t be missed. On the other hand, many could dismiss it as a parts-bin special, but that comes part and parcel with a car featuring a bright orange roll cage. However, those in the know will certainly value the GTS’ worth, and appreciate that the car’s changes are far from just skin-deep.
Keen drivers will no doubt want to get behind the wheel of the GTS. It’s a track-focused car, and therefore one that will appeal to those who really love driving. It’s less likely to appeal to those who want a useful everyday vehicle – though it could be used for this if you were willing to look past its practicality shortcomings such as its lack of rear seats or rather firm carbon-fibre-backed racing seats.
Space and practicality
Unfortunately, the GTS is immediately docked points in terms of practicality thanks to its lack of rear seats. The car is 60kg lighter than the standard M4, and these savings have been made by removing some of the car’s creature comforts. You’ll find no interior door handles, just simple cloth pulls – though interestingly air conditioning and satellite navigation are still included. Those sat in either of the front two seats do have plenty of space though, despite the heavily bolstered seats hugging you in tightly.
The GTS’ boot, however, is still of a usable size at 445 litres, which means that it’s easily large enough for a few weekend bags.
Behind the wheel
The standard M4 is a somewhat spiky thing to drive. Give it a chance, and it’ll happily snap into oversteer. The GTS is just the same – though even more aggressive. Thankfully, there are different levels of traction control to choose from, but even with these set the car will happily step out, especially in the wet.
The steering has plenty of weight to it – a little too much perhaps in its sportiest setting – but it means you can accurately place the car to exactly where you want it. The front end is impressively eager to turn in, and means that you devour country roads at a considerable pace. The ride is firm, make no mistake about that, but it means that the GTS exhibits no body roll whatsoever throughout the corners. Once there’s heat in the tyres the GTS has pretty much all the grip you could want – and more besides.
The whole package is tied up by the previously mentioned titanium exhaust. The standard M4 was criticised for being too quiet, just too subdued. This addition, however, turns it into a completely different animal. In Sport or Sport Plus mode it’s downright antisocial, with pops and bangs accompanying throttle lift-offs even at low speeds.
Value for money (what’s the spec like, options, infotainment)
The M4 GTS costs £120,500 – and that’s a lot of money for any car, even one that comes with its own country-sized wing. However, it’s limited to just 700 cars worldwide, making it a special edition car and, therefore, one that will likely only increase in value. You still get satellite navigation, air conditioning and cruise control – but then you’d want at least a few extras with a car of this price.
Who would buy one?
It’s a truly exciting experience to get behind the wheel of the GTS, but is it worth the £60,000-odd premium over a standard M4? Perhaps. Whereas the standard car could be driven every day, the GTS could simply be too uncompromising and harsh, and this is likely to put people off.
Model: BMW M4 GTS
Model as tested: BMW M4 GTS
Base price: £120,500
Engine tested: 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six
Max speed: 190mnph
0-60mph: 3.6 seconds