According to Frank van Meel, the recently appointed head of BMW M division, WI is a means to improve performance as well as fuel economy. With WI fitted, the power output of the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six increases from 425bhp to at least 500, while maximum torque climbs from 406lb ft to 442 at an unchanged 1850-5500rpm. There’s only one production-ready prototype of the M4 GTS in existence – this MotoGP safety car – so we’ve come to Qatar’s scorching Losail Circuit on GP weekend to put it to the test…
The extra 75bhp should be a real game-changer, but surprisingly it is not so much the extra urge that makes this M4 special, it’s the much more emotional driving experience. That’s emotional as in loud noise, pungent smells, instant response, deceptive grip, heartbeat feel. When you first hit the Start Engine button you can’t actually hear the siphoning of the water-injection, but you register the louder and deeper voice of the exhaust, which is made of thin-wall titanium and has shed the second silencer for a less compromised flow. Blip the throttle and the rumble will briefly climax in a surround-sound roar before dropping a few octaves again. The other big change concerns the seats, or lack of seats.
The rear bench has gone, and the front seats are thinly upholstered slim-fit Recaro buckets with no height adjustment and fitted with electric blue, six-point Schroth harnesses. Apart from three rocker switches to activate the flashing lights, the cockpit is pure M4, but swathed in carbonfibre, suede and black leather. The lavish equipment includes blindspot and lane-departure warning, air-con, even sat-nav. ‘I have programmed the M buttons to my liking,’ beams Mike. ‘M1 equals Sport mode, hitting M2 deactivates all electronic aids. Enjoy the car!’
There are no setups for this car.
This car has been used in 3 sessions.