UNLEASHED: BMW’s supercar M3

Could this be BMW’s first factory-built supercar since the M1? CARtoday.com revealed last month that the leaner, meaner CSL would be the quickest standard Beemer on the road. But wait, for a mere R2,09 million you can have the 260 kW four-litre V8-powered M3 GTR, a car based on the American Le Mans Series racer.

Could this be BMW’s first factory-built supercar since the M1? CARtoday.com revealed last month that the leaner, meaner CSL would be the quickest standard Beemer on the road. But wait, for a mere R2,09 million you can have the 260 kW four-litre V8-powered M3 GTR, a car based on the American Le Mans Series racer.

Lighter, faster (and a lot more expensive) than the CSL, the new M3 GTR supercar promises to be a no-holds-barred extreme machine. The high price tag and an extremely limited production run will assure owners of exclusivity.

Powered by a four-litre V8 engine, the GTR is derived from the pair of M3s that BMW entered in the American Le Mans Series this year. The competition is for ultra-high-performance road-based cars, and taking part proved a successful move for the manufacturer, which won its class. The only reason the new road model exists is to meet the regulations of the series organisers. The rules of the competition are very simple – for BMW to enter it had to make a street-legal version of the racer available for sale.

But while it started life as a track car, several changes have had to be made to ensure the GTR complies with emissions regulations. According to Auto Express, the large, roof-high rear wing and twin exhausts of the race car have been replaced by a more understated spoiler and a conventional rear-exiting exhaust system on the GTR. However, “the deep front spoiler, louvres in the bonnet for engine cooling and lightweight carbon fibre body panels instead of metal ones remain,” the report said.

BMW says the GTR will feature a “firm and extremely lowered suspension”. A six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox and racing clutch and differential are fitted. In order to keep overall body weight to a minimum, all unnecessary extras have been stripped away. Carbon fibre has been used wherever possible in the interior, including much of the trim.

In order to meet the next phase of European emissions laws, engineers have had to de-tune the V8 engine from its race settings. It now produces a little more than 260 kW, 37 kW less than in race guise. And while this might seem like only marginally more power compared with the standard M3, which boasts 252 kW, the GTR weighs a full 220 kg less than its stablemate.

The M Sport division of BMW is already taking orders for the GTR, which will be available in left-hand-drive guise only, although production isn’t due to start until January.

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CAR magazine