This is it; the BMW M3 that we've all been waiting for after the demise of the previous, E90 M3 CSL. The hardest ever production M3 that gets the GTS moniker is a track-focused yet completely road-legal, limited edition model and it comes with many weight saving measures, more power from a larger capacity V8 engine and lots of juicy upgrades that you normally find on aftermarket tuned cars.
It doesn't take long to see that this isn't your 'every-day' M3. The car is distinguished by several unique features ranging from the Porsche 911 GT3-like orange finish and the numerous matte-black applications, to the adjustable front splitter and rear wing that can provide a higher level of downforce and the unique 19-inch wheels with ample 225/35 tires at the front and 285/30 at the rear.
A closer look at the car also reveals the beefy fixed caliper brake system with six pistons at the front and four at the back as well as the new yellow springs with a small M logo. BMW says that the M3 GTS features a special threaded suspension, adjustable in compression and rebound. More in the jump!
But there's more than meets the eye to this M3. Since the serial-production model is already weight-optimized with a bevy of measures such as the carbon lightweight roof that was previously reserved for the GTS's predecessor, the E90 M3 CSL, BMW's M division had to come up with new solutions to lower the car's weight.
The weight-saving measures adopted on the new 2011 M3 GT3 include a new set of light body-contoured front seats, optimization of the insulation, the use of lightweight parts in the interior, the use of Macrolon for the car's windows in the back, the removal of the air conditioning, navigation and radio systems and the rear seats that have been ditched altogether - who needs them anyway on a car like this.
Furthermore, the GTS features a new titanium rear silencer that not only promises to produce a more race car-like symphony but it is also much lighter than its serial production counterpart.
According to BMW's M division, the M3 GTS tips the scales at around 1,490 kilograms (3,285 pounds). That's more than impressive given that the standard M3 (U.S.-spec model) weighs in at 1,680kg (3,704 lbs).
As a track focused model, the M3 GTS has been prepared for installation of 6-point seatbelts for use on the race track while there are also mounts for the roll-over protective structure bolted on from the B column plus a fire extinguisher and a battery master switch/emergency shut-off preparation.
Which brings us to the heart of the M3 GTS; the engine bay. The serial production M3 gets a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8 engine pumping out 420HP. For the M3 GTS, BMW's M department enlarged the displacement of the V8 to 4.4-liters thus promising an output of around 450 horsepower. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed M dual clutch transmission with adapted shift characteristics.
BMW says that it intends to shatter the lap time of the iconic M3 CSL on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the M3 GTS. "The test runs certainly give grounds for optimism," the firm said in a statement.
We're still waiting for BMW to release performance figures and more technical details on the new M3 GTS, but we can tell you that the price of the custom ordered model is expected to be €115,000 (US $170,000) for delivery in Germany, including 19% VAT.
BMW said that the first examples are due to be supplied in Germany in May 2010 while according to current planning, registrations in other countries will be possible from Summer 2010.