Ultimate supercoupé goes out with bang

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BMW should be applauded for releasing this incredible final salute to the V8-engined M3, which enhances every part of the sports car’s driving experience. Its high price is really a moot point. All 15 of the right-hand-drive models coming to the UK have already sold out – and any  of the lucky few buyers reading this have every reason to smile.

Last year, BMW celebrated the 25th anniversary of its most popular M car with this lighter, faster, race-bred M3. And Auto Express got its hands on one of the first of the 15 right-hand-drive GTS models on UK soil.

At £117,630, the GTS carries a £64,555 premium over the standard M3 – nearly enough to buy a Porsche 911. BMW’s premise is that this car is for M3 fans who want to take to the track, hence why we drove it at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire. 

For the extra outlay, you get a 75kg weight saving – thanks to polycarbonate side and back windows, a roll cage in place of the back seat, carbon Recaro front chairs, lightweight CSL-style 19-inch wheels and a titanium rear exhaust.

The last of these can be heard loud and clear as there is less cabin soundproofing; it’s raw and full of purpose. For track use, there are five-point harnesses, but barring these and a serial number inscribed in the carbon dash, everything else inside appears standard. Air-con and radio are deleted; bizarrely, cruise control isn’t.

The 190mph GTS further refines the M3’s hallmarks. Hyper communicative to all commands, its heavier steering works perfectly on track, while every millimetre of movement from your right foot translates to forward motion. The car is offered only with a double-clutch paddleshift box, which changes ratio with amazing speed. Understeer is virtually eliminated, and the adjustable suspension gives a surprisingly comfortable ride. The brakes are barely changed from the M3’s; they have less bulk to slow as the new car is lighter. 

‘Four’ plays a key role in the GTS’s spec: the cubic capacity has been boosted by 400cc to 4.4 litres. Power is up 24bhp to 444bhp and maximum torque dials in at 440Nm – which is noticeable from lower in the rev range. It all adds up to a remarkable package.

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