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More Four: A tour of the BMW M4 GT4

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BMW M4 GT4They say that no self-respecting M driver orders their car with a sunroof (I don’t agree). But, if that statement is true, then this one must be as well; why do you have a back seat? The BMW M4 GT4 doesn’t, and it’s the fastest F8X I’ve ever been around. Let’s take a tour of it, courtesy of the BMW Performance Center West.

Stock appeal

On the outside, the M4 GT4 doesn’t look all that extreme. Not when I’ve seen dozens of stock M4s with big wings and a lowered stance. But walk closer, and soon you’ll realize it’s no badge job.

For starters, you’ll notice the hood latches, carbon fiber canards, and additional air intakes in the front bumper. Flat-black 18-inch black wheels give the car a mean stance. Imagine that – you don’t need huge wheels for huge grip. Fun to note the tow strap. It’s a BMW thing that actually looks appropriate on this race car.

Unique brakes show off a J-shaped slot for the rotors.
It’s not too much different from a standard M4 outside, if you’re used to aftermarket-modded ones.
M4 GT4 exhaust
Every S55 should sound like this one.

Peaking through those wheels are unique-looking AP Racing brakes (surprised they were not adorned with M-badges). The rotors feature J slots as opposed to drilled holes. This is to ensure that the brakes are strong enough to withstand the immense heat applied to them (drilled rotors are weaker).

Walking to the rear, you’ll find a fuel cutoff switch on the “trunk”, and a fuel filler moved to the rear quarter panel window. Speaking of windows, they are made from Polycarbonate for weight reduction. The roof, doors and engine hood are all made from carbon fiber, and the M4 GT4 weighs in at around 3,100 pounds dry.

M4 GT4
Fuel stains mar the finish near the fuel door.

Cutting room floor

M4 GT4
It’s a true race car inside.

Once you open the door of the M4 GT4, it becomes much more obvious that this is no stock car. Sit in the uniquely fitted racing bucket seat and you’ll grip an alcantara-c0vered flat-bottom steering wheel. iDrive is gone, replaced by dedicated buttons for important functions such as lights, wipers and traction control. The only familiar thing here to a standard M4 driver is the DCT shifter in the center tunnel.

The dashboard is also replaced with a digital one. Unlike the ones in a G8X, these are a bit easier to read at a glance.

Aside from air conditioning, all those luxury comforts are gone. No back seats. The roll cage makes getting into the passenger seat pretty much impossible.

M4 GT4
A roll cage adds strength, while no back seat deletes weight.
M4 GT4
Vented mesh seat backs help to keep you cool

One thing not cut is the engine. 470 hp from the S55 (or more, so says Germany with a smile). Combine that figure with the weight saved, and you get this: 6.59lbs per horsepower. Compare that to my G80 (473 hp), and you get 8.2 lbs per hp. Each horsepower much propel a pound and a half less. That’s fast.

At night, the cars are stored in a special garage purpose built to maintain them. Think AMMO garage, but much more M.

M4 GT4
Big bolsters.
M4 GT4
The Performance Center will help you get set up in the car before your class.

What’s the M4 GT4 like on the track?

Loud. Raucous. This is how the F8X should have sounded (just a tad lower), and no one would have complained. Slick tires means no drifting, thanks to prodigious grip. It’s amazing in person.

I’ll illustrate another way. While filming video in a camera car, we told the instructor to come at us head on and pass us on the driver side. Nothing I and the film crew haven’t done a million times before.

M4 GT4
Here they come.

Set up on opposite sides. Gun it, and here it comes. This M4 passed us with such ferocity so closely, the car (an X5) shook hard, and we all jumped out of our skin. It’s unexpectedly fast.

It’s something you can experience first-hand. The BMW Performance Center offers multiple choices to get behind the wheel at the Thermal Club track. You will not regret it.

M4 GT4 mega gallery

M4 GT4
The fuel cutoff switch located at the trunk.
M4 GT4
The steering wheel is removable.
M4 GT4
Helmets with a radio are required, as you can’t hear any other way inside the car.
M4 GT4
M4 GT4
M4 GT4 M4 GT4 M4 GT4 M4 GT4 M4 GT4
M4 GT4
A special garage houses them at night.
M4 GT4
Light painting under the desert sky.
M4 GT4

Special thanks to the BMW Performance Center West for access to the M4, and to RITTA for organizing the entire shoot.

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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

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