25 Jun 2013

Spotted - BMW M3 GTS

The two questions that always come to mind for me about the BMW M3 GTS since it was unveiled are “why is it so expensive?” and “is it really worth the extra money?”

Let’s start by comparing the GTS with the standard M3. It has a 4.4L V8, which produces 450bhp and 325lb-ft of torque. That’s an increase of 30bhp and 30lb-ft over the standard M3’s 4.0L engine.

Looking at the GTS from the outside you can immediately tell it’s no ordinary M3 with that massive rear wing, searing orange paint, black 19” wheels, black front splitter and of course the bright orange roll cage glowing from the interior where you would normally find a couple of passengers sitting in leather seats.

In favour of the standard M3’s electronically adjustable heated leather seats, BMW have fitted a set of snug racing buckets made by Recaro that not only come with six-point harnesses for track use but also the standard seat belts, just in case you want to pop down to the local newsagents for cat food after a days thrashing at the track.

More weight saving is apparent when looking at the interior of the GTS, with plenty of carbon fibre trim covering a somewhat bare centre console. As standard the GTS has no air conditioning, radio, iDrive or satellite navigation. One change you wouldn’t notice so easily is that the rear windows are now made from polycarbonate for even more weight loss. This all adds up to a weight loss of around 75kg; pretty much the same as throwing your mate out of the passenger seat.
All of that weight saving, in conjunction with the more powerful engine, brings the M3’s 0-62 time down to a claimed 4.4 seconds and because the top speed is now unrestricted, it can reach 190mph. Combine that with the immense sound that comes out of the new, thin-wall titanium exhaust, the BMW M3 GTS is a bit of an animal.

When new the GTS would set you back £115,000, which is an enormous amount of money and also the M3’s biggest weak point. That price puts it in the same bracket as the 997 Porsche GT3 RS and as everyone knows, the GT3 RS is a very capable machine for both track and road use.

The Porsche also comes with satellite navigation, a premium sound system and iPhone connectivity. Pretty much everything you’d need in your everyday car.

The questions still remain though, why is the GTS so expensive? Even with all of those figures I don’t think the £115,000 price tag is really justified when, for the same price you can have faster, more exotic cars. I guess BMW knew that even at that price, people would buy them, which they did.

A big attraction to this car for a lot of people was the fact they only produced 250 of them and in a way, that exclusivity makes the price tag a little more realistic and it makes sense all 250 were sold with a handful no doubt going to hard-core BMW M3 fans who wanted the most extreme M3 they could get.
With only 10 right hand drive variants coming to the UK, a second hand one won’t come around too often. There was only one right hand drive GTS for sale very recently and it was up for £90,000 with only 1900 miles on it. That’s a huge depreciation of £25,000 in only 2 years!

If I had the money, would I have bought one new? Unlikely. However, if I were currently in the market for a road and track car, I would certainly consider a second hand GTS. It still wouldn’t be enough for me to overlook the GT3 RS though, especially with the second hand prices coming in at around the same as the GTS.

So, back to the two questions that were originally in my mind about the GTS. Why is it so expensive? Because it’s more exclusive, more powerful, lighter, much louder, faster and more capable than the standard M3.

Is it really worth the extra money? I suppose that’s relative to whom you are asking. I personally think it was too much when new, it should have been priced at £80,000 and they should have made a lot more of them.

What do you think about the BMW M3 GTS?

Rob Nesbitt