Madness is exciting and addicting. There’s more fun to be had by building a no-brainer vehicle than any other kind of things. Petrolheads adore no-brainer cars: no-nonsense track monsters with license-plates is what drives us wild. M division’s engineers sure know how to have fun and they’re all mad: they keep doing the same thing again and again and they’re most likely not to stop. They actually succeed in making their cars better every time they let their madness free. By following the same recipe, (i.e. less weight, more power) they’re always able to create objects that are ridiculously fun to drive and that always become great collectibles.Take the last two great track-oriented M cars of the last decade, the M3 E92 GTS and the new F82 M4 GTS. They both look like a stone-throw away from a GT4 racer and you will find yourself asking “how did they made it legal?”.
These are hard-core machines, touge and track-day heroes that will always be able to make our minds melt. GTS stands for a barely-legal track monster you itch to take out for an early Sunday morning blast on the mountains or take pilgrimages to the Nurburgring every month. They’re also very rare: with only 135 E92’s and with 700 F82’s ever made they’re true unicorns.
It doesn’t matter if they don’t come with a manual: to appreciate them in their entirety, you have to understand their sense of purpose. Driving fast is the only thing that truly matters: the word “practicality” has been thrown out of the window. It’s with cars like the two GTS that you realize that everything counts. Every pound, every inch, every horse is stretched to the absolute limit in order to obtain a car which is more focused on one purpose. These are not homologation specials: as much as we would love to see the GTS as the special edition made exclusively to homologate a racing car, they’re per se special projects. So…what’s their reason to exist?
Cars can be seen as containers of ideas: it’s up to engineers to decide the percentage of each one and decide which direction the whole project is going to end up. You can put way too much comfort and practicality, ending up with something usable but boring or you can go wild and put 3 way adjusting suspensions, a race engine and a roll cage, and obtain something truly exciting. This is kind of cars that will hurt you in many ways, but always make you smile.
The GTS’s are true unicorns and they’re more fun than regular horses. The M4, for example has a water injection system, a device that was first introduced by BMW on their M6 MotoGP pace car before being used on “production”. It adds 30 more horsepower and in order to fill her up, you’ll also have to steal distilled water from your mom’s iron. The M4 GTS’s has a character of its own: its engine has a sharp, quick and brutal response, which make it thrilling in the dry, but extremely twitchy in the wet. In Sport+ the throttle response is immediate and sharp and although useful during fast corners, it becomes difficult to feather at lower speeds, resulting in an annoying on/off action. The sound is savage and illegally loud, and the tires need absolutely to be at temperature to work, otherwise they just won’t stick to the ground. More importantly than any of these things, it’s a car that has proper feedback, at any speed, giving you a wonderful feeling of being connected to the road under every circumstance.
Such a focused car is hardly a joy to drive under most road conditions. If you plan to buy it for the occasional blast on the mountains, you might end up with some disappointments. Definitely not usable in most circumstances, as lower temperatures won’t allow you to properly warm up the tires and uneven road surface won’t be easy to bear due to the rock-hard suspension.
Nevertheless, it’s one of those cars that makes you feel special everytime you drive or sit in it. It feels like a brand new E46 CSL: for some odd reason, when it should feel like a no-brainer for you, it only makes you happy and you’ll want to keep it forever. Let’s consider it as your secret lover, the one that you to run to everytime you can. Of all new cars, this one is the one that will form a bond with your petrolhead’s soul: it’s not as refined as a GT3 and neither is as gracious around the corners, but it sure can find a way into your heart and conquer your spirit.
Is it an “Escape” car? It could easily be the definition of one. It’s the one you itch to drive at every occasion and make every moment spent with it count.
To make 1500 miles to meet with its great ancestor, the E92 M3 GTS won’t be a foolhardy experience. Between the two, the orange pumpkin is the real treat. When was the last time you saw one? It’s a ragged-edge, no-nonsense track car. Seeing one go is no different than hearing a hot-rodded Marschall JCM800 single super lead cranked up to 11. It can only do one thing, and do it properly, which is rock n’roll. Is not as loud or as well marketed as the M4: it has Recaro seats, Feuerorange paint, a rollcage and quite some attitude. It’s not as bonkers loud as its younger sister, but it behaves like a proper M car nontheless. Makes power all the way through the rev-range and has quick and extremely sharp responses. It’s docile in its temperament, even if it is set up for a track war. Also, it’s the kind of car that lives in the hearts of those hard-core enthusiasts that enjoy a proper M car.
It’s less extreme than the M4. It’s more road-friendly, as it has a much more precise and less erratic throttle response. Ride is rock hard, of course, and the less-intrusive traction control makes it a more enjoyable car on a mountain road. There aren’t any lights flashing constantly, trying to fight the too much power. The M3 GTS allows you to take more advantage of the chassis and savour its wonderful dynamics thanks to its…less extreme nature than the M4. It’s a car that, among its sheer extremism results also fun to drive.
As the roads around the Lago Trasimeno in centre Italy, where the roads are a mixture of sweeping fast bends and tight mountain corners which offer the perfect playground. Fall colours suit these two BMW incredibly well: orange is the new black…we should say.
Driving the GTS feels like playing with madness really. You’re always on edge and you feel you’re talking with pure passion. There is nothing else here, just passion for driving. Madness can be defined as doing the exact same thing again, hoping for different results every time. If you belong to one of those mad M division engineers, you know that you’ll always be doing the right thing, every time.