If you know your BMWs, you'll know that there was only ever one generation of the legendary M3 fitted with a V8 engine. With a 4.0-liter motor running individual throttle bodies, no other M3 sounds as good as the E9X generation, so it's pretty special. But then Bavaria's brainiacs took things further and upped the displacement to 4.4 liters for a special edition called the GTS. This lightweight racer was the bees' knees in its day, and although most BMW fanatics of the time wished for a CSL model, the GTS turned out to be brilliant. And now, even over a decade from its 2010 market launch, it's a mean machine.
The 450-horsepower coupe is naturally more suited to tracks like the Nurburgring, and in these days of forced induction and hybrid assistance, its straight-line acceleration may seem a little underwhelming at first. But it sounds spectacular while it goes, and for a car that's as old and 'obsolete' as this, we think it does pretty well. That said, its extremely low mileage of just over 9,000 kilometers (14,480 miles) certainly helped keep the car fresh. Accelerating from 62 mph to 124 mph takes just 9.33 seconds. 124-155 mph is a little less rapid, taking another 10.62 seconds, yet the car keeps pulling to an indicated speed of around 321 kph (200 mph). In truth, the Dragy performance meter shows that the M3 GTS only manages around 287 kph (178 mph), but that's not bad at all. And again, just listen to it!
The M3 GTS arrived as something of a replacement for the inimitable E46 M3 CSL, and it was followed in the F82 generation by the M4 GTS. Now, with the G80 BMW M3 and G82 BMW M4, Bavaria's finest are working on bringing a limited-edition, high-performance lightweight sports car to the market again, and we've already spotted numerous prototypes testing. We should see the fruits of these efforts sometime this year, as 2022 marks 50 years of the BMW M brand.
As we know, a V8 is not in the cards. Instead, this new sports car will have an evolved version of the existing S58 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight-six seen in the regular M3 and M4. Even so, we're betting that tomorrow's lightweight BMW M car will become a classic, just like the V8-powered one here.