Why The BMW M4 Has The Heart Of A Racing Car

Engine / Comments

It shares its DNA with the M4 GT3 racer.

Now that the dust has settled on the controversial front-end of the new BMW M4, gearheads can return to drooling over technical specs and the actual capabilities of this hardcore German sports car. The M4 has only been around for a short while, but there are already whispers of a CSL version, and the bat-winged M4 GTS has also been spied cruising the streets last year. We always welcome hardcore versions of already capable sports cars, but the base M4 already comes with a bunch of race car-inspired tech, as BMW recently pointed out in a video when it compared the powertrain of the M4 with that of the race-ready M4 GT3.

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In the video, Marcus Engelke, Project Manager Drivetrain BMW M4, and Ulrich Schulz, Head of Drivetrain Design at BMW Motorsport make it clear that the straight-six engine was developed from the outset to be used for both track and road use.

"510 hp, 650 Newton meters (479 lb-ft) - this is the most powerful straight-six engine we've ever fitted in a production car," says Engelke, while Schulz adds that at 590 hp and 516 lb-ft, this is the most powerful straight-six engine BMW has installed in a racing car since the days of the BMW M1 Group 5.

The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged S58 six-cylinder engine used in the M4 is an upgraded version of the engine used in the X3 M and X4 M. The base M4 produces 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque which it sends to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. The M4 Competition manages 503 hp and 479 lb-ft thanks to a boost increase, and channels that power through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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The S58 engine in the M4 shares its cylinder head, crankshaft drive, crankcase, and connecting rods with the GT3 race car. The turbo-housing and pistons (two major components) are also identical. Engelke notes that both engines are born only a few feet away from each other in the BMW M facility in Preussenstrasse, Munich : "As well as using many of the same parts, we are also working together closely on the manufacturing side. The complete engine is assembled out of the series-produced base unit just a few meters away from here," he says. "We have come full circle," explains Ulrich Schulz: "BMW M and BMW Motorsport have a shared history, and it all began at Preussenstrasse."

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