Yeah, sure, the BMW M4 GTS has a boy-racer huge rear wing, enough custom bodywork to make the guys at Mansory look twice and factory-fitted six-point harness-equipped racing seats that, sadly, aren’t coming to the United States. But the really intriguing stuff is tucked away under the hood: This limited-edition, hopped-up take on BMW’s signature performance coupe gets a big performance boost courtesy of water injection.
To hear BMW tell it, water injection is a sort of magical piece of wunder-tech borrowed from airplanes and drag cars that increases performance, decreases harmful emissions and reduces wear to just about everything that comes into contact with engine exhaust, turbos included. And the thing is … they’re probably right, at least in theory.
Water injection is exactly what it sounds like: On the M4 GTS, three injectors are used to blast water into the intake plenum. The water quickly evaporates, lowering the temperature of incoming air beyond what an intercooler alone would permit by as much as 80 degrees Fahrenheit; consequently, turbos can be operated at higher boost without risking knock -- all while NOX and other harmful tailpipe emissions are reduced.
(In this application, a 1.3-gallon water tank feeds the system. The car is apparently smart enough to reel performance back if that should run dry.)
Were BMW engineers working from a blank slate, this system would have enabled engineers to build an engine that operated at a higher compression ratio. As it is, however, the 3.0-liter I6 operates at 10.2:1 -- unchanged compared to the regular M4.
Even so, performance gets a very marked boost courtesy of that H2O: 493 hp at 6,250 rpm and 442 lb-ft at 4,000-5,500 rpm. Compare that to 425 hp and 406 lb-ft on the regular M4. 0-60 time is down to 3.7 seconds, and top speed is a stated 189.5 mph. Meanwhile, because we're sure you care, fuel economy shouldn't take much of a ding (we're curious to see EPA numbers).The 2016 BMW M4 GTS is much, much more than an aero kit -- the track-ready, street-legal super-coupe gets a big performance boost courtesy of its water-injected 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.BMW
The car is dual-clutch only, but the seven-speed seems well-suited to track work; a stated 7-minute, 28-second stated Nurburgring time would seem to back that up. Racing-oriented highlights include an M4 GTS-specific three-way adjustable coilover suspension setup, plus steering and traction setting tailored to this particular car.
The cockpit takes the racing theme to its logical conclusion with a rear seat delete, cloth pull loops instead of door handles and fire extinguisher helpfully, though hopefully unnecessarily, mounted behind the seats. Sadly, as we mentioned, the six-point harnesses aren’t making the leap to the U.S. market.
When it used the water injection on an M4 MotoGP safety car earlier this year, BMW hinted that the tech could make the leap to production at some point. Perhaps the automaker figured it had better do it before someone else beat them to the punch: In releasing the M4 GTS, BMW says it has built the first roadgoing production car fitted with a water-injected engine. A quick bit of Internet sleuthing requires us to qualify that claim: The 1978 Saab Turbo S could apparently be fitted with a water injection system from the factory. However, that was optional, not standard.
If the technology performs half as well as BMW promises it will, especially with regard to fuel economy, emissions and the lack of wear-and-tear on powertrain components, it certainly won’t be the last car to rock a little auxiliary tank of water in the trunk -- this seems like a relatively low-compromise way to squeeze ever more power and efficiency out of ever-more-constrained motors.
If you do want to be an early adopter, though, know that 300 units of the M4 GTS (out of a 700-unit production run) are headed to the United States. Price hasn’t been announced, but being first has never come cheap now, has it?
As reader Steve Schaeffer notes, the turbocharged 1962-1963 Oldsmobile Jetfire also used fluid injection. That car's "Turbo Rocket Fluid" was a water-methanol mix, but it's still a fascinating, and advanced, bit of tech.The 2016 BMW M4 GTS is much, much more than an aero kit -- the track-ready, street-legal super-coupe gets a big performance boost courtesy of its water-injected 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six.BMW This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
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