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BMW unleashes new M4 racer on DTM

Mon, 03 Mar 2014 15:30:00 EST

We may not get to enjoy the fruits of it all, but we're in the midst of a golden age in touring car racing around the world. In Northern Europe, rival local series have amalgamated into the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship. In the UK, the British Touring Car Championship is enjoying the largest and most diverse grid in its long history. In Australia, the V8 Supercars series has grown from a Holden vs. Ford battle to include challengers from Mercedes, Nissan and Volvo. And in Germany, the DTM championship has managed to lure BMW back onto the grid to open up the battle between Mercedes and Audi. All good things, in short.
Since returning to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters in 2012, BMW has won the drivers' title once and the constructors' title twice, proving the Bavarian manufacturer to be not only a suitable challenger to the two-horse race between its star- and ring-emblazoned rivals, but the dominant force in German tin-top racing. Now BMW is set to enter its third season since returning to the DTM, and this is the car with which it intends to do so.
Replacing the M3 DTM that has impressively won half of the DTM races it has contested over the past two years, BMW's latest racing car is made in the mold of the new M4 coupe. Only it's even meaner. While the production version has switched to a turbo six, the DTM version still uses a V8: a 4.0-liter unit with four-valve cylinder heads, mandatory air restrictors and a Bosch ECU to channel 480 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque to the rear set of Hankook racing slicks through a six-speed sequential gearbox. The lightweight chassis is rounded out with competition-level aerodynamics and all the mandatory safety equipment.

2014 BMW Z4 sDrive35is

Tue, 14 May 2013 14:58:00 EST

The BMW Z3/Z4 roadster has never really had a widespread following because it has either been too humble and small a roadster (albeit with some fun and very low-volume M editions) or it has been - in this E89 generation - too casual an image leader with no racier aspirations. The current 480-hp Z4 GTEs don't count, since they are as stock a Z4 as today's Pamela Anderson is the same blonde actress we knew as Heidi on Home Improvement. You know, sort of like those ever-so-slightly modified Toyota Camry coupes competing in NASCAR.
The ultimate highpoint for the BMW Z roadster franchise was at the very start of its life in the mid-90s, in the James Bond film GoldenEye with Pierce Brosnan. The Stinger missiles that Q's team installed behind the Z3's headlights were never fired, and BMW never even offered this self-defense package as an option. Yet another case of the ol' bait and switch.
And in all these subsequent years of Z3s and Z4s strutting their long-hooded stuff, the little sporting Bimmer could really have used a live Stinger missile or two to spice things up. The current Z4 exists, it is pretty dang sexy, and BMW seems content to let it linger there. We just drove the new midlife version of the roadster near BMW headquarters in Munich, and it served to reinforce our feelings.

BMW M3 and M4 CSL not in the cards

Mon, 27 Jan 2014 14:16:00 EST

We aren't sure whether to file this one under "good news" or "bad news." BMW confirmed to Top Gear that there "are no plans" for lightweight versions of the new M3 and M4, in the same vein as the E46 M3 CSL (despite rumors to the contrary). The reason?
"There wasn't a CSL on the previous generation, and the way we look at it is like this: the CSL was great because it had this real focus on lightweight engineering. But we've already done that with these new cars. We've made them as light as possible - they come in under 1500 kilograms (3,306 pounds), which for a car like this is incredible," said Matt Collins, BMW's product manager for small to medium cars.
Now, as much as we love the idea of a hardcore version of any car, we appreciate BMW's point of view that the newest Ms are already as light and tough as they need to be. Collins elaborated, saying, "Rather than doing a halfway house to begin with and then rolling out a CSL, we thought we'd make the 'real' car as light as we possibly could. So we've no plans whatsoever to make a lighter, harder version just yet."