Full-on, 554hp track beast. This is Built to take on the track, this stripped-out, full-on M4 is an absolute beast. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrick Lauder.
THIS IS HARDCORE 554hp F82 M4 track build
e got pretty excited about the M4 F82 4-Series
(and M3 F80 3-Series) when it was launched and loved it when we got behind the wheel but these days we’re in love with it even more, thanks in no small part to the owners out there that have been getting busy modding it. It was a great-looking car at launch and offered massive performance but now that people have been tapping into the almost limitless potential it offers and creating some sensational individual builds, it’s quickly risen to the top of the ranks for us as a car that we would love to own. Case in point, Greg Silva’s stunning track-based M4; this is a car that was bought with a plan and built to be the ultimate track monster and the end result is nothing short of spectacular.
Greg has been a fan of BMs, modding and performance for a long time now and that trio of traits meant that him ending up behind the wheel of something seriously fast, focussed and Bavarian was basically inevitable. Perhaps it might have seemed a bit of a distant dream when the young Mr. Silva was cruising the mean streets of Cali in his Honda CRX, many moons ago, though. Greg popped his BM cherry back in 2003 with an E36 M3 and he’s never looked back, working his way through an E92 328i, E93 328i, E92 335i, 135is and X5 xDrive35i before taking the plunge with this M4 and he’d already got a taste for modding by that point. “I had a JCW Mini that had the full carbon catalogue and I parted it out to get into my 135is and I ended up getting all 1M suspension and full bolt-ons. I was a little too deep financially into that car and felt it was time to cut my losses and get into a solid new platform like the M4 with the carbon roof and power output that was better stock than my modded car,” explains Greg and that’s our sort of sensible car-buying decision. “At the time, I wanted to buy a house and had three new BMWs so I decided that it was better to consolidate the 335i and the 135is into the M4, lowering my debt-to-income ratio. When I signed my loan documents for the 135is, I saw a render of the M4 and knew I was going to be back soon to get one based off the aggressive wide stance it had. I wasn’t thrilled about it being turbo since traditionally M cars are NA but I would give it a try,” he adds and we get the feeling he’s pretty glad he did.
Unlike a lot of the feature car owners we speak to, Greg went into his M4 purchase with a solid plan of what he wanted to do; “This was definitely going to be a car for track since I’ve only been once with a friend in his E92 M3. Many E92 M3 owners who drove the car on track said it was far more capable out of the box vs a fully modded E92 M3, which was a huge part of my purchasing decision. I wanted to start with a platform that was already improved and make it great!” he grins and just on glance at this ferocious M4 will tell you that Greg has achieved exactly what he set out to do.
As this was a track-focussed build, Greg kicked things off by getting stuck into the chassis and, as with the whole build, no corners have been cut and no compromises have been entertained, it’s all-out, all the way. “Not knowing a thing about suspension at the time, originally I had EDC from the factory. I added H&R Springs for aesthetics as the car looks so much better lower to the ground. I took the car to Thunderhill for the first time as a driver in my own car and I quickly realised there was room for improvement as someone in a Cayman passed me on the outside of a turn,” says Greg. “I then took the springs out and added Dinan’s coilover kit for EDC along with their rear toe arms and lower control arms and H&R front and rear adjustable anti-roll bars. I took the car out and maxed-out my lap time, realising I needed new dampers that match the spring rates. I had Öhlins R/Ts installed with TC Kline camber plates along with Dinan’s front tension strut ball-joint kit. A lot of these parts are from the GTS suspension set-up, which made sense to follow. Now that I have 10 track days under my belt, I’m exploring the idea of getting three-way coilovers for more adjustability. I also saw the GTS has solid billet aluminium hubs; I’m curious how they improve the car and would like to get a set,” he muses and it would be the cherry on top of a pretty delicious suspension setup that has grown and developed as Greg has learned the car and worked to get the most out of it. The perfect accompaniment for such a seriously sorted chassis are BMW’s awesome carbon-ceramic brakes, which delivers epic stopping power and virtually zero fade regardless of how hard you push themn. They’re not cheap, but these brakes deliver and, on a fully-dedicated track build like this, performance takes precedence over anything else and that also applies to the wheels.
At first glance, and from a distance, they appear to be your typical motorsportlook offering but get up close and you realise that these are BBS’s fully-forged FI-R wheels, designed to be as light as possible and the perfect choice for a track car, though they weren’t Greg’s first set of wheels for the car. “I first had a set of HRE FF01s in Tarmac black which I felt was a great choice since I have the gold calipers, giving them contrast and making them pop,“ he says. “Sadly, after adding aero, I kept blowing up the front lip because the car was too low and the solution was to add 20s instead. Not knowing the better choice would be to add a taller tyre for performance, I got a set of 20s in a flat ceramic wheel for variety. The BBS FI-Rs were my favourite wheel from the beginning but I already invested in two other sets of wheels. Finally, I came across a set and purchased them in Satin Black. The design is so complementary to my car, with all the angles and the cut-outs for weight saving almost matching the risers of the wing. I have a set of 19” FI-Rs being shipped for the fronts, to have the same set up as the GTS, providing more tyre options specifi cally in R compound,” he adds. As the FI-Rs have been designed to be as light as possible BBS has gone crazy with the cut-outs in order to shed as much unnecessary weight from them as possible and, as a result, they look wild, with a concave spoke design with multiple holes and a scalloped centre section around the bolts, and they really do work so well with the whole look of this M4.
Having sorted his chassis, Greg now turned his attention to what was going on under the bonnet of his M4 because while 431hp is good, the S55 is capable of so much more. “Currently, I have the Dinan Stage 2, which consists of a cold air intake, tune, and exhaust for 534hp and 504 lb ft of torque. The exhaust was swapped out because of weight savings to a GT4 Eisenmann, which is straight-piped, adding some NA sound back into the exhaust note. Akrapovic down pipes were fi tted along with Akrapovic Evo mid-pipes, which are also weight saving and add about 20hp and 20lb ft. Later down the road I added ER charge pipes to help with spooling since there was a bit of a lag with the new power,” says Greg, but that’s not all. “I recently had all the 2016 GTS software coded, which gives you the new grey tach on the head-up display but, most importantly, the GTS differential, DSC and transmission settings and steering feedback. I felt it was a huge contribution to scoring my personal best at my last track day, with more feedback and less interference.” While the headline power and torque figures are seriously impressive, we love the fact that Greg has taken weight into consideration at every step of the way and has made sure that all the mods integrate perfectly, before going that little bit further and adding the GTS software, which really gives his M4 the edge out on track.
With chassis finely-honed and the performance at its peak, Greg now got to work on his M4’s exterior and interior and the results are spectacular. With a raft of aero additions on board, this M4 looks absolutely incredible, so aggressive and 100% the pure track-bred beast. Greg has combined various styling and aero components to great effect and every element blends together so well. The front-end has been enhanced with the addition of a seriously sexy genuine GTS bonnet, Greg’s favourite mod on the entire car. “The GTS bonnet has by far the most impact on the aesthetics and performance of the car. I love that it makes the car look so aggressive and is functional by providing heat extraction and funnelling the air into the mirrors,” he says and it does make a huge difference to the car’s looks, adding an extra element of aggression. It’s joined by a full-width APR front lip, Sterckenn carbon upper splitters, Revozport canards and IND carbon grilles, gills and front and rear reflector delete. BMW M Performance carbon mirror caps and side skirts have been fitted while the rear view is dominated by that vast APR GTC-300 wing, which measures over five feet in width, gorgeous Vorsteiner carbon diffuser and we love the fat twin pipes of the Eisenmann GT4 exhaust, which just look so purposeful. With so many genuine GTS elements on the car it’s no surprise that Greg wanted to take his interior in a similar direction and in here it feels every inch the track machine. There are those purposeful Recaro SPG XL seats, complete with Schroth four-point harnesses; there’s a Fall Line Racing bolt-in cage and rear closeout, a series of panels that cover up the rear cabin area for a much cleaner appearance. There’s also a GTS wheel, GTS centre console, both finished in gorgeous Alcantara, acres of carbon trim, Dinan pedals and an Aim Solo DL GPS lap timer.
In his pursuit of track car perfection, Greg has built an incredible M4 that is completely uncompromised in its single-minded focus to be as fast on circuit as possible. Every element of the car has been carefully considered in order to create a perfectly-balanced machine that delivers on every front, from chassis to performance, from aero to interior – even the wheels go beyond a normal forged design. Every element of this build takes the convention and pushes it that little further and the result is just such a fantastic-looking and absolutely ferocious machine. “I try to build my car as close to that as I legally can to still drive it on the street. I’m not a professional race car driver but I love race cars and it’s a huge reward to go on track with my car that I’ve built,” Greg says with a smile. It’s taken him two-and-a-half years to get the car to where he considers it to be 90% done and he’s lining up the components for that last 10%. “I have a set of Fall Line Racing rear upper control arm solid bearings coming soon. I want Öhlins TTX/Moton three-way coilovers or JRZ doubles. I would like to get the OLED GTS tail lights and refresh the clear bra with a new GTS lip; I like that you can retract the lip during street driving like the previous gen E92 M3 GTS,” says Greg, running through his shopping list. Despite this, and how much has gone into this car, like most of us he can’t help but think about what’s going to be next and it’s no surprise to learn that he’s got another track build on his mind.
“I’m leaning towards and M2 with an M235i R wing, RKP carbon lip, BBS wheels and Fall Line Racing cage with closeout. I’ll take my Öhlins off the M4 when I do three-ways and add a Brembo BBK to the M2 for a nice alternate track car,” he says and that sounds like it’s going to be quite the machine. For now, though, it’s all about this M4, honing it to the Nth degree and taming the ultimate track monster.
DATA FILE Track BMW F82 M4
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo S55B30, IND painted engine cover, Dinan Stage 2 package, Dinan carbon intakes, ER chargepipes, Akrapovic downpipes, Akrapovic downpipe fix, Akrapovic Evo mid-pipe, Eisenmann GT4 axle-back exhaust. M DCT seven-speed gearbox, M4 GTS transmission and diff settings
POWER AND TORQUE 554hp and 524lb ft
CHASSIS 9.5x20” ET22 (front) and 10.5x20” ET35 (rear) BBS FI-R wheels in Satin black with 275/30 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, Öhlins R/T shocks, Dinan rear upper control arms and toe links, Dinan monoball thrust arm bearings, H&R 30mm (front) and 25mm (rear) adjustable anti-roll bars, TC camber plates, BMW carbonceramic brakes with six-piston calipers and 400x38mm discs (front), four-piston calipers and 380x28mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Mineral grey, M4 GTS bonnet, APR front lip, Sterckenn carbon upper splitters, Revozport canards, IND carbon grilles, gills and front and rear reflector delete, BMW M Performance carbon mirror caps and side skirts, APR GTC-300 67’’ wing, Vorsteiner rear diffuser, IND tow hook cap, MS tow strap
INTERIOR Recaro SPG XL seats, Schroth Racing four-point harnesses with Fall Line Racing split collar rings, Fall Line Racing bolt-in cage, cage closeout and racing cage-mount fire extinguisher, Safe Craft fire extinguisher, M4 GTS Alcantara steering wheel, M4 GTS Alcantara centre console, Dinan pedals, BMW M Performance carbon door pulls, IND custom leather-wrapped bolsters in black OE M leather, Aim Solo DL with Smarty cam, IND M4 mats, IND no yellow visors
THANKS Performance Technic, IND Distribution, European Auto Source, MMIVS, Fall Line Racing, Dynamic Detailing, S3C, APR Performance, Revozport
“The perfect accompaniment for such a seriously sorted chassis are BMW’s awesome carbon-ceramic brakes”
Forged FI-R wheels designed to be as light as possible. Genuine M4 GTS carbon bonnet. Recaro SPG XL seats with Schroth harnesses AiM SoloDL GPS lap timer. M4 GTS wheel and centre console. Revozport carbon canards. Sterckenn carbon upper splitters. Fall Line Racing bolt-in cage and rear closeout.
“With so many genuine GTS elements on the car it’s no surprise that Greg wanted to take his interior in a similar direction and in here it feels every inch the track machine”