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    BMW M4 CS / #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-Coupe

    It’s been a bumpy ride – both literally and metaphorically – for the F82-generation M4, but in the CS is the M division finally giving us the car we all crave? Photography: Stephen Hall.

    EVO has had an on-off love affair with BMW’s M4. We admire its muscle-car looks, performance potential and rear-drive chassis. Being a product of M GmbH also infuses it with a desirability that rivals are still some way from achieving.

    Yet it’s been a struggle to wholly fall for the M4. Its turbocharged 3-litre straight-six has the punch to fire it down a road and around a track with a force Anthony Joshua would swerve. But this has also been its downfall. So thuggish has been the delivery to the rear tyres that not only do they give up the fight for traction earlier than you are expecting, but so too does the rear suspension, throwing in the towel at the first sign of any loading through its springs and dampers. It makes for an infuriating experience, because on its day, on the right road and in the right conditions – a bone-dry, smooth surface – the M4 is your best mate. But few of us live at the Ascari race resort, so it’s often a mate you leave the pub early to avoid.

    How, then, is BMW’s new M4 CS going to cope with a 29bhp increase to 454bhp and an additional 36lb ft, bringing the total to 442lb ft? The first part of the answer is the M4 Competition Package of 2016, which brought a lower ride height and stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. It greatly improved the base M4’s behaviour, even with a power increase to 444bhp. For MY18 cars, the Comp Pack itself has been improved (the upgrade has been upgraded, essentially), and it acts as a basis for the M4 CS we have here. M division chief Frank van Meel confirms there’s been not a single hardware change to the M4 CS’s chassis over that of the MY18 M4 Competition Package. Rather, he and his team have been busy with the laptops, reprogramming the M Adaptive suspension to better suit the now standard Michelin Cup 2 tyres. It’s the same situation with the electric power steering and the engine ECU, both of which have been optimised to sharpen the CS.
    There are a number of further detail changes to the CS. It’s only available with the seven-speed M DCT double-clutch gearbox, and in addition to the carbonfibre roof that’s already standard on the M4, the front splitter, rear diffuser and bonnet are also carbon, the bonnet being 25 per cent lighter than the regular aluminium panel. The new bonnet also features a sizable vent ahead of the powerdome.

    The 19in front and 20in rear wheels are lightweight items with 265/35 rubber at the front and 285/30 at the rear, the former being the focus for much of the damper tuning to improve steering precision. The only big mechanical change is the fitment of a more free-flowing exhaust, and due to the lack of any front speakers, there’s no sound imposer, meaning you hear an M engine playing its natural tune rather a digitally enhanced one. Other changes inside include lightweight door-cards from the GTS, a pair of manually adjustable lightweight sports seats and a steering wheel and centre-console trimmed in Alcantara.

    All in all, there’s a 35kg weight saving, down to 1505kg compared to 1540kg for an M4 with an M DCT gearbox. The CS cracks 62mph in a claimed 3.9sec (two-tenths quicker than the DCT standard M4) and runs on to 174mph. And, of course, there’s a Ring lap time of 7min 38sec.

    These numbers pale into the insignificant when it comes to the road, though, because whatever van Meel and his team have done to the underbelly of the CS, it has transformed the M4 from an unpredictable and ultimately frustrating performance car into one with all the character, ability and entertainment of M-cars of old. It’s how the CS reacts to your steering inputs that hits you first.

    Where previous M4s have an uncomfortable dead spot and take a moment for the front tyres to react, the CS’s nose is rich in clarity, speed and precision, delivering instant confidence. The gripper Cup 2 tyres are an obvious factor in this, but the steering and setup changes allow you to commit harder because there’s a clearer sense of how the chassis is working beneath you.

    Hooked into a corner, the CS feels much more stable and better balanced, the chassis allowing you to position it so much more accurately at the apex, get on the power earlier and work on your exit speed. With previous M4s this was always a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. Too generous with your right foot and either the traction control went into hyperdrive or, if it was switched off, the rear tyres would vaporise. The car was as frustrating on the road as it was impressive for the cameras on track. That it also acted up when trying to put the power down in a straight line didn’t help it win friends, either.

    In the CS there’s none of this. You can play the hooligan if you wish, but it’s so much more rewarding and satisfying to be able to open the throttle early in the corner and drive through the exit feeling the M-diff hook up and the chassis working the load with newfound precision.

    Downsides? The #DCT gearbox now feels old in comparison to rivals and the brakes come up short, too. The standard cast-iron discs, with four-piston calipers at the front, two at the rear, are not a match for the car’s performance – it takes only a few committed stops for the pedal travel to lengthen, and while retardation doesn’t decline, the precision does. The optional carbon-ceramics help. There’s another issue. The £89,130 price tag is a £25k premium over a Competition Package, which makes it extremely hard to recommend the CS on price alone, despite it currently being the ultimate M4.

    Below right: carbonceramic discs denoted by gold calipers – they’re expensive and not that easy to modulate, but are an improvement on the standard, cast-iron pieces; engine not quite in full firebreathing 493bhp GTS spec, but it is mightily potent even so.

    ‘The M4 CS has all the character and ability of M-cars of old’

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE / SPECIFICATION #2017 / #BMW-M4-CS-F82 / #BMW-4-Series-F82 / #BMW-F82 / #BMW / 2017 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #2017-BMW-M4-CS-F82

    Engine In-line 6-cyl, 2979cc, twin-turbo
    Power 454bhp @ 6250rpm DIN
    Torque 442lb ft @ 4000-5380rpm DIN
    0-62mph 3.9sec (claimed)
    Top speed 174mph (limited)
    Weight 1505kg (307bhp/ton)
    Basic price £89,130
    Rating 4+

    + The M4 you can finally exploit and enjoy, no matter what the road or conditions

    - At a price that could buy you a 911 Carrera S
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    4 SERIES REFRESHED / #BMW-4-Series-F82 / #BMW-F82 / #BMW / #2017 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82

    The #BMW-4-Series success story dates back to the launch of the original range in the summer of 2013. Since then, BMW has delivered nearly 400,000 units to customers all over the world.

    It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the biggest market, racking up about 30% of all sales, is the USA, followed by Great Britain and Germany. About half of all BMW 4 Series models are sold in Europe, but the Gran Coupé accounts for some 50% of global sales, while the Coupé and Convertible make up around 25% each.

    Keen to build on this success, BMW has refreshed the 4 Series range for 2017, with styling cues borrowed from the spectacular BMW Concept 4 Series Coupé, first seen in 2012. These include elements such as a large air intake with eye-catching bars, plus LED headlights and rear lights.

    The chassis has been updated, too, with all three models now benefitting from a lower centre of gravity thanks to a wider track, revised suspension and improved traction control capabilities.

    The defining feature at the front is an unbroken central air intake, with an aperture that increases in size towards the outer edges. On Sport versions, this is almost entirely bordered by an eye-catching, highgloss black bar, designed to accentuate the vehicle’s wide, powerful stance.

    The Coupé, Convertible and Gran Coupé versions are now equipped with new, twin LED headlights as standard – flat-bottomed headlight tubes encircled by daytime running light rings.

    We’ll be exploring this range refresh in next month’s issue, so don’t miss it!

    The new 4 Series benefits from LED lighting, front and rear.

    Larger air intake and revised headlights endow the ‘refreshed’ 4 Series with an even more distinctive look.
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    Built on a tight timeline but finished to perfection, this box-fresh M4 glimmers in the sunshine like a freshly-minted Exocet missile. It’s high spec, angry, and dressed to impress… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Viktor Benyi. / #Hawaii-3.0 WILD M4

    Outrageous build by Bulletproof Automotive

    HAWAII 3.0 Bulletproof Automotive’s wild F82 M4

    We, as human beings, are effectively composite images reflecting the sum total of our experiences. Every one of us is unique, and we all have disparate stories to tell because we’ve all been in different situations at different times; our memories, the places we’ve been, the things we’ve seen, it all helps to inform our own nuanced world view. So it is with project cars that the owner’s past experiences serve to fuel their own one-off spec sheets and aesthetics; sure, it’d be easy to say ‘OK, it’s a modified M4, so you take [x] parts from this shelf, and [y] parts from that shelf…’, but no – that does the entire scene a disservice. The car you’re looking at here is an international superstar – it’s got lashings of Oceania, a healthy dose of sun-scorched Nevada, a tangy shot of the Orient, and it’s all slathered on a quintessentially German base. Such is the magic of the modern #BMW scene. We’re so deeply entrenched in the culture of Generation D (that is, the post Gen-Y world view that can’t possibly envisage an existence without constant connectivity) that taking cues from disparate global scenes is simply second nature.

    A Japanese-inspired BMW from Hawaii, then, built to wow the crowds at SEMA. How does that particular basket of ingredients come together? Well, it’s all down to the visionary prowess of Rob Batz, who operated in beautiful synthesis with Bulletproof Automotive to get the job done and make this special flavour of madness work. “I’ve always been into BMWs, ever since high school,” he explains. “I just couldn’t ever afford one! My first car was a Mk2 Golf GTI 16v, and BMWs seemed like a logical step up from the VAG cars that I was driving as a teenager.”

    Rob set himself down the righteous path with an E30 325is, having found himself in the military and, in his own words, ‘not wanting to just buy a Honda’. But it hasn’t been a case of stepping out of that E30 and into this F82, there have been a number of other project stepping stones along the way: a pair of E90s helped him to hone his skills and really get inside the mindset of the modern-era BMW reality, and then a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X was next in line to receive the treatment. “That was the car that really cemented my love for Varis aero components,” says Rob and the significance of this statement will soon make itself apparent.
    “What I really wanted to do was create an M4 that blended BMW engineering with JDM tuning culture,” he continues, “and I was pleased to have the opportunity to team up with Bulletproof Automotive to make my vision a reality.” Bulletproof is an intriguing entity; based in LA, you’re most likely to be familiar with its work if you’re a fan of the Japanese tuning scene. Readers in the UK may recall seeing its builds on the cover of the now-defunct Max Power back in the noughties, and these days it’s a top-flight outfit acting as an official distributor of such iconic Japanese brands as Top Secret, Mine’s, TommyKaira, JUN and Powerhouse Amuse – all the names you got to know racing Jap metal in Gran Turismo in the ’90s! If you cut Bulletproof open, it bleeds wasabi. An interesting choice to buddy up with for a BMW build, then…

    “I had the whole project 80% mapped out before I even bought the car,” Rob explains, scything any ambiguity with a sceptre of unmistakable certainty. “I bought the car brand new from a BMW dealer in Honolulu, and it was a tight deadline to get it finished in time for its SEMA show debut.” How tight? Try four weeks – there’s no pressure like show pressure, right? Job one was to install the Armytrix exhaust; an inspired choice as it adds 26hp while subtracting 4kg in weight, and its valve system provides F1-style howling on high-rev demand. With the aural assault box ticked, the M4 was off to the bodyshop.

    As you can see, the external transformation is pretty significant – the F82’s now rocking a carbon-fibre Varis widebody kit comprising front and rear wings, front lip, skirts, ducts, the works, and the whole thing has been re-finished in the car’s original Alpine white. To top off the already outrageous aesthetic, you’ve probably spotted that it’s sporting quite a large wing on the back; that’s an 1800mm Varis carbonfibre unit with swan-neck mounts, and it’s about as subtle as a brick in the face on a quiet Sunday morning.

    “After the wide-body was moulded and it was all painted, it was time to focus in the interior,” says Rob. And it’s somewhat extreme – full-on race car at first glance, and then you realise that the custom re-trim actually makes it quite luxurious. An intriguing combo. “The seats are Recaro Japan RS-Gs,” he tells us. “There’s a custom roll-cage and rear seat delete, and everything was trimmed by Bulletproof in three-colour Alcantara with custom M stitching – the seats, dash, door cards, console, headlining, everything.” It makes for an incredible effect, at once racetrack-purposeful and alluringly sumptuous. But then, of course, the guys had their crosshairs set on SEMA – if you’re not rocking the full package, they won’t let you through the door. Perfection is expected, and Bulletproof really delivered here.

    “The suspension and brakes came next,” Rob continues. “It’s running Aragosta Type SS three-way coilovers, along with Aragosta’s Air Cup system to raise it when required, and the brakes are Runduce eightpots up front with six-pots at the rear.” If you’re not immediately familiar with these brand names within the BMW bubble, that’s because – once again – we’re dealing with premium Japanese parts. Don’t allow it to jar with your sensibilities, just let the multicultural vibe flow like cool water. It’s refreshing. “The corner balancing followed, then the engine tune and the installation of the Gruppe-M carbon fibre intake, again from Japan,” he says. “Many long nights at Bulletproof Automotive allowed the car to be loaded for its debut at SEMA with no time to spare!”

    Talk about cutting it fine, eh? And the fun part was organising the logistics to get it built and then delivered to the show on time. Las Vegas, home of SEMA, is around 270 miles from Los Angeles, Bulletproof’s stomping ground, which isn’t an insurmountable distance. You could drive it in five hours, and that includes a generous lunch stop. But Honolulu to Los Angeles?

    That’s over 2500 miles of ocean. You can see why this build has such a Japanese influence – it’s not that much further to Tokyo than it is to LA! (Well, OK, another 1000 miles, but who’s counting?) Rob’s initial option was to ocean-freight the car to LA, but that would have taken around fourteen days – a sizable chunk from such a truncated timetable – but thankfully he was able to track down a company who could air freight it to the City of Angels in a hurry. Time rests for no man; doubly so on a show schedule.

    All worked out alright in the end though, didn’t it? “I’d say my favourite modification is the Runduce brakes,” Rob ponders, having given the question some serious consideration. “To my knowledge it’s the only set on an F80/2 in the world, and I was personally involved in every aspect of them from caliper and disc selection to colours.

    And I love the wheels too; originally it was running Volk G25s in Mag Blue, but the TE37 SL is a timeless wheel and it just fits in better with the car. I wanted the interior to be a one-off as well, with high quality finishes and extreme detail, and it’s turned out great. The team at Bulletproof sent me some renders and we came up with a plan to execute the final product; the end result is the perfect mix of JDM and BMW.” Which, of course, was the aim of the endeavour from the very start – a mid-Pacific fusion of global thinking.

    So yes, the car did make it to SEMA on time as planned. And, unsurprisingly, the crowds were suitably impressed. Is Rob happy with the results of the breakneckspeed project? You bet he is. “There are no further plans for it,” he says, with the easy satisfaction of a man who’s just finished a marathon and knows there’s a pub nearby. “The plan now is just to not allow it to sit; to take it out and enjoy it!” Which is just how it should be. The car’s fulfilled its role as a static showpiece, and now it’s getting out there and showing the world just what this German/Japanese fusion is capable of. Watch out, Hawaii – the East and the West are coming to gatecrash.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE / #Bulletproof-Automotive / #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW / #2017 / #Bulletproof-Automotive-M4 / #Bulletproof-Automotive-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4-Bulletproof-Automotive-F82 / #BMW-M4-Bulletproof-Automotive / #S55-ESS-Tuning / #Rays-Volk / #BMW-M4-Tuned / #BMW-M4-F82-Tuned

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #S55B30T0 / #BMW-S55 / #S55 / #S55B30 , Gruppe-M carbon-fibre intake, #ESS-Tuning remap, #ARMYTRIX turboback stainless steel exhaust system. Seven-speed M-DCT / DCT gearbox / Aragosta-Air / Aragosta /

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Rays-Volk-TE37-SL wheels in Hyper Blue with 265/35 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, #Aragosta-Type-SS three-way coilovers with #Aragosta-Air-Cup system, FallLine/IND prototype rear camber/toe arms, Runduce eight-pot calipers (front) and six-pot calipers (rear) with 380mm discs (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR Resprayed in OEM Alpine white, Varis carbon fibre widebody kit, #Varis System 2 VSDC bonnet, Varis 1800mm carbon fibre swan neck GT wing, Willans tow strap, custom livery designed by Edwin Reyes

    INTERIOR Recaro Japan RS-G seats, Bulletproof Automotive/Willans custom harnesses, M Performance carbon fibre DCT console, gear selector and door handles, #HG-Motorsports custom roll-cage, custom rear seat delete, full custom Alcantara re-trim by Bulletproof Automotive (dash, door cards, seats, headlining, console) in three colours with custom M stitching

    THANKS Thanks to the team at Bulletproof Automotive and their partners on the build. Thanks to Edwin Reyes for the amazing livery. Terrence and the team at #BMW-Honolulu for getting me the car in time. Mr. Osorio for taking care of the car for me while I was in Honolulu, 2500 miles away from it. Lastly, my family for remaining patient as this build occupied much of my time!

    “What I really wanted to do was create an M4 that blended #BMW engineering with JDM tuning culture”
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    Dare to Dream 3D Design carbon-clad M4. Back in 2006, a group of highly talented designers and engineers came together in Tokyo to reboot dormant BMW tuning parts maker 3D Design. This M4 is the culmination of everything it’s done in the ten years since Words and photography: Chris Nicholls. Dare to Dream 3D Design’s stunning carbon-clad F82 M4 under the spotlight. #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-Coupe / #BMW-4-Series-F82


    The M4, for many, represents dreams. Dreams of status, dreams of amazing driving experiences and dreams of just looking at the thing and enjoying its muscular lines just one more time before walking away. This particular #BMW-4-Series-M4-F82 , however, represents a very different kind of dream – a dream to build a complete ‘tuner car’ that not only shows off your company’s expertise in designing a range of great products, but also demonstrates how well those parts work in unison when fitted together.

    It’s a dream Toru Endo and his team at 3D Design have had since the brand’s rebirth ten years ago. Back in 2006, they came in to kick-start what was then a bit of a lost cause; 3D Design in its original form had been making #BMW tuning parts (mainly suspension components) since 1998, but for various reasons the company had lost any momentum and, by the time Endo-san and his crew arrived, it hadn’t released anything new for quite some time. Obviously, job one after the takeover was thus to start cranking out parts again, but given the old line-up hadn’t been a great success, Endo-san and co. decided to expand the offering to include exhausts and aero parts as well, with an end goal of offering a large enough range of components to build the aforementioned ‘complete car’.

    However, because all the 3D Design staff already had many years of experience working in either OEM, aftermarket accessory or race engineering circles, slapping together a few basic designs and calling it a day wasn’t going to cut it. They vowed that, no matter what the development time and costs, they would make the best BMW parts they could, a philosophy that continues to this day. One minor detail was that they didn’t have their own manufacturing facilities, but to get around this, they partnered up with the likes of Arqray for their lovely stainless exhausts and BBS for their forged wheels, ensuring the final products were as high-end as the engineering that had gone into the design and testing. And of course, that all their products were made in Japan.

    Trouble was, even with a line-up that included wheels, coilovers, aero accessories, exhausts, a boost control chip and various interior upgrades, the staff didn’t feel as if they’d reached their goal of being able to produce a ‘complete car’. So they pushed on, and decided to invest more time and resources in a couple of other key items – a carbon intake for the S55 and, most importantly, full resin-infusion carbon bumpers for the M4. Now, proper carbon bumpers (not CFRP) may seem a bit extreme, especially considering they’re usually the first things to get damaged in a crash and cop quite a bit of sandblasting just from regular road driving, but as we said earlier, the company philosophy is to offer the best, no matter what, and given carbon would allow them to integrate aero elements better, as well as save a crucial 5kg at each extreme of the car (thereby reducing moment of inertia), it seemed a natural choice. Plus, literally no one else on the market is offering such a thing, so it gives the company a competitive advantage.

    Obviously, these pieces do not come cheap. The carbon intake isn’t even on sale yet in Japan, but M Style UK quoted us £6195 for the front bumper and £5695 for the rear, and when you throw in the £1482 Mulgari quoted for the dry carbon side skirts, just the basic aero kit adds considerable cost to an already expensive machine. Going down the complete car route, which adds a dry carbon rear lip spoiler, dry-carbon racing wing, polyurethane roof spoiler, resin-infusion carbon mirror covers, coilovers, forged 20-inch Anniversary 01 wheels, a DME Tuning Stage 2 engine remap, Brembo GT big brake kit and all the company’s interior mods, will no doubt jack up the price to potentially terrifying levels, but no one said the best ever came cheap. And when you look at the fit, finish and quality of each of 3D Design’s products (the bumpers fit so well you’d genuinely think they were official Motorsport upgrades), there is no doubt that they’re among the very best in each sector they compete in.

    As for the overall effect these changes make, at least in terms of appearance (we only had a short time with the car and thus couldn’t drive it), it’s quite staggering. The stock M4 is a muscular beast, but the 3D Design version takes it up a notch in every respect. The cleaner, more integrated lines of the front bumper lead down to quite a protruding lip spoiler, and the fact the company has kept the lower half naked carbon really adds to the impact.

    The sleek skirts define the car’s flanks better and make it look lower than it actually is, while the rear end is just a whole lot buffer thanks to the large (but not ridiculous) wing, bootlid lip and again, that half-painted carbon bumper. Keen-eyed readers will note 3D Design has placed cuts on each side of it too, which allow turbulent air to exit the rear wheels better and should improve stability. One interesting side effect of all this extra aggression is that the car actually looks more like a sports car – something that should cheer all those who now consider the M4 a GT – and at least in this writer and photographer’s opinion, does a better job of integrating all that aero than the GTS. BMW take note. Finally, those wheels are just perfect against the Sapphire black paint, aren’t they?

    Inside, there’s less of an impact simply because there are fewer changes. Yes, the switch to customembroidered Recaro Sportsters definitely changes the atmosphere, as does the switch to 3D Design’s alloy pedals, brake lever and shift paddles, but it still feels very much like an M4, only sportier. In many respects, the biggest change to the ambience actually comes from the Stack gauges, mounted in a lovely 3D Design pod at the bottom of the centre console. These, while looking pretty modern with their machined housings and austere faces, are still very much an old-school performance car touch in what is otherwise a very modern interior, so they do stand out and make the car feel just that little less GT-like (again). By the way, you can ignore that little display mounted to driver’s right, as it’s just a small speed camera detector. Don’t worry, they’re perfectly legal in Japan, and sadly more necessary than ever these days, thanks to the growing number of cameras on the roads there.

    In terms of the effect the mechanical changes have, obviously we couldn’t sample most of those, but we have little reason to doubt the coilovers will benefit the handling, given 3D Design, unlike most of its Japanese contemporaries, designs and develops its coilovers explicitly for road use and thus makes them supple. (There is a remote reservoir track coilover in the works for the M4 should you want that, though). And again, there’s little reason to believe the DME re-flash, which, combined with the intake and exhaust bumps power up to 522hp at 6000rpm and torque to a stupid 561lb ft at just 2000rpm, won’t do the job in terms of making the car much, much faster, either. Nor that the Brembo GT big brake kit won’t do a stellar job of bringing the car’s speed down to normal levels, even after heavy track use.

    While we didn’t sample the power it helps provide, we can heartily recommend the cat-back mid-pipe and muffler combination in terms of pure sound though, as we did get to sample its sonorous delights during our rolling shot session across the Tokyo Gate Bridge. Like most products on this car, it’s not cheap, with the full system setting you back £6334 from M Style UK, but its unique sound may well be worth it, depending on your priorities. We say that because the 3D Design product is by far the most subtle of the aftermarket M4 exhausts we’ve heard, with a start up that won’t upset the neighbours, and an ultra-smooth timbre as the revs rise. Indeed, it almost makes the S55 sound like an angry, tuned S54 , which is quite a feat. If you live in Japan and are reading this, the only downside is that the system won’t pass the strict shaken periodic roadworthy test there, but if you’re willing to switch back to stock for one day every couple of years, it’s not an issue, and we certainly don’t see it being a problem in most other countries.

    So, having produced this ‘dream car’ and fulfilled the company’s original ambition, how does Endo-san feel? As he puts it, “we’ve never been about selling parts per sé. We’ve always developed parts with an eye to exciting the driver, whether it’s via improved styling, or upgraded ride, handling or engine feel. So when I got in the completed car the first time, there was a feeling of ‘we’ve finally done it’; that we’d achieved our goal of being able to excite the driver in every way we could”. Unsurprisingly, the positive impression continued when he drove it, too. “It’s now much more of a sports car to drive. The engine response has improved, as has the handling, so it now accelerates and points exactly the way you tell it to”.

    Having said all that, 3D Design’s journey towards selling a complete car isn’t quite over yet. There’s the small matter of actually building a Tokyo showroom, which begins in May, and signing an agreement with a local dealer to supply brand new M4s the company can add all its bits to as well. After that, it may look at expanding its dealership reach past the nation’s capital, but Endo-san says that’s not been decided upon yet. No doubt there are plans afoot for more parts for other BMWs too. At the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, for example, it had a few prototype M2 parts on display, including an intercooler, race-use exhaust (similar to the M4 one) and race-oriented coilovers, so that model may well be next. A slightly more affordable dream? Maybe. Either way, an exciting one we’ll be sure to keep track of.

    Contact: 3D Design / Web: www.3ddesign.jp

    The switch to custom-embroidered Recaro Sportsters definitely changes the atmosphere

    TECHNICAL FATA FILE #3D-Design / #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4-3D-Design-F82 / #BMW-M4-3D-Design / #BMW-M4-Tuned / #BMW-M4-F82-Tuned / #DME-Tuning-Stage-2 / #DME-Tuning /

    Engine: Twin-turbo, 24-valve, straight-six, #Valvetronic , double #Vanos , direct injection / #S55B30T0 / #S55 / #BMW-S55

    Capacity: 2979cc

    Max Power: 529.6PS @ 6000rpm

    Max Torque: 561lb ft @ 2000rpm

    MODIFICATIONS

    Engine: 3D Design carbon airbox with #BMC filter element, #DME-Tuning-Stage-2-ECU remap

    Exhaust : 3D Design cat-back stainless mid-pipe and valve-controlled stainless quad-tip muffler

    Wheels & Tyres : #3D-Design-Anniversary-01 forged monobloc wheels 9.5x20-inches (f) and 10.5x20-inch (r) with 235/30 (f) and 285/30 (r) Yokohama Advan Sport V105 tyres.

    Suspension: 3D Design machined alloy dampers with 20-step compression and rebound damping control and 6kg/mm (f) and 8kg/mm (r) springs

    Brakes : #Brembo-GT big brake kit with six piston calipers (f) and four-piston calipers (r) and 405mm (f) and 380mm (r) slotted rotors

    Styling: 3D Design resin-infusion carbon front and rear bumper, cry carbon side skirts, dry carbon Racing wing, dry carbon bootlid spoiler, polyurethane roof spoiler, resin-infusion carbon mirror covers, body stripe stickers

    Interior: 3D Design sports pedal kit, hand brake lever, shift paddles, floormats, Stack gauge kit and custom-embroidered Recaro Sportster seats

    No one else on the market is offering such a thing, so it gives the company a competitive advantage.
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    CLEAN BANDIT Styled and tuned F82 M4. SLICK M4 F82 with power and poise. Passion brought forth the assassin… Keren Zeng’s ingrained love for the BMW brand has helped him deliver a killer blow with this M4. Flawless victory! Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Kevin Uy.

    Assassins come in many forms. Followers of classic Japanese folklore will be familiar with the concept of the ninja or shinobi, whose function was to act as a covert spy and saboteur. Fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series will know the assassins to be as gentlemanly and respected as they are deadly, fusing the cloaked secrecy of the ninja with the necessity to always leave their victims with a receipt.

    And, of course, there’s the ragtag group of misfit assassins that this BMW M4 falls into; rubbing shoulders with James Bond and Liam Neeson, it’s the sort of character that’ll kick your door in, carry out the lethal task in broad daylight, utter a witty quip, shoot the cuffs on their impeccably tailored suit, and effect their graceful egress. Possibly leaping off a ledge and onto a plane or something.

    This car could never be a shinobi. Look at it, it’s bright orange. But it does neatly intertwine the twin cannons of flawlessly sharp aesthetics and brutal firepower; a sublimely crafted art piece packing a horsepower figure that begins with a five. It’s primarily a functional thing, as evidenced by its gait being hunkered aggressively down rather than stylistically stanced, with the tyres displaying a usefully chunky spread of sidewall. But at the same time, its looks and sense of purpose are razor-edged. This is not a thing to be messed with, unless you’re planning on that being the last thing you ever do.

    This creation is the vision-made-real of one Keren Zeng, proprietor of an automotive aftermarket shop in Victoria B.C, Canada, and lifelong BMW-fancier. “When I was in seventh grade I saw the E46 M3 on the cover of Need for Speed 9 for the first time, and I immediately fell in love with that car,” he says.

    “Since then my dream machines have always been #BMW-M cars. And when the M4 came out, I placed an order without hesitation!” This long-held obsession is more than a videogame-induced fantasy, however. The passion runs somewhat deeper than that. “Owning a #BMW in my home country back when I was growing up was very, very hard,” he explains. “Not just because of the price, but also the limited availability. I loved to memorise all the car brands when I was little, and my father bought me all kinds of toy cars and asked me what models they were. I remember my favourite was the BMW 8 Series, which was a birthday gift from my father. And I was lucky enough to experience BMWs when I was a little older; at the age of 17 I drove my friend’s E92 M3, and I was totally blown away by the handling, the sound and the performance of the car. And from that time, BMW M cars have planted a very deep root in my heart.”

    You see, this is no cynical tale of somebody throwing a bunch of money at an on-trend motor to win Instagram points, this is the culmination of a lifetime of aspirations and yearning. When Keren came to open up his Canadian business, the time was right to dive into the fragrantly alluring waters of M car ownership. Well, almost… he had a little practice with a 435i first.

    “In 2013 in Montreal, I first saw a 435i in real life,” he breathlessly recalls. “I spied it at the downtown parking lot and the colour was Mineral grey – it immediately caught my attention; the shape of the car, the M badge just up the side vent, and the aggressive face. I told myself that one day I would own a car like this. And later that year, my dream came true.”

    Neat use of ‘one day’ there, this is clearly a guy who likes to get things done with no time to shilly-shally. An Estoril blue example was bought, and duly subjected to KW coilovers, Vorsteiner wheels, Akrapovič exhaust, a feisty remap, and all the aero stuff in the M Performance catalogue. With this makeover successfully dealt with, Keren felt it was time to join the big leagues and really make that dream a reality. His name was inked on a shiny new M4’s pink slip, and the planets obligingly aligned.

    “I had a pretty clear plan for the M4 from day one, based on what I’d learned from the 435i,” he explains, which makes perfect sense really. Combining age-old dreaming with first-hand experience tends to forge strong mental images. “My first set of wheels were BBS CI-Rs, powdercoated satin black. However, after having them for half a year I decided to go with HRE for its Forged series, choosing the Classic 300 – I respect classic cars and wanted to combine the retro with the modern, although in order to do so you can’t just put a classic rim on a new car, the colour choice has to be very careful. So I went with Dark Brushed Clear for the outer lip and barrel, and Satin Bronze for the face, both of which match perfectly with the Sakhir orange paint.”

    In order to get the car sitting lower over these broad, chunky rims, Keren opted for Swift springs to work with the stock M4 dampers, keeping in mind that the car’s a daily driver and the factory chassis setup is already pretty mind-blowing. A set of Fall- Line Motorsports anti-roll bars found their way into the mix with the aim of making the car “track ready” (Keren’s words; he’s not playing games here), while the engine inhales and exhales a lot more freely thanks to an Eventuri cold air intake and full Akrapovič exhaust system, all remapped to make the most of those bonus horses. ETG’s clever ones-and-zeroes tuning is marketed as offering gains of 89hp and 96lb ft of torque over stock, which is certainly not to be sniffed at, and it also offers a bunch of boltons such as a speed limiter removal, transmission software and traction control reflashing, and even throttle-blipping and overrun exhaust popping. As you might imagine, Keren was pretty liberal with the box-ticking that day.

    “I love clean cars, so when I choose the style of my car, I always believe that less is more,” he explains. “In order to match the body colour and details, all of my exterior pieces are carbon fibre. And the same goes for the interior – the carbon fibre upgrades are there to enhance the spirit of the M Performance brand rather than try to turn it into something else.” In addition to this OEM+ approach, there’s also been a fairly substantial input from iND, whose comprehensive range of aftermarket add-ons has been raided to yield such trophies as black kidney grilles, black boot badges, painted front reflectors to eliminate the garishness of the factory items, and painted side markers in the same vein. The overarching principle here is to hone and refine the cohesiveness of BMW’s own design and the M division’s enhancements to it; think of this car as being the next little step down the M4’s evolutionary path. “My favourite modifications are the wheels and the exhaust,” Keren continues.

    “The way the HREs look and the way the Akrapovič sounds are just total eye and ear candies, it transforms the M4.” And all the while, as he gazes fondly over his creation, you can hear his brain ticking away, formulating new schemes and stratagems. It’s not finished, of course: “The orange turns so many heads, people are always taking photos of it,” he ponders. “I’m considering wrapping it in camo for the show season…”

    Well, that’d certainly help the M4 to fulfil its destiny as a stealthy assassin. A sneakily applied camo would help it slither under the radar and carry out its evil deeds. As long as Keren doesn’t have the engine running, naturally – all that popping and crackling is a bit of a giveaway.

    DATA FILE #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4-Akrapovic / #BMW-M4-M-DCT / #BMW-M4-M-DCT-F82 / #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-F82 / #HRE-Classic / #HRE / #2017 / #Akrapovic

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six S55B30 / , #Akrapovič exhaust system, #ETG remap, #Eventuri intake, seven-speed M-DCT gearbox

    CHASSIS 9.5x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) #HRE-Classic-300 , 255/30 (f) and 285/30 (r) Michelin Pilot Sport, #Fall-Line-Motorsports front and rear anti-roll bars, Swift springs

    EXTERIOR Sakhir orange, #M-Performance rear spoiler, #RKP front lip, Kohlenstoff rear diffuser, #iND front painted reflectors, iND black grilles, iND painted trunk emblem, iND painted side markers

    INTERIOR M Performance Alcantara steering wheel, #DCT console trim and DCT gear knob cover

    THANKS Kevin King Uy for the photoshoot, Cat from iND for all the modifications, Kelvin from #ETG-Tuning-Group , #HRE , #Akrapovi , #BMW-Victoria , #KZ-Auto-Group
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    F10 520d SE

    I knew I was going too fast as the nose of the M4 approached the apex. I was going to run out of track. In a heartbeat, cutting the corner a little more seemed the sensible thing to do. Severe of kerb and blind on the approach, I’ve driven this track enough to know what lay beyond, but even so in that moment I wasn’t sure quite how much road I would have left if this went wrong.

    In the next breath, I knew I’d misjudged it. The front rode the kerb well enough without displacing the chassis more than expected, but then a thousandth of a second later, the rear hit the kerb right at its most extreme and rather than enjoying that balanced feel of front and rear in unison, just on the edge and peeking over the point of no return, it all started to unravel with the rear of the car rotating into the air, the force through the steering wheel increasing, the windscreen full of trees and not the corner which I’d just been looking at, and with said bend now coming at us through the passenger window…

    Those of a certain age and a gaming inclination will recall the earliest days of the driving sim, and those halcyon days of the mid-‘90s, by when the earliest games (impressive but hampered by the limitations of the hardware) had evolved into something more realistic with the dawn of the modern console era, are the starting point of the evolutionary process which has brought us to where we are today.

    The likes of TOCA Touring Cars and Colin McRae Rally, plus of course Gran Turismo and later, the Microsoft Forza series laid the ingredients for the successful formula, and today’s iterations are something to behold. Virtual Reality is the latest thing in gaming. But if you’re like me, you’ll feel that sitting in a room wearing a headset and headphones which isolate you from the surrounding environment (not to mention looking like a dork) is a tad anti-social. I like to be aware of what’s around me, hence I stick to the 32-inch monitor. But games tell you they offer a realistic interpretation of the art of driving so is there any truth in that, or is it a load of tyre smoke and mirrors?

    The first thing to understand, whilst I’m hacking around the Nordschleife in my virtual BMW M4 (that wasn’t an actual #BMW-M4-Coupe-F82 I was referring to at the start, do you think #BMW had taken leave of its senses!?), is I’m not sat in one of these gaming rigs which wouldn’t look out of place in McLaren F1’s R&D studio. Some people do spend thousands on these setups, but for that kind of cash I’d rather buy an actual car and do some track days. But at the same time, I’m not sat there on a cardboard box twirling a plastic plate, so some cash has been spent beyond the presence of a sturdy, reclining office leather chair…

    We have a force feedback base by Thrustmaster, a TX to be precise at about 200 quid, to which is attached a 22-inch TM racing rim. Leather covered and equipped with tactile metal paddles and a solid metal centre, this adds weight and realism through avoiding feeling too plasticky or ‘light’ in your hands. And another 100 quid. Next, my feet drop onto the cool metal plate of my inverted #T3PAPRO pedals, offering up full threepedal heel-n-toe control and a socalled canonical brake pedal mod, which allows proper resistance to be felt underfoot and hence, the judging of braking effort up to the point of lockup. Thrustmaster will relieve you of £150 for those.

    The last item of what I consider the essential equipment without resorting to one of those rigs (and discounting the obvious requirement for a decent television or monitor, in my case a 32- inch HD 1080p LG bought used off eBay for 50 notes) is the TH8A shifter, again by Thrustmaster, and again fostering realism through allowing full manual gear changes when combined with the aforementioned pedal set.

    Seven-speed capable, cool to the touch at least at the start of a gaming session and with an exposed gate, it’s a beautifully tactile addition and really sets the rest of the kit off a treat. And another 120 quid or so.

    The total cost is somewhere around £570, to which we need to add around 50 quid for a decent set of headphones. With other sundries, we’re at 600 quid before factoring in the cost of the actual console. Xbox One bought new upon release, we’re at nearly a grand for the whole lot. Barmy, but still less than the £3.5k and up for one of those rigs. So, in short, it’d better be worth it…

    Back to the Hohe Acht turn-in around the latter half of the ‘Ring (on a rise, blind entry, falling camber on the exit, the fella who drew this place had a really sick sense of humour). I’d gone in far too fast, clipped the kerbs and immediately sent the inside rear into the air… Travelling too quickly on increasing opposite lock and with the outside wheel scrubbing the surface, lifting off now would spell disaster. Split-second analysis of the decision (hindsight is a wonderful thing) resulted in a little more power being deployed, and in a nanosecond we’re broadside on the track as the inside rear regains its useless purchase on the Tarmac. And Wippermann is now looming in the side windows. Hmm…

    At least it’s a right-hander, just about. As was the last corner, so we’re heading in vaguely the right direction. What to do? Drop anchor and hope enough speed is lost before the passenger side smashes into the Armco, or try to drive out of it? How to even try to drive out of it? Figuring that if this goes pear-shaped all I’ll lose is my pride and I won’t actually die, I work the situation. Modulating the power (coughs and crackles audible from the exhaust) but fighting the steering all the time, I twirl the wheel with such force my bottle of (thankfully, unopened) Dr Pepper falls off the table whilst I whoop far too loudly. The outside kerb of Wippermann is almost upon us but a combination of lost speed, reduced torque and a shallower steering angle scamper us around in a manner which almost implies pre-planning. My heart-rate says different. My wife looks up briefly from what she’s doing, shakes her head in amusement at my “THIS IS AWESOME” exclamation and returns to her task.

    The M4, with not a mark anywhere on it, continues on its way up the road. The next lap (still with the tyre marks showing on the surface through Hohe Acht – a nice touch) is a good deal less eventful and by the end of the second lap, the tyres are shot and we need fuel too. But my mind tells me that was epic and a very realistic modelling of an M4’s behaviour in extremis.

    But all this is supposition unless one has some actual real-world experience of the Nordschleife, not to mention your chosen wheels. So what are my credentials? An E46 320d which was collected new as a company car in Brussels years ago, and handed back two years later with 100km on the clock and decidedly second hand, gave me a few tastes of life around the ‘Ring. White-knuckled runs (bearing in mind company cars weren’t allowed to do such things if one listened to HR) and some interesting tussles with a muppet in an Opel Manta convinced me to get out whilst the going was good. So after four or five visits over a 12 month period, never once visiting the Armco, witnessing the increasing madness of some people and stringing together a circa ten-minute lap (in an E46 #BMW-320d-E46 , don’t forget) I declared the place ticked off my bucket list and haven’t been back since.

    Not physically anyway. But the number of virtual miles I’ve completed around that track would likely run into thousands, and it’s now gotten to the point that I can replay a lap in my head, every corner entry point, clipping point and track position on the exit logged in my brain on a virtual, rotating 3D image of the place. Whether that ever translates into a decent actual lap, I’m not sure I want to try and find out.

    And the M4? Well okay there’s some artistic licence at play here because I’ve not actually driven an #BMW-M4 as yet (and if anybody from BMW is reading this, I’d be more than happy to remedy the situation, and we don’t even have to go to the Nordschleife either). But time spent in an F80 M3 last year represents the next best thing, and whilst the ‘Ring wasn’t the stage for that experience, the noise, the feel and response and the gusto in evidence during the miles I drove the car on the public roads have stuck in my mind.

    I can therefore declare that Assetto Corsa, the game in question, is very realistic. Sound-wise, the game is spot on. Oh I know the M3 and M4 pairing have received a load of stick in the press for not sounding as good as the E90 generation, but that’s like criticising the Euro Fighter for not sounding quite as evil as the Vulcan bomber. Doesn’t mean it’s any less capable of ruining your day should the need arise.

    So the virtual M4 sounds pretty good, at least in terms of matching the real version. The creators have even successfully managed to model the interior, although as usual the lack of a HUD frustrates (other cars in the game get one). As for the handling, the one thing the game doesn’t model is weather beyond a little mist or fog, so the M4’s supposed spiky handling on the limit in damp conditions can’t be explored (a pity, one may have been able to learn to a certain extent, and in controlled conditions, how to drive around it).

    We can still comment on the dry handling though. So get the chassis loaded-up in a turn, now adjust the balance with a little more throttle, feel the rear start to slip. No need for corrective lock, at this point the rear is turning the car with the fronts pointing at zero degrees. Hold this attitude for as long as the corner lasts and the M4 arcs around gracefully; a mournful wail from the tyres filling your world. Allow some more power and the feeling of balance remains (remembering we are using a force feedback wheel, which accurately mimics steering and chassis loading, even if the fixed seat doesn’t) whilst the rear now slides out a little. This is where the simulation really starts to tell. One has to know exactly how much corrective lock to apply. Too little and the car will slide further outwards until it runs out of road and you crash into the barriers on the inside of the turn. Too much and the slide ends abruptly. From there it’s almost inevitable that you’ll nose it at speed into the opposite barriers on the outside of the turn. Get it wrong and you’ll tut-tut, press restart and try over. Get it right and you’re convinced you’ll never get it wrong, and you’re off to try it again at the next corner…

    Perhaps you can’t afford an M3. Or an M4. Or a 1M which is also modelled in the game and unnervingly accurate with its wailing straight-six and spin-in-its-own-length handling. I know I can’t. So for many, the possibilities offered up by a good driving sim are intriguing, and if you’ve not tried it, I urge you to do so.

    As for the 520d, no I wouldn’t dare attempt to take this one around the ‘Ring because it’s my own car! We’ve been to North Wales again this month though, and hacking across country from Shrewsbury and then out into the sticks up the A5 with the heated seats and wheels going full blast and -3°C outside (it was -7°C the following morning!), plus some decent toons on the hi-fi was a very pleasurable experience. I’ve said before that travelling at night in the F10 is a very pleasurable way of putting distance behind you and that doesn’t change with familiarity. One assumes the same sense of well-being will be evident in the G30 when it arrives. We spent a pleasant couple of days in Betws-y-Coed, nosing around the local shops and generally having a good time, and I spent far too much money in the model railway place.

    Again. Then the time came to leave and as night approached we scampered south back along the A5, the sun setting rapidly to our right as night crept over the hills, turning the landscape from green, through husky greys to darker browns before blackness and night enveloped us silently. Mercifully free of traffic, and hence cracking on whenever I had the chance, we made good time on the return trip and the nigh-on 40mpg returned by the B47 despite the aforementioned heated occupants proves that modern engines, for all their efficiency and as I alluded to last month, are better with more demanding usage than just crawling around town.

    CAR: #BMW-F10 / #BMW-520d-SE / #BMW-520d-SE-F10 / #BMW-520d-F10 / #BMW /

    YEAR: #2016
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 897
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 12,775
    MPG THIS MONTH: 39.6
    COST THIS MONTH: Nil
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    M4CEMENT AGENT

    The M4 is an extremely capable machine but there’s plenty more potential to be unlocked, and that’s exactly what Thorney Motorsport has been busy doing. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Richardson.

    Thorney Motorsport M4

    As far as all-rounders go, the M3 and M4 are really hard to beat. BMW’s move from glorious, high-revving NA V8 to less exciting twin-turbo straight-six was, we suppose, inevitable in terms of the way the motoring world is headed, but while it may not deliver the same sort of spinetingling soundtrack as the S65 V8 did, you really can’t knock the S55. It’s got masses of easily accessible torque, it’s got a big-hitting top end and, driven gently, you can nudge 30mpg, plus the affordable tuning potential is on another planet compared with the S65.

    It’s wrapped up in a car that’s, relatively speaking, pretty lightweight – lighter than the E9x M3 – but not short on luxury and creature comforts. As an all-round performance machine it’s nigh-on unbeatable. Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement, and Thorney Motorsport has been really getting under the skin of the M4 to make it the best it can be.

    Now most of us, upon the purchase of a new car, will likely go for a drop, sort out some new wheels and look at getting more power out of it, because that’s just what you do. We’d be happy with that but Thorney Motorsport takes a different, far more measured approach because it’s not modding a car for fun, it’s developing parts that it will sell and it wants to make sure that the car they combine to create is a fullyfledged, finely-honed performance machine.

    The M4, you’d think, would be the perfect candidate for a series of improvements to bring out its best, but Thorney has had a somewhat thorny relationship with its M4 and, while many owners are delighted with their cars, we’ve heard of a surprising amount who, after the initial delight of their M3s and M4s had worn off, realised they weren’t happy and were looking at swapping to an E9x M3 instead. So what gives?

    “We do a lot of Vauxhall tuning alongside our #BMW work,” explains owner John Thorne, “and I had customers who’d switched from their Astra VXRs to M4s complaining about the handling and traction, saying the car was hard work and they weren’t enjoying it. One guy sold his within a month and a half of buying it. I told them they needed to learn to drive but then we bought our one and I realised there was a problem. In a straight line, it’s fine, but in corners the traction control is forever cutting in and the rear feels loose. Driven hard on the road, it’s a not a good handling car.” That’s surprising to hear but then again, how many of us really push our cars that hard and how many of us have the motorsport experience to be able to analyse exactly what a car’s doing? The handling, therefore, became John’s focus with his tuning programme for the M4 and his desire to tame the M4 and turn it into the car he knows it could be brings to mind one man’s obsession with a certain white whale, but where that made for a great novel this will make for a great driver’s car.

    “We went for the geometry first, but there’s not much adjustment and it made no difference, so we went for the springs next. Initially we tried Eibachs, which we found too soft, and we tried Teins which were far too hard, so then we tried H&R’s higher springs, which made no difference, and then went for its lowest offering, which we’re running on the car now. They give a 40mm drop and have really made a difference to how the car feels; previously, the car just couldn’t put the power down in Sport or Sport Plus and in Comfort it was too soft, but now on the Sport setting there’s a lot more grip and it feels more stable through the corners. Though it’s certainly not perfect,” he says, but it’s a cost effective upgrade which makes the car much better.

    “I drove a Competition pack car and while it offers more outright grip it’s no better in corners than the standard car; the additional grip is welcome, though, so we’re going to fit a set of Toyo R888s,” explains John. “We’re going to go wider at the back, 285 or maybe even 295, but we’re going to stick with the stock front tyre width as there’s no understeer, just no rear grip.

    “We’re working directly with Bilstein to develop dampers for the car, but they have to retain the adjustability of the EDC – the same as its E9x M3 damper, in fact, a plug and play solution. I’ve told Bilstein how the car needs to handle, that the slow speed damper compression needs to be softer and that the rebound is currently too stiff.

    Bilstein’s damper curve is much softer on low speed stuff, which is good. We get sent a new set of dampers to test, we make notes of the changes we’d like and then Bilstein sends another set and we see what’s been changed and we carry on like this until we’re both satisfied. The right Bilsteins could transform this car and it would be a Porsche-beater, but we’re not there just yet.

    We’re close, though,” he smiles. “That’s our target for each car: to be able to beat Porsches on track. In a straight line, the M4 is quicker than a 911 GT3 RS, but not in the corners, at least no just yet…”


    While the handling may be a bone of contention, the perfect setup is not far off and in the meantime Thorney has found a good solution to tame the M4’s wayward handling habits, one that not only doesn’t cost the earth but also actively encourages you to go for an aggressive drop.

    One area where the M4 is certainly not lacking is performance and it’s also an area where getting the best out of the car requires a lot less effort. It’s surprising how much of a difference the little things make. “The first thing we did was to run the car for three tanks of fuel using 95 octane unleaded then dyno’d it and then we ran it for three tanks of super and dyno’d it again. On regular unleaded the car was 25hp down on the stated power output of 431hp at the top end, so it’s worth only running it on super.

    “The next step was to develop our own remap. It took 96 dyno runs before we were completely happy with the mapping; the remap is our Stage 1 upgrade, which takes power up to 490hp. Stage 2 adds the exhaust, as fitted to this car. It’s a full system, mandrel bent, with 3” piping throughout and also includes 200 cell and 62g cats. This adds another 40hp on top of the remap for a running total of 530hp. Stage 3 will be an oil cooler and bigger chargecooler setup which we’re working on now.” For the moment, though, 530hp is plenty to be getting on with.


    “We’ve also added braided lines to the brakes and while we’re working with Pagid to develop a pad for the car, on the road they’re fine and don’t really need to be upgraded. If you want the best brakes possible for track use then I’d recommend ticking the carbon ceramic brake kit box when you’re ordering the car,” he says. And, while the M4 is not a car that’s lacking in the looks department, John has also worked on the car’s styling, adding an M Performance front lip to fill out the front bumper and a Thorney Motorsport carbon rear wing based on the GT4 racer’s spoiler.

    It would have been rude to come all the way up to Thorney’s Silverstone HQ and not take the M4 out for a spin and John is keen for me to have a go, especially after I’d just driven Thorney’s track-built E92 M3, and it’s not a hardship to agree to go for a play in his 530hp machine. The first thing you notice is the noise; the M4 isn’t a quiet car and now there’s even more volume to the soundtrack. It still can’t hold a candle to the S65 V8 but if you like your performance cars to sound aggressive the Thorney exhaust system doesn’t disappoint.

    The next thing you notice is the power or, rather, the torque. There’s just so much of it; punch the throttle hard at anything above tickover and your head is forced into the headrest, it’s that brutal. In fact, brutal really does do a very good job of describing the power delivery of this car, it’s instant and you get so much of it that it’s all you can do but hang on for dear life. Driving this car makes you feel that there’s no need for any more performance. Any more would be silly, which might sound weird coming from a modified BMW magazine but it just feels so utterly relentless that there’s no situation this car could not deal with.

    And that’s before we even get onto the power; 90% of the driving experience is being battered by that brutal onslaught of torque, which propels the car to stupid speeds on even the lightest of throttle applications but when the road allows you the chance to open this M4 up the power is absurd. The delivery is relentless, completely un-turbo-like, and the power keeps on coming all the way to the redline, at which point you must decide whether or not you want to snatch the next gear and go again, or back off and breathe, because the M4’s been accelerating so hard that you’ve forgotten about your basic functions.

    In terms of the chassis, the ride is still firm and the traction control seems busy most of the time meaning you really want to find the smoothest, flattest Tarmac before exploring the upper echelons of this M4’s performance envelope. It certainly feels like a more stable beast through the corners, though, and gives you enough confidence to be able to enjoy pushing the car. For the cost of set of springs, if you’re serious about exploiting all of the performance your M4 has to offer, it’s a no-brainer.

    Thorney Motorsport’s modified M4 is a ferocious, furious machine which delivers an intense driving experience and feels as fast as you’d ever need or want a car to feel. But while there’s more performance work to come from Thorney along with the aforementioned ongoing quest for the perfect suspension setup that will unlock this car’s full potential, John’s plans go far beyond that: “In the short term I might change the wheels and I want better seats.

    I’m not impressed with the standard ones and I’m looking at #HRX race buckets but the ultimate goal is to take this car to the level of the M4 GTS, but better.” That’s exactly what the goal was with the company’s E92 M3 and, judging by our experience with that.

    Exhaust system looks the part, with quad carbon tips, and delivers real performance gains.

    Exterior has been enhanced with GT4-style spoiler.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Thorney-Motorsport / #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW-M4-Thorney-Motorsport / #BMW-M4-Thorney-Motorsport-F82 / #Thorney-Motorsport-F82 / #Thorney-Motorsport-M4 / #BMW-M4-Tuned / #2016 / #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-F82 / #BMW-4-Series-M4 / #BMW-4-Series-M4-F82

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six #S55B30 / #BMW-S55 / #S55 , custom #TMS-remap , high-flow air filters, 3” bore mandrel bent custom full exhaust system with twin silencers, 200 cell 62g cats and quad carbon fibre exhaust tip trims, seven-sped #M-DCT gearbox

    POWER 530hp

    CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) Style 437M wheels with 15mm spacers and 255/40 (front) and 275/40 (rear) tyres, #H&R 40mm lowering springs, custom geometry setup, braided brake lines

    EXTERIOR M Performance front splitter and air intakes, #TMS #GT4-style carbon fibre rear wing, #TMS-M-Sport livery

    INTERIOR All Stock
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    / #BMW / #BMW-M4-DTM-Champion-Edition announced / #BMW-M4 / #BMW-F82 / #BMW-M4-F82 / #BMW-4-Series / #BMW-4-Series-F82 / #BMW-4-Series-M4 / #BMW-4-Series-F82 / #BMW / #BMW-M4-DTM-Champion-Edition-F82 /

    BMW has a long tradition of bringing out special edition models to celebrate racing success – think back to the E30 M3 and we had the Europa Meister, Cecotto and Ravaglia models – while in more recent times DTM success has been rewarded with a series of Champion Edition models. Hence the arrival of the latest M4 edition to celebrate Marco Wittmann’s second DTM driver’s title at the wheel of his Red Bull M4 DTM.

    The road-going version won’t be quite so extreme as his race car, but the limited run 2016 Champion Edition does feature a number of upgrades over a standard M4 Coupé. For starters it’s packing the same water-injected twin-turbo straight-six as the M4 GTS which is good for 500hp and 443lb ft of torque which endows it with a 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 190mph.

    The M4’s handling has been refined thanks to a set of three-way adjustable coilovers and it’s been on a weight loss program too, with the bonnet and instrument panel support being constructed from CFRP and the exhaust is a part titanium system. To ensure it stops as well as it goes it’s equipped with the carbon ceramic brake setup. Wheels are the 19- and 20-inch (front and rear respectively) #Style-666M items from the GTS but for this application they’re painted in a matt Orbit grey finish.

    Externally the DTM Champion Edition can be identified by its Alpine white paintwork and a number of upgrades such as its carbon front spoiler, carbon aero flicks on the front corners, mirror caps, side-skirt attachments, rear diffuser and an M Performance rear wing.

    Inside the rear seats have been ditched in favour of a half cage while the front seats have been replaced with a pair of M Carbon buckets finished in Alcantara and Merino leather. The rest of the cockpit is swathed in dark Alcantara while the seat belts feature the M colours in their weave like those on the M4 Competition models.

    The M4 DTM Champion edition will be limited to 200 examples and will cost 148,500 Euros – just about double the price of an standard M4.
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