Lightweight BMW M3 sedan concept will debut at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 4, 2011

A lightweight BMW M3 sedan concept sedan is scheduled to make its debut at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race this June. BMW hasn’t released the full set of details but it claims that this car weighs less but has more power than a standard M3.

It has a curb weight that’s lower than 3700 pounds, and it has a power output that exceeds the standard M3’s 414hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. It’s uncertain if the car will receive upgrades to its suspension or brakes.

It’s believed that this concept splits the difference between the standard, 414hp M3 and the Europe-only, 444hp M3 GTS. Notably, the GTS is a serious track car. Instead of rear seats, it has a roll cage. It also doesn’t have a climate control or sound system, adjustable suspension, and stronger brakes.

Powering it is an enlarged, 4.4-liter version of the M3’s V-8 that delivers 444hp and 324 pound-feet of torque. A standard car has a weight of about 3700 pounds but this car (which is mostly hand-built) only weighs 3370 pounds. The M3 GTS is intended for the European market. The lightweight model will also not be available in the U.S., according to BMW spokesman Dave Buchko.

The BMW M3 has been considered a special model within the BMW M GmbH model range, particularly because of its strong motorsport heritage. In fact, right from the first generation of the BMW M3 introduced in 1986 to the 2007 model year of the vehicle. While the latest generation BMW M3 was derived from the BMW 3-Series Coupé, there are quite a number of differences that separate the two models, especially in terms of looks and technical features.

The new BMW M3 is a recipient of elements that BMW M has been known for like its distinct design, and its superb drivetrain, suspension technologies. BMW M’s intelligent lightweight engineering has been very successful in making the BMW M3 as light as possible, resulting to a power-to-weight ratio of only 3.8 kg (8.4 lb) per horsepower. This achievement is primarily attributed to the use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), making it the first production car in its segment to do so.

Moreover, aside from some components, the BMW M3 Coupe could be considered as an entirely new vehicle concept in terms of engineering and design concept, making it an awesome representation of the success known as BMW M GmbH.

Nonetheless, the BMW M3 still inherits a number of elements from the 3 Series Coupé, in particular its load-bearing structure, the boot lid, two-door setup, the headlights and rear lights, and the windows. All other body elements were principally developed for the BMW M3.

At a glimpse, the BMW M3 exudes a very distinctive character from its engine compartment lid and its stunning powerdome and two air intake openings. BMW M3’s character is also played by the function-focused design of its front and rear air dams, the so-called gills in the front side panels and the side-sills. Not to be taken for granted are its carbon fiber roof, exterior mirrors and light-alloy wheels in unique BMW M design.

Customers may choose from a wide palette of exterior colors for their own BMW M3, augmented by more color options including four special paintwork options exclusive to BMW M. All of these elements and features as well as its exterior paintwork help make the new BMW M3 convey a certain personality as defined by its sporty and stylish appearance and the power underneath.

Topics: bmw, bmw m3, sedan, concept

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