BMW's M4 is still box-fresh, but that hasn't stopped BMW from thinking about the next step forward for its high-performance sports car.
Spied recently while testing in Europe, this prototype (and it definitely is a prototype, ignore the Moto GP Safety Car decals) sports a jutting lower lip spoiler, a huge rear wing, carbon-ceramic brakes and bigger rubber.
A roll cage and racing bucket seats can also be spied through the glass.
What other BMW followed this same format? Why, the previous-generation E92 M3 GTS.
Developed as a road-going racecar, the M3 GTS borrrowed elements from the M3 GT4 racer and packaged them in a stripped-down shell, with a 22kW power boost to boot (taking output to 331kW).
With around 200kg less weight than a regular M3, more power and more grip, performance was startling for the time. Zero-to-100km/h took 4.4 seconds, and handling was far crisper than its road-going counterpart.
The new M4 already blitzes the M3 GTS in a straight line, with its 317kW/550Nm twin-turbo 3.0 litre inline six rocketing it to 100km/h in just 4.1 seconds.
An M4 GTS variant, if it eventuates, could conceivably dip into the three-second range.
So is this car the successor to the E92 M3 GTS, then? It certainly looks like it, but an alternative scenario is that it's just a testbed for a future production-based racecar, rather than a race-ready roadcar.
Watch this space.
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