Decades have passed since BMW released the original three-series M car, the E30 M3. Over time, many diehard enthusiasts have lamented the taming of the Motorsports line as these cars compete in a competitive luxury market. The cars weigh a lot more, and that analog feel has been gone for several generations.
It’s a shame, as the three-series in particular was always meant to be a simple, barebones, driver’s car. With the four-series’ emergence in 2014, many hoped this dedicated two-door variant could possibly be a return to BMW’s roots.
Instead, Bayerische Motoren Werke carried on as usual, loading the cars up with as much technology—and weight—as possible.
As a result they sold in spades, as normal people wanted to buy them. But what about that niche group of people who just want to drive? The weekend warriors, the track rats, and the burgeoning race car drivers; they’ve been let down by the M badge.
So, imagine the evolution of BMW's ultimate sports coupe, further evolved by Laptimz Motorsports. No compromises on track, and no compromises on the street. Is that too much to ask for?
We didn’t think it was, so we built this F82 M4 for a client who wanted it all: amenities for the street, durability for the track, and a plethora of upgrades that make the car manageable and predictable on the limit.
Finished in Mineral Gray Metallic from the factory, the subtle color is elevated with the addition of some functional carbon fiber in the form of a Turner Motorsports modular front splitter and side skirts as well as a VIS Racing hood and a genuine GT4-sourced rear wing. Tidy tow straps have also been added front and rear.
Inside, the interior has been fully kitted for the track while retaining functionality for the driver and a single passenger. The rear seat could have been salvaged but instead the client opted for a full cage from Fall-Line Motorsports, which was neatly integrated with the rear area using their delete panels.
A set of Sparco Pro ADV fixed-back halo bucket seats—on fully-adjustable rails—are paired with contrasting red Safecraft harnesses, and less the heated seats all of the factory amenities remain. Facing forward, you’re greeted by a KMP Drivetrain racing wheel with carbon-fiber paddle shifters in addition to plenty of factory leather complemented by carbon-fiber trim. A single windshield mount houses both an AiM Solo 2 DL logger/lap timer as well as a SmartyCam.
Under the hood, more lightweight performance parts have been added. Most noticeable is the Dinan carbon-fiber intake assembly, which feeds an already torque-happy twin-turbocharged S55 inline-six that has been further tuned. You’ll also notice a Dinan exhaust exiting with twin tips at the rear. Further, all of the necessary maintenance items—think spark plugs, ignition coils, fluids, and more— have also been replaced and upgraded for track duty.
Moving to the rear, it looks like not much has changed when you pop the trunk lid. But then you notice the remote JRZ reservoirs, which have been added symmetrically on either side along with a rear strut brace. The interior panels have been modified for a factory-like fit and are retained, just as the client imagined.
So far, these modifications have made the car safer and more powerful without sacrificing any of the modern amenities that these M cars have become known for. But how can we unlock that long-lost analog driving feel?
The answer lies in a plethora of suspension tweaks, spearheaded by JRZ’s remarkable RS PRO 3 coilover system that we selected for this M4. While stiff, the 550/750-pound spring setup is compliant enough for street use and an absolute dream on the track. Coupled with lightweight Apex wheels and an AP Racing multi-piston big-brake kit the car is super intuitive.
This means that lap times are repeatable even after hours of abuse. The engine has a very useable powerband and the chassis is very manageable at the edge of grip, just as intended from the outset. Really, the car is an absolute sweetheart to drive.
Ultimately, driver consistency is the limiting factor with this F82 M4, making it the perfect tool to bring about measurable improvements in your driving. Then, after turning hot laps all day you can drive the car home on the street if you so desire. Might as well stop at Costco on the way—you have the trunk space.
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too?