Planning began in secret some four months ago to transform our M4 development car into a true Portfolio project. This car would represent the sum total of our passion for BMW. It would represent lessons learned slowly, over the course of many years, with our various technical partners and suppliers. It would be a true culmination of everything that is IND. Our overriding theme for this M4 was in line with IND’s basic philosophy when modifying an M car: go beyond what BMW is able to give their consumer, but do so in the most tasteful way possible. Not unlike some “OEM plus” approaches to modifying cars, IND see the 10th Anniversary M4 as the ultimate interpretation of “GTS Plus”, giving a car that both recalls BMW’s own M4 GTS, and in some ways, surpasses it.
IND started by completely disassembling the exterior and interior of the M4. Each exterior panel was painstakingly removed, every bit of interior carpet was pulled out. The dashboard was completely disassembled, all of the door panels were removed and sent off for their own transformation.
Once the car was disassembled, the rolling chassis went to our in-house paint facility for the most major of its exterior transformations: a color change to Porsche’s incredible Ultraviolet color, found on the 991 GT3RS.
3D Design Japan has been in the business of transforming BMWs since before IND was in existence, and the US Tuner keep this in mind when working with this highly respected tuner from Japan. The 3D full carbon fiber bumpers for the M4 represent a new height of achievement for 3D, showcasing the company’s ability to transform and simultaneously complement the M4’s body lines while exhibiting a flawless fit. 3D Design side skirts and trunk spoiler complement the bumpers.
The 3D bumpers alone would not give our M4 a GTS feel – an adjustable front splitter would be necessary to complete the car’s front aerodynamics package. Because this was a component that was destined to be hand-made to fit this M4 specifically, we know we could go above and beyond what BMW created for the GTS itself.
Our front splitter begins with a core layer of extremely light weight balsa, and is then reinforced with aluminum plate at each of its twelve mounting points. The upper layer is a beautiful hand-laid Carbon Fiber, while the bottom is reinforced Carbon Kevlar for additional strength.
Each aluminum mounting point is then slotted for up to 3 inches of fore and aft adjustment, giving the driver the ability to modify the car’s high speed lift to suit the driving conditions of the day. The oil cooler guard integrates perfectly with our front splitter, and makes the fragile S55 oil cooler nearly invincible (while maintaining perfect outlet airflow). Finally, Jabroc rub strips are installed on the bottom side of the splitter, giving our M4 the exact same scrape protection measures found in Formula 1 and LeMans race cars.
This entire package is mounted directly to the chassis, which transfers aerodynamic loads directly to the front of the M4. IND selected the paint scheme for each component with extreme delicacy, leaving enough exposed carbon to showcase 3D Design’s amazing work, but covering enough to give the M4 a relatively subtle look.
BMW’s move to a 19 inch front and 20 inch rear wheel intrigued M fans everywhere, and allowed IND to follow suit. Utilizing a 20” rear wheel increases grip and straight line traction- a useful attribute when dealing with the fire-breathing S55 engine. Thus, our M4 came to wear the world’s first 19 inch front and 20 inch rear staggered set of FI-R wheels.
Although the standard BBS finishes are beautiful in their own right, our Portfolio car would feature something unprecedented here as well. Our friends at Threepiece.us took in the only 19/20 stagger set of FI-Rs in the world, and with great care stripped them of their original finish. Each wheel was brushed by hand, creating the first set of FI-R wheels to feature a brushed finish. A custom billet machined center cap adapter was built, allowing us to utilize a BMW center cap in place of the standard BBS caps for a subtle look.
The completed wheels are several steps removed from an original FI-R, and as a result are very special indeed. To finish bringing the wheel package to a GTS-like level, we installed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires in 265/30/19 front and 295/30/20 rear- the closest available to the genuine GTS tires.
A Brembo GT kit was installed under our FI-R wheels, providing a proven braking solution. Brembo has been a partner of IND’s since our own humble beginnings and is an original supplier to BMW for the M4, and so a GT kit made perfect sense for this car. We’ve tested Brembo’s 380mm GT kit in punishing on-track conditions while using high performance brake pads that operate at a high temperature, and the GT Monobloc calipers have run without issue each time. Brembo’s yellow calipers were a perfect fit for the M4’s new Ultraviolet color, imitating Porsche’s own choice for the GT3RS. Our M4 is now also using the newest disc available for this kit- the Type III high thermal disc.
Connecting the unsprung mass of the wheels to the car could only be accomplished with help from the very same company that BMW relies on for the same task- KW. KW Automotive has provided their triple adjustable ClubSport coilovers for two generations of GTS, and is a committed technology partner to BMW.
In addition to the racing spring system used, the KW 3 Way Clubsport way coilover suspension differs from conventional sports suspensions and coilovers mainly by its adjustable KW 3 way high-performance dampers.
Other unique features are partially hard coated components made of aircraft aluminum alloys and special brass alloys which not only guarantee an excellent durability but are also low maintenance. In addition, the alloys provide a lower friction in the damper working space, in order to reduce breakaway moments.
So the demanding sports car drivers are not only able to select from the available “Track-Setup” and “Road-Setup” recommended by KW development engineers and test drivers, but the KW racing valve technology used even allows individual damper settings. At the upper end of the piston rod, the rebound can be adjusted with 16 exact clicks via the rebound adjustment wheel.
Increased rebound forces ensure a stiffer handling and significantly less body roll.
So at very high speeds, the steering precision is noticeably improved at the limit of driving dynamics, while a lower rebound force is better on uneven and wavy road surfaces.
With the Clubsport top mounts, the camber angle can be optionally changed for an optimum contact surface of the tires when driving fast into corners.
In addition, the compression damping in the high-speed range can be changed manually with 14 clicks and the low-speed compression with six clicks.
Here we are using our patented valve technology with two throttle valves. The low-speed is always designed linearly, while for the high-speed we configure the spring-loaded valve digressively.
An air intake system from Eventuri adds a beautiful intake roar under load, and complements the Carbon Fiber strut bar perfectly. The flawless fit and finish provided by Eventuri is spot-on for a high level build like our M4, and is at at home with any of the other parts found on the car. ESS Tuning as always helps with the most reliable software on the market, giving the M4 additional power without straining the factory turbochargers or creating unsafe operating scenarios for the engine. In the future the IND M4 will see larger turbochargers and a full cooling system upgrade from C&R, allowing us to further push the envelope of what’s possible from a performance standpoint while maintaining factory fit, finish, and function. IND worked together with Eisenmann to design the F8x M3 and M4’s exhaust system, giving M fans a multitude of options including resonated and non resonated center pipes, a muffled or straight through rear section, and even perfectly designed downpipes for true race use. While our M4 has at one point tested every possible variation from Eisenmann, this car demanded a streetable solution that yielded a mature yet powerful sound.
Eisenmann’s high flow resonated center pipes were combined with the excellent Eisenmann muffler, and the entire exhaust package was ceramic coated for a perfect appearance. Eisenmann’s Signature exhaust tips complete the look, with their multi-walled construction adding sophistication to the back of the car.
Finally, the interior would be one of the most critical areas of the car. Too often, high concept projects like this will address power first, exterior style and appearance second, and leave the driving environment for a distant third place. In the interior especially, IND had to meet and then surpass BMW’s GTS. The centerpiece of the interior is a bit of a vintage item in this era: the M4 has a set of E46 M3 CSL seats!
The original GTS roll bar is the exact part used in the new extra-special M4, and was finished in Ultraviolet to match the IND M4’s exterior. Simply installing the roll bar would not suffice, as to truly achieve our “GTS Plus” goal our M4 would have to have a flawlessly finished rear closeout. The closeout was constructed from hand-laid Carbon Fiber panelling, mixed with machined brackets which were machined in-house at IND. Each piece of aluminum was carefully fitted to the other, creating a seamless appearance that separated the trunk from the passenger compartment in a way that was both functional and beautiful.
Once the seats were in place, the plan for the rest of the interior came together. The headliner, a, b and c pillars were all removed and upholstered in Alcantara to match the CSL seats. The parcel shelf as well was specifically upholstered in Alcantara, giving us an opportunity to integrate the shelf more smoothly into the Carbon Fiber rear closeout. The dashboard, door panels, and center console were removed and covered in Alcantara as well, but also recieved a color-coded Ultraviolet stitch. Aligning the highlight stitch was a tremendous challenge as BMW had not intended to create a fully wrapped dashboard in the M4. Where and how to place the Ultraviolet highlight stitch on the dash and door panels was one of the more interesting steps in designing the interior. A BMW Performance steering wheel was a must-have for this M4, but was also upholstered to match. Finally, M tri color seat belts were imported directly from Europe – a direct nod to the GTS’ own belts.
Some might wonder, why bother modifying a car to this extent? Why obsess over so many minor details of manufacturing and designing parts that many will never notice? For IND, creating their own M4 Portfolio car has reinstilled a knowledge of why IND created Portfolio cars at all. IND Portfolio cars do not exist simply to be beautiful cars. IND Portfolio cars exist to remind each of their owners that life is a series of small victories and minor setbacks, that the expanse of life is not traversed with long, dramatic strides, but rather with small, carefully placed steps.
Fotos IND DISTRIBUTION, KW