An M4 Built For The Open Road
A Car For The Modern Man

Despite the fact that I spend the majority of time doing something related to cars, there are still times when I find myself being truly amazed at what today’s automobiles are capable of. And not just in terms of outright performance, but in terms of everything else someone might want their car to do.


Modern performance cars aren’t just fast, they are comfortable, safe, reliable and even fuel efficient. And when it comes to those high-tech, well-rounded machines, the BMW M4 is right there at the top of the list. Then again, its predecessor, the M3, has been combining performance, luxury and great driving dynamics for decades, so it’s not surprising that BMW’s latest would follow suit.


It was all of that and more that led Ian Ford to place an order for an Alpine White F82 M4, specced just the way he wanted it, at the factory in Germany.


Ian isn’t just a car enthusiast and BMW fan, he works closely with Targa Trophy, an organization that runs road rallies like the Megarun, car shows and driving events across the West Coast. So when it came time to get a new car, Ian knew he needed something that could keep up with and fit in with the supercars and other highly-modified machinery that come out for these events.


When Ian ordered the M4, there was one option he absolutely had to have: a 6-speed manual transmission. While BMW might prefer to sell you a car without a clutch pedal, Ian knew that rowing his own gears was the only way to go.


In fact, manual transmission equipped M4s were so scarce that the dealerships didn’t even have one for him to test drive. But once his car arrived from Germany and he felt the shift knob in his hand, he knew he’d made the right choice.


Ian took delivery of the M4 in April this year, and while it was a very impressive machine straight out of the box it didn’t take long for the modifications to begin.

Daily Thrills

In planning out the upgrades, Ian wanted to strike a balance between something that was fun, fast and exciting, while still being friendly as a daily driver.


While the M4’s twin-turbocharged inline-six is very capable engine right off the showroom floor, there’s plenty of scope to wake it up in both the power and sound departments.


Ian began by fitting an AWE Tuning S-FLO carbon fiber intake system along with Stätus Gruppe Tuning cat-less down-pipes and a Magnaflow exhaust to help the boosted Bimmer breathe better.


And then to make sure everything was performing as it should, the car was treated to an engine tune from ESS. While he hasn’t had a chance to dyno it yet, Ian estimates it’s now making somewhere in the 550 horsepower range.


Next it was time to upgrade the suspension, and it’s hard to argue with a set of KW V3 coil-overs which allow Ian to fine-tune the M4’s ride height and damper settings depending on what sort of driving he’s doing.


Seeing as how the car would be used often during Targa Trophy events, Ian also knew he’d need to do some exterior upgrades to give the M4 a more aggressive look.


He started by adding a BMW M Performance front lip spoiler along with a set of carbon fiber side skirts from Enlaes. He also installed an Alpine White grille surround and carbon fiber side vent grilles from iND Distribution.


One of the most noticeable exterior additions is the giant APR Performance GTC-300 carbon fiber wing which hangs over the rear deck lid.


APR also supplied the carbon fiber front splitter setup, while the carbon fiber rear diffuser is from Vorsteiner.

The Road Is Calling

Ian also looked to the Vorsteiner catalog when it came time to select a new set of wheels for the M4.


After careful consideration he settled on flow-forged V-FF 103s finished in Mystic Black measuring 19×9.5-inch up front 19×10.5-inch in the rear. The tires are Toyo Proxes T1 Sports, 265/35ZR19s up front and 295/30ZR19s in the rear. Not only is the setup aggressive, but it contrasts perfectly with the white body.


When it comes to the cockpit, things have been kept simple and mostly OEM. Look closely and you’ll see a number of carbon/suede parts from BMW M Performance, including the steering wheel, shift knob and e-brake handle, plus an aluminum pedal set from Pedal Haus.


As for future modifications, Ian is soon planning on upgrading the brakes with kit from R1 Concepts. After that he’s considering a full turbo upgrade with new piping and methanol injection – he just needs to figure out which power level is right for a daily driver.


Even in its current form it’s hard to ask for a better vehicle to take on the Targa Trophy events. The M4 is fast, it looks mean and it’s perfectly adept at soaking up relaxing highway miles when it needs to.


In other words, it’s exactly what makes modern performance cars so incredible. Whether it’s the daily commute or escorting exotics on the highway, this is grand touring at its best.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media

Photos by Louis Yio
Instagram: lusciousy

Cutting Room Floor


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The matter of the manual transmission, and how it seems to be a vanishing breed, got me thinking about a fantasy I've had for a while.

Let's call it the King of the Special Orders.

Let's say I went into a Dodge dealer and wanted to buy a new Hellcat Charger. They're about, say, 75 grand out the door. Let's say I had the wherewithal to make them this deal: 

"Okay, this thing's 75 out the door. Tell you what. I wanna special order one and I'll give you a hundred even for it - up front - IF YOU SELL IT TO ME AS A BIG KIT."

I want to build the thing myself and besides, there're a lot of modifications I want to make - manual transmission swap first among them - that necessitate disassembling the car. 

It'd just be easier if I could start with a big pile of virgin parts and not have to tear anything down, probably breaking lots of snap tabs and glass, scarring up leather and warping plastic in the process.

I figure if I made someone a sweet enough deal, they'd do it for me. Hell, just give me a checklist of the parts and let me wander around the factory with a forklift for a few days. I'll bring my own flatbed and everything.

Cause that's just the kind of nutcase I am.

"Oh no, Jack. Poor people are crazy. I'm eccentric."


"Built for the open road"

***has giant wing


Ice Age  they did something like that with the GT86 in Japan, it came without all the factory stuff that you're just going to change anyway, a real tuners model.

I think you're idea should be cheaper than 75, since you aren't using many of the parts they're giving to you.


Ice Age  speaking of gt86's has anyone seen the facelifted model in person yet?


JakWhite Ice Age Yeah, I think I read about that once. How much less than the standard model was it?

I'm a pretty low-tech, analog kind of guy, so I'd want to decontent the thing to a significant degree as a challenging build experiment. 

Yank out the touchscreens, replace all the instrumentation with Auto Meter gauges, use the removable body panels as mold masters for CF replacements, figure out some way to permanently disengage all the stability control systems without throwing any CELs.

See just how far I could isolate the computer systems from the car, possible getting it to the point where the onboard electronics are controlling only the engine.


mastaworm Minor details...


@timmy JakWhite Ice Age  yeah, someone has to have one, I'm surprised even Dino hasn't posted a picture of one yet (to my knowledge)


Ice Age JakWhite  it was actually quite a lot cheaper, around £10,000 cheaper than normal. It came without radio, speakers, no aircon, no trim in the interior or engine bay, all things you would remove or could replace for way less than 10k, I imagine the only computers left would be ECU and gauges as its manual to begin with so no messing with gearchange speeds etc.


JakWhite Ice Age Ten thousand pounds?



Or you could just order the optional manual transmission....


mastaworm because downforce


keep the stick alive!! 

there is just that cool factor and the special feeling you get with a stick in one hand and a third pedal


JakWhite Ice Age Here you go man


JakWhite Ice Age That's not a facelift model, it's a special model for JPN only


Love this feature, the photos and the words... great stuff!


JakWhite Ice Age This is the 'RC' model - along with what you can see here, also had very low spec interior, no A/C, no stereo etc etc. Sold in a number of places, including NZ.


""Stätus Gruppe Tuning cat-less down-pipes""
 Hope your kids don't need a world to live on after you've burned this one up.


Bro5 JakWhite Ice Age  I know, did you read what I wrote? Haha, thanks anyway.


Chri5 Duncan Do you drive an EV?


Mook Genius 2nd gen Prius DD (work truck). 2 performance cars, 1 racecar, all are running cats.


good observation, 
the car was built for the road.


Yeah, cool car. But if he wants to boost performance further more, I would give a thumbs up for a swap of that 3 litre with a brand new 4.4 engine from the 6/7 series. Twin turbo. That will be awsome.


Ice Age Actually you CAN do this. You just need the manufacturer parts catalogue, money and time to check every box. The empty shell might be the only problem. I remember seeing a Ford GT fully assembled engine for approx. $75K.

But if push came to shove


This car is perfect and the fact it's manual makes it that much better!


Ice Age Picture if they would sell you old 70's and 80's cars that you can assemble yourself. Such a wet dream


Bro5 JakWhite Ice Age that looks so good.


Nice car!! 550 HP don't think so.


Chri5 Duncan Mook Genius All those gas powered cars for one guy, two performance cars, and one race car and you're sweating that guy for running no cats?  What about all the pollution created during the processing o fall your cars and parts and wasted resources you use in ten years time with four cars?  He's got one car for it all.  Simple mathematics shows you're a more wasteful, polluting consumer than one guy with one car less a catalytic converter.  Relax dude, with your self righteous bowshit...

Saying you drive a Prius, like it's okay to own four cars, is like the guy who uses the N word and says he's not racist because he's got black friends.


An M4 with bolt ons and lotsa stickers. 
So cool, original, and exciting. We are lucky that a dude with money blessed us with this creation.


Looks like perfect M4 build to me


yotafan Bolt-ons make up 90% of what modified street cars have, the stickers are from the recent Megarun road rally that was held, and money is kind of required at this point if you want to add a little performance to any modern car.


More weight over the nose would take away from the theme of this build.


Ice Age JakWhite 10k pounds cheaper, meaning 26k-10k=16k. Still a highly entertaining prospect.


Roman64 Chri5 Duncan Mook Genius Totally. This BMW would still be 20x less than a VW TDI, so....such senselessly pointed rage over a single catless car.


Glad this hasn't been cambered to death. I would love to see a shot of the car without the TT stickers everywhere, but I know that's part of his game. Nice feature!


Only 1 driver each and you can bet this is not his only car, so re-do your math.  My cars weren't' bought new either and two of them were kept from the junkyard and cats added where there was none before. So less stuff thrown away, and classics that everyone loves retrofitted for better emissions.

I should try not to be rude, should try to get an important point across without insulting. I'm sorry to have failed at that.
I just don't get the whole "get rid of the cats" mantra. You've got 500 HP, you gain about 5 to 10 HP losing the cats. With this kind of money you could easily find that miniscule amount of HP somewhere else. But no you chose the way that increases the pollution by multitudes. From an older carburated with no emissions to a standard modern car is about 100 times more. I would venture to guess this case is 30 to 50 times more.  
Such a beautiful car. Multi millions of dollars in research spent making it perform well AND have clean emissions. And then an UNTHINKING decision to make it dirty. I think it goes back to the days when emissions were first implemented and the manufactures where behind the game and the cars lost a lot of performance from previous years. But with modern tech that's really no longer the case.


Car pollution is NOTHING compared to animal agriculture. If you truly cared about the planet, you'd go completely vegan. Your zero emissions Prius is completely undone by your consumption of a few pounds of steak and all the natural resources spent on raising just a single cow, not to mention the amount of methane gas released and pollution running into our oceans. A cat-less car is NOTHING.


TurboDynamics I was a vegan for about a dozen years until the sunlight depravation of Seattle and older age caught up with me. Now I eat meat about twice a week. Where most Americans do about 3 times a day. I'll be moving back to a sunshine state soon and will go back to vegan if possible.

So what is your reference source of a catless car compared to eating occasional meat? Have you actually run the numbers? "Nothing" is a pretty drastic number. 

You can't wait for someone else to do it for you. If you care you have to make a personal effort... IF you care. 

We are in the middle of the sixth major species extinction event in the multi billion years of the planets existence, this one is caused by man. Global warming might be an issue also, I don't think it's for sure a problem but it's for sure something to be cautious about.


the car was very good 
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