In the history of motorsports, there are certain race car liveries and color combinations that are perhaps more famous than the actual cars that wore them. I’m talking about the legendary colors of names like Martini, Gulf, and John Player Special, all of which bring to mind some of the greatest racing cars ever to lay tire on a race track.
Another one to put on the list is BMW Motorsport’s signature combination of light blue, dark blue and red. For decades, the M stripes have graced race cars of all types, and seeing them together instantly reminds you of BMW’s vast motorsports successes. It’s really quite amazing the power that three simple colors can have.
It was actually those colors that were the first thing I noticed when I encountered Bulletproof Automotive’s 2016 BMW M4 build at last year’s SEMA Show. And that’s how it was supposed to be.
The decision to integrate the classic BMW racing colors came as a way to appeal to the old school BMW purists who might otherwise scoff at a German performance car that’s loaded up with aftermarket parts not from Germany, but Japan.
The current phase of the Bulletproof M4 build was completed in just five weeks, with the car finished just in time for its debut in Las Vegas at SEMA. And there were plenty of logistical challenges to be worked out along the way.
For starters, the owner of the car actually took delivery of the new BMW in Hawaii and rushed to get the engine run in before shipping it halfway across the Pacific to Bulletproof’s HQ in California.
The owner is a long-time Bulletproof customer whose previous cars have included modified Euros as well as Japanese models like the Evo and GT-R. For for the M4 project he wanted to build a German car with heavy doses of high-end Japanese tuning style – something that Bulletproof is known to be quite adept at.The Bulletproof Touch
Once the Bulletproof team had the brand new BMW in their hands, the transformation begun. It started under the hood where the N55 twin-turbo inline-six was treated to an ESS race tune, Gruppe M carbon fiber intake and an Armytrix full exhaust system.
This all results in a solid 500 horsepower to the rear wheels with plenty more to come, including planned turbo and intercooler upgrades as the S55 aftermarket continues to develop and mature.
The F82 M4 is a damn impressive machine right out of the box, but that didn’t stop the Bulletproof team from fitting additional upgrades to the suspension and chassis. The coilovers for example are high-end Aragosta pieces from Japan with external reservoirs and a lifter system up front.
The already substantial M4 brakes were replaced with a Runduce Japan big brake kit featuring 8-pot calipers up front and 6-pot calipers in the rear. The rotors themselves measure an enormous 380 millimeters in diameter.
Not surprisingly, the engineering artists at RAYS were called upon to provide wheels for the project – more specially a set of G25s from the Volk Racing catalog.
The wheels measure 20×10 inches up front and 20×12 inches in the rear with Toyo Proxes R888 rubber all around. As you can see, the big Volks do a great job of filling up bodywork that’s just a bit more aggressive than your typical M4.Go Big, Go Wide
The centerpiece of the exterior is a complete Varis VRS wide-body conversion that’s been fully molded for a seamless look. In profile it takes the already wide and aggressive M4 body to an entirely new level.
The body-kit is complimented by other parts from the VRS catalog, including a carbon fiber hood designed to deliver extra cooling, a carbon fiber rear diffuser system, and a gigantic 1800mm carbon fiber GT wing that towers over the rear end.
And again there’s that classic BMW M livery, which really ties everything up and perfectly blends the modern styling with a nice little nod to the car maker’s motorsport roots.
Inside you’ll find the cabin has been customized in a way that should be very familiar to anyone who has seen Bulletproof’s recent builds. There’s custom Alcantara upholstery and stitching throughout, and the stock seats have been swapped out for a pair of Recaro Japan RS-G buckets with Willans x Bulletproof harnesses.
In the back, the rear seat has been removed and in its place sits an HG Motorsports roll bar that will come in handy when it’s time to hit the race track.
And for as well rounded as the car seems, I’m told that this is just the first phase of what’s going to be an extensive build. Already in the plans are continued power upgrades with matching improvements to the cooling system and a new set of lighter 19-inch wheels and tires specifically for track use.
Bulletproof’s take on the BMW M4 might not be considered the traditional approach for modification, but with a keen attention to detail, great overall balance and a splash of classic racing colors, it’s hard not to imagine more and more BMW owners embracing this approach in the future.
Welcome to 2016.
Photos by Louis Yio
Bulletproof Automotive F82 BMW M4
BMW S55, ESS race tune, Gruppe M carbon fiber intake with K&N filters, Armytrix full exhaust system
BMW DCT gearbox
Aragosta Japan Type SS 3-way motorsports coilovers with remote reservoirs & front lifter system, Runduce Japan big brake kit with 8-piston calipers (front), 6-piston calipers (rear), 380mm rotors
RAYS Volk Racing G25 20×10-inch (front) 20×12-inch (rear), Toyo Proxes R888 tires
Varis VRS wide-body conversion fully molded, Varis/VRS carbon cooling bonnet system 2, Varis/VRS carbon rear diffuser system 1, Varis/VRS 1800mm carbon swan-neck GT wing with carbon base, custom BMW Motorsport graphics, Willans x Bulletproof tow strap
Complete Bulletproof Alcantara interior with M stitching, Recaro Japan RS-G with custom Alcantara, Willans x Bulletproof race harnesses, HG Motorsports roll-bar and harness bar, full rear seat delete