Why won’t BMW NA bring the M3 GTS to the United States?

BMW M3, Featured Posts | February 2nd, 2010 by 13

Last summer, BMW unveiled an exclusive BMW M3 model, GTS, an uber sporty M that will launch this summer in Europe. Unfortunately for those of …

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Last summer, BMW unveiled an exclusive BMW M3 model, GTS, an uber sporty M that will launch this summer in Europe. Unfortunately for those of us in the United States, BMW confirmed several times that the M3 GTS will not be available, a statement that started a new flow of questions around the reasons behind this decision.

Today, BMW North America reached out to us and provided an interview with M Brand Manager, Larry Koch, who graciously took the time to explain the M3 GTS’ absence from U.S. market.

Larry, why won’t BMW NA bring the M3 GTS to North America?
LK: When I first started discussing the GTS with M in Garching [Munich], I knew it could be a hit in the US, albeit most likely a short-lived hit given such a high price [110,000 Euros before US homologation]. However, when taking a closer look, we realized the car does not pass any EPA or federal safety standards. Those are two big catches for importing a new BMW, even in small volumes. Modifying the GTS to make it US-compliant would be a very costly affair because the car lacks airbags, proper DOT seatbelts, proper bumper height, etc. And those are just the safety items. Keep in mind the 4.4 liter engine is not homologated for the US which would require more than a simple set of racing catalysts [as the car is currently equipped].
But couldn’t those things be added to a US version of the GTS?
LK: I’m sure they could, but you have to balance cost against demand. In this case, the customers we speak to on a regular basis are indicating that they’d rather purchase the already-outstanding M3 Coupe for less than $60,000, even with the new-for-2011 Competition Package, and customize it. As you know, the US client often spends a great deal of time and imagination to make his or her M3 unique.
You mentioned the Competition Package… what else can you tell us about that?
LK: It’s a focused package designed to enhance the handling of the Coupe and Sedan. It delivers some key items we’ve found to be in demand. New wheels (coincidentally quite similar to the GTS wheels but in silver) with a wider offset, 10mm lower ride height, and standard Electronic Damping Control with enhanced programming. For cars equipped with the M Drive feature, the M Dynamic Mode (MDM) gets revised software for even more excitement. For $2,500, I think it’s a heck of a package without any of the compromise to the daily driver ability for which the M3 has become famous.
Any chance you’ll be offering that wild Orange exterior color from the GTS on the Competition Package M3 here?
LK: Someone once told me, ‘There can always be hope but never a guarantee.’ I think that applies in this case.

13 responses to “Why won’t BMW NA bring the M3 GTS to the United States?”

  1. Bryce says:

    I’m not really a big fan of the halloween orange… I’ll have to see it in person because I usually like shades of orange, but from the photos that looks like one shade too pumpkin.

  2. Isn’t it inca orange? I thought thats what the color was but I could be wrong.

  3. IAn says:

    I moved here to the states 8 years ago. Since then I have been shocked at how we always seem to not get the best models from the German manufacturers here. None of the Audi RS cars have been sold here and the GT/CSL is off too!

  4. =] says:

    @IAn, the AUDI RS4 & RS6 have been sold here in the states

  5. lennardt says:

    well.. a lot other things can be bought in europe much later than in usa. ;-)
    other point: isn’t it possible to buy the car in europe and ship it over to usa?

  6. ///M-POWER says:

    for us the guy in Europe (I am of France) one does not have the right has many American marks, the Chevrolet, dodge and other Ford this limit with the x-ray nitro and other models low cost not of mustang camaro to charge viper ….. not with 335is either for example, the sales of cars has 90% c’ is small 3 and 4 cylinders of 130hp at best in diesel of course of the small models style Peugeot 207.308 etc Renault CLIO Citroen c3 c4

  7. Bandile Sam says:

    Bring it here in South Africa, we don’t have recession here we buy non stop.. BMW gave us the M3 CSL and we didn’t hesitate buying, nw theres the M3 GTS and we want it!

  8. bmwm6 says:

    I thought if you pay a good price they could get you any colour

  9. John says:

    LOL, the US government thinks Americans can’t drive i guess. What do you need airbags for? In such a unique you should try to keep it in one part


    I understood launch control had to be removed from the M-series also in the States? That’s so much fun. You guys are missing a lot.

    Can’t wait to testdrive one on the Autobahn! Hope the Vmax isn’t limited ;)

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