BMW’s most hardcore car, the M4 GTS, seems to have come at a bad time, considering that its competition has never been this good. The mightiest BMW has to deal with the brand-new Porsche 911 GT3 RS and, now, the Mercedes-AMG GT R and hardcore track cars have never been better. So can the BMW M4 GTS hang with the two cars from Stuttgart? Chris Harris finds out.

On paper, the M4 GTS seems to be in the ballpark of the other two. Under its carbon fiber hood lies a twin-turbocharged 3.0 liter I6 engine, the same basic unit that powers the standard M4. However, it’s been given some added power, via water-injection, so it makes 493 hp. That engine sends power through a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box to the rear wheels. It also gets fancy fixed carbon fiber aerodynamics, new suspension, new steering and a stripped out interior. So it’s very light and very powerful, allowing it to get from 0-60 mph in about 3.8 seconds. But what about the other two?

Well, on paper, the Mercedes-AMG GT R is quite a bit more impressive. Its 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 makes 585 hp and is also paired with a dual-clutch transmission, powering the rear wheels. So it’s significantly more powerful than the M4 GTS and that shows, with it getting from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. That’s faster than the M4 GTS but not by much, so the Bavarian still has a shot.

The Porsche 911 GT3 RS makes 500 hp from its 4.0 liter flat-six that’s also paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch (although, it’s now available with a six-speed manual as well) and powers the rear wheels. The 911 GT3 RS is the fastest car here, being able to clock 60 mph in 3.0 seconds flat. That’s mightily impressive. So can the most hardcore Bavarian keep up with this level of competition?

Chris Harris doesn’t think so. Which is surprising, considering that he’s actually a big fan of the new F80 M3. However, he doesn’t see the point or the value in the M4 GTS.

First, Harris drives the Mercedes-AMG GT R and is seriously impressive. It’s powerful, balanced, violent and exciting while still being comfortable and luxurious. It proves that you don’t need to strip every single creature comfort out to have a car that’s exciting, dynamic, thrilling and hardcore. The slip-angles he’s able to hold, and for how long he’s able to hold them, is incredible. After driving the AMG, he drives the M4 GTS and just simply isn’t as impressed.

By comparison, the Bimmer is too boosty, the steering isn’t as accurate and the entire package is too disjointed and sloppy to be worth more than the AMG. It’s an entertaining car and it’s interesting but it just doesn’t live up to Harris’ expectations. He admits that he should love it, based on the other BMWs he loves, but he doesn’t.

But the Bimmer’s flaws are even more prominent when he drives the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Its front end is better, its steering is far better than both other cars, its chassis is the most balanced and it’s just more exciting than anything else. So the GT3 RS is still king. The AMG runs it closer than expected but the M4 GTS needs some work.