As the original owner of an E92, the car only became worth more and more as the years went on. This made me think twice about putting miles on it. Not this time! I’ve already got 1,200 miles on my G80 M3, which means it’s time for the M break-in service, and some good and bad points on the car.
What’s an M break-in service?
BMW M cars are engineered with tighter tolerances than standard BMWs, so the engine oil and differential fluid pick up more small metal particles during initial driving. At 1,200 miles, every M car goes in for service to change the oil and diff fluid. This means that I’m now able to enjoy the full red line and performance of the car.
Here are 3 good points, and 3 bad ones.
Good: It’s fast. Very fast.
Well, of course it is. But it’s really how it goes about that speed, which is seamlessly. The stick serves as a way to slow the car down, because without it, it’s as smooth and effortless as an electric car.
Torque is everywhere. Do I miss the 30 horses that come with a Competition? No, I can’t even tell, and I drove a Comp for a long stint.
Bad: Same old stick
Go back to my E92 review, and you’ll see I called the shift feel “typical BMW” – the G80 feels identical. Longish throws, a vague sense of engagement, and a clutch that’s smooth but catches a bit high for my taste.
It’s also an afterthought in this car. Placing a drink in the cup holder means inhibited shifting, and while Comp models get nice gloss black trim and an M3 badge, stick guys get…nothing. Matte black surround and an iDrive controller that’s a bit awkwardly placed. Also, the stick does not light up at night. Come on guys…
Good: It’s a comfortable M3
I drove the car home from the Performance Center, some 700 miles, and it was comfortable throughout the trip. Place the car in comfort mode and aside from some clomps over expansion joints, it’s quiet and peaceful. This car takes the M3 ethos of street and track performance to the extreme, much more so than the F80 ever did.
Bad: The adjustments
Imagine you’ve come to eat at my restaurant, and I’m the chef. Instead of preparing the meal, I bring out all the ingredients and dump them on the table. “Here, you cook.”
That’s what BMW has done with the M3.
To initially set up M1 and M2 takes a bit of time. Is the suspension too soft? Steering too heavy? Throttle too touchy? Hard to know. If you’re wondering, my M1 setup is:
- Sport Plus throttle
- Sport Suspension
- Comfort Steering
- Sport Brakes
My M2 setting is full red mist – everything in the stiffest setting, along with MDM mode activated.
Now once you set it up, all those adjustments are basically useless. I’ll never touch them. I didn’t in the E92 either, which offered a similar amount of adjustability. While this lets the car adapt to the driver’s wants, I’d rather it just come tuned from the factory the way BMW says. Those brakes in comfort mode are silly guys, come on…
Finally, the digital gauge cluster is still busy, as in all modern BMWs. But here, in the only car that BMW makes with a Digital Dash and stick, it’s even more silly with a tachometer that swings in the opposite direction of what you’d expect.
The Good: The size increase
When you’re driving down the road, the size and weight increase over the F80 is not evident. It feels smaller the faster you drive, like most M cars.
Instead, it allows me to fit my camera gear, my daughter in the back seat, trips to the food store…it’s a usable car. Not that old M3s were tight cars, but I appreciate the “mini-M5” utility.
You take it on a track, and you’ll notice the weight. But if you’re able to use all of this car’s performance on a track, you’re really good.
The Bad: It’s different. Is it better?
No doubt, this is the best M3 ever made. It does everything old ones did, just better, or more.
BMW really does make an effort here. The exhaust burbles when you let off the throttle, but not an obnoxious amount. A 7,200 RPM redline is still up there for a turbocharged car – not too far off the S65 V-8. Some steering feel has returned. The car is planted in any corner. It inspires confidence.
But it’s so fast, and so capable, it’s like using Thor’s hammer every time you need to hang a picture. You might ask it to play nice on a back road, where you won’t go above 45 mph. It’s bored. You might ask it to do it at more speed, like 70. It’s still bored.
To get the G80 to wake up, you’ve got to be going at a clip that will land you in jail.
Name another car like this M3 sold today with a stick. Exactly…none.
I’m glad I waited, it was worth it, and we’ll see where this G80 takes me over 3 years of ownership.
Commissions may be received for product links on this site, so help out if you can. I only write about products I use and believe in.
Email me at email@example.com with any questions.
Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls
Due to factors beyond the control of Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio, I cannot guarantee against improper use or unauthorized modifications of this information. Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio assumes no liability for property damage or injury incurred as a result of any of the information contained in this post. Use this information at your own risk. Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio recommends safe practices when working on vehicles and or with tools seen or implied in this post.
Due to factors beyond the control of Machines With Souls LLC and Mike D’Ambrosio, no information contained in this post shall create any expressed or implied warranty or guarantee of any particular result. Any injury, damage, or loss that may result from improper use of these tools, equipment, or from the information contained in this post is the sole responsibility of the user and not Machines With Souls LLC or Mike D’Ambrosio.