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What’s the best intake for the G80 M3?

So far, I’ve really loved owning a G80 M3. It was so nice out of the box, I didn’t really see the need to change anything. “I’ll just leave it stock.” And I did for about a year. We know that’s no longer the case. Now that the exhaust is set up nicely, I’ve turned my attention to the car’s intake. But how does it work, and what is the best intake for the platform? Let’s install the Armaspeed G80 M3 intake and find out.

m3-tach

The stock G80 M3 airbox

Gone are the days of wimpy, restrictive stock intakes from the factory. The M3 makes 500 horses out of the gate – BMW knows they need to be fed air. Cool air, specifically.

Figuring this, I ordered a set of BMC drop-in air filters for the car, and along with taking out the charcoal panels in the air box, this modification did…nothing. A big nothing burger. Avoid them.

There’s no additional power gain. Fuel consumption remains the same.  And worst of all, they don’t increase sound. We want that turbo intake woosh! To be fair, BMW has a market to cater to, and blow-off valve sounds might be a bit to much for their demographic.

But not us. It’s now time to take out the stock air boxes entirely.

What to look for in upgrading your G80’s intake

Let’s start off with acknowledging that no intake for this car is going to give you + 50 horses. You might not notice any difference at all. The computer in a modern car is smart enough to adjust the air/fuel mixture to compensate for differences in air density. And we definitely don’t want to make things worse by leaving the filter elements open and exposed to hot engine bay air. Might sound awesome, but won’t help your M3 perform better.

Because the stock air boxes are piped to the outside for fresh air, we need to select something that performs like the stock units, but allows room for cone filters. While we’re at it, sprucing up the engine bay can’t hurt. Carbon fiber is always a crowd pleaser.

In choosing between units, I ended up on the Eventuri or Armaspeed brands. The Eventuri unit is beautiful to behold, but not quite as loud as I like. When on a recent shoot with an M4 Convertible that had the Armaspeed intake installed, I knew I found the unit I wanted. It’s totally concealed with a beautiful carbon fiber air box lid, and makes the turbochargers much louder.

Is it juvenile? Absolutely. Should you and I care about this perception? We should not.

G80 M4 Armaspeed intake
The kit boasts beautifully finished enclosed carbon fiber air boxes.

How to install the Armaspeed intake for the G80 M3

Normally, I’d head to a shop like Tyspeed to have the work done, but this install is about as easy as it gets.

Here’s a quick video, and the steps are below.

 

  • First, remove the strut braces and remove the engine cover. The cover lifts off by simply pulling up.
  • Next, loosen the air box rings that connect them to the intake tubes, and unscrew the air box lids with a Torx driver. These screws don’t come out all the way, and when you’ve got them all, you can simply pull up on the box. The bottom half of the stock air boxes need a good tug to get them out.
  • Next, you can remove the six bolts that assist in holding the radiator in place – well use these bolts again on the new intake covers.
  • Unhook the sensor directly behind the front intake tube.
  • Removing the stock air hoses was the hardest part for me. It’s difficult to get hands down in front of the engine and unclasp the hose clamps. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull on each side of the clasp, and then the hose should come out.
  • To install the new air box, reverse the steps. The bottom portion of the intake box pops into the rubber grommets from the stock box.
  • It’s best to assemble the cone filters and carbon fiber intake pipes and place them inside the air boxes before installing the boxes in the car. Otherwise, there isn’t enough room to fit them in.
  • Tighten up the new clamps from the Armaspeed kit around the silicone hoses provided.
  • Reinstall the sensor clip, and install the intake covers with the provided hardware. Make sure to use the plastic grommets on the radiator bolts to prevent the covers from cracking.
  • Pop the engine cover back on, reinstall the bars and plug in the sensor, and that’s it. Make sure to torque the bars to their proper spec, which is 28Nm.
G80 M4 Armaspeed intake
The branding is subtle, poking through the V-brace.
G80 M3 Armaspeed intake
The kit is easy to install and worth it for both sound and performance.

What does the Armaspeed intake for the G80 M3 sound like?

It’s by no means loud or annoying, but the Armaspeed intake creates a wonderful woosh once you’re on boost starting around 3,000 RPM. Be aggressive with your foot, and then pop off the throttle for a wonderful blow-off sound. This is how the M3 should sound out of the box.

G80 M3 Armaspeed intake
Punch it to red line for a satisfying scream.

Combined with the AWE exhaust, the car now makes proper intake and exhaust sounds under all conditions. Foot on gas, you get a roar from the rear and a deep breath from the hood. Let off the gas and you get the burbles and blow-offs.

Hear it for yourself (video begins at sound clips here):

It also looks great under the hood – perhaps enough to make me consider additional jewelry for the engine bay. Last but not least, the car feels much faster, pulling harder the more you rev it. Get it to red line, and those intakes scream.

It’s important to note that my M3 is still street legal and emissions compliant. You don’t need a tune, and you especially don’t need to remove the cats, to get your car to sound like this.

With the engine sound finally sorted, what’s next? Stay tuned!

 

G80 M3 Armaspeed intake

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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

Email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions. Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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