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One year review with my G80 M3

September marked the one-year anniversary of owning my G80 M3. How's it doing, and what have I learned about what might be BMW's best M3 yet.


It was never intentional to keep my E92 locked away. In the beginning, I took mass transit to work in New York, and the car sat during the week. The next thing I knew, the car had very low mileage and was already 5 years old. Not this time. My G80 M3 deserves to be driven each day. It’s comfortable, fast, and overall perhaps the best M3 yet.

Now, I celebrate the one-year mark with it. What have I learned? I’ll explain, and while we chat, I’ll give the car a bath at my favorite garage with AMMO NYC.

After all, it’s a big week for the M3.

Larry’s shop has seen many a special G80 M3, with the pre-production, PDC’s, and now my own.

How much is a G80 M3?

It might seem like a weird question to start with, but the answer is maybe not as much as you think. Stickered at a little over $75,000,  you’d be hard-pressed to find another car that does so much in this price range.

The carbon buckets look nice but are too tight. The carbon ceramic brakes won’t dust as much (we’ll get to that), but are 10% of the total price of the car. Maybe I needed the parking package? I don’t know, I haven’t parked over a cliff yet but the cameras are missed.

Maybe once you start to get up by the M5, around $110k, the M3 makes less sense.

G80 M3
This is going to be a full detail, which I do once a year.
G80 M3
I’ll walk around the entire car to identify the really bad spots, like this booger on the lower rocker panels…
G80 M3
The swirl marks on the grills…
G80 M3
Water stains…
G80 M3
And oh my god, these wheels…
G80 M3
We can’t forget the inside, which I purposely kept (very) dirty for this story.

Competition superstition

I must tell you I do not like how BMW penalizes for choosing the stick. No cool M seat belts. A shifter surround that isn’t gloss. And a lot less power and torque.

Actually, maybe not the power and torque. Unless I were to drag race a Competition model, or literally drive them back-to-back, you will not notice the power difference from a “base” M3.

“Broooo, you got the stick!” Is what I hear at shows. Yeah, I did. Me and maybe five other people. Do it before it goes away very soon.

G80 M3 interior
I’ll check the inside too. The side bolsters on the driver’s seat is wearing well.
G80 M3 interior
Another gross spot is the door handle. Oil from skin will discolor over time.
AMMO Lather
I’ll use AMMO Lather, a brush, and a towel to clean everything inside.
G80 M3
I wear gloves when I drive, but the wheel can still get a shiny look to it.
G80 M3 wheel
The nice matte finish will return.
G80 M3 shifter
Another big touch point is this shifter.
G80 M3 shifter
Cleaning and conditioning the side bolster is important to keep it looking new.
G80 M3 seats
My daughter is excellent at being careful, but the seat back will still get dirty.
G80 M3 rear seats
The child seat is removed to clean the bench.
M Performance mats
The mats are cleaned with a mix of AMMO Shag and water in a power washer.
G80 M3 interior
All clean on the inside.


I will tell you that in the wrong gear, the turbo lag is obvious. Even my daughter knows when the kick happens on the tach. But if you drive the car properly (or just get one with an automatic) turbo lag is imperceptible, and the S58 is a better engine than the S55 (and yes, the S65). Deal with it.

In fact, this and the S63 are BMW’s best engines to date, in this author’s humble opinion.

G80 M3 brakes
The brake calipers are difficult to clean through the wheels, so we’ll take them off.
G80 M3 wheel
There is no easy wheel option to clean on the G80 M3. Both style 825M and 826M are intricate.
G80 M3 wheels
The inner barrels will be cleaned as well.
G80 M3 wheels
Larry has some wheel stands that roll and make the wheels much easier to work with off the car.
G80 M3 wheels
We’ll use a mix of AMMO Plum, AMMO Brute and AMMO Boost to get the wheels clean.
G80 M3 wheels
To clean the spokes takes three brush sizes, rags, and a boar-hair brush.
G80 M3 wheels
Omce clean, I used AMMO Reflex Pro Wheel Coat, which will help to keep dust and dirt from sticking.
G80 M3
Next, I pressure wash the wheel wells. Note the rears are fabric and tend to grab dirt.
G80 M3 brakes
Calipers are cleaned with brushes and the same wheel soap mix.
G80 M3 brakes
I also added a coat of Reflex to the calipers.
G80 M3 brakes
One issue is the rust that will form on the rotor, which immediately gets on the clean wheel.
G80 M3 wheels
The wheels get torqued to 103.5 lb-ft.
G80 M3 wheels
With the wheels now clean, we can lower the car and work on the paint.

Fuel duel

I drive the G80 M3 around town more than the E92. That car was mostly on the highway going to shows, so it got a nice 19 MPG. Pretty impressive for that car.

The computer in the G tells me 18.6. I don’t think I’ve changed my driving habits. Maybe progress isn’t really being made here.

G80 M3 wash
Tubby time.
G80 M3 wash
I’ll use a brush to get inside the badges and other harder to reach spots.
G80 M3 wash
The water still beads from the initial coast of Reflex Pro I put on last year, but it needs a new coat yearly.

Brake down

My brakes squeal a lot. It sounds like an old school bus. Very embarrassing. The dealer won’t fix it. But Tyler from Tyspeed even said that’s the way they are. Maybe carbon ceramics would help.

My brakes dust a lot too. It’s extremely hard to clean the wheels properly as you just saw. Carbon ceramics would help here too.

With the ceramics, the hardware is almost identical. The calipers are the same, but the rotors on CCBs are slightly thicker and larger (380 x 36 base front, 400 x 38 CCB if you’re wondering). If your CCBs squeal in any BMW, let me know.

One thing that makes the car sound better is the exhaust. Speaking of…

G80 M3 shadowline
Shadowline trim swirls easily, so I’ll use a little Rupes Fine Polish to clean up some marks and old dried coating.
G80 M3 shadowline
This is Frame Pro Trim Coat. It can go on all the black Shadowline trim pieces to clear them up.
G80 M3 shadowline
The G80 M3’s side vents can get a little cloudy, so Trim will bring them back. This is before.
G80 M3 shadowline
And after.


A lot of people have written asking if I still love the AWE exhaust I installed last month. The answer is a resounding yes. It’s louder than any muffled system, pops loudly, doesn’t increase drone by any unbearable amount and looks great.

I probably wouldn’t recommend the BMC panel filters. They don’t do much. Like the exhaust, I’m hoping to find one I like that’s reasonably priced.

G80 M3 paint
After the trim is set, I’ll use AMMO Reflex Pro to coat the entire car, which will help protect the paint, make it look amazing, and make it easier to clean.
G80 M3 paint
You can see the depth Reflex adds here.

What have you done with it?

In one year, I’ve put 9,200 miles on it. I’ve loved every one, including:

But what’s cool is that it also takes my daughter to school every day, is my “base” on photo shoots, and picks up the groceries.

G80 M3 paint
Almost done. We’ll add some AMMO Skin to protect the paint further. This wears off quicker but will help Reflex last longer. After that, we’ll add some AMMO Mud on the tires.

Finders, Keepers

I’m year-one into a three-year lease. By the time it’s up, the Blackwing will be gone. An M5 is out of reach. I’m not sure I see anything else that can directly compete with my G80 M3, though some are tempting.

Let’s see what the LCI holds, and I’ll better be able to decide then.

Overall I love it. If you have one I hope you love yours, and I’m exited for year two!

Special thanks as always to Larry of AMMO NYC for opening up his shop for the day.

G80 M3
Nine hours later, my G80 M3 is ready for the Fall Cruise this Sunday.

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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 with any questions. Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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