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The BMW G8X M invasion of New York City

I head into the heart of Manhattan with a group of BMW G8X owners and discover that it's the most attention-getting design BMW has ever made.

BMW G80 M3

By now, you might think that I’m not too happy with my G80 M3. I like both the Blackwing and F90 M5 better. The E90 has more soul. But the truth is, I do love it. It’s an amazing daily, comfortable and fast. Yet when I attend car shows, I can feel the glares of disapproval from some. “It’s not a real M3”, as if there ever was such a thing. Now the car has started to develop its own following, so I grab a bunch of BMW G8X owners and head to a place where everyone can see us: New York City, and Times Square.

Do not try this at home.

Being the camera car, and the subject car

The images you’ll see here were difficult to take. While I’m normally just a “fly on the wall” during events like this, here, my M3 would also be front and center. And I wanted to be a participant for this one.

So keep in mind that I set my camera up for rollers before driving, and then basically just pointed and clicked as we drove down the highway. Many shaky takes ensured, but there are also a few gems. I’m always safe, as is everyone around me.

Oh, one other thing. Over 20 BMW G8X cars here, and I was the only stick. I want no complaints when BMW finally ditches it, you all had your chance.

Anyway, let’s go for a ride.

4:42 – Start

I live in an area of the country with a very active BMW community, and I need only go a half-mile down the road from my home to meet my first two escorts of the night: another M3 and an M4. Together, we head up the New Jersey Turnpike to our first meet point with the main group.

BMW G80 M3
Up the NJ turnpike we go.

6:00 – Static meetup

The meet point for everyone coming from north New Jersey is a fast food restaurant parking lot, and I’m immediately wowed by the amount of Gs in the lot. It now seems that doing an individual color is more common than selecting one off the menu, and I’m the only Portimao Blue one on this night.

I consider it a good omen that a random 1997 3000GT is in the lot in the background.

The M 50th badge is a nice feature for the 2023 models.
Lots of unique individual colors on display.
Random 3000GT is a good omen.

6:36 – Into NYC

This is the best part.

It’s also the worst.

If you’re looking for a good “drive”, then this isn’t the place to go. After a nice run up Route 4, we all sit in traffic for over an hour to move five miles over the George Washington Bridge. But if we must sit in traffic, as least the scenery is excellent. G8Xs are all around me.

The view behind as we prepare to leave.
Rob, the organizer’s beautiful Individual M3.
Aventurin Red Metallic.
Shooters hang out the side to capture the cars behind.
Three deep.
Traffic stinks, but the view is great.

8:12 – BMW of Manhattan

Once we’re in the city, things become surreal. There’s a lot of history here for me. I was with BMW of Manhattan for the launch of the G80, and now we’re parked out in front, over 20 G8Xs deep.

In front of BMW of Manhattan.
A lone F80 joined us on our adventure.

8:32 – Times Square Prep

It’s incredibly difficult to keep the entire group of cars together without anyone breaking us up. So we meet up on a side street that has enough room to fit everyone in a line.

New York City hates cars. And it hates groups of cars like this even more. But we’re lucky, no one really bothers us as we head into the heart of NYC.

Notice the traffic on my screen. Oh well.
Taste the rainbow.

8:47 – Times Square

What was I expecting? I’m not sure, but probably not this. Everyone stares. And I do mean everyone. Cell phones come out, filming us and our little parade.

Traffic is a crawl through here, and it’s just as well, because it gives us a chance to pull over for some quick shots.

It’s also a bit weird.

“Are they going to race?”

“What kind of sports cars are those?”

“Bro, can you rev it?”

It’s like we’re in space ships. I’m around cars like this all the time, and of course, our little parade is full of owners. But I do forget that these cars can be a rare sight. And not everyone in Times Square is “local”.

Rolling in.
This is the scene as we drove through.
Phones out.
One of, if not my favorite image of my car so far.

9:44 – BMW G8X Family photo

Some of the group depart. Others head away from mid-town to our final spot. I didn’t ask the leader of our group, Rob, where we’d end up, but I’ve got no complaints. It’s very familiar.

The cars line up, and I figure, what the hell, I’ll never get the chance again. So I take out some lights and go to town, lighting each individual M car as best I can in the short amount of time I have.

The best way to do this shot would have the camera on a dolly, light painting each in a more controlled manner so the true color of the car comes out. But I work with what I have in the time allotted.

I’m limited by the amount of room I can display on the site. The original image is over 27,000 pixels wide.
Here’s the sequence close up.

The M3 community remains the same

It was nice to focus on just us G guys. You’ll still find plenty of vitriol on the forums and social media regarding the front end, but it comes from a place of ignorance. The G8X is the best M3 to come out of Bavaria yet.

I have nothing but smiles on the drive back home. I know I’m still where I belong.


Thanks to Rob for organizing this meet.

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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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