In my opinion, Porsche makes the best sports cars in the world. Nothing comes close in terms of the iconic styling and driving experience of a Porsche. However, Porsche sports cars are horrible daily drivers. I’ll admit, they have gotten better over the years but if you’re going to daily a Porsche, you better factor in about an extra 100 dollars a month for routine chiropractor appointments; I’m 18 and my back starts to hurt after a few hours. This is what I like about BMW. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a Porsche blog and Porsches will always have my heart, but as far as a fun daily driver goes, a BMW is hard to beat. This is especially true for the F80 M3 which we recently had the privilege of reviewing. And let me tell you, this thing’s a freaking beast to put it bluntly.
I’ll tell you upfront, I think the F80 M3 is one of the best looking cars ever designed. Everything about it just works. The front is the beautiful while remaining the perfect amount of subtle. Move around the sides and you get those gorgeous lines that only an M3 can pull off. Then you get to the back. I love those perfectly flared fenders and its perfect tail-lights. The way this car sits is mesmerizing, not to mention its intimidating road presence. They really knocked it out of the park with the F80.
The exterior of the F80 is stunning while the interior is just classic BMW. You get great materials, nice comfortable seats, simple yet elegant dials, it’s very German. Everything is right where you want it to be. My one gripe would be the infotainment though. I think it’s unnecessarily complicated and I couldn’t figure out how to connect my phone. Other than that, I don’t have many complaints.
How It Drives
This is where it gets interesting. The best way I could describe the F80 is that it has a very split personality. The car is powered by BMW’s S55 engine, a 3.0 liter twin turbo inline 6 making about 450 hp with the competition package and 406 lb/ft of torque. When driving around town the car feels completely normal. It’s comfortable, the 7 speed DCT is pretty smooth (much more than Porsche’s PDK) and it’s a very docile car…up until about 3000 rpm.
You can tell the F80 is turbocharged because once you reach about 3000 rpm, the boost kicks in, and it kicks in hard. This thing pushes you back in your seat like nobody’s business, and it keeps pulling all the way to redline. With that DCT and launch control, 60 mph happens in just under 4 seconds and if you turn traction control off, it spins its tires all the way there.
When you drive this car, you immediately notice two things: the boost and its ability to drift. Despite having 275 tires in the back, the M3 will happily spin its wheels all the way to 3rd gear if you really try. Drifting is so easy with this car, just let the turbos kick in mid turn and you’re sideways. Thankfully, drifts are very easy to control in this car thanks to its incredible weight balance but it’s kind of scary knowing that any idiot with about $70,000 dollars in their pocket can have access to this kind of performance.
Having said all that, it’s by no means perfect. I think the seats are a bit constricting for shorter drivers like myself and the electric power steering feels a bit dead. This is funny when you’re driving because it’s very precise, but you don’t feel it being precise. It feels more like a driving simulator if that makes sense.
Also, that S55 is a double edged sword. On one end, you get massive laughs and torque from those turbos, but that comes at the cost of uneven throttle response and some unpredictability in the corners. If you hit the boost at the wrong time mid corner, you’re spinning out no question. As a result, you don’t feel like you’re in control 100% of the time which is not the case with older, naturally aspirated M3s like the E36.
Speaking of naturally aspirated M3s, the sound is a bit lackluster on the F80. On its own the S55 sounds pretty decent but it’s nothing compared to its predecessors.
As I said before, a BMW is an amazing choice for a fun daily driver, and the F80 M3 is no different. If you intend to use it as a pure sports car that you only drive on the weekends, you’re going to be disappointed, get a Porsche. But if you want a car that’s insanely fast, comfortable, and just as happy taking on a light canyon road as it is cruising on the freeway, the F80 M3 is hard to beat. I loved it.
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