The G80 M3 can’t live up to our expectations from the M3 badge when the G20 3-series it’s based on barely resembles a 3-series.
Or can it?
In this episode of ICONS, Jason explores where our expectations of the M3 badge come from — starting from the original M3, which was a response to the FIA homologations-special Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16.
Holding any M3 to the standard of the E30 M3 isn’t fair to BMW, because the E30 M3 was a sales failure.
The E46 M3 wasn’t. It combined the charms of a race car in a usable daily package with killer performance and a motorsports-inspired, 8000-rpm S54 straight-six. The E46 M3 was peak M3.
Which leaves us at the G80, which is now larger than Peak M5: the E39. M5s, historically, were do-everything-well executive saloons. That’s a great bunch of attributes, but it’s not what we expect when we see an M3 badge.
Then again, the G80 is the best M3 to ever drive around a race track. So maybe its name is irrelevant.
And once again, an enormous, heartfelt thank you to Tammi Hull and to Saint Bill, owner of Bill Arnold Independent BMW in San Rafael, CA.