Eventually, I think people will look back on the F80 BMW M3 as the second-best M3 ever, especially considering so many people thumb their nose at the current G80 M3 and its massive Angry Sea Lamprey face. BMW says it sold more new M cars than ever in 2021, the year the G80 debuted, but newness and novelty always wear off.

  • Car: 2016 F80 BMW M3
  • Location: Southern California
  • Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram)
  • Camera: Canon 6D, 35-70mm EF 4.0 Zoom

The F80 M3 is a special car. It has a wild twin-turbo inline-6, a relatively small footprint, nice proportions, and reasonably sized kidney grilles. It’s also immense fun to drive, especially when equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox like this one. People are so enveloped in the current generation and pine so hard for BMWs of the late 1990s and early 2000s that the F80 is sort of overlooked.

The top of the podium goes to the E46 M3, as it’s what everyone seems to agree on as the top dog. I have yet to drive one myself, but I sure would love to.

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