Will the BMW F80 End Up Being Cherished for Its Modest-Looking Grille?

Might smaller snouts become a price modifier?

Like the 993 Porsche 911 receiving a lot of affection for being the final air-cooled 911, could the F80 M3 gain more affection for being the last modest-grille-sized, four-door M car?

  • Car(s): F80 BMW M3
  • Location: Angeles National Forest, CA
  • Photog: Peter Nelson (IG + Twitter: @16vPete)
  • Camera: Canon 6D, EF 50mm 1.8 AF

I shot this back in February 2020. Orange County BMW shop Lang Racing Development lent me its development F80 for a few days for a review, with the agreement that I’d write a bit about the plans they had in store for it. The specs were pretty gnarly: Engine massaged to around 1,000 horsepower, reliably, making it a capable-yet-understated and reliable track beast. It was music to my ears for sure.

I had a fun couple of days ripping around SoCal in this beast before it went under their knives. It was plenty fast and fun as it was. Plus, having an honest-to-goodness six-speed manual transmission made it all the more fun.

While I had it, my buddy Nick was in town from Chicago visiting family. He’s always been a huge BMW fan, and had an E36 that unfortunately got totaled after getting rear-ended. We went for a nice, spirited drive up in Angeles National Forest and had a total blast.

As I reflect back on my time with this brilliant German sedan, as well as my experience with its coupe sibling the F82 M4, I can’t help but wonder if these will be the last, “normal-sized” grille’d M cars. At least those occupying the M3 and M4’s segment. Luckily, BMW still kinda has something smaller (though not for long) with a smaller snout to match.

If BMW never rescinds on its recent design decisions, will the F80 and F82 become more sought after, more cherished, and therefore worth more money? I guess only time will tell.

Peter Nelson

Peter NelsonPeter Nelson has been wrenching on and playing with cars since he started driving them quickly between the cones at Chicagoland autocross events in his late teens. Nowadays, he can be found wringing out his Mazda2 at tracks all over California. His writing background includes Winding Road, Donut Media, and Autolist.com. He's also an avid cyclist and '80s/'90s action film connoisseur. Contact the author here.