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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.

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