PistonHeads Expert Opinion
The first turbocharged M3 wasn’t short of performance: 431hp from its 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged straight six only put it slightly ahead of its 420hp, V8 predecessor, but the F80 was miles ahead on torque, with 406lb ft against the E92’s mere 295lb ft. That it was lighter, too, only helped the situation; a car that once needed revs to feel fast now charged through every gear in the six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT like no M3 before it.
Launched in 2014, the F80 M3 - alongside its F82 M4 Coupe and F83 M4 Convertible siblings - got better as the model years progressed. In 2016 a Competition Pack was launched, boosting power from 431hp to 450hp and improving the suspension - these cars are well worth seeking out from £30,000, as they fully realised the potential of the platform. A MY18 facelift improved things further, and both M3 saloon and M4 Coupe received a CS special at the end of the production run.
With power upped ever so slightly and dynamics further honed, they were a fitting swansong to a memorable (if divisive) generation of BMW M3. Though both were more than £80,000 new, those run-out models are available now for little more than £50k. Anyone worried about M cars going soft could do a lot worse than trying an M3 or M4 CS.