Get Over the grille, this is the best M3 BMW has ever made
Keep your E46s, I'd rather have one of these
It only seems natural that when something new is announced, people have an automatic obligation to criticise it and favour the predecessor. You don't only see it with cars, but across all industries; including films, clothing brands, phones and even simple things such as the logo of a social media app on your phone.
Remember when everyone went berserk when Instagram tried to change their page feed layout? That was literally a metaphor of people's fear to change. We naturally feel comfortable around things that we're used to - especially food as well, come to think of it.
The same strand of that psychological reaction was evident when BMW recently launched the new M3 and M4. The M3 in particular is the one that's attracted the most attention: ever since the mid-80s, it's always sparked a special connotation to the petrolhead and perhaps apart from the mediocre E92 (just my opinion!), they've always looked very attractive.
The same cannot be said for people's take on the new G80 M3. As you'll have guessed, it's the front end. However, I think it's time that people got over the controversy and accepted that this might be, just maybe, the best one they've ever made.
Now yes, I also find it heavily surprising that BMW decided not to use the kidney grilles of the standard 3-Series on the M3. When the 4-Series introduced them earlier this year, I actually predicted this was the Bavarian's way of differentiating the 3 and 4 - which would make perfect sense if you think about it.
But here we are: this is the new apparent look for M-Series Beemers and it appears they think bigger is better. But as ugly as I first found it on initial impressions, it has already grown on me by a margin.
I think one of BMW's big mistakes with the launch of this car was their use of press photos. I have to use them for copyright reasons for this post, but all over Instagram, loads of others taken in life surroundings and different specs have been spotted. And honestly: they don't look all that offensive. The press photos appear to have been shot from the most obscure angles and edited by someone who vandalises a Banksy painting for fun. They're pretty awful and will never do the car justice.
Some have been posted in matt grey, orange, blue and even a lighter grey. After a bit of time, the G80 M3 could may-well be seen as a handsome thing - much like some of Chris Bangle's designs. After all, BMW is a brand that strives to move forward rather than play it safe. That's why they've always stayed relevant in the car market and will always be regarded as one of planet earth's great engineering businesses.
But because people were so distracted by the grille, the actual engineering bits of the M3 have been completely side-tracked. (Also, don't you think the rest of it is teeth-grindingly handsome?)
Powering the M3 is a twin-turbocharged 3.0 litre straight six making over 500bhp in top-spec Competition form. That's the only version available in the U.K which subsequently means that Brits won't have the option of a manual gearbox.
But that's okay: less manuals in the old car were sold than the amount of fingers on your hand. So, clearly the automatic is well-favoured. And given that automatic gearboxes are so fantastically advanced these days, it's rendered the whole manual thing a bit of a niche. So, it doesn't worry me at all.
Another brilliant thing is that the M3 is now available with all-wheel-drive. This was predictable since the launch of the last one since that car tried to kill you even if you glimpsed at a drop of water for half a millisecond. So, you can expect this new one to be a lot less of a frustrated puff adder. Of course, you can still get rear-wheel-drive as standard, if you're feeling ballsy.
Given that the standard G80's chassis is already brilliant, I can imagine that the driving experience of the M3 will feel like it came with it's own set of moons. But judgement there will be held back, as nobody from outside of BMW has actually driven it yet. But come on, it's almost guaranteed to be properly brilliant.
But what I find particularly amazing about the car is that within the beginning of 2020, BMW had the choice to go completely radical: they could've given it a hybrid powertrain or make it completely electric. They could've dropped it altogether and given us a semi-autonomous Tesla-looking egg made for Greta Thunberg to be chauffeured to her next international conference.
I always believed that the sports saloon would be amongst the first genre of cars to be axed, should the world completely go eco-mental. But here's the thing: BMW have kept things completely 100% traditional.
What the M3 is, is The Who, T-Rex, The Kinks or even Led Zeppelin remastered to suit a modern era. It's classic rock 'n' roll, but on a Spotify playlist rather than vinyl. The exact same pleasure, but just in a newer form.
We don't exactly know when the car world is going to suddenly veganise itself, but one thing's for sure: BMW have kept the screaming straight-six, power-sliding candle of the ultimate driving machine lit for that little bit longer.
Yes, the old E30s, E36s etc. are fabulous. I've experienced a few myself and lust after them! But this G80 is promising to be the best M3 yet and the one currently at the top of my preference list. Until final judgements are published, there is simply nothing to fault apart from people's disgust towards the grille.
I was seriously anticipating that BMW would have a hard time replacing the old car. Because its competitors such as the Merc C63, Audi RS4 and Alfa Quadriplegic have been so utterly fabulous. The M3 was outclassed in a segment where it once dominated and I wondered whether the replacement wouldn't rocket back on top of the pecking order once again.
It seems however, that BMW has knocked the ball far out of the park and broken one of AMG's windows. Hats off to Bavaria!
Best of all?
They're even cooking up an estate version; so, your dog can come along for the ride too.
To sum up then, it's fascinating that people are immediately put off by a new car because of some awful press photos and a new design. But in actuality, this M3 could very well be the best one they've ever done.
I very rarely lust after new cars these days, but this is one of them and I bet in the near future once these start to hit the streets, you might change your opinion on the grille. It could age like the finest of German wine.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to share your thoughts and as always, stay safe.