There’s a possibility that the next-generation BMW M3, in its rear-wheel drive/manual gearbox spec, could be the best road-going M3 yet. Before you grab your pitchforks and torches and punch my address into Waze, let me explain. Dubbed ‘G80‘, the next-gen BMW M3 will be a very interesting car and one that has immense potential to be an all-time great. It will be based off of the G20-generation 3 Series chassis, which is probably the best 3 Series chassis since the E46-generation. In fact, it’s probably the best 3 Series chassis yet, as it’s far more rigid, better balanced and more capable than any 3er before it. So right off the bat, the G80 M3 will have really good bones.
Then there’s the engine. Powering the next-gen BMW M3 will be the brand’s new S58 engine. It’s a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-six, born from the absolutely brilliant B58 engine. It’s also the same engine that powers the X3 M, a car that we love. In the X3 M, the S58 is superb, with shocking power delivery, silky smooth operation and a great noise. In standard M3-spec, with a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive, the S58 engine will make 473 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. That makes it more powerful than any M3 before it. It’s also the best six-cylinder M engine since the E46’s brilliant, atmospheric 3.2 liter unit.
If you’ve ever driven the new S58, you’ll know that the idea of pairing it with a manual transmission in a small, rear-wheel drive sedan is very exciting.
Another nod in the G80’s favor is its steering. Again, its steering setup will largely be borrowed from its standard 3 Series sibling, just with some of the M Division’s tuning. Having driven several G20 3er’s, I’m confident that the G80’s steering will be outstanding, as just the regular G20 3 Series has some of the best steering of any 3 Series generation. While it’s not as talkative as the E46, it’s better than the E92 and F30-gen’s steering. So I expect the G80 to be even better.
Combine all of that with the fact that it will likely look very good (though, we’re still waiting to see that new grille before making final judgement), will have a great interior and the best cabin tech of any M3 and you’ve got some potential for the G80 BMW M3 to become the best M3 yet. I know, it’s heretical claim any M3 could possibly be better than the E46-gen or *gasp* the E30 M3. But as far as an M3 that can be driven everyday, I think the G80 could become the best ever.
[Rendering by @avarvarii]