When the G80 BMW M3 first debuted, it brought a dilemma to customers they’ve never seen from an M3 before. Prior to this G80, the BMW M3 was a pretty easy buy — you drove to a dealership, picked out your color spec, and signed the papers. There weren’t any real powertrain options, aside from the choice of manual or automatic, and there weren’t any drivetrain options. Now, the choices are varied and interesting, which can lead to some debate about what the perfect M3 spec is.

Of course, what you want from a car likely varies greatly from what I want or what anyone else wants. We’re all different, with our own different wants and needs. However, from a pure enthusiast’s standpoint, is there a perfect spec for the M3 and, if there is, is Car and Driver’s long-term BMW M3 that perfect spec?

To preface this, let’s start by explaining the different sorts of specs for the M3. It essentially comes in three different flavors; standard, Competition, and Competition xDrive. The standard car has a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six with 473 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. The Competition uses the same engine but makes 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque and gets an eight-speed automatic as its only option, as well as rear-wheel drive. Lastly, the Competition xDrive uses the same powertrain as the Competition but gets all-wheel drive.

Then there are some other important options. For instance, do you get the standard, sort of grand-touring seats, which are thickly padded and rather comfy, or do you opt for the ultra-sport carbon fiber racing buckets. Seats might seem a trivial option but the differences between both seats are so vast that they can make the car feel completely different. Additionally, you can choose carbon ceramic brakes, which drastically change the way the car feels under braking.

So you can really play around with the spec of your M3 quite a bit more than ever before. Which leads to the previous question: is Car and Driver’s spec the perfect enthusiast’s spec? Here it is:

  • Standard BMW M3 with a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive
  • Standard comfy seats
  • Isle of Man Green paint
  • Silverstone interior
  • M Drive Professional Package

The die-hard enthusiasts would approve of the standard manual car but not the comfy seats. While the more casual drive would likely prefer the Competition car, with its automatic transmission, and the comfy seats. Personally, I like the Competition car with the sport seats. But what do you think, is this the perfect spec?

[Source: Car and Driver]