By Phil Bradley – http://www.instagram.com/mrphilbradley. As the world gradually returns to normal, our priorities have changed from ensuring that Zoom calls are not muted, to making sure we wear our pants when leaving the house to visit the pub. The problem is that something else is looming that will affect all of us here in the UK at some point in the future. This thing will happen in 2030, when the UK government will ban all sales of new cars, petrol and diesel.
I’ve been fortunate enough to review a few electric cars, and don’t get me wrong, some are great, but there’s a distinct lack of engine noise that doesn’t excite me in an electric car like gasoline cars do. Electric cars may also be fast, but they lack the same excitement that a motor-driven car can give you. Coming back to your seat due to the torque of an electric car is no match for hearing the engine roar when you slam the gas pedal to the floor in a petrol car. It lacks the same suspense.
Which brings me to what could be the last combustion engine ever made by a BMW M3. Put yourself in the shoes of manufacturers, is there any point in developing the next generation of gasoline-powered super saloons, knowing that 9 years from now all new cars will need to be electric anyway? We can already see the beginning of the end, as here in England we only have access to the competition variant of the M3, and there is no manual option either. Perhaps, the “ultimate” edition could be in the works, who knows. All I know for sure is that the end is near!
The elephant in the room
So what does the G80 M3 Competition have to show as the last potential M3 combustion engine to come out of BMW? Let me get to the infamous part of the 80’s group first. those frontal networks. Large enough to fry cutlets of meat on, the mesh grilles make it impossible to grasp the front of another model’s car. In fact, the number plate is almost like a face mask worn over it. But that’s exactly why I think BMW put them in the front of the car, to get attention. The grilles are complemented by two strong hood bulges to make them stand out even more. The press car I got had the Vision package, with laser lights, plus a carbon fiber package, giving the front of the car’s carbon intakes, which went well with the Brooklyn Gray paint.
The side of the G80 continues the aggressive stance, with a shoulder line running across the top of the doors, all the way to the rear wheel arches, which have been widened to give the appearance of massive hips, which look great in the side mirrors when driving. The M3 had carbon mirrors and a fairly nice carbon roof, which contrasted well with the paintwork. The side skirts were glossy black with wheels measuring 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear. The rear of the car has some black M3 badging, a carbon fiber boot lid spoiler, and a carbon rear diffuser that houses the quad exhaust pipes. Visually, the G80 is just as beautiful once you get past those grilles and, dare I say it, it grows on you after a while.
Inside, the press car is finished in Kyalami Orange, a true Marmite interior color. It definitely stood out even when looking from the outside, but then again, the distinction is what this car is all about. The carbon package continued inside, with a center console and carbon fiber steering wheel. The seats were a combination of leather, Alcantara and, of course, carbon fibre, with a center piece between the driver’s legs that I can only describe as a carbon fiber “male parts” tray. To save weight, the seats have gaps on either side of the lower back area, presumably so rear passengers can tickle the front passengers in the car. There we have it, the interior of the G80 M3 Competition – men’s parts trays and tickle holes.
Another M3 petrol?
The last aura of the M3 petrol gets a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbocharged engine, producing 503 horsepower and 650 Nm of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox, although an xDrive, all-wheel-drive version of the M3 and M4 models is also in production. 0-62MPH takes just 3.9 seconds and the entire vehicle weighs 1,730 kg. Prices for the M3 Competition here in the UK start at £74,250, but add the carbon packages and vision packages like in my press car, and you’re talking mid-80s.
Getting into the driver’s seat in the M3 competition was an interesting one. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never reviewed an M car before. What’s more, I recently reviewed and loved the Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio, so getting behind the wheel of the best of Bavaria would be interesting to say the least.
Press the engine start button in the center console and the M3 will instantly catch the attention of pedestrians with its exhaust noise. Take to the open road and you’ll immediately realize the sheer size of the G80. Measuring 4,794 mm in length and 2,068 mm in width, it is 12 cm longer and 3 cm wider than the previous generation M3. I found myself fully realizing the value of carbon fiber mirrors when driving! Press the accelerator pedal and you will feel the front of the car as if it is going to take off.
As you’d expect, the M3 has no problem getting power on the road, and with a great soundtrack from the exhausts to go along with it. Use any of the M buttons on the steering wheel, or change the drive mode in the center console, and the sound will only increase because the gearbox holds the revs a little longer in Sport or Sport Plus modes. There is also the Track mode, which BMW status should not be used on public roads.
a lot of technology
What sets the new M3 apart from its competitors is the technology that comes with the car. From laser headlights to electronically adjustable carbon seats, along with a digital dashboard and a touchscreen infotainment system. The M3’s head-up display is the best I’ve ever driven, showing navigation in a color screen on the driver’s windshield in front of the driver, or the album cover showing the music track being played when an incoming song is changed through the Harman Kardon speaker system.
You also get driving cameras to help you see exactly where the car’s edges are when parking, and the navigation system can sense which lane of the highway you’re driving on when assisting at highway exits and turning. All very clever tech, a nod to where BMW has focused on vehicle improvements and partly justifying the starting price of 75,000.
One of all time greats
The G80 M3 competition makes me smile, but it also makes me sad to think that this type of car isn’t something we can enjoy for much longer. You could argue that hybrids offer more horsepower or more torque, but there’s just something about a pure internal combustion engine car that makes my blood race. I enjoyed driving the M3. The sound from the exhausts, the brightly colored interior, plus the fact that it’s actually dripping in carbon fibre.
If you are looking for a super saloon that doesn’t stand out or attract a lot of attention, you should probably look for a different one. The M3 may not win any awards for its design, but when the automotive world turns electrified, we’ll definitely look back on this car as one of the greatest petrol engines ever.
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