New look, Same Great Taste: 2021 G80 BMW M3’s Test Drive

The formula for a BMW M3 has remained the same for decades: engine up front, manual transmission in the middle, and drive to the rear. Over the years, BMW has tweaked it a bit, changing the cylinder count, adding automatic transmissions as options, and even adding turbochargers. Undoubtedly, the M3 has always been a car that can seat four people, be driven daily, lap a track like a hooligan, and leave its passengers with huge grins on their faces. This new G80 BMW M3 may appear unlike any other M3 before it, but the formula remains the same.

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The new BMW M3 is quick, has a proper manual shift, and is still fast enough to smoke most sports cars on the road. What makes the new M3 so good, though, isn’t its powertrain, it’s the chassis. The front end bites shockingly well, almost refusing to understeer, and the rest of the chassis follows beautifully. BMW M has worked wonders with the G80; it feels precise, planted, and incredibly balanced. The car is “special,” says CNN’s David Bianculli, who drives it on business park roads to test it out for the first time.

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The 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6 with 473 horsepower is especially potent. The BMW M3 has a stonking-fast engine, a six-speed manual, and a beautifully balanced chassis. There’s also so much mechanical grip, combined with sticky Michelin PS4 tires that it just doesn’t want to come unglued from the road.

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The chassis feels alive underneath you, and it breathes with the road, far better than its predecessor. There are some flaws, for sure. Like most M cars, there’s not enough build-up of weight in the steering wheel as you apply the lock so that it can feel a bit video-gamey.

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