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      04-04-2021, 11:39 AM   #1
blackmamba3
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G80 M3 Competition Track Day Review @ Streets of Willow

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Hello, everyone! I placed an order for a new Isle of Man Green G80 M3 Competition around Christmas after selling my Imola Red 2018 F80 ZCP and was lucky to have taken delivery of the new car in mid March. I drive a lot and am also the Driving Tour Coordinator for the GGC Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America so quickly put on the miles and had the initial M service done within two weeks of owning the car. What comes after the M service? A track day, of course!

It was clear after driving the G80 spiritedly on my favorite backroad that it was a big step forward from the F80 in terms of chassis development, overall grip, and body control, which made me even more excited to get the car on a racetrack. The only modification was a performance wheel alignment done by the amazing folks at A 1 Foreign Auto in Mountain View to maximize front camber and minimize overall toe. They were able to get -2.0 camber out of the front wheels completely stock. Then I hit the road and drove some 400 miles south to Willow Springs International in Southern California for my first G80 track day.

Full disclaimer that this was meant to be a fun and anecdotal test and while I have many track days under my belt in the F80 and our 2018 F87 M2 w/DCT, was not able to record my lap time, unfortunately. In the past I have used the M Laptimer which worked great in my F80 but learned the tough way that BMW is still working to make the app compatible with iDrive 7. On the flip side, not recording lap times allowed me to focus on the experience, get comfortable with a new track, and enjoy the car itself as much as possible.

What I can tell you is that the G80 did not disappoint and performed very well, even on a smaller "chassis" track like Streets of Willow with many tight, off camber turns. A lot has been said about the weight of the G80 and now that people are actually getting their cars on the scale, depending on the build, are actually only ~150 lbs heavier than the previous F8X generation. To me the G80 actually felt more nimble and "tossable" than my F80 due to how much better sorted the suspension is with much sharper turn in and reduced body roll. The amount of speed you can take into a turn is next level compared to the F80. You can also apply more power earlier coming out of the turn without having to fight the rear end. As some professional reviewers have commented, the car almost feels as if it is AWD due to how planted it is. What about if you apply a little too much power coming out of a fast corner? Managing the car at the limit of grip is easy and progressive, largely because the chassis and steering communicate feedback back to the driver in ways the F80 did not.

In my opinion, the chassis development is where the G80 shines over both the F80 (and even the F87 to some degree) but you cannot talk about the new car without highlighting the powertrain, which is also a masterpiece. The S58 provides what feels like a linear wall of power that does register in your "butt dyno" as slightly faster than the S55 on a racetrack. I'd imagine I'd feel the added power even more on a larger track like Big Willow next door or even Thunderhill East up here in Northern California. Oh, and the carbon fiber bucket seats will make sure you are glued in place to enjoy every last bit of that addictive power! A must have option if you plan to track your G80/G82 regularly.

No big issues with the ZF 8 speed either, which shifted fast and smooth in both directions, almost as fast as the DCT. The difference in speed is almost imperceptible. The automatic objectively gets the job done just as well but the shifts don’t punch you in the back like with the DCT. I'd say overall, the new transmission works good with the car (and even better for everyday use), though I would still prefer a DCT for high performance driving situations like on the track and adjusting to driving on then track without it will take some time to adjust, for sure.

The car does sounds really good, at least on the inside. To me the S58 sounds like an angrier B58 more than it does an S55. I also do not mind the Active Sound being piped in as it sounds good to me, better than it did in the F80, which was a more synthetic sound. The S58 has more organic character and when pushed hard, makes more noises often associated with BMW inline six cylinder engines. However, I will definitely be looking for an exhaust as the car is not very loud on the outside, even when compared to a stock F80. While the new car does sound better - it just needs more of it!

Brakes. The standard, non-carbon ceramic OEM brakes in the last generation of M3 were never a strong point and always seemed to overheat quickly for all but novice track drivers so I had very low expectations for the same on the G80. While Streets of Willow is no Laguna Seca in terms of elevation changes, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they stopped the car (in either brake setting mode) and that there was zero fade or heating issues. In fact, one of my friends who owns a shop measured temperatures after a few hot laps and was also surprised to see they had not overheated. We speculated that BMW may have used the standard F90 M5 brakes on the new M3/M4 to improve performance. In any case, the brakes held up well and are a big improvement over the F80.

Last but certainly not least, a note about tires. My G80 came with the Pirelli P Zeros, which I had a love-hate relationships with on the track. They are especially sensitive to heat and need a few laps to reach optimal temperature before they start to grip and when they do, they were incredibly sticky, with even more grip than I've experienced with the comparable Michelin 4S. The issue is that incredible grip only lasted for a hot lap or two before they became a little too warm and at that point, having good car control becomes essential. While I was impressed at the grip the P Zeros had in that short sweet spot and their stiff sidewall, I definitely think the 4S is the more well-rounded tire and probably what most will want on their new G80/G82.

Overall, I think BMW did an exceptional job with this generation of M3 and with 2,500 miles on the odometer can say I'm very happy with the G80! The car itself is an improvement over the F80 in terms of quality, technology, and overall fit and finish, not to mention the significant performance gains. The aggressive looks also match the personality of the new car. It gets a lot of attention, especially in Isle of Man Green. If I had a dollar for every person who has come up to me at a gas station or in a parking lot and said "Oh, the front looks so much better in person!" or "Yeah, the grills are growing on me..." I'd have enough cash to pay for at least a monthly payment. It makes me think BMW knows exactly what it was doing fitting the M3 and M4 with the big grills. Change is always hard for some but am really glad the cars performance gains are even bigger than the grills up front!
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      04-04-2021, 12:00 PM   #2
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Thanks for great and very informative post!

Regarding brakes, one more reason they were so good and didn't overheat could be the fact that this time they have made actual air duct that goes from the front part of the car strait to the brakes for cooling?
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      04-04-2021, 12:03 PM   #3
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Great read, thank you!
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      04-04-2021, 12:32 PM   #4
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Great write up. Thanks for sharing!
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      04-04-2021, 12:51 PM   #5
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Enjoyed this post. Good stuff mate
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      04-04-2021, 01:14 PM   #6
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Cant wait to join the GGC chapter once my car is delivered!!
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      04-04-2021, 01:43 PM   #7
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Thanks a ton for your track review! Looking forward to getting on track with the G80.
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      04-04-2021, 01:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for sharing, sounds like a fun day!
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      04-04-2021, 02:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for the review, your input is of great value having owned an F80.
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      04-04-2021, 08:36 PM   #10
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Great read! Sounds like a very fun day!
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      04-04-2021, 08:39 PM   #11
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After your review and from you perspective... i really cant wait to get some track time. I have 1500 miles on my 6MT and can reiterate much of the same points. I have been very impressed how dialed this chassis is, it feel much lighter than it is, and it just stays planted, dare I say nimble for a car this big. The S58 is quite impressive, best turbo motor i have ever driven.

Really hoping the aftermarket addresses the exhaust soon. It's rather sedate for a car with near 500hp, I look forward to a more open exhaust and what it may do for power, and to annoy neighbors.
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      04-04-2021, 09:05 PM   #12
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Thanks for the great write up, this was a good read!
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      04-04-2021, 09:36 PM   #13
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Reading your post again, I am surprised you were able to adjust your front camber that much. Turn in must have been sharp...until the Pirelli's got warm.
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      04-05-2021, 10:10 AM   #14
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Great write-up, thanks for sharing!
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      04-05-2021, 10:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckM View Post
Reading your post again, I am surprised you were able to adjust your front camber that much. Turn in must have been sharp...until the Pirelli's got warm.
Initial front measurement was -1.9 (left) and -1.4 (right)
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      04-05-2021, 01:12 PM   #16
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Excellent review.

I think the way this car steers and handles at speed is way more of a story than the power bump.
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      04-05-2021, 01:21 PM   #17
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Excellent review, thank you !
I knew BMW won't disappoint us, yet still people find something to complain.

Can't wait to get my hands on mine, should be here soon
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      04-05-2021, 02:17 PM   #18
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Great write up! Makes me excited to finally get behind the wheel of one! I had an F80 and currently have an M2 (N55), so your review is very relevant to my situation; although I will only get to track the car 1-2x per year.
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      04-05-2021, 07:27 PM   #19
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      04-05-2021, 07:41 PM   #20
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Thanks for posting. Great read!
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      04-05-2021, 09:04 PM   #21
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Nice write up! Never was into the F30/80 generation interior, thought it looked cheap in terms of design compared to competitors. I think the G80 is going to get me back in another M3.
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      04-05-2021, 09:11 PM   #22
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Good to hear, sounds like the new brake ducks are doing a great job!
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