• Is This Really What the G80 BMW M3 Will Look Like?

Prepare for a lot of debate surrounding the M3 G80’s design

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There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding the impending arrival of the next-generation BMW M3 G80 and deservedly so. It’s been 10 months since the all-new 3 Series G20 arrived, and while it traditionally takes a year after the 3 Series’ debut for the M3 to arrive, it appears that we’re going to have to wait a little longer for the performance Bimmer with reports that it won’t make its debut until sometime in 2020. But that’s not the only major news about the upcoming M3. Months of seeing spy photos of the performance sedan have painted a decent picture of what we expect from the next-gen M3, and by the looks of it, BMW is finally rolling the dice on completely reinventing the look of its iconic front kidney grille. If this is the case, the days of the inconspicuous kidney grille are over. Whether that’s a good or bad thing will depend on the eye of the beholder, but one thing’s become clear to everyone: BMW, specifically BMW M, is swinging for the fences with the next-gen M3’s front end design. Here’s to hoping, for Bimmer’s sake, that the ball clears the fences.

Is This Really What the G80 BMW M3 Will Look Like?
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Change is universal whether all of us like it or not. For some, change can be a good thing. For others, it can be a bad thing. Wherever you fall in this group, there’s no denying that change happens to people, places, and in this case, the BMW M3.

Before you get anxious on what this change could mean for one of Bimmer’s most popular model, put some trust in BMW that it’s not getting rid of the M3 anytime soon. It’s too important of a model in the automaker’s lineup. But changes are expected to come when the next-generation M3 G80 arrives, and the biggest aspect of that change will come in how BMW presents the next-generation M3.

By now, most of us have seen spy photos of the next-generation M3.

It still isn’t expected to arrive for at least another 10 months, but the regularity in which we’ve seen these spy photos have provided us with a vague idea on what it could look like, and the biggest takeaway is that damned kidney grille.

Perhaps it’s time to brace yourselves, folks, because BMW is taking a page out of Lexus with a massive front grille that covers the entire height of the front section. It’s a huge change that borders on controversial, but you better believe that BMW thought about this change long and hard. It’s one thing to drop this design on a model like the 1 Series or 2 Series. It could receive some pushback, but neither is on the level of the of 3 Series, and by extension, the M3. By introducing this dramatically different front grille on arguably its most popular performance model, BMW is effectively courting controversy.

Is This Really What the G80 BMW M3 Will Look Like?
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On its own, I think the new grille borders on the obnoxious. But I do like it if you visualize the kidney grille as one part of the M3 G80’s entire design. The equally aggressive front bumper and the lip spoiler take a bit of the attention away from the size of the kidney grille. The large headlamps also contribute in that regard, and the result is a surprisingly balanced look that’s highlighted in part by how the nose dips sharply into the grille. There’s a bit of Lexus and Alfa Romeo in this rendering of the M3 G80 that’s intriguing to look at.

I understand that not everyone will have the same interpretation of the M3 G80’s design. It’s a huge and dramatic change that we haven’t seen from Bimmer since the transition from the E30 generation of the 3 Series to the E36 generation. it’s going to invite controversy and a lot of blowback, particularly from traditionalists who prefer to keep the M3 F80’s classy and uncompromising look. That M3 F80 is sporty in a subtle kind of way. You look at it and you’re immediately drawn to its appearance for all the right reasons.

These renderings, on the other hand, are far from subtle, and it’s not just in the front section of the M3.

Renderings of the rear section show a dramatically styled bumper sitting on an equally dramatic-looking diffuser. It’s all sorts of messy to look at, and I’m with those who think that this rear section is a bad look for the next-generation M3.

If you’re not jiving with these renderings, you can at least take comfort that this rendering of the M3 doesn’t look like the iNext Concept. That whole look — the large grille and the slit-like headlamps — was all sorts of ugly.

Is This Really What the G80 BMW M3 Will Look Like?
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The polarizing design should generate most of the headlines and reactions, but don’t sleep on everything else that’s expected to come with the next-generation M3 G80. Unless something drastic changes, the next-gen M3 is expected to use the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six S58 engine as the X3 M and X4 M. It will produce a standard output of 473 horsepower, which would represent an increase of around 50 horsepower from the M3 F80. A Competition model will also be available when the next-gen M3 G80 arrives. That version will pack 503 horsepower, which is the same output you’ll get from the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S.

The new M3 G80 will also be the first M3 in history to feature an all-wheel-drive setup.

It will be offered together with a rear-wheel-drive version, giving fans of the performance sedan room to choose which setup they prefer. The rear-wheel-drive M3 will be available with either a manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic, while the all-wheel-drive version will only feature an automatic transmission.

With the next-generation M3 G80 not expected to arrive until the middle part of 2020, you can expect more information to arrive about the performance sedan. Of course, anytime there’s new “information” about the M3 G80, everyone turns into his own version of a talking head. That’s to be expected. We are, after all, talking about changes to the BMW M3. That, in itself, is all sorts of newsworthy.

Further reading

2021 BMW M3 Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 BMW M3.

2015 BMW M3 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 BMW M3.

2019 BMW 3 Series
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW 3 Series.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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