BMW M3 (F80) and M4 (F82) Buyers Guide

The introduction of the BMW F80 M3, F82 M4, and F83 M4 Convertible made its debut in 2014, succeeding the E90 and E92 M3 models. This generation was meticulously engineered to deliver enhanced output, performance, and efficiency. Crafting a new 3 Series (and 4 Series) M car is a big task, considering the remarkable success achieved by each preceding generation.

The F8x generation brought the inline-six back to the M3, now with two turbochargers and 425 horsepower in the standard model.

The “S55” model of BMW’s engine with two turbochargers supplied the power. This was the first M3 to have a turbocharged engine. Unlike the older models, which needed to rev high, this one had strong and steady power to access from low revs. The power peaked at 406 pound-feet from just 1850 rpm and remained strong up to 5500 rpm.

This was also the first M3/M4 to feature the variable valve timing (VANOS) and variable valve lift (Valvetronic) to stretch the power band as wide as possible.

You could choose between a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed dual-clutch (DCT) automatic transmission. While the 6-speed can be more enjoyable, the DCT can change gears faster than you can by hand and has launch control, making it easy to speed up consistently. In addition, the 7-speed transmission has a special cooling system.

It has been tested on race tracks and helps to keep the car running smoothly and reliably during races by managing the heat.

The M3 and M4 have a lightweight suspension, a very accurate active rear differential, and a cooling and oiling system which together make the car perform really well and safe for everyday use. The steering turns very accurately and is easy and nice to handle, which fans of the M3 will like, especially since this is the first generation to use electric help.

For the F80/F82 models, the design stands out more than ever from the standard 3 Series.  The design has noticeable features like bold front and back bumpers, four exhaust pipes, an aluminum hood, and a unique back lid on the M4. It's not just a fancier 3 Series. Only the front doors and the M3’s back panel are the same as the regular models.

The interiors come with special trim and carbon fibre accents, unique instruments, and more aggressive yet supportive seats. Additionally, there’s a new M steering wheel, designed with a lightweight magnesium frame. It has a thick, soft-padded rim for a steady grip and a perfectly round shape to satisfy purists.

Slotting it between the Mercedes Benz C63 AMG, Audi RS5, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (released in 2016), Lexus RCF, and Cadilliac CT5-V. Both the M3 and M4 have matured into one of the most exceptional sports cars in their class, it is well-equipped and capable of enduring the high-intensity environment of a race track, delivering performance all day, and still maintaining the reliability and comfort to drive home afterward.

Overall, both the BMW M3 and M4 are fast, powerful cars that will leave you with a smile on your face. It is a mix of luxury and speed, making them a very popular choice for many people.

Model Changes (Breakdown by Year)

2014 BMW M3/M4

The 2014 model was the first year of the F80 M3 and the F82 M4, which replaced the E90 (4-door) and E92 (2-door) M3.

Featuring a 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six that produces 425 horsepower.

The starting price was $62,925 for the M3 and $65,125 for the M4. 

For the 2014 model year, the cars were offered in the unique Yas Marina Blue and Austin Yellow colours that were used to debut the models.

Some key options include gloss black painted wheels, gold caliper carbon ceramic brakes with six pistons on 400mm rotors up front, LED headlights, a heads-up display, and leather-trimmed dash and door sections. Also, you can get an electric sunroof for free, but you won't get the carbon-fiber top, and it adds 44lbs high up on the car.

2015 BMW M3/M4

In 2015, BMW released the F83 M4 Convertible, extending the M4 lineup to include a variant that features the enjoyment of open-top driving, allowing enthusiasts to experience both the speed and the surrounding environment in a new way.

With the use of a hard top convertible, it weighs an extra 485 lbs. However, there is one good thing about the M4 convertible being heavier. The weight is spread out well. The hardtop that folds and stores change the balance of the car, so there is more weight at the back, with 52 percent of the car’s weight on the rear tires, compared to the coupe where 52 percent of the weight is at the front.

The M4 convertible’s starting price was more than the M3 and M4 coupe. At $73,495 to start, it is $8,370 over the coupe.

2016 BMW M3/M4

In 2016, BMW introduced a Competition Package as an option for the M3 and M4, available throughout the model's production. This package added 19 more horsepower to the base model (from 425 horsepower to 444 horsepower), making driving more exciting and responsive.

With this package, cars received larger, 19-inch wheels and wider tires, enhancing stability and road grip. Alterations in stability control and differential allowed for smoother handling in various conditions. Black exterior pieces were added, enhancing the vehicle’s look, and redesigned front sports seats provided more side support, offering increased comfort during sharp turns or fast maneuvers.

The M4 Coupe and Convertible bear substantial resemblance in terms of packaging, the singular modification in the roofless variant being distinctive seats equipped with an “air scarf” – a vent designed to circulate warm air around the neck for those cooler days when driving with the top down is still desirable.

It was attainable in the Competition Package trim, however, no unique editions were accessible for the convertible variant.

Overall, this package offered a mix of stylish looks and improved features, enhancing the driving experience and comfort level for M3 and M4 models.

The price for the Competition package is $5,500. Which makes the starting price for the F80 M3 at $68,425, F82 M4 $70,625, and F84 $78,995.

In the same year, the BMW M4 GTS also made it’s debut. It was a hardcore track focus that only came in the coupe and was distinguished with a Frozen Dark Grey colour, paired with an aggressive front carbon splitter, carbon fibre hood, carbon fibre roof, wing, and orange accents on the 666M wheels. Another thing that was new was the OLED taillights.

For the first time on a BMW production model, OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) create light using thin layers of semi-conducting organic materials. Unlike LEDs that shine their light in points, OLEDs illuminate across their entire surface, producing a uniform effect.

When you look inside the M4 GTS, it’s clear this car is made for racing. In Europe, the GTS has a real roll cage, but in North America, it has a fake, half cage. Also, the wall between the cabin and the trunk is made of fiberglass.

They took out the soundproofing material to make the car lighter. The door panels are made of the same strong plastic as the i3 electric car. They also used a full titanium exhaust system to save more weight; it’s 20 percent lighter than the usual exhaust.

The BMW M4 GTS is special because it’s the only BMW that has a water injection system. It uses a well-liked S55 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo engine that gives 493 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. It only comes in the 7-speed dual-clutch (DCT) automatic transmission and rear wheel drive.

Additionally, it is equipped with KW adjustable suspension, enabling the raising or lowering of the suspension, and also the adjustment of the rebound damping.

With a limited run of 700 GTSs worldwide and 300 for the United States, this special M4 is very exclusive.

The base price started at $134,000 ($68,875 more than the standard M4).

Other notable changes for the 2016 BMW M3/M4:

  • Software update: In the 2016 model year, the car got software and firmware updates that improved how the vehicle’s traction and stability control system, iDrive infotainment, adaptive suspension, throttle management, and transmission worked. 

2017 BMW M3/M4

For the 2017 model year, the F8x series did receive some updates. These included new standard features like the adaptive M Suspension, which was previously an optional feature. Additionally, the iDrive 5.0 system with touchscreen functionality was introduced.

These updates aimed to enhance the overall driving experience and user interface for the driver, by providing more control over the car's handling characteristics and offering improved infotainment interaction.

In addition, BMW also released the limited-edition “30 Jahre M3” (German for “30 Years M3”). Only 150 came to North America, and available with your choice of a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

All North American bound cars features a rich Macao Blue paint, a shade first introduced on the E30 M3 Sport Evolution. Matching this unique color are special 20-inch "star spoke" wheels, similar to those on the M4 GTS. Inside, the changes are subtle: "30 Jahre M3" logos appear on the dashboard and doorsills, and they're also stitched into the headrests of the two-toned seats.

Together with the design features, BMW equips the 30 Jahre M3 with the Competition package. As the name suggests, this package enhances the M3's edge over rivals. The included adaptive suspension boosts the sedan's performance, and the regular 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight-six engine is tweaked to deliver 444 horsepower, an increase of 19 from the base model.

The base price for the 30 Jahre M3 starts at $84,245 for the 6-speed manual, and $87,145 for the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

2018 BMW M3/M4

In 2018, BMW released the final introduction of the F8x series and introduced the M3 CS and M4 CS. In many owners' opinions, the CS is simply the best version you could buy for this generation. 

The F8x is the result of learning from each version of it. Many know that at first, the F8X didn’t get a warm welcome from everyone as it brought a lot of new things for BMW: turbos, a unique sound, and higher performance limits than ever before.

It’s no secret that BMW kept improving the driving features of the F8x in all its models, making the power smoother, changing how the automatic transmission works, and adjusting the suspension and steering, all through updates during the model's life. 

From all these improvements and what was learned from the M4 GTS, BMW developed the CS, showing the full potential of the F8x frame and design.

To start with some of the updates found in the CS, the power increases to 454 horsepower (10 more horsepower than the Competition) and 440 pound-feet of torque. The suspension was also tweaked with a significantly improved damping tune along with a CS muffler.

Cosmetically on the exterior, you’d find upgraded 763M wheels, a CS-specific lip spoiler, rear deck-lid spoiler, an M Performance diffuser, and a GTS hood which increases front-end downforce. 

Inside you will find custom CS embroidered trim and a GTS center console delete. 

While these are differences that you can find both in the M3/M4 CS, here are some key differences that are specific to each model:

M3 CS Specific

- Re-purprosed Silverstone Jahre 30 interior

- No rear AC

- Shadowline tail lights

M4 CS Specific

- GTS tail lights

- GTS front seats (non-buckets)

- GTS door cards

- Melbourne Red as a paint option

- More basic radio head unit (no ASD)

Think of the M3/M4 CS as a GTS-lite. It is not as hardcore, but and you still get some good bits, but the CS is a more livable car to deal with each day.

The base price for the M3 CS started at $99,245 ($30,820 more than the M3 Competition) and M4 CS started at $101,400 ($30,775 more than the M4 Competition).

2019 BMW M3/M4

As a final send-off for the F8x series, BMW released the M4 Heritage Edition limited to 750 cars globally, and you can pick any colour as long as it’s Laguna Seca Blue, Imola Red II, or Velvet Blue. 

The M4 M Heritage is a car that celebrates BMW M Motorsports' history, which started in 1972. This car has a carbon-fiber roof with three colored stripes from the front to the back. It also has 20-inch gray wheels.

Merino Leather M Sport seats are fitted to all Heritage cars. Laguna Seca Blue examples get Silverstone/Black leather upholstery with turquoise stitching, Imola Red II cars have Red/Black leather and red stitching, and Velvet Blue cars get Silverstone/Black leather with blue stitching.

There is also special M Heritage badging on the headrests, carbon trim, and door sills, A plate marked 1/750 shows your friends how special and limited your M4 is.

The base price started at $70,145 ($5,020 more than the standard M4).

BMW M3/M4 Common Problems

The BMW F8X series M3 and M4 have shown a commendable level of reliability, which isn't always the norm for high-performance sports cars. This might be attributed to BMW's focus on engineering over excessive electronic gimmicks in these models. Many owners have pushed their vehicles to extensive mileage without facing major complications.

Keep in mind, that it is essential that all cars can have issues and it is crucial to perform a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) from an authorized dealer or experienced independent mechanic to reveal all issues.

Crank Hub Issue: Among the S55 engine's potential vulnerabilities in the M3/M4, the issue of the crank hub spinning stands out prominently. Should this occur, the repercussions are substantial, potentially leading to extensive engine damage, which can be costly to address and rectify.

Turbos: The turbochargers, though generally reliable, haven't been without complaints. Owners have occasionally pointed out issues like wastegate rattle. More concerning, though rarer, are instances of complete turbo failure, which can compromise the vehicle's performance significantly.

Suspension Noises: A segment of users has highlighted unsettling creaking or groaning sounds emanating from the suspension system. These noises tend to be more pronounced during colder weather conditions, suggesting potential material contraction or lubrication issues.

Carbon Ceramic Brake Squeal: Owners who opted for carbon ceramic brakes have sometimes encountered an audible brake squeal. This high-pitched noise is particularly noticeable during cooler temperatures and when the brakes haven't fully warmed up.

DCT Transmission: The dual-clutch transmission, while offering rapid shift times, hasn't been immune to criticism. Some users recount moments of rough or unexpectedly jerky gear shifts, which can detract from the overall driving experience.

Electronic Issues: As advanced as they are, the electronics of the M3/M4 have shown occasional hiccups. Reports include minor inconsistencies with the iDrive system or glitches in other onboard electronic components, which, while typically not catastrophic, can be inconvenient.

Exhaust Valve Rattle: A discernible rattle from the exhaust system, especially evident during idling, has been an occasional point of contention for some owners. This noise might be indicative of loose components or minor misalignments within the exhaust assembly.

Water Pump/Thermostat: Both these components, crucial for engine temperature regulation, can sometimes falter. When they do, it's essential to replace them promptly to prevent overheating or other engine-related complications.

Oil Cooler Gasket Leaks: A segment of M3/M4 owners has pinpointed oil leaks, tracing them back to faulty oil cooler gaskets. These leaks not only represent a potential fire hazard but can also compromise the engine's lubrication over time.

Air Conditioning: Sporadic feedback from owners highlights issues with the air conditioning system, either not cooling effectively or presenting other related operational concerns, which can hinder cabin comfort, especially in warmer climates.

As with any vehicle, it's essential to perform regular maintenance and address any potential issues early to prolong the lifespan of the vehicle. If considering purchasing a used F8x M3 or M4, having a pre-purchase inspection by a knowledgeable mechanic is always a good idea to identify any potential or existing problems.

Recalls

BMW M3 vehicles

2015 to 2017 BMW M3 

  1. Loose Rear Sub-Frame Bolts (Recall no. 16V653000)

During servicing of the rear differential for a prior service action, the rear sub-frame bolts may have been reused instead of being replaced. Reuse of the existing bolts may cause the bolts to loosen.

2015 to 2016 BMW M3 

  1. Slip-Joint Fail (Recall no. 15V782000)

The affected vehicles have a driveshaft with a slip-joint that may not have been filled with grease. As a result, the slip-joint may fail over time.

2016 to 2017 BMW M3 

  1. Driveshaft/Flange Fail (Recall no. 18V713000)

The connection between the driveshaft and the flange may fail resulting in a loss of propulsion. A loss of vehicle propulsion can increase the risk of a crash.

BMW M4 vehicles

2015 to 2017 BMW M4

  1. Loose Rear Sub-Frame Bolts (Recall no. 16V653000)

During servicing of the rear differential for a prior service action, the rear sub-frame bolts may have been reused instead of being replaced. Reuse of the existing bolts may cause the bolts to loosen.

2015 to 2016 BMW M4

  1. Slip-Joint Fail (Recall no. 15V782000)

The affected vehicles have a driveshaft with a slip-joint that may not have been filled with grease. As a result, the slip-joint may fail over time.

2015 to 2019 BMW M4

  1. Air Bag Inflator Initiator Fail (Recall no. 17V115000)

The affected vehicles have seat-mounted side air bag inflator initiators that may fail to ignite during a crash.

  1. Improperly Folded and Assembled Air Bag (Recall no. 19V352000)

The driver and passenger knee air bag assemblies may have been improperly folded and assembled.

All BMW M4 Convertible  vehicles

  1. Incompatible Vehicle-Sensitive Locking Mechanism (Recall no. 17V507000)

The Emergency Locking Retractors (ELR) within the front seat belt assemblies may have been produced with incompatible vehicle-sensitive locking mechanism housings.

Maintenance and Ownership Costs

Compared to other high-performance sports cars in its segment, the BMW F8X series M3 and M4 offer a fairly reasonable ownership experience in terms of maintenance. Still, it's vital to emphasize that owning a performance-oriented vehicle like the M3 or M4 entails more significant expenses compared to more typical commuter vehicles.

Here's a suggested service schedule and intervals as per BMW:

1 YEAR OR 10,000 MILES

Replace engine oil and filter once a year

Comprehensive inspection per BMW specifications

Complete factory diagnostics

2 YEARS OR 20,000 MILES

Replace engine oil and filter

Brake fluid replacement

Inspect and replace cabin air filter

Check tire tread and pressure

3 YEARS OR 30,000 MILES

Replace engine oil and filter

Transmission fluid and filter change

Replace engine air filter

Typical service costs associated with the BMW F8X M3 and M4 include:

  • Oil Change: Ranges from $150 at independent mechanics to $300 at official BMW dealers.

  • Minor Service: Generally includes oil change, cabin filters, and engine air filters. You can expect to pay around $500 at a dealer.

  • Major Service: This encompasses minor services, plus transmission fluid change, spark plug replacements, and other comprehensive inspections. Dealers may charge around $1,000 for this service.

  • Tires: High-performance tires for the M3 and M4, such as the Michelin Pilot Sport, will be around $1,200 to $1,500 for a set.

  • Brakes: Brake pads for the M3 and M4 will be in the ballpark of $300-$400 for a full set at independent mechanics, with dealers potentially charging more. If rotors need to be replaced, costs can significantly rise, especially for models equipped with carbon ceramic brakes.

  • Transmission: The dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is relatively durable, but if repairs are needed, they can be costly due to the complexity of the system.

BMW often offers service packages that can be bundled with the purchase of a new car, which can offset maintenance costs for the first few years of ownership. These packages are tied to the vehicle's VIN and can be a value-add if the car is sold within that period, as the maintenance package can transfer to the next owner. Always check with the dealer for current promotions and packages available.

Options List

The BMW F8X series M3 and M4 come with a broad array of options and packages that prospective buyers can select to tailor the car to their preferences.

Some of these options include packages that provide exterior enhancements, such as carbon-fiber components and exclusive M Performance parts, particularly for the more performance-centric models like the M4 GTS or M4 CS.

One of the frequently chosen options is the upgraded paint palette which includes unique BMW Individual colors that add depth and uniqueness to the car's appearance.

Several wheel designs are available for both the M3 and M4, allowing owners to further customize the car's aesthetics to their liking.

Many buyers appreciate the optional Adaptive M Suspension. This system, by adjusting the shock absorbers, enhances the driving experience, making the car more adaptable to varying road conditions and driving styles.

Inside, sport seats with enhanced lateral support are a popular choice for those looking for a sportier feel during spirited drives. However, some have mentioned that for longer journeys, the standard seats might offer better comfort.

The interior can be further refined with the Extended Merino Leather option, allowing owners to choose a distinct color theme for their cabin. This can be a single-color or a two-tone setup that extends to the seats and door panels. Additionally, the M logo is strategically placed in various interior sections, further emphasizing the car's sporty lineage.

For those seeking a truly unique M3 or M4, BMW's Individual program provides a deeper level of customization. Through this program, buyers can select from a variety of specialized paints, interior materials, and other bespoke features that aren't typically offered in the standard catalog.

Cars customized through the BMW Individual program are often seen as more desirable in the second-hand market. Their distinct touches and often limited availability mean they can command a higher resale value due to their exclusivity and distinctiveness.

2017 BMW M3 Options List

2018 BMW M4 Options List

Some of the more desirable options to look for include:

  • Adaptive M Suspension

  • Carbon Fiber Exterior Packages

  • Optional Wheels (20-inch M Star-Spoke wheels)

  • M Sport Seats

  • BMW Individual Paint

  • Extended Merino Leather Interior

  • Executive Package 

  • Competition Package

BMW F8x M3 and M4 Price and Values (M4 GTS)

The Best F8x M3 and M4 To Buy

When it comes to buying an F8x M3 or M4, there are several key factors to consider, impacting the car's long-term appreciation.

The considerations largely fall into four categories:

For the M3 and M4 models that will most likely appreciate in value, the top contenders are the limited and special editions like the M4 GTS and the M4 CS. Even though they come with a premium price tag, their uniqueness ensures they depreciate at a slower rate.

Despite the base M3 and M4 having a more accessible entry point, they are still expected to hold value decently, especially if they are equipped with specific desirable options that enhance the driving experience.

The color of the M3 or M4 is crucial. Opting for Individual or rare paint finishes can significantly boost the car's appeal and value.

In terms of market stability, models from 2018-2019 are particularly coveted. They strike a balance between the original allure of the F8x series and modern refinements, ensuring their value remains robust.

Nevertheless, all F8x M3 and M4 models, even those from the earlier production years, are praised for their robust build and driving dynamics, making them a solid choice for enthusiasts and collectors alike.

With the automotive world slowly shifting towards electric and hybrid powertrains, the twin-turbo inline-six engine of the M3 and M4 becomes even more attractive to those who cherish traditional performance engines.

Lastly, similar to any high-performance vehicle, the condition and mileage significantly affect the car's value. While some M3 and M4 units have been driven aggressively or modified extensively, the models most likely to retain value are those kept in pristine condition with fewer miles on the odometer.

When contemplating an F8x M3 or M4 purchase, thorough research, price comparison, and a preference for well-maintained, low-mileage examples will ensure the best value retention.

Conclusion

In conclusion, for a starting price of around ($60,000+), the BMW F8x series M3 and M4 come as strong choices for those diving into the world of performance sports sedans and coupes.

While rivals like the Mercedes-AMG C63, Audi RS5, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and Lexus RCF present compelling alternatives, the M3 and M4 distinguish themselves with their balanced blend of advanced technology, comfortable interiors, intuitive design, and reliable performance on both the street and track.

In summary, if you're in the market for a high-performance vehicle that delivers both thrills and practicality, the F8x M3 and M4 are fantastic options you won’t regret.

Car Hacking Shortcuts

  • Ensure the vehicle has adaptive suspension for optimal handling dynamics.

  • Spec matters: Seek out cars with BMW Individual paint options or unique interior combinations.

  • Special editions like the M4 GTS or M4 CS are potential future collectibles and might be currently undervalued.

  • 2017+ models of the M3 and M4 bring improved tech and aesthetics and offer great value.

  • Prioritize vehicles with comprehensive service records, indicating well-maintained conditions and lower mileage.


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