• AutoCar reviews the 2015 F80 M3 and states the M3 does not benefit from being turbocharged

      The first drive's from journalists sampling the new 2015 F80 M3 are starting to come in. Yes, the M3 is available as a sedan only but no point whining about the death of the M3 coupe here as that discussion is over with. Steve Sutcliffe of AutoCar got his hands on the the new M car which has slightly more power but much more torque down low from the turbocharged S55B30 (after the turbo lag) than the previous generation naturally aspirated high revving S65 V8. What did he think of it?


      Now on paper the new car of course should be better. BMW promotes it as being much lighter (although it really isn't), more fuel efficient, offering more torque, and more power. This should be a slam dunk right? Well, not so fast.

      He says that you can definitely feel the car has less weight but considering he does not actually weigh it he may just be perceiving a lighter steering feel. This is the problem with subjective analysis without data. The car is definitely well balanced as he shows with how it is to maintain a power on slide with the rear doing exactly what the rear of an M3 should when the driver commands it to.

      Now what he says is a major caveat (which seconds later he rephrases it as a 'decent sized' caveat) is the engine. This is the sticking point for the M purist as well. How is the new turbo motor? He says the sounds is not exactly boring but it is flat. We already knew that from an exhaust clip earlier but it is interesting to note the perception from a journalist inside the cabin. Revving this engine out just is not as exciting as revving out the previous generation car. For some this is a big deal for some it is not. BimmerBoost considers it a major change that takes away a bit of the excitement.

      He states he likes 90% of the car. Its brakes, chassis, handling, interior, exterior, price point, etc. All traditionally strong M3 areas. However, he states the car does not benefit from being turbocharged and BimmerBoost strongly agrees. If the M3 is all about torque now and ECU upgrades to unlock a bit more more power, sure, there are those who are likely new to BMW and who are probably 335i fans that think the turbo motors are great.

      Those who are not new to BMW and loved M cars because they were racecars with daily usability offering Motorsport inspired engines that when surging toward redline offered an experience that only a Ferrari or Porsche could match will not think the change is so great. Looking back at the E9X M3, E46 M3, E36 M3, and E30 M3, BMW delivered the experience of high revs and razor sharp response that nobody else could match with a manual transmission and four seats. That's right, nobody.

      Some may consider the F80 M3 progress and adore it. Others will consider it a sign BMW has lost its way and went from producing special M cars to simply great M cars. Where do you stand?

      'Come on, the engine is at the center of every M car, surely. And the engine in this particular M car is, whilst amazingly efficient and bursting with torque, it doesn't have that rip to it that a real proper M engine has... had in the past. But I'm afraid that now seems like it is a thing of the past.'

      It's nice to see a journalist who actually gets it.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: AutoCar reviews M3 and S55 started by BlackJetE90OC View original post
      Comments 132 Comments
      1. Legionofboom's Avatar
        Legionofboom -
        That color is beautiful.
      1. BlackJetE90OC's Avatar
        BlackJetE90OC -
        Evo had some negative things to say about the S55 as well.

        http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evoc...and_specs.html
      1. leveraged sellout's Avatar
        leveraged sellout -
        I just don't know what he would rather have....the S65 is a wonderful engine and I love it but it makes hardly any torque down low at all...the tiny amount of "lag" you get with the S55 certainly is worth the price. I mean, the point is, turbo engines are here to stay. We all hate it, but if you want to get angry, get angry at governments around the world. They're the ones pushing for obscene mileage numbers. This is the only way to get there and still get power too. It's all nice and fine to say "I think it shouldn't be turbocharged" but that's kind of like saying "I think the sky should be green"...you can think that all you want but it's not possible and not going to change anytime soon.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BlackJetE90OC Click here to enlarge
        Evo had some negative things to say about the S55 as well.

        http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evoc...and_specs.html
        This. I've been trying to explain this to people for how many years?

        'The M4’s engine is curious. The torque and mid-range punch are not in doubt. However, BMW’s claims that it still revs like a naturally aspirated engine are open to a bit more debate. If you accelerate hard down a long straight from the mid-range and hold on until the floating rev counter in the head-up display is glowing yellow and red before flicking the right-hand paddle, then acceleration seems unabated and the noise improves. However, there is certainly no final rush to the red line and the actual substance behind the last 1500rpm feels a bit thin. Instinctively you feel like you want to change up before you even start tickling the top end, and coming out of a corner you know that you want to be in the meat of the torque rather than at the peak of the power.'
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by leveraged sellout Click here to enlarge
        I just don't know what he would rather have....the S65 is a wonderful engine and I love it but it makes hardly any torque down low at all...the tiny amount of "lag" you get with the S55 certainly is worth the price. I mean, the point is, turbo engines are here to stay. We all hate it, but if you want to get angry, get angry at governments around the world. They're the ones pushing for obscene mileage numbers. This is the only way to get there and still get power too. It's all nice and fine to say "I think it shouldn't be turbocharged" but that's kind of like saying "I think the sky should be green"...you can think that all you want but it's not possible and not going to change anytime soon.
        The S65 is a 4.0 liter V8 that revs to 8400 rpm with independent throttle bodies. Anyone complaining about the S65 down low is looking for turbo lag with a torque punch instead of instant response and a linear power curve. Some people just don't understand the difference.
      1. benzy89's Avatar
        benzy89 -
        Top Gear said similar things, they love everything about the car, not upset that the engine is now TT, but that rev and surge to redline feeling is gone since boost needs to be tapered down as you approach redline. What I did find interesting is that they mentioned BMW has programmed a factory "anti-lag" between shifts, injecting some extra fuel to keep the car on boost.


        Regardless, this is a small deviation from previous M3s, but since most of us end up modifying them (more than likely adding in FI) anyhow, we really don't have a dog in this "purist" fight.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        Regardless, this is a small deviation from previous M3s
        A small deviation? Small? How is it small?

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by benzy89 Click here to enlarge
        but since most of us end up modifying them (more than likely adding in FI) anyhow
        This motor will always be behind the S54 and S65. If you want to mod the NA motors are better because the have higher volumetric efficiency to begin with. Why hasn't this sunk in?
      1. BlackJetE90OC's Avatar
        BlackJetE90OC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        This. I've been trying to explain this to people for how many years?
        Yeah he is basically saying the 7,600 redline is artificial. He feels the need to short shift as power drops off 1,500 rpm prior to redline. So shifting at 6,000 rpm to stay in the power. Not exactly a redeeming quality for a M3 engine. But that is ok, because the "I am going to throw Juice Box on it" crowd likes turbos.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BlackJetE90OC Click here to enlarge
        Yeah he is basically saying the 7,600 redline is artificial. He feels the need to short shift as power drops off 1,500 rpm prior to redline. So shifting at 6,000 rpm to stay in the power. Not exactly a redeeming quality for a M3 engine. But that is ok, because the "I am going to throw Juice Box on it" crowd likes turbos.
        I think we all know that if we see a dynograph we'll see the similar torque drop toward redline that we have grown accustomed to with N54's and N55's.

        This is not a high revving M motor with a flat torque curve.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BlackJetE90OC Click here to enlarge
        "I am going to throw Juice Box on it" crowd likes turbos.
        These people will never get it.
      1. leveraged sellout's Avatar
        leveraged sellout -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        The S65 is a 4.0 liter V8 that revs to 8400 rpm with independent throttle bodies. Anyone complaining about the S65 down low is looking for turbo lag with a torque punch instead of instant response and a linear power curve. Some people just don't understand the difference.

        I get the difference 100% don't get me wrong. I just don't find the character of down-low engines any less desirable. I know it's not historically "M" but it's the future all the same. There's no way around it. I mean, $#@! you want to turbo your S65 right? How do you feel about the character of that setup vs. a factory turbo'd engine? Obviously your car would be far more powerful, but the idea is the same. I guess I'm just trying to be pragmatic here given that we are faced with a certainty of future engines being mostly FI. Big NA engines are going away...they might stick around for a bit with hybrid assistance but even that will eventually go away. Everything will be FI and have fat torque curves in the near future. I love a good short-stroke high-revving hp-heavy engine as much as anyone...but if you can still build a similar engine but just with turbos and added power down low, why not?

        As far as the sound...the S63 with straight pipes sounds great. I bet this engine will too.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by leveraged sellout Click here to enlarge
        I mean, $#@! you want to turbo your S65 right? How do you feel about the character of that setup vs. a factory turbo'd engine?
        Considering it breathes better at all RPM points, much better. However, if I was building it for the track my choice, just like BMW's, would be a 4.4 liter S65.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by leveraged sellout Click here to enlarge
        I know it's not historically "M" but it's the future all the same. There's no way around it.
        There are many ways around it.
      1. 654's Avatar
        654 -
        Boost is better.
      1. Sered's Avatar
        Sered -
        It most likely isn't the same visceral feel that you get with the older N/A M motors like the S65 and S54 as has been said over and over again. That being said, it doesn't make the car bad outright. I think since it's lost some of the M magic, it needs to be judged more purely on the numbers. I'll hold my judgement on the car until I see ACTUAL numbers, because not a single 'review' of this car has given us anything besides quoted BMW figures. Where's the 1/4 mile and trap speed numbers? Where's the 'ring or other common track numbers? How does the FI setup fare on a track?

        Lots of questions to be answered that no one has answered yet, but somehow, some rich $#@! in Dubai already has one. Is the car performing below standards and BMW is holding back numbers until they can tweak everything perfectly?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sered Click here to enlarge
        Lots of questions to be answered that no one has answered yet
        Absolutely.
      1. Brey335i's Avatar
        Brey335i -
        In my opinion the M3(4) should be the slightly ridiculous car of the lineup. It's the one car that doesn't need to be uber-comfy or pedestrian in nature. If you're gonna turbocharge it then at least have the balls to give it larger turbos with a top end. They picked smaller turbos in an attempt to minimize lag, but at the cost of a strong top end. What they've made is another 335. I'll just wait for the new M3 coupe, because this one isn't really worthy of the name. /rant

        Love the look though. I just don't want to pay $70K for a factory modded 335i
      1. Legionofboom's Avatar
        Legionofboom -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Brey335i Click here to enlarge
        In my opinion the M3(4) should be the slightly ridiculous car of the lineup. It's the one car that doesn't need to be uber-comfy or pedestrian in nature. If you're gonna turbocharge it then at least have the balls to give it larger turbos with a top end. They picked smaller turbos in an attempt to minimize lag, but at the cost of a strong top end. What they've made is another 335. I'll just wait for the new M3 coupe, because this one isn't really worthy of the name. /rant

        Love the look though. I just don't want to pay $70K for a factory modded 335i
        I think a lot of people will be really happy with the N54 335's once we have a few more things released. So the idea of a M3 with a N54 in it, could be pretty epic.
      1. Omni's Avatar
        Omni -
        What are the biggest differences between the N54 and this new S55 motor?
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Brey335i Click here to enlarge
        I'll just wait for the new M3 coupe, because this one isn't really worthy of the name.
        Not sure if serious.
        There will be no more M3 coupes. They are called M4's now.
      1. bigdnno98's Avatar
        bigdnno98 -
        I just don't get people who complain about the sound of the engine. Who gives a $#@!!?! Mustangs have sounded great for years. They're still slow and until recently sucked to drive. More tq, more HP, WTF do you people want. Certainly not progress. This sounds like a Porsche forum right now.
      1. Sered's Avatar
        Sered -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Legionofboom Click here to enlarge
        I think a lot of people will be really happy with the N54 335's once we have a few more things released.
        I've been hearing that for several years now. Still hasn't happened, still always on the horizon.