Many would consider the BMW M3 F80 as one of the holy grails of the BMW M Series. Sure, there are other iconic models on the line, but none of them can really compare to what the fifth-generation sporty Bimmer can bring to the table. The M3 F80 sedan and its brother, the F82 M4, shared one potent engine: the S55 engine, the first M engine to ever have a twin-turbo. Along with the motor, BMW blessed the car with the return of the inline-six engine, which pays homage to the long racing history of the M Series.
Endowed with stunning looks, overtly monstrous powerplant, and a penchant for impressive handling, it’s no surprise that many BMW fans would pick up one and turn it into a project car. Modifying the BMW M3 F80 is a breeze, considering its massive aftermarket support on its back. Since the vehicle is an exemplar of athletic vehicular performance, car enthusiasts often prioritize performance modifications above any upgrades.
There are many potential modifications that you can get for the BMW M3 F80, but some of them are arguably more important than others. Consider them as priority mods, if you must. Getting them on your car would mean more power, torque, and better handling.
Are you interested in finding out what BMW M3 F80 mods we’re talking about? Scroll down below!
#1 Exhaust Systems
There’s a couple of good reasons why most enthusiasts opt for exhaust systems as one of the first performance mods they get for their cars. Those reasons are the noticeable performance gains, a slight increase in horsepower and torque, better fuel economy, and better engine efficiency. However, the most prevailing rationale for getting an aftermarket exhaust system is to dramatically improve the sound output of the vehicle.
The primary function of an aftermarket exhaust system is to make sure that the exhaust gasses get expelled efficiently as possible. This results in improved engine efficiency, which in turn produces a mild increase in performance gains. The exhaust system is also responsible for potential improvements in your car’s sound output. That’s why a lot of aftermarket exhausts out there vary from sound to sound. Some are silent enough for a relaxing freeway cruise, while others are roaring like wild beasts, suitable for aggressive street driving.
Recommendation: Borla ATAK ® Cat-Back Exhaust System
- Manufacturer: Borla Performance Industries
- Part Number: 140731
- Vehicle Fitment: BMW M3 F80 (2015-2018)
If you want something to crank your Bimmer’s sound output up a notch, then we’re pretty confident that the Borla ATAK Cat-Back Exhaust System is for you. ATAK exhausts are wildly popular for their untamed sound output. These types of exhausts are the loudest ones Borla has in their line-up. Thanks to the Acoustically Tuned Applied Kinetics technology, you can enjoy a car capable of growling deeply yet aggressively. The ATAK exhaust system is no doubt, one of the must-have BMW M3 F80 mods.
Borla ATAK ® Cat-Back Exhaust System Features:
- Iconic Borla aggressive sound
- ATAK ® (Acoustically Tuned Applied Kinetics)
- Made from T-304 stainless steel
- Backed by Borla Million-Mile Warranty
#2 Intake Systems
Intake systems are perhaps one of the most popular mods car enthusiasts get for their cars. Who can blame them? The performance boost intake systems provide is almost instantaneous. And for its price, such investment is not that bad.
Many BMW M3 F80 owners opt for one not only because it’s cheap but also because it provides some performance gains. Such gains are a slight increase in horsepower and torque, better mileage, increased acceleration, just to name a few. However, keep in mind that these gains aren’t that noticeable, and the numbers aren’t sky-high. On their own, intake systems wouldn’t provide as much horsepower and torque, but they do function best when partnered with other sweet modifications.
So how do they work? Intake systems provide the engine a constant air supply, necessary for fuel combustion. The BMW M3 F80 stock intake is not that bad, but it’s too restrictive for the likes of many. That’s why aftermarket intakes are a thing: they replace the stock intake in favor of a more free-flowing one.
After getting some BMW M3 F80 cold air intake for yourself, you’ll be welcome with some benefits like the ones mentioned above, along with a sweet spooling sound that just makes any car enthusiast grin from ear to ear.
Recommendation: Injen SP Twin Wrinkle Short Ram Air Intake System
- Manufacturer: Injen Technology
- Part Number: SP1116WB
- Horsepower Gain: 20hp
- Vehicle Fitment: BMW M3 F80 (2015-2020)
This ain’t your typical single-cone air intake: it’s a dual-cone intake system! With its short ram design, the Injen SP Twin Wrinkle can get airflow to the engine faster than usual. It can provide as much as 20hp and 23lb-ft of torque while maintaining air-fuel ratios. This intake also makes use of the SuperNano-Web air filter, a dry air filter variant that’s fully serviceable and sifts the smallest of debris from the air. What’s more, the sound that this intake makes is very aggressive, especially when under full throttle.
Injen SP Twin Wrinkle Short Ram Air Intake System Features:
- Dyno-proven increase in horsepower and torque (20hp and 23lb-ft)
- Short ram intake design
- Made from T6-6061 aluminum
- Uses SuperNano-Web air filter
- Maintains air-fuel ratio
- Backed by Injen Technology Limited Lifetime Warranty
#3 ECU Tune
Often, aftermarket performance modifications like intakes and exhaust systems won’t require you to tune your car. However, if you really want to fully maximize the gains you’ll get from such modifications, then you should have your ECU tuned. A BMW M3 F80 ECU tune would mean that you set your car’s brain accordingly with its newly installed parts. The more optimized your ECU is, the better it functions, especially with new aftermarket modifications and all that.
Keep in mind, however, that getting an ECU tune will ultimately void your warranty. Some companies like Dinan offer a matching warranty, though, where they offer a matching warranty for the vehicle manufacturer’s remaining warranty terms.
#4 Lowered Suspension
Vehicle performance doesn’t revolve only around the engine and its functions; it also involves parameters like weight transfer and axle load distribution, governed by the suspension system. But hey, let’s just skip the complicated engineering formulas and principles for now, and let’s focus on why upgrading your suspension system is a good thing.
There are a few good reasons why you’d want to lower your suspension system. The first, and perhaps the most prevalent cause, is to drop it. Why? Because a lowered car looks plain awesome, that’s why!
The second is because it improves the car’s handling. This is because once you have your car slammed to the ground, you also put yourself in a position where cornering is much easier. After all, there’s less body roll.
The third one is because you’d have more room for customization. A lowered suspension would open more doors for you in terms of suspension tuning. If you’re an aggressive street driver, you can opt for some components capable of making your car slightly stiffer without compromising ride quality. A more in-depth suspension tuning is also advantageous for people who frequent the tracks, or better yet, dedicated their BMW M3 F80’s soul to the track gods.
There are many viable reasons to upgrade your suspension system, but we’ll save it for another article. For now, check out the options you can consider below if you really want to lower your suspension system.
As the name suggests, lowering springs are springs meant to lower your vehicle down to a certain height. They’re simple, straightforward, and most of all, they don’t cost as much. They’re the go-to modifications of car enthusiasts who just want to get their cars as close to the ground without giving too much care about how well they’ll handle.
However, the only caveat with lowering springs is that you get what you pay for: just good ‘ol suspension drop. No customization of any sort (unless you cut them, of course, but that’s not advisable).
Recommendation: Eibach PRO-KIT Performance Springs
- Manufacturer: Eibach
- Part Number: E10-20-036-01-22
- Ride Height Reduction (F/R): 1.0”/0.5”
- Vehicle Fitment: BMW M3 F80 (2015-2020)
Eibach is one of the reigning kings when it comes to lowering springs. The BMW M3 F80 has the PRO-KIT Performance Springs, designed for performance, durability, and decent lowering. These springs can lower your car pretty decently; 1.0” to the front and 0.5” to the back. They’re slightly more costly than their competitors, but if there’s one assurance you can get, it’s that these springs are imbued with Eibach top-of-the-line quality.
Eibach PRO-KIT Performance Springs Features:
- Decent drop in ride height (1.0” front, 0.5” rear)
- Offers performance handling
- Lowers the car for aggressive styling
- Uses progressive spring design
- Backed by Eibach Million-Mile Warranty
If the idea of suspension tuning sounds sweet to your ears, then coilovers are for you. These aftermarket components can give you the tuning freedom you desire, especially if you have an aggressive driving style typical for track driving.
Most coilovers offer damping adjustment only, while others propose a combination of damping and ride height adjustment. Some premium coilovers will even provide you advanced suspension tuning! Of course, they’ll cost more, but those kinds of coilovers usually give their owners the best value for their money.
Recommendation: KW V4 Suspension Coilover Kit
- Manufacturer: KW Suspension
- Part Number: 3A7200AN
- Spring Rate: 1.0”/0.5”
- Vehicle Fitment: BMW M3 F80 (2015-2020)
These BMW F80 M3 KW coilovers are amongst the most celebrated ones because they provide some pretty extensive tuning freedom to whoever has them. The KW V5 Suspension Coilover Kit was developed for high-performance driving. Made from aluminum or stainless steel (depending on the car) for extra durability, these coilovers are meant to increase your vehicle’s driving dynamics. Getting these coilovers would suggest that you’d get two basic setups: one is for comfort, and another for performance. There are also various levels of precise damping adjustment for low and high-speed driving.
KW V4 Suspension Coilover Kit Features:
- 3-way adjustable dampers
- Made from stainless steel
- 16 exact clicks for rebound damping
- 6 precise clicks for low-speed damping
- 14 clicks for high-speed damping
- Offers two basic setups (comfort and performance)
- Backed by KW Suspension Limited Lifetime Warranty
#5 Aftermarket Wheels
Getting your suspension lowered is fantastic. But you know what’s more awesome? New wheels and tires! To be honest, most would consider the OEM wheels of the BMW M3 F80 to be rather ugly. Just like how new shoes would make people look at you more often than usual, a new set of wheels will also make you stand out among the crowd.
For the BMW M3 F80, you’d want to play around with its original wheel specifications, specifically 19×9.0 ET29 for the front and 19×10.0 ET40 for the back. We recommend around 9.5” to 10.5” wide wheels because they fit perfectly under the wheel well. And also, keep in mind that stock brakes can fit within 18” wheels. And as for the carbon-ceramic brakes, you’d need at least a 19” setup.
#6 Big Brake Kits
Performance-oriented cars like the BMW M3 F80 deserve as much stopping power as it needs, especially if you’re driving like a madman down the freeway. Upgrading your brakes may sound like a good idea, but once you realize that BMW offers carbon-ceramic performance brakes that cost around $9000, then maybe you’ll be turned off. Don’t worry, though; there are other cheaper and better builds out there that won’t hurt your wallet as much.
Upgrading an already functioning set of brakes may not sound cool to you, but there are some practical benefits you can gain from doing so.
The most obvious reason would be more stopping power. This feature is crucial for cars like the BMW M3 F80, considering how fast it can run when slamming the pedal to the metal. Another one would be for safety. Better brake pads will help you halt quicker. Who knows what accident you’ve avoided within a few seconds of braking, right?
The last one we’re going to talk about is brake pad longevity. The brake pads of a BMW M3 F80 would last around 30,000 to 70,000 miles, depending on how you drive. So if you go pretty aggressively, you might want to get your hands on new brake kits.
Recommendation: Brembo GT 2-Piece Black Drilled Rear Big Brake Kit
- Manufacturer: Brembo Brakes
- Disc Material: High Carbon Alloy
- Vehicle Fitment: BMW M3 F80 (2015-2018)
The Brembo GT Black Drilled Rear Big Brake Kit is the rear brakes ideal for drivers who demand only the utmost performance their cars can ever produce. The kit consists of aluminum calipers, monoblock parts, and disc brakes imbued with a unique venting system for improved cooling capacity. Some holes are drilled into the braking surface to dissipate, heal much faster, and eliminate gases and dust brakes.
Brembo GT 2-Piece Black Drilled Rear Big Brake Kit Features:
- Uses vented curved design (48 vanes)
- Uses advance high carbon alloy
- Comes with floating disc bobbins with an anti-rattle spring
- Backed by Brembo Brakes 2-Year Limited Warranty
There’s no doubt that the engineers from BMW certainly did a great job with the M3 F80. In fact, they even over-engineered it! However, like all things in life, OE components will wear out after some time, especially when they go under a fair amount of stress. Such levels of stress can significantly affect the said components and begin to wear and tear them. One of those components is the intercooler, which plays a pretty significant role in the entirety of the BMW M3 F80’s processes.
Intercoolers are very similar to radiators. Their primary job is to keep the air coming from the turbocharger as excellent as possible before it enters the engine. Keep in mind that compressed air is hot, so everything turbos throw into the engine is naturally hot. This is where intercoolers shine the most. Since the engine doesn’t enjoy hot air (not even a bit), turbo intercoolers ensure that the hot compressed air is toned down to a more reasonable temperature before it even touches the engine.
Why would you even need aftermarket intercoolers if you already have a functioning one? In most cases, manufacturers like BMW tend to make pretty small OEM intercoolers, just enough to get the job done. However, once you’ve started modifying your car to kingdom come, some intercooler issues may arise, thus preventing you from unleashing the true potential of your modified vehicle.
Keep in mind that the addition of a larger aftermarket intercooler will not give you any extra horsepower. However, it will play a huge role in power production. More air is equal to more power, as simple as that. And besides, larger intercoolers can give you more wiggle room in case you want a more aggressive tune for your car (without the risk of a check engine light, of course!).
Recommendation: Wagner Tuning Competition Intercooler Kit
- Manufacturer: Wagner Tuning
- Part Number: 200001124
- Vehicle Fitment: BMW M3 F80 (2015-2019)
The Wagner Tuning Competition Intercooler Kit is an ideal replacement for the stock water-cooled intercooler already existing under the hood of the BMW M3 F80. This intercooler kit can offer 114% more external core volume compared to what the stock has. It uses a competition core explicitly developed for the demanding requirements of the Bimmer in question. On top of that, this intercooler kit has CAD-designed end tanks made from aluminum, which results in an impressive cooling property and minimal backpressure.
Intercooler kits like this are one of those BMW M3 F80 mods that are ideal not only for aggressive driving but also for competitive racing.