I never thought much of BMWs…
Writing them off mostly as status symbols. See – I like raw & visceral cars. Buuut I ended up buying a 1992 E34 5-series with a manual transmission last year for $500. I did it on a whim, with no particular love for the car other than the manual tranny.
And I find it ironic – that basically the cheapest BMW ever ($500 & moldy), was the car that really opened my heart to BMW.
BMW really had something unique & special going in the 80s & 90s…
Luxury… snobbery… turtle-neck sweaters… yeah they had that. But under the surface, BMW also had an undeniably raw & visceral driving experience. They somehow managed to create cars that were both raw AND sophisticated at the same time. And I think they did it, because there needs to be both aggression AND finesse in creating a true driver’s car. Opposing forces… and then a connection point between them. BMW’s slogan: ‘The ultimate driving machine’. It wasn’t just BS, they were legitimately going after it… from all angles. The BMW cars of that era feel very uniquely BMW.
You can argue that unique feeling is lost today, not just with BMW, but with most/all high-end car brands…
And in most of those cases I’d back you up. A lot of present-day car manufacturers have lost their unique identity in the quest for… well… sales & stats. They’ve funneled into the same shapes, specs, auto transmissions, high price tags, and overall meh. Chassis have become so good that you arguably don’t even feel them anymore. Sound deadening & soundproof glass are your noise-cancelling headphones. And all the modern tech/electronics metaphorically demote you to co-pilot, rather than captain.
But you can also argue… that you can’t stop progression.
Nostalgia is why we’re connected to driving, owning, and building the older cars. But the car industry can’t move backwards. It just… can’t. And it’s easy for us enthusiasts to get nostalgic & romantic looking back on yesteryear. BUT…
If we wipe away the nostalgic haze from yesteryear…
And if we get a clear unbiased & un-stereotyped look at what’s happening right now, BMW is still putting out RWD sport sedans… AND still sticking damn manual transmissions in them without hesitation.
Who else is doing that??
Who else is mating manual trannys to inline-6 twin-turbo engines in a car with a backseat that you can put kids in? Who has the balls to make a car like that… when 9-out-of-10 mall-cruising Youtubing douchebags don’t even know what to do with a 3rd pedal anymore?
I see a lot of performance car manufacturers catering to ‘the lowest common denominator’ these days.
Brands that I never thought would, like Porsche. True sports cars should cater to no one. Yeah yeah, BMWs are riddled with electronics more intricate than the human nervous system. And yep, BMWs will always attract the douchebags, just like the sun will shine. But big picture – a true & rowdy sports sedan with a no BS manual transmission is NEVER a douchebag formula!
If we put ourselves in 2051 & look back 30 years…
This 6-speed BMW F80 M3 is a modern-day legend that’s gonna hit us straight in our futuristic nostalgic feels. Hindsight is 20/20.
These next words are straight from this car’s owner, Kris Guico…
What’s cool, is I wrote my portion of this article (above) before I ever actually spoke to Kris Guico, just because I got in the zone randomly & got myself on a rant. But then later that day, Kris sent me this (below). Dead-on shared mindsets!
When I look at the BMW F80 M3, I see the M legacy that I’ve always loved. But simultaneously – the BMW F80 M3 also embodies a monster of an engine that resembles the inline-6 twin-turbo gods I grew up lusting for… the RB26DETT and the 2JZGTE. It’s one of the few new vehicles that still allows the driver to row through the gears. It’s lines and aggressive looks remind you of the old iconic Skylines. In my opinion… it could very well be the true R35 or the true A90. It follows through their footsteps, holding true to what a lot of us car enthusiasts still pine for in modern/new cars. And so in a way… I pay tribute to the JDM heritage, through my 2016 BMW M3. -Kris Guico
ENGINE / TUNING
WHEELS / BRAKES / SUSPENSION
Volk Racing ZE40 Wheels: 19×9.5 / 19×10.5
Falken Azenis FK510s: 255/35 / 275/35
Brembo 380mm big brake kit