The most powerful M3 F80 ever
The M BMW models are the absolute pinnacle of what the company has to offer and many fans consider them their dream cars. Despite the M5, which is the most expensive model currently and the announced M7 that should come next year, the M3 might be the best driver’s car of the sedan lot due to its compact body and lower weight. The M is about performance, so it is no wonder that tuners have immediately decided to upgrade M3 F80. Expert engineers from GT Kraft gave us the most comprehensive upgrade program so far, including three stages. The first stage is performed on the OEM ECU only and it ups the power rating to 502 hp (369 kW) and 653 Nm (482 lb-ft); the second adds a new part to get up to 522 hp (384 kW) and 723 Nm (533 lb-ft) and sets the stage for the third one that boasts essential hardware changes for the total of 577 hp (424 kW) and 783 Nm (578 lb-ft) of torque.
The first M3 came during the era of the E30. The car was beautifully styled, lightweight and powerful and it became instantly beloved around the world. The versions that came after that one just cemented the M3 as one of the most revered sports sedans in the world. However, the latest one, the F80, was expected with a bit of fear due to the smaller engine, added turbochargers and the cringing idea of artificial exhaust sound. But, the M3 is about performance the most and the trimmed down 3.0 l I6 twin-turbo engine brought lower weight, better weight distribution and massive 431 hp (317 kW) and 550 Nm (406 lb-ft) of torque. Add to this electronic driving aides and the car sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.1 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), so each and every M3 is as fast as the next one at the top end, or even as fast as the V8 C63 AMG. Well, almost every. GT Kraft can make your M3 F80 the fastest of the lot.
Stage 1 BMW M3 F80 ECU tuning
ECU tuning alone did not make a lot of sense when the M3 packed naturally aspirated engines. But now, having the mentioned twin-turbo setup, the S55 I6 engine can benefit far more from the OEM ECU fiddling. This is what they do and why they do it.
First the car is tested to see its condition and determine the safe levels of modifications, which depend on the sturdiness of the OEM parts. The tests are performed on a 4×4 Superflow single-roll dynamometer and using top notch tools.
After the initial tests, the engineers start dealing with software mods. The first modification is a change in the twin-turbo operation that results in increased pressure and thus more air in the cylinders. The second change is an adjustment in injection that is necessary to preserve the air-fuel ratio at the optimal level. The levels are determined via testing, of course.
The third change is consisted of advancing the ignition timing which improves throttle response and helps combust the air-fuel mixture properly.
The last change comes as the icing on the cake. It is the removal of the top speed limiter which enables the car to go way further up. Having in mind that the stock car can reach 280 km/h, it should be safe to assume that after the stage 1, the top speed could go over 300 km/h (186 mph). What we do know is that the acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) is dropped to 3.9 seconds.
It is important to note that not a single part is overstressed and that each step of the process is carefully monitored through testing and data logging.
So, the stage 1 is already immensely better. What can the two remaining stages bring?
Stage 2 BMW M3 F80 tuning
The stage 2 gives just about 20 hp more. Not exactly face-melting, we know, but bear with us. The stage 2 adds just one aftermarket part – exhaust. You are free to choose between Akrapovic, Milltek and Supersprint but the result will be pretty much the same. The exhausts are made of stainless steel or titanium, being more lightweight that the stock unit and providing better exhaust gases flow from the engine. The exhaust will also help with the sound we have mentioned in the beginning. However, the exhaust has one more benefit – it makes the stage 3 possible.
I know, I’m also eager to tell you what the stage 3 brings, but I should point out the power rating after the stage 2 before that. It is 522 hp (384 kW) and 723 Nm (533 lb-ft).
Stage 3 BMW M3 F80 tuning
Turbo! The all-new system in the stock car is replaced by a better one and aided by more efficient accompanying parts. After the stage 3, all of the new parts work with the OEM ones like clockwork. The new turbo system feeds even more air to the engine, which makes the turbo wheel spin faster and again improve performance, while the better exhaust helps the gases escape the system faster. Add to this more tests and software adjustments to perfect the air-fuel ratio and ignition timing (both necessary due to the added amounts of fuel and air) and the car is all ready for domination with 577 hp (424 kW) and 783 Nm (578 lb-ft) of torque.
Has GT Kraft just succeeded in making the perfect sedan? The tuned BMW M3 F80 is packed with German engineering, quality and styling, four-door sedan practicality, BMW 3 Series compact body and immense power provided by BMW M department and GT Kraft. If you’re looking for a sedan, there aren’t many better options.