This is a sad, sad day for gearheads.
Those with memories as good as an elephant's may remember that BMW began to phase out the M3 and M4’s famous carbon fiber driveshaft last August, not to cut costs or reduce complexity but to adhere to coming emissions standards that require an Otto particle filter to be installed in the exhaust system. The M3 and M4’s carbon driveshaft had to be a larger diameter than its metal counterpart to function properly, so BMW axed the component to make room for the Otto filter.
Relative to a drivetrain alteration, news BMW will axe the F80 M3 entirely is huge. BMW Blog reports that the current M3 has an appointment with the executioner in May of 2018, just before the World harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) regulations—the standard that requires some vehicles to be fitted with the Otto particle filter—go into effect in June. The WLTP is a new globalized standard governing the levels of pollutants, CO2, and fuel consumption that cars and light commercial vehicles can emit. So does that mean BMW senselessly broke our hearts by removing the carbon driveshaft before dropping this news?
Not quite. That’s because the M4 will live on in its current form, adopting the new drivetrain and an Otto filter just before the June deadline so that the production line stays whirring. This is still sad news for those who enjoyed the practicality and performance the M3 had to offer without dipping into the six-figure price territory by buying an M5. With the M3’s replacement not seeing the light of day before 2020, the F80’s death means that there will be at least a 1.5 to 2-year intermission between M3 models. Prices of the F80 are sure to skyrocket with this news, especially since the next generation M3 could be the impending electrified M car we’ve all been hearing will come some day. Cry, weep, mourn, do whatever you have to do, but just don’t give up hope.