With the new F-Chassis BMWs, it’s a new era for BMW tuning. For the BMW F80 M3 and F82 M4 this represents a new era in M Performance. The N54/N55 family of motors have been extremely tuner friendly and incredibly potent, so naturally, the evolved version of those awesome turbo sixes – the S55 – is going to respond extremely well to tuning as well.
In this article we’ll be going over the best mods for the F80 BMW M3 and F82 BMW M4, explaining things in a manner even a beginner to modding can understand.
We’ll start with the most straightforward – and visually nagging mod. The OEM wheels.
Mod Expert Alan’s F82 BMW M4 on Avant Garde M621
with Eibach Springs + AP Racing Big Brake Kit & RevoZport Aero
When BMW designed the F80 BMW M3 / F82 BMW M4, the F80 M3 wheels must have been the last thing on their minds – the OEM wheels are kinda ugly to most eyes, so simply changing the wheels will have a big impact on the appearance of your BMW M3/M4.
A set of wheels for BMW F80 M3/M4 is the easiest way to make your ///M stand out from the rest of the crowd.
ADV.1 has some of the most stunning wheel designs in the industry. Famous for their forged wheels, ADV.1 brings the same level of designs and quality to the flow formed market with their Flow Spec line.
The ADV5.0 is a stunning split 5 spoke design that looks both classy and aggressive. The perfect fit the M3/M4. The attention is in the details and this wheel really stands out compared to other split 5 spoke designs.
ADV.1 ADV5.0 – 20×9.5 et18 (front) / 20×11.0 et38 (rear)
The ADV005 is another great design from ADV.1 that really works with the design of the M3/M4. The aggressive nature and open spoke look really complete the look and show off your big brakes.
HRE FF01 Liquid Silver on F82 BMW M4
One of the classiest ways to change up your wheels is with a fresh set of rolling stock from HRE Performance Wheels, like the HRE FF01 for BMW M4 in Liquid Silver shown above.
HRE FF01 Tarmac Black on Dinan M4 w/ RevoZport Aero
HRE’s new Flow Form line of wheels look great and won’t set you back as much as HRE’s classic line of Modular Forged Wheels would, and the mesh design works fantastically with the M3 and M4’s design language.
HRE FF15 Wheels Tarmac Black on F80 BMW M3
HRE’s newest flow form wheel, the FF15, offers a handsome, GT-inspired 15 spoke design that pairs well with the F8X’s styling, and looks great both with aggressive and subtle style builds.
VMR Wheels has several great options for the F80 and F82 – if you want a Flow Form Wheel, VMR V810 Wheels for BMW F8X are a handsome option that are surprisingly affordable and look great on the car in both coupe and sedan forms.
VMR V810 19×10 ET25 / 19×11 ET35 in Hyper Silver
The V810 looks great in both Hyper Silver or Gunmetal finishes and gives the car a motorsports oriented style.
VMR V810 19×10 ET25 / 19×11 ET35 in Gunmetal
Also offered in gunmetal, the V810 fills out the wheel arches of the M4 beautifully in this 19×10 / 19×11 fitment shown above.
VMR V710 Gunmetal Wheels 19×9.5 ET22 (F + R) with Pirelli Sotto Zero 255/35-19 Winter Tires
If you’re on a bit of a budget, or need a set of great looking wheels for your winter tire setup, VMR’s classic VMR V710 Wheels for BMW F82 M4 have that “classically BMW” look to them, and though they’re a cast wheel, they’re strong and not too heavy.
Of course, if weight is an issue, the new VMR V710FF offers the classic style of the V710 but in a lightweight and strong flow formed version which is 4lbs lighter.
Avant Garde M359 Hyper Silver 20×9 ET20 / 20×10 ET58 on Yas Marina Blue BMW M4
Avant Garde Wheels are another favorite of ours, the classic Avant Garde M359 Wheel gives the M4 a really stunning look, and these very well should’ve been the OEM wheel option for how perfect they are for the M4 in 20in fitments like the YMB M4 above.
Avant Garde M621 20×10 ET20 LV III Concave 20×11 LV III Concave ET35 Bespoke level III Brushed Stainless finish on Alpine White BMW M4
Avant Garde also offers some really incredible and eye-catching custom wheel options as well, like the custom M621s above.
Avant Garde M621 20×10 ET20 LV III Concave 20×11 LV III Concave ET35 Bespoke level III Brushed Stainless finish on Alpine White BMW M4
If you’re after a really customized wheel, talk to our Mod Experts at 714-582-3330 to see what kind of bespoke custom wheel you’d like Avant Garde to build for you.
Last but not least are the incredibly popular Forgestar F14 wheels for BMW M4, seen above in 19in fitment with Super Deep Concave up front and out back. Even coated with brake dust after an aggressive canyon run, look fantastic. Forgestar Wheels are flow form as well, and each wheel is custom built to the specific offset and fitment of your exact car, factoring in mods like big brake kits, rolled fenders or widebody conversions.
The wait time to have your Forgestar wheels built to your specs can be as little as 8 weeks, but during the busy season things can take longer, which is why we keep a few select Forgestar Wheels in the most common BMW fitments/color/concavity choices in stock in our warehouse, ready to mount tires and drive away with that day if you’re in a hurry.
By no means are these all the options out there for BMW F80 M3 wheels and BMW F82 M4 wheels, check out what we have on our site – or give us a call at 714-582-3330 and our Mod Experts can recommend some wheel options that suit your taste, fit the car and your budget.
After a set of wheels, the M3/M4 suspension is fairly low, but getting rid of the wheelgap will really “set off” the look of any ///M car. Which brings us to the next option.
#2 Lose The Ugly Wheelgap with Suspension Upgrades
F80 M3 Suspension sits nice and low courtesy of KW V3 Coilovers for BMW F80 M3
The wheelgap can really ruin the look of a great set of wheels, and even the M3 and M4’s suspension can be improved, after all, the ride’s been dialed down to suit “american” tastes – so a set of springs or coilovers – or even air ride -can improve the car.
BMW F82 M4 on Eibach Springs
Eibach Springs are as well known and as popular as they are because they’re a great lowering spring option. A set of Eibach Pro-Kit Lowering Springs for BMW F80 M3/F82 M4 drops the car a modest amount, but the drop is conservative to preserve the ride quality, which is important on a daily driven car.
The North American Spec Eibach Pro-Kit Springs for BMW M4 lower the car 0.8in up front and 0.2in at the rear for a subtle drop.
Mod Expert Alan had this to say about his Eibach Springs:
“The car feels more planted in comfort, sport, and sport plus modes with adaptive drive. Better feedback around turns and the front end feels less squishy/floaty with in comparison to the factory springs. The drop is moderate and will lower the front by 0.8″ and the rear by 0.2″. Enough to make a difference visually and you can definitely tell the car is lower overall. It is great for those who want to still be able to drive comfortably without having to complete angle the car at every bump or driveway.”
BMW F80 M3 on Eibach Pro-Kit Springs
H&R Sport Springs on F82 BMW M4
Another well-known name in the BMW suspension game is H&R Springs. The drop on H&R Sport Springs is more aggressive than the Eibach option and offers a more racing-oriented ride. And of course, if the drop of the regular Sport Springs isn’t enough, H&R Super Sport Springs will bring it down even more.
BMW F82 M4 on H&R Sport Springs and HRE FF01 Tarmac Wheels
BMW F80 M3 on H&R Sport Springs and HRE FF01 Wheels
Another lowering option that’s easy on the OEM suspension, drops the car while maintaining the ride quality as much as is possible would be a set of Vogtland Springs for BMW F80 M3 or Vogtland Springs for BMW F82 M4. Vogtland has been manufacturing springs in Europe since the early 1910s and though not particularly well known stateside, are a popular lowering spring option overseas.
A set of lowering springs is the least expensive way to lower the car on the face of it, but it’s important to remember lowering any car on the OEM shocks moves the range at which the shock is operating to a height that the shock isn’t designed to stay at, which, unless the spring is designed for the shock, will typically speed up how quickly the shock wears out, dramatically shortening its lifespan. Which means that if you just do springs you could potentially be paying for labor twice to replace your worn out shocks a few thousand miles later, so coilovers or a height adjustable spring kit are actually not that bad of an option.
Stock vs KW V3 Coilovers (and Liberty Walk Widebody Kit) – Yes, that’s the same car.
A set of coilovers is a great way to lower the car, as it comprehensively upgrades the suspension, replacing both the spring and the shock/strut.
At the moment, KW is one of the only options on the market for the F8X M3/M4 but more will be hitting the market with time.
If you want to lower your M4 on a budget or want to retain your electronic shock system’s functionality, a set of KW Height Adjustable Springs for BMW F80/F82 M3/M4 are what you’d call a “sleeveover kit” that converts the OEM shock to a coilover type set up.
Pair these with a set of KW Error Cancellers for BMW F80/F82 M3/M4 for a great coilover-like setup.
Have questions about what suspension setup might be right for you? Give our team of Mod Experts a call at 714-582-3330 to get their advice and input or chat live at ModBargains.com, or if you’re in SoCal, just drop by the ModAuto shop/showroom in La Habra on Lambert Rd/Harbor Blvd.
Which brings us to the next mod to make your M3 or M4 more fun and stand out from the crowd.
An Exhaust system.
AWE Tuning Switchpath Exhaust for BMW F80 M3/F82 M4
Most BMW M3/M4 owners are going to be people of discerning taste – that sound like you? Now, when it comes to exhaust systems, it really is a matter of taste – the best exhaust for one guy might be too damn noisy for you or you might find it too quiet or restrained – so it’s important you listen to sound clips and buy the system you like the SOUND of most, not whatever is the least expensive or made a few more ponies on the dyno. Generally speaking, the gains for exhaust systems are usually in the same ballpark – one axleback makes as much power as another, catbacks make the about the same as other catbacks and so on – so like we said, you liking the sound of it is the most important thing.
One of the finest systems on the market for the M3/M4 comes from renowned Audi/Porsche tuner AWE Tuning out of Penn, right here in the USA. These guys take attention to detail to a whole other level. Check out the sound of the AWE Tuning Switchpath Exhaust System for BMW M4/M3 in the video above.
AWE invests hundreds of hours in refining the exhaust note each and every one of their systems, and offer them with options to suit everyone’s tastes. While other marques might offer systems that are of similar quality, we’re pretty sure NOBODY puts the same kind of time and effort into honing the tone and sound of their systems like AWE.
If a more Germanic sound is what you’re after, check out the Remus Innovation Cat-Back Exhaust for F80/F82 BMW M3/M4, which offers a great sound and your choice of tips to suit your style and tastes – and Remus’ trademark carbon fiber trimmed “Street Race” style tips look great.
As we’ve said with every other system, give the Remus Innovation Exhaust for BMW M3/M4 a listen in the video above.
A new option for the M3/M4 now in stock exclusively at ModBargains is the Active Autowerke Exhaust for F8X BMW M3 + M4.
Available in a cat-back and axle-back configuration, this system is good for a staggering 18whp and 30wtq gain in cat-back form, not to mention the fantastic sound. This powerful and exclusive system is only available here at ModBargains (not even Active still has these in stock!!) Supplies are limited, so grab your Active Autowerke Exhaust for F80/F82 M3/M4 while we still have them!
As an official DINAN dealer, we now proudly offer the Dinan Free Flow Exhaust System for F8X M3/M4 here at ModBargains. For those who are concerned with preserving their BMW Factory Warranty, the Dinan exhaust system is warranty-friendly, offering exclusive peace of mind not to be had with any other system.
The warranty is really a moot point though, as this exhaust system’s primary benefit is its fantastic sound, your choice of great looking black or polished DINAN logo tips and a free flow muffler good for a 5hp gain, and the system is a full 3lbs lighter than stock. If you want an exhaust system that offers more growl without going overboard – like a daily driver – this system was designed for YOU.
Another new system to hit the market comes from Akrapovic, who showed off the car at HRE a few months back.
Akrapovic Exhaust BMW M4 on HRE FF15 Wheels in IPA Finish
Akrapovic systems are known for their incredible build quality and aggressive, powerful exhaust note.
In addition to the unique sound, the Akrapovic Exhaust For BMW F80/F82 M3/M4 also offers a unique look – it comes complete with its own custom rear diffuser to give the tail end of your ///M car a different look. Also, because of the system’s titanium construction,it’s light weight, and while the system offers a deep, aggressive exhaust note, it’s worth saying that titanium systems have a distinct, awesome tone all their own.
Want an exhaust system that will wake up the neighborhood? Look no further than the Eisenmann Exhaust for BMW F8X M3 + M4. If you want an aggressive exhaust note that is going to genuinely intimidate people, this is the system for you with its angry bark. The volume can be altered slightly, as it is offered with optional resonated or non-resonated midpipes as well.
Quite a few marques have rolled out exhaust systems for the M4 – even our friends at GMG Racing have thrown their hat into the ring.
The GMG Racing Exhaust for BMW M4 changes the tone completely and is certainly a system your neighbor isn’t likely to have either – making it a rather unique choice.
Have a listen to the GMG Exhaust in this clip above – its unique tips give the system a different sound than what we’ve heard from some of the other marques.
And let’s not forget that BMW themselves offer a performance exhaust – the BMW M Performance Exhaust System for BMW F8X M3/M4, seen here with black tips, is regarded as one of the best options for someone with more conservative tastes.
Our friends at Evolution Racewerks on the other hand, have done their own thing with their rather wild Liberty Walk BMW M4.
Since this thing’s not really a street-driven car, it boasts a set of Evolution Racewerks Catless Downpipes for BMW M4, which change the sound and dramatically enhance the already potent performance of the M4.
The downpipes for the M4 are beautifully welded and perform as great as they look, but it’s worth saying that these are 100% not legal for any street driven car in California – the other 49 states vary so check your local laws. That said, they sound awesome and the horsepower and torque gains are definitely something you’ll really feel on the ol’ Butt Dyno. Here’s how they looked installed on Evolution Racewerks’ R&D test mule/showcar/racecar.
Generally speaking, a catback exhaust will be smog legal, but anything you do with your downpipes won’t pass CARB standards; so be sure to check your local laws before modifying the catalytic converters/downpipes.
These are just a few of the options available for exhaust for BMW M4 and F80 M3. if you’ve got questions about an exhaust setup or want a recommendation to point you towards a system that might suit your tastes, we invite you to ask our knowledgeable team of Mod Experts who can help match you with the exhaust system that’s right for you.
4. LET YOUR S55 BREATHE WITH AN INTAKE
Of course, the next place to pick up power and change up the sound to give your M3 or M4 a bit more character is an intake system. At the moment the selection is a bit limited, but the systems available are pretty fantastic.
Offering a pretty killer bang for the buck – and likely going to be CARB legal soon – is the Injen Intake for BMW M3 / M4 S55 engines, which is surprisingly affordable, will let you better hear your S55 working its turbocharged spooltastic magic, and of course, significant gains in horsepower and torque.
The dyno chart speaks for itself, yielding a tidy gain of +19whp / +23wtq – the kind of awesome gains we’re used to seeing from the legendary BMW N54.
And of course, it looks good under the hood as well.
Offering a modest 12hp / 10tq gain, the AWE Tuning S-Flo Carbon Fiber Intake for F80 M3 & F82 M4 offers an amazing looking carbon intake setup that pairs beautifully with the factory underhood carbon fiber detail with the benefit of a high flow, sealed airbox style true cold air intake for a consistently cool incoming aircharge.
The system includes quite a bit of carbon fiber, from the intake tube to the airboxes and lids, so it naturally carries a carbon fiber premium price, but it’s still actually pretty reasonable as intakes go, especially for a carbon fiber unit.
The power gains are consistent across the power band, for a balanced performance gain.
Another extremely high quality intake option for the M4 is offered by Dinan Engineering. The Dinan Carbon Fiber Cold Air Intake for F8X BMW M3 + M4 also features carbon fiber airboxes and intake tubes with new MAF sensor housings and a different style filter. Offering a 14hp gain and a substantial 21tq when combined with other basic mods like an exhaust, this system also offers the unique benefit of being BMW Warranty-friendly like all DINAN products.
The system comes with everything seen here, and offers the swag of both Carbon Fiber and the Dinan name with definite power gains.
Last but not least of the Carbon Fiber Intake options is offered by Eventuri. The Eventuri Carbon Fiber Intake for F8X BMW M3 + M4 features unique intake snorkels rather than airboxes, for both a different look and sound than other options.
The kit includes everything shown here, all of which translates to an approximate 15-20whp and 13-23wtq, depending on your particular car. Check out the dyno graph below.
This last intake option is not available through any shop, anywhere in California – but it ships to the other 49 states and internationally. Ideal for the M3 or M4 owner on a budget, we now offer the BMS Intake for BMW M3/M4.
With the least extra stuff of any of these intakes, the BMS Intake for BMW F8X M3 + M4 replaces the intakes themselves and the filters, but features plain black tubing and does not utilize heat shields.
Affordable and effective, the BMS Intake offers an approximate 10whp gain, but the bottom half of the stock airboxes leaves a kind of unfinished feel that may not feel right on a brand new 50k+ car.
Broken OEM Chargepipes off an M4
Before we move on, we can’t ignore the other half of the intake – your chargepipes. BMW has this nasty habit of using brittle, failure prone plastic for their hot, pressurized chargepipes – meaning that if you crank up the boost, the chargepipes are very likely to fail – and even stock, eventually, they’re going to POP somewhere and leave you stranded, frantically trying to overnight a set of chargepipes. We see it at least once a week now with older N54 and N55s, stock cars popping chargepipes.
By replacing the chargepipes with a set of higher flow, metal pipes, you eliminate that potential source of failure and also enhance throttle response by getting rid of the boost leaks that plague the stock chargepipes.
One more important item is an upgraded Intercooler for BMW M4. A larger intercooler is a key component to improving the performance of any turbocharged car, and a larger FMIC will keep the car cooler on hot days, allow you to consistently deliver peak horsepower, stave off heat soak and run more aggressive fuel/ignition timing for improved power/torque as well.
Since we first wrote this article, larger cooling is now available. Since the M3/M4 use a water-to-air intercooler, it’s technically a “Heat Exchanger”, so most vendors will use that term, while some enthusiasts will continue to call it an intercooler. The AWE Tuning ColdFront Heat Exchanger for F8X BMW M3 + M4 is exactly what the car so desperately needed.
The ColdFront Heat Exchanger from AWE Tuning offers a 24% increase in frontal surface area and a 125% increase in fluid volume capacity, which translates to a major reduction in heat soak, meaning you have consistent power.
Check out the graph above plotting Intake Aircharge Temperature (IAT) comparing the stock heat exchanger to the AWE unit – it’s telling just how how the IATs are stock.
Take a look at the data above and you can see how the car falls on its face after a few pulls with a stock heat exchanger. Pull number one the car did 484hp/460tq, and pull six it laid down a pitiful 460hp/435tq.
Now let’s take a look at the AWE Tuning heat exchanger under the same conditions – on pull one, the car did 480hp/465tq again, but what’s incredible is pull six it doesn’t even lose 5hp – it did 477hp and 465tq on the sixth pull. THAT is the value of the heat exchanger.
After handling the wheels, dropping the car, giving the S55 the exhaust note it deserves and an intake to match, let’s take a look at a few of the ways to further separate your ///M car from the other guys at the country club.
5. BREAK NECKS WITH EXTERIOR AESTHETIC UPGRADES
While the styling of the M3/M4 is kind of aggressive, it still is a bit restrained, so a little extra visual spice can really make all the difference on your F80 M3 / F82 M4 – which brings us to exterior upgrades for F82 M4/exterior mods for F80 M3.
Genuine BMW Performance Front Splitter Kit w/CF Side Splitters for F8X M3/M4 on Victor Wu’s M3.
BMW Performance Splitters are the standard for the M3/M4, but that’s not to say that there aren’t many handsome alternate options out there.
The V2 Style Carbon Fiber Front Splitter for F80 M3/F82 M4 is another way you can make your ///M car more distinctly yours. Now one thing we want to point out here is this car sports chrome kidney grilles. Remember how that looks.
The V1 Carbon Fiber Front Lip Spoiler for BMW F80 M3/F82 M4 bears some resemblance to the BMW version with a few tweaks and carbon fiber construction for a more aggressive look than the plastic lower splitter element from BMW – and take note of the Painted front reflectors for BMW M4/F80 M3 on this car- those really clean up the look of the car. And remember the chrome kidney grilles? This car sports a set of Gloss Black Kidney Grilles for BMW F8X M3/M4, which look cleaner than the cluttered look that the chrome kidneys tend to create.
If downforce is what you’re after, the APR Performance Carbon Fiber Front Air Dam/Splitter for F8X M4/M3 is the ticket for you, offering an incredibly aggressive look and the function to match the form.
This Volkommen Design Front Lip for BMW F80/F82 M3/M4 is another unique option and since it’s from a lesser known marque it’s less likely anyone else will have the same lip.
A set of Carbon Fiber Side Skirt Extensions for F80 M3 is a great way to add some extra flair along the rockers of the car, as there aren’t any alternate sideskirts on the market at the moment and the continuation of the carbon trim from a front lip creates a more unified style.
At the tail of the car, a Carbon Fiber Performance Style Rear Diffuser for F80 M3/F82 M4 will make any exhaust system stand out, and a Carbon Fiber Trunk Spoiler for F80 M3 (also available for F82 M4) really completes the look.
Of course, there are more aggressive options, like the CSL Style Carbon Fiber Trunk for BMW F80 M3/F30 3-Series, which features a prominent ducktail spoiler molded right into the decklid’s contours.
There are a couple of other small details to tweak to further tailor the appearance of your BMW F8X – the M3 above sports the BMW Performance Splitter and BMW Carbon Side Splitters but what we want to point out here is the No-Holes License Plate Holder which displays the plate in a way more attractive manner.
Some of the other details include BMW Performance Carbon Fiber Mirror Covers and BMW Performance Gloss Black Side Grilles, which can help further tailor the appearance of your ///M-car.
Any of the above exterior mods are great ways to stand out from the crowd. With the 5 mods above, your S55 will pack more power than the next guy, you’ll enjoy an awesome intake/exhaust note, fantastic handling and most importantly, you’ll love the way your M3/M4 looks.
That about wraps it up for the F80 M3 and F82/F83 M4, we hope this was informative for you, and thank you for reading.
Interested in changing up the look and performance of your BMW F80 M3 or F82 M4? Ask the Mod Experts what exterior upgrades are available for your car to change the style of your ride. Call us at 714-582-3330 for expert mod advice and schedule your installation at the Mod Auto shop today.
Story & Photos Nick Gregson
Select Photos Bryan Munoz
Select Photos from Vendors