Social media has directly influenced how buyers configure cars today. Open any of the major apps, and you'll find owners almost attempting to outdo one another with one-off colors and unique configurations. Purchasing an expensive car is no longer enough to pull in likes and shares. It's all about who's the most unique, the brightest, and the rarest. I, for one, can't endorse this trend enough. I love going out to cars and coffee events and seeing vibrant purples and deep greens instead of just a sea of executive-friendly shades.
The 2023 BMW M3 Edition 50 Jahre I've been driving this week perfectly embodies this cultural shift. While it's essentially a 503-horsepower M3 Competition xDrive, it, alongside the 499 others BMW plans to produce, revives unique colors that defined previous M3s, starting with the E30 up to the F80 that preceded it. So it's outrageously quick, colorful, and rare. For those that can stomach its $101,195 as-tested price, this M3 is destined for fame.
|Engine||Twin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter Straight Six|
|Output||503 Horsepower / 479 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||3.4 Seconds|
Revisiting The Past
So much has been said about the G80 M3's styling that it's almost superfluous to revisit. But of course, I will. This car has been in production for years, and at this point, you either love or loathe it. This is the third one I've tested, the fourth if you include last year's M4 Convertible, and the nose still hasn't fully grown on me. While I don't love it, I stopped noticing its enlarged kidney grilles entirely. If anything, the G80's widened stance catches my eyes first. And, once you factor in the sheer pace this 3,990-pound sedan can carry up a back road, more on that later, I'm willing to forgive its controversial front end.
One thing I'm sure of, however, is that my tester's Fire Orange exterior color is stunning. It's exclusive to the Jahre and pays tribute to the E92 M3 Lime Rock Park Edition. However, this limited BMW is available in four other shades: the E30's Cinnabar Red, the E36's Techno Violet, the E46's Interlagos Blue, and the F80's Limerock Grey. The German carmaker plans to build 500 special edition variants only for the 2023 model year.
Collectors will be happy to learn that there isn't even a set split between the colors. BMW will produce the shades its buyers pick, up to 500 units, meaning your already rare M3 could be even rarer. Although Fire Orange perfectly suits a 503-hp sporty sedan, I'm ready to obliterate my financial future for a Techno Violet car. It's dark enough to visually downsize the G80s grilles but interesting enough to warrant whipping your head around to see. I tested a Techno Violet Edition 50 last year, and it's still handing out in the back of my mind.
All Edition 50 Jahre's come standard with a set of Orbit Grey forged Style 826M wheels, a finish that's unavailable in the regular M3. Complimenting their dark finish is extensive carbon fiber trim, including its front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, tailpipe surrounds, side view mirrors, and trunk lid spoiler. As standard, its roof also features the lightweight material.
The G80 BMW M3 has only been around in Competition xDrive trim for two years, and it's easy to forget just how quick it truly is. With a constant stream of new cars, the latest always comes to mind first, but the G80 is still one of, if not the most, capable sports sedans on sale today. Forget that it's longer and wider than an E39 M5 and weighs nearly 4,000 lb. This M3 is terrifyingly quick on a back road. While it develops the same 503-hp and 479 foot-pounds of torque as a rear-drive Competition, its inclusion of all-wheel drive allows it to put that power down.
So instead of being a tail-happy handful, this M3 trades drama for outright speed. With a 3.4-second run to 60 mph, it's 0.4 seconds quicker than its rear-drive sibling. But in true BMW fashion, it takes one launch to convince you that the quoted time is conservative. That said, the G80's xDrive is a rear-biased system that mainly sends power to the rear wheels and only brings the front in when it detects slippage.
What's perhaps most impressive about the Competition xDrive is how accessible its speed is. On a back road, this is unequivocally supercar quick. Yet even at 503 hp, it takes little effort to hustle this M3. The flip side is that because it is so easy and composed, it isn't as exciting as some of its predecessors, mainly due to its muted steering and lack of a compelling manual option. This sedan is for those who want the utmost speed, not the most engaging driving experience. But then again, its competitors don't exactly solve this problem either.
The G80 hides its weight well in the bends, changing direction like a 500-lb lighter car. There's no body roll to speak of either. Thanks to its all-wheel-drive system and active differential, ensuring plenty of traction, the M3 follows commands without hesitation. And thanks to its 275/35ZR19 tires upfront and 285/30ZR20 in the rear, its grip is seemingly neverending.
My tester came equipped with the standard M Compound brakes, which are the ones to get. They're cheaper to buy than the carbon ceramics, cheaper to replace, and still, deliver consistent and dependable performance to keep this 503-hp sedan in check. Even after multiple runs on a curvy road, I never encountered any fade or loss of performance.
The Jahre doesn't offer any exhaust upgrades and thus includes the standard unit you get in a normal M3 Competition. The system is burbly and throaty in most situations but lacks organic noise. Flat out, the cabin fills with artificial noise, but like many, I still prefer the real thing. Especially when considering that the G80 sounds much better than the F80 it replaced.
Only Fully Loaded
While you can still see glimpses of its orange exterior behind the wheel, the Jahre employs other touches, so you don't forget that it's special. Open the door, and its sills read "Edition 50 Jahre BMW M", while a plaque in its center console proudly displays that it is one of 500. BMW only offers the Edition 50 as a "well-equipped configuration," meaning it includes the Executive and Parking Assistance packages, Adaptive LED headlights, carbon-fiber interior trim, wireless device charging, and M Shadowline headlights. Thus, customers only have choices for exterior color, seat, and brake type.
My tester featured the M Carbon bucket seats, chairs I've been critical of in the past, mainly because I just didn't fit well in them. But I've dropped the sweets and downsized considerably, and I'm a much bigger fan. While I still recommend the standard M Sport seats for daily driving duties, the M Carbon set isn't too unbearable if you'd categorize yourself as slim. They're excellent on a back road thanks to their aggressive side and thigh bolsters, and despite being such an aggressive seat, they are relatively comfortable for longer drives.
Since it is a 2023 model, the Jahre is one of the first G80s to feature BMW's curved dual displays with the eight-generation Drive system. The pair comprises a 12.3-in digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-in infotainment screen. The twin displays are a massive improvement over the original G80's separated screens. Since they share the same bezel, they blend perfectly together, making the interior look more uniform and sleeker. They're also larger, which helps when looking at maps or utilizing a split-screen view.
Because the Jahre is only available with the interior carbon-fiber trim option and a black leather interior, there are fewer ways to personalize its cabin. However, given that its exterior shades are all vibrant, a subtle interior finish isn't necessarily a bad thing.
A standard 2023 BMW M3 Competition xDrive starts at $81,795, including a $995 destination fee. However, the Edition 50 Jahre adds $8,970 to the mix, making my tester's actual base price $90,765. Throw in options like its $1,800 Executive Package and $4,500 M carbon seats, and you get an as-tested price of $101,195. Despite understanding the effects of inflation and supply-chain price increases, a six-figure M3 is still a hard pill to swallow, but not surprising considering that a similarly optioned Audi RS5 is nearly the same sum, and the latest electrified C63 will likely surpass it.
I could simply boil the 2023 BMW M3 Edition 50 Jahre down to being a Competition xDrive with beautiful paint because that's what it is. But of course, these unique touches now make all the difference, especially for social media-friendly buyers. In the age of folks comparing their configurations to see which is rarer or gets the most traction online, a little bit of color is enough to excite.
As I see it, the Jahre temporarily adds even more exciting shades to the M3's excellent palette. Spending a week driving around Los Angeles in a loud and bright four-door pumpkin was a treat. But most of all, this Fire Orange M3 adds an extra layer of fun to an otherwise serious and focused sports sedan. The fact that this Halloween-ready G80 can keep up with a Lamborghini Huracan Evo RWD off the line is just an added treat. And so for not much more than an already pricey Competition xDrive, Edition 50 gives you rarity, outrageous speed, and all the online clout you'd ever want.
Gallery: 2023 BMW M3 Edition 50 Jahre Review: Bright Canyon Carver
2023 BMW M3 Edition 50 Jahre