Built to be as wide and wild as possible, this 800hp, M6 GT3-inspired F80 M3 is a fast, ferocious and full-on build that is guaranteed to blow you away.
The F80 M3 is, we suppose, a relatively discreet sort of car but that’s not to say it can completely fly under the radar. The narrow body means it gets some nice fat arches to accommodate the running gear, giving it a suitably pumped-up look and then you’ve got that snarling front end, four fat pipes at the rear, not to mention the big wheels, big brakes and big attitude. Park it up next to a C63 AMG and there’s no question about which of these two performance saloons delivers the bigger visual punch and shouts the loudest about its performance potential. The M3 might not be a smack in the face, but it’s not super subtle either and there’s definitely enough attitude here to let you know what it’s all about. Trouble is, that’s not nearly enough attitude for some people, like Steve Samuel for example; for Steve, the plan from day one was to build himself an F80 M3 that was as insane as possible and we’d say he’s done a pretty good job.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that Steve is a BMW fan or that he’s a bit keen on modding because that’s pretty obvious from the get-go. “I’ve always been into BMWs. I’ve driven many other cars but the drivability and handling of BMWs is just the best,” begins Steve with enthusiasm as we chat. “My first BMW was my 2004 330Ci ZHP. In high school the E46 was the ‘in’ car and as soon as I was able to purchase one I did.
I fully modified it with custom paint, supercharger, wheels, suspension, full Alcantara interior…” Having gone all-out on his first BM, he was really going to have to pull out all the stops for Bavarian project number two. “I had been waiting and waiting or the latest model of M3 to come out as I’ve always been a fan,” says Steve, “and when it was announced I placed an order with my dealer. I had been planning and talking with 2M Autowerks for months before I even had the car, about how I wanted to build it as insane as I could and just go all the way with it. I also wanted to use it as a marketing tool for Euroklasse, a BMW-emphasised event branding company I started with like-minded enthusiasts,” and it’s safe to say that no one is going to forget their first encounter with the machine that he and 2M have created.
Now it would have been relatively easy for Steve to wide-body his F80 M3 with an off-the-shelf kit, there are a few out there to choose from, but that would have been too simple and not nearly insane enough for this build and so he decided to do things differently. “As soon as I got the M3 from the dealer I basically dropped it off at 2M Autowerks to begin cutting the car and begin the wide-body.
Once that was done… there was really no going back from that moment. So the cutting began and so did the designing, shaping, moulding and while the body kit was being created from scratch I began to gather almost everything else I needed for the car,” he says. That’s real commitment, taking your brand-new car straight to a garage to start chopping it up but there was method to the madness and 2M had come up with an awesome concept for this build. “I sat down with 2M Autowerks and explained I wanted to build the craziest, fastest, widest race car out there,” says Steve, “then they came up with the concept of the 2M GT3. Basically it is a tribute to the current BMW M6 GT3, hence the name. The lines and exaggerated points on the vehicle are the same as the M6 GT3’s, like the opened-up front grilles, hexagon mesh, stepped arches, widened rear with even the door integrated to give it a natural look of a coupé wide-body, and finned rear bumper to diffuse the air for better aero,” he explains and that’s a pretty impressive build concept.
To attempt to recreate a full-on GT3 racer coupé as a road-going saloon takes some doing as the two couldn’t be further apart if they tried, and yet 2M have managed to pull it off. Compare the shots of the 2M GT3 side-by-side with the M6 GT3 and you can absolutely see where 2M got all its inspiration from and how they’ve integrated various styling and aero elements from the race car into the custom wide-body kit they created for Steve. It looks sensational and the custom kit has been further enhanced with some additional aero elements like that APR front lip and carbon splitters and the vast APR GT 1000 wing, though that’s only for track (and photo shoot) use; for the road Steve’s M3 dons a far more demure Status Gruppe CSL-style boot lid. The white bodywork is perfect for the motorsport theme and the monochrome colour scheme delivers heaps of visual impact, aided ever so slightly by the absolutely outrageous arches. Steve wanted insane and we’d say 2M have delivered.
So, you’ve got your custom wide-body kit on your M3, it’s looking a lot like a race car, where do you go from there? Well, while 2M had been busy chopping his M3 to pieces, Steve had been busy shopping and was now ready to add everything that a wide-body kit like this deserves. The stock F80 M3 doesn’t exactly have a 4×4 ride height but staying stock on the suspension front was never going to be an option and here Steve opted for a set of Status Gruppe SRS coilovers as the company is local to him in San Diego and this multi-adjustable setup has been used to deliver a serious drop, getting those arches low and just tucking over the tops of the tyres.
The correct wheel choice was essential for this build, not just because of the massive widths that were needed to fill out those cavernous arches but also because the style had to suit the look of the car, but Steve has absolutely nailed it with his choice. “I really just wanted a three-piece, lightweight wheel to maximise my performance so I decided on Aristo Forged, as they are also a local Southern California-based company and all have ties with 2M Autowerks and Status Gruppe. There really was no other consideration on wheel choice. I really wanted to keep all the companies who are friends behind the scenes together on this build,” he says. The wheels in question are 19”, three-piece Aristo Forged 5Vs finished completely in black and the design definitely has a strong motorsport vibe and works so well on this M3. As for the widths, these black beauties measure 11” wide up front and a monster 13” wide at the rear and the fitment is absolute perfection.
At this stage Steve’s M3 had the looks but this was never just a style build; as he’d said to 2M, he wanted this to be the fastest race car out there and that meant that 431hp just wasn’t going to cut it. It’s at this point that we should probably mention that Steve just so happens to work in sales at Pure Turbos, which should give you an idea of what was about to happen under the bonnet… The performance upgrades on this M3 are comprehensive to say the least and the result of all that work is really rather spectacular. At the heart of it all you’ve got the upgraded turbos from Pure Turbos and these are joined by front-mount intakes, RK Tunes charge pipes, GT Haus downpipes and full exhaust, meth injection kit, HC Performance back-end flash and it’s all topped off with a JB4 running a custom tune for E85 fuel. The end result? 800hp and 820lb ft of torque. Take a moment to let that sink in. That’s a massive increase in performance and makes this M3 an absolute monster, exactly what Steve wanted.
With the exterior and engine taken care of Steve now turned his attention to the interior, because you can’t do all that work and leave the interior stock, now can you? BMW did a great job on the F80 M3’s seats, but Steve clearly wasn’t impressed as they’ve been unceremoniously removed and replaced with a pair of extremely sexy Recaro CS Sportster items, which look awesome and provide the sort of support required when making full use of this M3’s performance. This might be a saloon but a family car it is not so there’s a custom rear seat delete by AP Upholstery and back there you will now find an Autopower four-point roll-cage, finished in dazzling yellow, matched by a pair of custom yellow seatbelts by Gaphix.
Dinmann carbon fibre trim has been liberally applied throughout the interior and the BMW M Performance catalogue has been plundered for parts, with the M3 now equipped with an Alcantara-rimmed steering wheel with electronic display along with the gear lever, handbrake handle, arm rest, pedals and even floor mats all from BMW’s in-house modifying division. It all combines to make this interior feel even more special and sporting than before, which is saying something.
You have to be feeling pretty brave to take your brand new M3 straight from the showroom to get chopped up and modded but if you want to push the boundaries that’s the sort of commitment you have to show and the results speak for themselves. A lot has gone into this car and it’s all come together to create something truly spectacular on every level and Steve has gone all-out to build the wildest machine possible.
Needless to say he’s over the moon with how the M3 has turned out but, even with such a monumental amount of work invested in it, this project is far from finished. “Building a car like this is never-ending but when we first showcased it at Bimmerfest at the Autoclub Speedway it was about a five month turnaround time. That’s from creating a kit from scratch, making moulds, re-creating the kit, painting the entire car and the complete engine and performance mods but again, as an enthusiast you’re never really done,” says Steve and that’s something we can all relate to. So what could there possibly be left to do? “I really feel like I’ve achieved everything I wanted in this build except, of course, more power… If I could do more it would be power,” he grins. “The current and continuing plan is to make it the fastest six-speed M3,” he adds and, judging by what he’s achieved so far, you know he’s going to make it happen.
Wide-body F80 M3
Engine and Transmission:
3.0-litre straight-six S55B30T0, Pure Turbos upgraded turbos, RK Tunes front mount intakes, RK Tunes charge pipes, GT Haus downpipe and full exhaust, HC Performance back-end flash, meth injection kit, JB4 with custom tune for E85 mix fuel. Six-speed manual gearbox
Power and Torque:
800hp and 820lb ft
11×19” (front) and 13×19” (rear) Aristo Forged 5V three-piece all-black wheels with 305/35 (front) and 345/45 (rear) Nitto Invo tyres, Status Gruppe SRS coilovers
2M GT3 wide-body kit by 2M Autowerks, APR front lip and carbon splitters, Dinmann rear diffuser, APR GT 1000 wing (track only), Status Gruppe CSL-style boot lid (street use), livery changing and auto restyling by Viral Vinyl Werks, complete paint protection by 5 Point Auto Detail using Ceramic Pro
Recaro CS Sportster seats, AP Upholstery custom rear seat-delete, Autopower four-point roll-cage, BMW M Performance Alcantara race display steering wheel, gear knob, handbrake lever, arm rest, pedals and floor mats, Dinmann carbon fibre trim, Gaphix custom yellow seatbelts
I would like to thank 2M Autowerks, Status Gruppe, Aristo Forged, RK Tunes, Dinmann, GT Haus, Gaphix, APR Performance, Ceramic Pro, AP Upholstery and J+E Custom Fabrication
Words: Elizabeth de Latour
Photos: Brian McGee