BMW M3 Transmission Fluid Capacity

The BMW M3 is renowned for its exhilarating performance and precise engineering. Central to its driving experience is the transmission fluid, a vital component that facilitates smooth gear shifts and protects the transmission’s internals. Proper maintenance of the BMW M3 transmission fluid capacity ensures that your M3 remains a paragon of automotive excellence.

Key Takeaways:

  • BMW M3 models have specific transmission fluid capacities and types that are vital for their performance.
  • Each M3 generation from E30 to G80 has unique fluid requirements.
  • Proper maintenance, including regular checks and changes, is crucial for transmission longevity.
  • Symptoms like hard shifts and slipping indicate potential fluid issues.
  • Overfilling the transmission fluid can cause significant damage, so precise filling is essential.
2022 BMW M3

Transmission fluid is an important part of your BMW M3, and you should check and change the fluid for proper maintenance every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

In a vehicle, oils serve the purpose of cooling and lubricating the moving parts and transferring power from the engine/transmission to other components such as the differential or drive axles. If the transmission oil is insufficient, you will experience rough gear shifts while accelerating.

Evolution of BMW M3 Transmissions

Over the years, the BMW M3 has seen several iterations, each improving upon the last. The transmission system, a key player in the vehicle’s dynamics, has evolved significantly, influencing the fluid capacity and fluid type required:

  • The E30 M3 introduced enthusiasts to the engaging drive of BMW’s motorsport-derived sedans.
  • With each subsequent generation—E36, E46, E90, F80, and the current G80—BMW has fine-tuned the M3’s transmission for better performance and reliability.
  • Innovations like the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) and the latest 8-speed automatic gearboxes have elevated the driving experience, demanding specific fluid types and capacities for optimal function.

For more details on the specifications and historical context of these transmissions, visit the official BMW M3 specifications.

2021 – Now BMW M3 G80 Transmission Fluid Capacity and Transmission Fluid Type

2023 BMW M3 transmission fluid capacity

TransmissionFluid capacityFluid type
8-speed automatic (GA8HP76Z)Total fill: 9.9 quarts (9.4 liters)BMW ATF3+
6-speed GS6-53BZ manual1.7 qt. (1.8 liters)BMW MTF LT-5

The latest G80 generation of the BMW M3 marks a significant leap in automotive engineering. Equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission, it requires precise fluid management to maintain its superior performance levels.

  • Fluid Capacity: The total fill for the 8-speed automatic is 9.9 quarts (9.4 liters).
  • Fluid Type: The recommended fluid is BMW ATF3+ with part number 83222289720.
  • Maintenance Interval: Regular checks and changes at intervals specified by BMW ensure the transmission’s longevity.

2015 2016 2017 2018 BMW M3 F80 Transmission Fluid Capacity and Transmission Fluid Type

BMW M3 F80

TransmissionFluid capacityFluid type
GS6-45BZ manual3.2 pints (1.5 liters)BMW MTF LT-5 p/n: 83222167666
7-speed DCT GS7D36SG automaticTotal fill: 8.9 quarts (8.4 liters)BMW DCTF 1+ p/n: 83222446673

The F80 M3 is a modern classic, offering a blend of performance and refinement. Its transmission fluid specifications reflect the high standards expected of this model.

  • Manual Transmission: The GS6-45BZ manual transmission holds 3.2 pints (1.5 liters) of BMW MTF LT-5 fluid.
  • DCT Transmission: The 7-speed DCT GS7D36SG automatic requires a total fill of 8.9 quarts (8.4 liters) using BMW DCTF 1+ fluid.

2007 – 2012 BMW M3 E90 Transmission Fluid Capacity and Transmission Fluid Type

BMW M3 E90

TransmissionFluid capacityFluid type
6-speed S6-53BZ manual3.2 pints; 1.6 quarts (1.5 liters)Up to 02.2007 – BMW MTF LT-2 p/n: 83222339219
From 03.2007 – BMW MTF LT-3 p/n: 83222339221
7-speed DCT GS7D36SG automaticTotal fill: 8.3 quarts (7.9 liters)BMW DCTF 1+ p/n: 83222446673

The E90 M3 remains a favorite among enthusiasts for its high-revving V8 and engaging drive. Its transmission fluid needs are specific to ensure the vehicle’s high performance.

  • Manual Transmission: A total of 3.2 pints; 1.6 quarts (1.5 liters) is needed for the 6-speed S6-53BZ manual, with fluid type changing from BMW MTF LT-2 to BMW MTF LT-3 in March 2007.
  • DCT Transmission: The 7-speed DCT GS7D36SG automatic has a capacity of 8.3 quarts (7.9 liters) and uses BMW DCTF 1+ fluid.

2000 – 2006 BMW M3 E46 Transmission Fluid Capacity and Transmission Fluid Type

BMW M3 E46

TransmissionFluid capacityFluid type
6-speed S6S420G manual1.6 quarts (1.5 liters)BMW MTF LT-2

The E46 M3 is celebrated for its balanced dynamics and is a pillar in the M3 lineage. Its transmission fluid capacity is an essential aspect of its maintenance.

  • Manual Transmission: The 6-speed S6S420G manual requires 1.6 quarts (1.5 liters) of BMW MTF LT-2 fluid for optimal operation.

1992 – 1999 BMW E36 Transmission Fluid Capacity and Transmission Fluid Type

BMW E36 M3

TransmissionFluid capacityFluid type
5-speed S5D320Z manual2.5 pints (1.2 liters)Dexron III
5-speed 5HP-18 automaticTotal fill: 9.4 quarts (8.9 liters)
Initial fill: 3.2 quarts (3 liters)

The E36 M3 introduced many to the joy of M cars, and its transmission fluid specifications are part of its legacy.

  • Manual Transmission: The 5-speed S5D320Z manual needs 2.5 pints (1.2 liters) of Dexron III fluid.
  • Automatic Transmission: The 5-speed 5HP-18 automatic has a total fill of 9.4 quarts (8.9 liters) and an initial fill of 3.2 quarts (3 liters).

1986 – 1991 BMW M3 E30 Transmission Fluid Capacity and Transmission Fluid Type

BMW E30 M3

TransmissionFluid capacityFluid type
5-speed 280 manual2.7 pints (1.2 liters)17mm Hex plug, Dexron II or Dexron III
5-speed 265 manual2.5 pints (1.2 liters)17mm Hex plug, Dexron II or Dexron III

The iconic E30 M3 set the foundation for the M division’s success, with fluid capacities reflecting the technology of the time.

  • Manual Transmissions: Both the 5-speed 280 and 265 manuals require approximately 2.5 to 2.7 pints (1.2 liters) of Dexron II or III fluid, recognizable by the 17mm Hex plug.

Maintaining the appropriate transmission fluid capacity and using the recommended fluid types are crucial to the performance and longevity of these legendary vehicles. Each generation of the M3 has its unique requirements, reflecting BMW’s progression in automotive design and engineering.

Keeping up with these specifications is not just about maintenance—it’s about preserving the essence of what makes the M3 an automotive icon.

How to Check and Change BMW M3 Transmission Fluid

Proper maintenance is key to extending the life of your BMW M3’s transmission. Here’s how to check and change the transmission fluid:

  • Checking Fluid Levels:
    • Ensure the car is on a level surface and the transmission is warm.
    • Locate the transmission fluid dipstick or fill plug.
    • Use the dipstick to check the level or remove the fill plug to see if the fluid is level with the bottom of the opening.
    • The fluid should be a clear red or amber color. Dark or burnt-smelling fluid indicates a change is needed.
  • Changing Fluid:
    • Drain the old fluid while the car is level to ensure a proper drain.
    • Replace the drain plug and fill the transmission with the recommended fluid type and amount.
    • After filling, start the car and cycle through the gears with the brake applied, then recheck the level and adjust as needed.

Recognizing and Addressing Transmission Fluid Issues

Being attentive to your BMW M3’s transmission fluid can prevent potential issues. Keep an eye out for:

  • Symptoms of Low or Dirty Fluid:
    • Difficulty shifting gears.
    • Slipping or surging transmission.
    • Delayed vehicle movement after shifting.
    • Unusual noises from the transmission area.
  • Addressing Issues:
    • If you notice any of these symptoms, check the fluid level and condition first.
    • A fluid change or flush might resolve the issue, but persistent problems may require professional diagnosis.
    • Never overfill the transmission, as this can increase pressure and leaks.

Regular monitoring and maintenance of your BMW M3’s transmission fluid are as essential as the engine oil changes. It’s not just about keeping the car running; it’s about ensuring the BMW M3 continues to deliver the driving experience it’s renowned for.

Whether it’s a classic E30 or a modern G80, a well-maintained transmission is key to the vehicle’s performance and longevity.


  • What is the BMW M3 transmission fluid change interval?
    • The recommended interval can vary based on the model year and transmission type, but BMW typically suggests a change every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Always refer to your specific vehicle’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Can I use third-party transmission fluid in my BMW M3?
    • While third-party fluids that meet BMW’s specifications can be used, it’s crucial to ensure they match the OEM standards. For the best performance and longevity of your transmission, using the recommended BMW or ZF fluids is advisable.
  • How does transmission fluid affect my BMW M3’s performance?
    • Transmission fluid lubricates the moving parts, helps to dissipate heat, and facilitates smooth gear shifts. Low or dirty fluid can lead to hard shifts, slipping, overheating, and in severe cases, transmission failure.
  • What are the consequences of overfilling BMW M3 transmission fluid?
    • Overfilling can cause increased pressure within the transmission, leading to leaks, poor shifting, and in some cases, damage to transmission components. It’s essential to fill the fluid to the correct level as specified for your M3 model.


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