When the F30 debuted I thought, "FINALLY... a good replacement for my e46!" as multiple aspects of the e9x left me pretty cold. I didn't care for the exterior design, absolutely loathed the interior aesthetic, and the time I spent behind the wheel of an e90 328 loaner had me going fetal and crying in the corner.
During the Olympic Drive event, I quickly became convinced that a 335 Sport Line would be the way to go. Whilst the N20 is an absolutely amazing engine, I find the character and soundtrack of the N55 much more fun and the MPG difference isn't a big factor since I don't commute by car. I planned to do ED around May of 2013 (happy b-day to me!)
Now, as the time is drawing nearer and I've read through the magazine reviews and insightful write-ups here, I find myself having some serious 2nd thoughts on making the switch. In order of personal importance, here's why:
Let's be clear... the F30 is the hands-down winner in a contest of ride comfort. However... F30's, size, weight, and suspension tuning mean that this car rolls around quite a bit. By comparison, my e46 is great fun to toss into corners and the predictable and neutral chassis is a total hoot at autocross. Lastly, there's just no substitute for hydraulic steering.
This one is actually more of a draw. The F30 is modern, aggressive, and full of interesting complexities. The e46 is a timeless beauty. Both will age very well. The only reason I mention it is because I'm so enamored with the e46's design that I'm having a hard time seeing a day when I don't own one. See my "garage" for pics.
If I'm gonna shell out $50k for a car, I want saddle brown interior and sport seats, dammit!!!
BMW's arbitrary configuration limitations are a real turnoff.
The F30's tech bits (e.g. NAV/HUD, Comfort Access, smart phone integration) are simultaneously nice to have and a huge area of concern. I tend to own cars for a long time, and German manufacturers just haven't nailed down reliable electronics the way the Japanese have. I'm concerned about owning an F30 outside the warranty period.
So this really isn't meant to be a "Down with the F30!" post. Nor am I interested in a penis-waving contest about "X is better! Y is teh sux!"; I wanted to provide some context on what's causing my 2nd thoughts. I'd be very interested in hearing from board members who have made the switch and comparisons between these 2 generations... especially anybody who tracks/autocrosses their car.