Originally Posted by utenigma
....So I guess I'll take magazine reviews for what they are and take heart that in the next decade when they're reviewing the 2022 3 series, they'll harken back to the good old days when the F30 had "perfect" steering before BMW had to mess it all up.
I've been owning and driving BMW cars long enough (since 1978) to have seen all this contadiction of models and extreme opinion, but to be perfectly frank, each generation marches forward and is a better car.
Not always perfect and hitting the mark when first introduced, like the E60 5-series, really shook up the traditional BMW driver, but when sorted in the LCI model, was true BMW once again.
I love all these enthusiast comments and how we now have a "diluted chassis". The way I see it, the M-cars are for the enthusiast, all the bread and butter models move with the times for the mass BMW market. That is where the sales are. Folks want refinement these days, lighter steering and controls. No good harping back to manual steering, unassisted brakes, no ABS, no DSC, etc., and how we had lots more feel "in the good old days". Most folks couldn't be bothered, want safety and an easy drive. The steering is excellent to most users, and if anything, has been too heavy for many drivers in previous generation BMW vehicles.
In my own case I am more a 5-series guy, although driving an E91 wagon for over 5-years. My 'pinnacle' of BMW engineering was the E39, I had a 540i wagon for over 4-years, and for me as a BMW 'enthusiast' was a perfect car, BMW at its best.
Now the latest F10/11 has gone through the same forum debates on the "soft chassis", "poor steering", "not a drivers car anymore", etc., so my thinking was to test the options and see how it all stacked up.
OK, some setups are not up there with the best, but after test driving models with the key options (although not in one example) it was clear to me BMW were still capable of providing the BMW experience. I also test drove the F30, (which incidentally I thought was a massive march forward on the E90 models in every way, including the steering precision) as I was still minded to carry on running a 3-series. But the 5-series was still tugging at the heart.
I've just bought into an F11 535i wagon, a nearly new ex BMW UK HQ model, with most of the bells and whistles. Is it a match to my 'perfect' E39 model? Absolutely, plus some more.
But here is the rub, it is specced with the kit that elevates the model to the enthusiasts drive, IMO. Adaptive Drive, to sort the chassis, keeping with 18" wheels, on which AD was developed and designed, to get the best ride. SAT which in each mode gives the driver better responses and feedback, steering, throttle and gearchanging right where it should be.
Absolutely blown away by the whole vehicle. Is it any less a BMW than any previous model? For me with all my background and time with BMW vehicles, it is the best I've ever owned and/or driven and oozes BMW DNA. I really never thought any BMW would give me more than the E39 540i, but this car has definitely moved on.
I feel the same for the F30/1 3-series, get the specification right and the model will reward in spade fulls, over and above any previous generation.
With one caveat, BMW is now a superb road
car, if you want more and/or a track driving feel, go for an M-car. Something for everyone.