Originally Posted by jwilly
There is no FEEDBACK from the F30 electric steering!! None, nada, zippo, zilch. That's the point all the reviews are making.
Feedback has nothing to do with steering effort or mode setting. Feedback is information about what the front tires are doing or not doing. The F30 has no feedback.
Don't believe me? Go drive an E30 and let me know what you feel in your hands. The F30 doesn't even provide feedback to the steering wheel when you run over lane reflectors.
I'm not sure I'd go this far, but the F30 328i Sport Line I tested had very little feedback -- perhaps even less than the numb EPS in my Acura TSX. (And yes, I tried sport mode.) I was sorely disappointed, but other than the numb steering, I thought the F30 was phenomenal.
BMW is far from alone in this, and I haven't tried a single EPS system that provides satisfying feel/feedback like the best hydraulic systems. This includes the Scion FR-S I tested, which, according to most reviewers, has communicative steering. (I thought it was better than the F30's though.) And even Porsche's EPS has been criticized for lack of feedback by some journos.
As I understand it, electric motors have high rotational inertia, and are very difficult to "back drive." As a result, the rack simply does not move as much in response to road surface imperfections, hence the lack of feedback. They often don't self-center as naturally, at least in my experience. (Of course, tires play a role in all of this, and I bet my Acura and the F30 would feel better with different tires.)
You're right that feedback is distinct from effort, and I think some confuse these and other parameters. While EPS systems tend to lack feedback, they are easy to tune for weight and a linear response to steering inputs, and I would characterize the F30's steering as extremely accurate and precise. My Acura's steering is similar. I think many drivers like these aspects of EPS. As a result, they think the F30 has excellent steering and don't mind the lack of feedback. It bugs me, but unfortunately I'm afraid it's already the "new normal," and we're stuck with it.