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.
Car and Driver has been seen as one of the more critical of the F30, and here's what they said:
"Steering feedback is comparable to that of the outgoing 3-series, in spite of the noticeable reduction in effort. "
Other reviewers have said similar.
Driving an LCI E92 and the F30 back-to-back over the same familiar loop, I would have to agree (testing in Sport mode). Through the wheel, you can still feel every pebble, every expansion joint, and every little squirm the car makes when you're pushing it.
I did feel less feedback through the chassis, but that wasn't a negative for me. It's through the wheel that I want to receive that feedback.
And the F30 is lighter-steering, undeniably.
It's a longer-wheelbase, wider-track vehicle, with a stiffer chassis but less stiff stock suspension, so steering feel will not be the same, but there's still good feedback. The wheel, after all, is still directly connected to the steering rack.
The one thing I did notice is that bumps that would pull the wheel to one side on the E92 (or my E46) didn't seem to torque the wheel as much on the F30. You could still feel the bump just as well as with the E92, but there was less side to side movement of the wheel itself. Could that be perceived less feedback? Perhaps. It could also just be better control. Same for road grooves that tend to pull you left or right - the F30 relays the message just fine, but it's easier to correct. Personally, I'd rather control the direction myself versus having the bumps in the road dictate the direction of my wheels, so for me this is a positive rather than a negative.
But "feel" is a personal thing, and some may prefer a heavier-weighted steering.
As you pointed out in your post, weight and feel are not the same. I believe some reviewers equated this reduced effort for increased isolation, but the lighter weight is only half of the equation. Car and Driver (along with many other reviewers) got it right, though.
Coming from an E46, this was a concern for me, but after much testing I can tell you that the F30 steering feedback is most certainly there; it just takes less effort to point the nose. It's a mental adjustment to come to grips with the lighter feel, but once I made that adjustment and got accustomed to the feel and feedback provided, I find I am quite happy with the steering.