Just picked up my 2013 328i Baseline Wednesday, and took it out for my first long drive this weekend to ski. Took some pictures when I could remember to, but most of the weekend was rainy/foggy and very overcast. But here's some beginning impressions and such!
2013 BMW F30 328i base line (Dec build)
Mineral Grey Metallic Exterior
Venetian Beige Dakota Leather
Driver's Assistance Package
- Rear-View Camera
- Park Distance Control
- Active Blind Spot Detection
- Side and Top View Cameras
- Xenon Headlights
- Adaptive Light Control
- Navigation System
- Heads Up Display
- BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth/USB
- Real Time Traffic
- Extended Instrument Cluster
Performance Summer Tires on 18'' style 396 rims.
Comparison to E90
I've rented the E90 before from Zipcar, and driven it on several occasions. The F30 is definitely bigger, and this is most noticeable in the rear and trunk. A full sized person (6'3'' 230 pound friend) could fit in the back without discomfort. Three grown adults can sit side by side, but it would not be comfortable for long road trips. The softening of the suspension is definitely noticeable, but this is both good and bad. The bad of course is that in the corners this car has more noticeable body roll, and as a result doesn't feel as planted. However, this car is MUCH easier to live with in the city (NYC). I had originally been dead set against buying a 3 series, because the rental E90 was murder going over any speed bump, pothole, or uneven surface. I would compare the comfort of the new 3 series to that of a Merc E class (having driven a 2011 E350 before). It has all the comfort, but still provides enough road feel/sportiness to not feel like a boring highway cruiser. For a daily driver and family sedan, the new F30 for me definitely beats out the E90. Only time I really missed the E90's stiffer ride was going around highway corners in NJ at 80mph.
Mineral Grey is an amazing color. It seems to shift from an almost pearly black at night to a medium/light grey in bright sunlight. It hides dirt/grime pretty well, and more to the point, blends in the cutouts for the cameras, PDC sensors and such a lot better than colors like white. The lighting package is a must on the 328. I saw another 328 on the road without it, and the yellow boring headlights without angel eyes completely killed it for me (despite that one being a red sports-line). I've counted at least 5-6 people staring at the angel eyes while driving through the city. Definitely prefer BMW Angel Eyes to the DTLs of Merc/Lexus/Audi. Definitely do plan on getting the turn signals coded to only light up when turning, since it does detract from the rest of the car. I love the contour and lines of this car. It doesn't matter what angle you look at it from, this car just screams sensuous power.
I'm personally a fan of lighter interiors, since it makes the car appear more spacious/open. Venetian Beige leather looks amazing (new at least, will see how it ages), and I love the pebbled texture it has. the contrast between the black dash, beige headliner, floor and seats, and aluminum (base line aluminum, not hex) makes the car look open and inviting without being dull and lifeless. I was afraid at first that the alum trim would look too cheap, and had a lot of buyers remorse before delivery over not paying for the wood trim, but after I saw it in person I'm glad I just stuck to the aluminum. Some people complain about it looking cheap, but on a beige interior it really fits in quite well. The beige carpet floormats are a nightmare to keep clean however, and I definitely do plan on getting some black all weather mats. Other than that, the instrument cluster is really appealing, not being completely over-designed or sunken in like in some other cars. The climate control/radio cluster looks great with it's black sheen, and I especially love the touch sensitive 1-9 preset buttons.
No regrets over getting the N20 engine instead of the N55. This is the little 2.0 Turbo that could. Pissed off my friend beating his Charger at the lights. That low end torque is quite a sensation, and the engine has a nice low growl when accelerating around 2000 rpms, which rises to a more high pitched roar past 5000 rpm. In comfort mode it's great for cruising long stretches of highway, while sports mode lets you hammer down the straightaways and corners.
Driver's Assist Package
Total lifesaver. I think the most important part is that blind spot detection. Really put it to use driving through congested freeways and highways at 9pm in heavy rain and thick fog. Many times I would signal to change lanes, thinking I was clear, only to feel the steering vibrate, and two seconds later some dumbass with his headlights off streaks by going 100mph. Would have had a lot of close calls without this feature. The system is both passive and active. When you are driving normally without signalling, the triangular light on the mirror housing will light up discretely when it detects either a car in your blind spot or a car approaching at high speed (aka going significantly faster than you). If you signal a lane change, the steering wheel will also vibrate along with the mirror housing light. Helpful in the daytime, lifesaver at night/fog.
The parking cameras are very helpful too. My delivery specialist at the dealership showed me something nifty: if you pull up to an intersection with a stop sign, and have poor visibility of oncoming traffic from the sides, you can push the side camera button and it will display a straight shot from both cameras, letting you easily spot cross traffic before pulling out. The conjunction of side and rear cameras when parallel parking in the city is a godsend. There are two options when reversing into a space: you can either have the screen display just the rear camera, with 3D markings showing you any objects in your path, or you can show the top down birds eye view. Personally I prefer the top view, and in this view the screen will also show a green line and a red line. The green line shows the current path of your front wheels based on your steering alignment, and the red one shows the maximum possible turn radius. Makes parallel parking a breeze.
The Park Distance Control though is a total disgrace. When it works, it really helps, beeping/displaying when either the front or rear of your car approaches an object. However, on two different occasions this weekend I've had random ghost signals at the front of my car. Both times it was while I was reversing out of a space, and for a split second I will suddenly get a solid tone and radar display that seemed to indicate the front of my car was less than an inch away from a pole, and then it would go away just as quickly. Each time this happens I instinctively slam the brakes. Others on the forums have had this issue, and some say it's possibly due to the sensors being dirty, but I've had a 2002 ford explorer for 11 years, washed it maybe twice, and it's rear sensors NEVER threw out false positives. Until there's an official fix for this, will not be relying on the radar for parking.
Heads Up Display
LOVE IT! My favorite part of the tech package (even more so than navigation). A fully colored display that projects onto the windscreen, placing pertinent information at your fingertips (or rather eyetips). Not taxing on the eyes at all, and perfectly positioned so that it doesn't get in your way when you don't need it, but is easily spotted when you glance down. Very clear during the daytime, though seeing it is a bit more difficult at night when there is glare from oncoming traffic. Displays current speed, very detailed navigation directions (distance to next turn, direction, street name, and lane guidance where available), caller ID for incoming calls, song info and album art for music, and any alerts such as cold weather, low fuel, etc. This will be a must for me on all future cars.
Very useful, though I find the "3D building display" to be completely overwhelming and useless in the city. Switches into night display mode (black background) at night, very clear and accurate (have the 2013 maps, and it picked up construction that I know for a fact only finished in the last 4 months), and calculates detours/routes very quickly. Traffic information very up to date, and will automatically detour you around traffic (got rerouted 3 times going out of Manhattan during rush hour). Very easy to find nearby attractions, destinations, and gas stations with points of interest search.
Frustrating as hell! Maybe it's because I'm Asian, but I can only get the car to recognize my voice commands maybe 25% of the time (and no, I don't have a heavy accent, I've been speaking English for 20 years). It is doubly frustrating because my delivery specialist had absolutely NO problems at all demonstrating like 20 different commands on it when I first picked it up. Will have to keep practicing and see what factor is causing it to just not like my voice. Will see how friends fare.
Love the car, and everything about it. You can really tell the amount of attention paid to it, from the curves to the lights to the satisfying thunk of the doors closing. Good old German engineering.
Dec 2012 Build:
Steering Vibration: None. Only vibration is from road contact, and this happens at all speeds. None of the random vibration that only happens at a certain speed band.
PDC sensor ghosts: YES. Random ghost blips of something extremely close to front bumper, gone in half a second. May be due to grime, will report on further developments.
Seat Frame Rust: None so far at all. Will update if this changes:
And finally, the car!