Installing F20 M-Sport steering wheel in F30
I have a 2012 F30 Sport Line and I have not been 100% satisfied with the steering wheel thickness & feel. I had the same experience with my first BMW (2002 E46) and installed the M-Sport steering wheel a couple of years after I got that car and the difference in feel was huge - for the first time I had a proper steering wheel, not some thin and hard ring. I have to say the feel really completed the car for me.
I purposely elected to get a Sport Line even though the M-Sport (with a proper thick steering wheel) was due to come out in a few months because of BMW's artificial limits on leather color - no Everest Gray in M-Sport. A few months after getting the car back in the states after ED and getting used to the many upgrades, I began to have the same thoughts about upgrading the steering wheel from the standard hard leather wheel. On my E46, I ordered the M-SPort wheel from the 5-series and was able to re-use the airbag module. But, after some checking, it was clear the F10 wheel used a different airbag assembly and the shape did not match the F30. Then, when the F20 1-Series M-Sport came out, it looked like I had found a match.
I checked RealOEM for the part numbers but found the the F20 M-Sport wheel to have a different airbag module than F30 steering wheels. However, the F20 Sport Line wheel part number was the same as the F30 Sport Line and that wheel uses the same airbag module as F20 M-Sport.
F30 Sport air bag ≠ F20 M-Sport airbag
F20 Sport steering wheel = F30 Sport steering wheel
F20 Sport air bag = F20 M-Sport airbag
So, the F20 M-Sport airbag should fit in the F30 Sport steering wheel, and the reverse should be true, namely, the F30 Sport airbag should fit in the F20 M-Sport steering wheel.
The next step was to get my hands on an F20 M-Sport steering wheel. With the part number from RealOEM (32307845877 - no paddle version for my 6MT) I first went to the local dealer. But, they could not order the the part since it was for a car not sold in the states. Next came Google searches. I found several sites but mostly in Russia and I was leery or sending money to these outfits. I finally found what looked to be a fairly reputable shop in Lithuania but eventually found a company in the Netherlands that was a bit cheaper and ended up going with them.
Source: hcsale.com (HC Automotive group) cost: 400€ + 23€ shipping and they take PayPal.
For those with Sport-AT, I assume the paddle version is essentially the same process, with possibly additional wiring/connectors. (part # 32307845878)
Be sure to check RealOEM carefully for proper part number If you have a heated wheel or have the blind spot detection or lane departure system as those wheels are different as well due to the element that vibrates the wheel as a warning.
It took almost 3 months to arrive - supposedly backordered from BMW, but it finally arrive on Friday and was everything I was hoping, soft smooth Nappa leather and much thicker than stock. Pics below of the F20 setup and my bare wheel. The next post will go over the installation.
2012 F30 335i 6MT - Imperial Blue w/Everest Gray: Sport, Adaptive M, Premium, Tech & Parking Pkgs, Assist, Apps
Last edited by pcbrew; 04-08-2013 at 11:22 PM.
Reason: Added notes about wheel with options: paddles, LDW, etc.