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      11-03-2012, 02:05 PM   #1
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Having 2nd Thoughts and Interested in Your $.02

When the F30 debuted I thought, "FINALLY... a good replacement for my e46!" as multiple aspects of the e9x left me pretty cold. I didn't care for the exterior design, absolutely loathed the interior aesthetic, and the time I spent behind the wheel of an e90 328 loaner had me going fetal and crying in the corner.

During the Olympic Drive event, I quickly became convinced that a 335 Sport Line would be the way to go. Whilst the N20 is an absolutely amazing engine, I find the character and soundtrack of the N55 much more fun and the MPG difference isn't a big factor since I don't commute by car. I planned to do ED around May of 2013 (happy b-day to me!)

Now, as the time is drawing nearer and I've read through the magazine reviews and insightful write-ups here, I find myself having some serious 2nd thoughts on making the switch. In order of personal importance, here's why:

Driving Dynamics
Let's be clear... the F30 is the hands-down winner in a contest of ride comfort. However... F30's, size, weight, and suspension tuning mean that this car rolls around quite a bit. By comparison, my e46 is great fun to toss into corners and the predictable and neutral chassis is a total hoot at autocross. Lastly, there's just no substitute for hydraulic steering.

Design
This one is actually more of a draw. The F30 is modern, aggressive, and full of interesting complexities. The e46 is a timeless beauty. Both will age very well. The only reason I mention it is because I'm so enamored with the e46's design that I'm having a hard time seeing a day when I don't own one. See my "garage" for pics.

Vehicle Configuration
If I'm gonna shell out $50k for a car, I want saddle brown interior and sport seats, dammit!!! BMW's arbitrary configuration limitations are a real turnoff.

Technology
The F30's tech bits (e.g. NAV/HUD, Comfort Access, smart phone integration) are simultaneously nice to have and a huge area of concern. I tend to own cars for a long time, and German manufacturers just haven't nailed down reliable electronics the way the Japanese have. I'm concerned about owning an F30 outside the warranty period.

So this really isn't meant to be a "Down with the F30!" post. Nor am I interested in a penis-waving contest about "X is better! Y is teh sux!"; I wanted to provide some context on what's causing my 2nd thoughts. I'd be very interested in hearing from board members who have made the switch and comparisons between these 2 generations... especially anybody who tracks/autocrosses their car.

Thanks!
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      11-03-2012, 02:09 PM   #2
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Why over think based on reviews as your memory from the test drive vent gets foggy?

Just go to a dealer and have a nice long test drive.

Problem solved.
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      11-03-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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I got out of a 2005 e46 ///M comp pkg, a little worried. I haven't missed my car one day yet, maybe it's because I haven't had a track day yet, but this f30 rocks, comfort, technology, from Eco mode to sport mode, it's wicked. And much to my surprise, I get more thumbs up from the f30....my 2 cents, you won't regret it. Btw, I really only like the m sport pkg looks because of front and rear appearance, paddle shifters are a must too. Good luck.
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      11-03-2012, 02:37 PM   #4
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The car before my F30 was a 335i E90, And the only complaint i have is the EPS ( Electric Power Sterring) Iv'e owned many BMW's with Hydraulic and i miss the sterring feedback and the way it handles on tight turns etc... I moved on and im enjoying everything the F30 has to offer
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      11-03-2012, 03:10 PM   #5
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Last night, I was able to drive in some nice backroads (very twisty) in complete darkness with the sunroof and windows open. With features like the Auto-high beams, directional lighting etc I'm loving the F30 more and more everyday. I for one do appreciate the slightly larger size.

The F30 has so many little things here and there that they make the experience of owning one a complete joy.
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      11-03-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
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Problem:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMM_OMG View Post
I'm concerned about owning an F30 outside the warranty period.
Solution: Buy yourself an extended warranty.
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      11-03-2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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Buy an F30 as your current everyday driver.

Keep the E46 as your weekend fun car.

If you can afford a $50,000 German luxury car, you certainly can afford to keep an old used one that's only worth $8,000. The decision is not about emotion it's all about money. You have it, spend it, problem solved.

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      11-03-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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If it is a debate, keep the old car. The new model is not a clear winner for you.
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      11-03-2012, 04:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjames View Post
Buy an F30 as your current everyday driver.

Keep the E46 as your weekend fun car.

If you can afford a $50,000 German luxury car, you certainly can afford to keep an old used one that's only worth $8,000. The decision is not about emotion it's all about money. You have it, spend it, problem solved.

BJ
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      11-03-2012, 04:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen View Post
Why over think based on reviews as your memory from the test drive vent gets foggy?
Just go to a dealer and have a nice long test drive.
I agree ! Ask your dealer for 1-2 hour opportunity to test drive a 335i Sport or M Sport so you can take it out onto some country roads. I realize that you mentioned saddle brown interior and its restricted availability to the Luxury line. From your comments, you do not strike me as someone who would be happy with a Luxury line F30. Suggestion: decide on the handling dynamics first and if you agree that the car meets or exceeds your expectations, then see if you are ready to compromise on the interior colour choices (Sportline: black, red or grey; M Sport : black, red or beige).
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      11-03-2012, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formulalfred View Post
I got out of a 2005 e46 ///M comp pkg, a little worried. I haven't missed my car one day yet, maybe it's because I haven't had a track day yet, but this f30 rocks, comfort, technology, from Eco mode to sport mode, it's wicked. And much to my surprise, I get more thumbs up from the f30....my 2 cents, you won't regret it. Btw, I really only like the m sport pkg looks because of front and rear appearance, paddle shifters are a must too. Good luck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NGuyadeen View Post
The car before my F30 was a 335i E90, And the only complaint i have is the EPS ( Electric Power Sterring) Iv'e owned many BMW's with Hydraulic and i miss the sterring feedback and the way it handles on tight turns etc... I moved on and im enjoying everything the F30 has to offer
Quote:
Originally Posted by 755MSL View Post
Last night, I was able to drive in some nice backroads (very twisty) in complete darkness with the sunroof and windows open. With features like the Auto-high beams, directional lighting etc I'm loving the F30 more and more everyday. I for one do appreciate the slightly larger size.

The F30 has so many little things here and there that they make the experience of owning one a complete joy.
Helpful... thanks guys. Any specific notes on hard cornering in the F30? Is it progressive near the limit? Can you feel the chassis rotate from center?

Granted, every mile is not a cannonball run, but it's good to get perspective from current owners and folks familiar with the brand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjames View Post
Buy an F30 as your current everyday driver. Keep the E46 as your weekend fun car.
Believe me... this is the currently-prevailing thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesons Viggen View Post
Just go to a dealer and have a nice long test drive.
A friend of mine has an F30 335 Sport and we're going to a track event next weekend. I plan to ride along on her laps and am hopeful that she'll let me borrow it for some extended drive time.
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      11-03-2012, 05:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMM_OMG View Post
Vehicle Configuration
If I'm gonna shell out $50k for a car, I want saddle brown interior and sport seats, dammit!!! BMW's arbitrary configuration limitations are a real turnoff.
Agreed. I hope that BMW is listening to us about this. There certainly is plenty of complaining about this for them to see. I'd like Imperial Blue available on the M Sport package, along with the Saddle Brown sport seats that you want. How difficult is that?????


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      11-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #13
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Agreed on the steering and interior limitations. That said, I am very happy overall with my car after owing an e46 for 10 years. I really do not miss it at all.

Have you looked into BMW Individual, I did not think it was available at the time I ordered, but based on your time frame, I would expect that if you are willing to pay a bit more, you should be able to get exactly what you want, Also, I would recommend getting the HUd, dynamic handling option and m-sport package.
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      11-03-2012, 07:46 PM   #14
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OK...I'm going to preface by saying you're probably not going to find a bigger E46 lover than me so I think what I have to say will be of importance to you. E46 generation will always be my favorite because of it's design, drive, sound, and performance combination. The ZHP is the best non-M I've driven to date and I consider the best non-m BMW has ever made in terms of pure driving experience.

I contemplated for months between getting a low-mileage ZHP or the 335i. I still miss my E46 from time to time that is...until I see the F30. It's front fascia just stares at you in anger wondering why the F aren't you driving me right now? As many people have said to me, "It's a beauty and a beast".

Advantages of the E46 over the F30.

1. Hydraulic steering: Yes, the EPS does not have as much feedback as the hydraulics but it still is fantastic. You don't get as much road feel but it's super responsive, direct, stiff in sport mode and accurate. You still feel the road and the wheels turning but not as much. As others have said, once you put in higher performing tires and a lower suspension, it would feel a lot closer to the E90s and older 3ers.

2. Size/Weight: Yes, the F30 335i is a little on the heavy side being roughly 280 lbs heavier than an E46 330i. Me being a stickler about car weight can feel every pound difference. I wish it was a tad lighter but I don't mind it because I know and feel what's under the hood. The weight is still evenly distributed as always and the car does not feel that heavy. As for the size, it's definitely a pretty big mid-size sedan but you get used to it very quickly and it's not a big deal. It still drives like a sports car.

3. Suspension: Yes, the F30 has the softest sports suspension in a 3 series to date. Has little more wheel gap than normal and could be lower/stiffer. Body roll is a bit more than previous 3'ers with sports suspension. This however can easily be rectified with the H&R or the upcoming M-performance suspension. This does not mean the F30 is a "soft" car like some people think. It's still stiff and solid as hell. The chassis is 30% stiffer than the E90 and you feel it.

Those are the 3 main advantages of the E46 over the F30 but two of them will be canceled by spending a little more $.

Advantages of the F30 over the E46.

Everything else.

The E46 is a timeless classic design but the F30 is a modern marvel especially in M-Sport which I will always recommend to anyone thinking about which line to get. The interior and exterior is drop-dead gorgeous. The wide...low stance with the staggered tires and dual exhausts The E46 ZHP and M3 although still make my head turn every time I see one. The interior cockpit feeling is back which was lacking in the E90. It's even more driver focused than ever. The sport seats are amazing and the ride is much smoother. The tech of course is great. The N55 engine is awesome and this is coming from a person that only loved N/A cars. N55 is the closest to N/A you can get while having that low-end torque. The sound at higher RPM is eargasmic. It roars. My car just passed 2700 miles and is just fully opening up. Every time my head hits against the headrest, it puts a smile on my face. One of my favorite things about the car is also it's efficiency. It's a 300 hp/tq beast yet I average 23 mpg when I managed 20 mpg under the same driving style in my 184 hp 2.5L E46. 36 mpg in ECO on the highway. It's a terrific daily driver yet it's got the power to burn vast majority of cars on the street.

Adding up everything the E46 has to offer vs the F30 equals out to the 335i being the "better" car at least for me. It's got a more aggressive and beautiful exterior. A better driver focused interior w/ useful Tech and more comfortable. It handles better(more body roll doesn't mean worse handling). It feels more solidly built. More advanced and powerful engine. More fuel efficient. With the enhancements like the better tires and lower suspension will make it perfect to me. The E46 is a rawer car and a little more of a driver's car than the F30 but it does not measure up to the overall package the 335i delivers.

Get the 335i in M-Sport and if you can...in 6MT for a better driving experience



^ The only day the two cars were together. I made the buyer wait till the next day just so I can have both cars together for 1 day. The first thing I'm going to get after I pay off the 335i is an E46 M3 ZCP for my weekend car
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      11-03-2012, 08:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerekS View Post
I agree ! Ask your dealer for 1-2 hour opportunity to test drive a 335i Sport or M Sport so you can take it out onto some country roads. I realize that you mentioned saddle brown interior and its restricted availability to the Luxury line. From your comments, you do not strike me as someone who would be happy with a Luxury line F30. Suggestion: decide on the handling dynamics first and if you agree that the car meets or exceeds your expectations, then see if you are ready to compromise on the interior colour choices (Sportline: black, red or grey; M Sport : black, red or beige).
The Luxury line with the Adaptive M-Suspension will handle firmer/tighter than the Sport line with the added bonus of becoming softer like the Luxury line at the push of a button.

Just pointing out that there is a way to get the Saddle Brown interior and the Sport driving dynamics if properly equipped.

BJ
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      11-03-2012, 08:18 PM   #16
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^ Great review!
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      11-03-2012, 08:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E46toF30 View Post
OK...I'm going to preface by saying you're probably not going to find a bigger E46 lover than me so I think what I have to say will be of importance to you. E46 generation will always be my favorite because of it's design, drive, sound, and performance combination. The ZHP is the best non-M I've driven to date and I consider the best non-m BMW has ever made in terms of pure driving experience.

I contemplated for months between getting a low-mileage ZHP or the 335i. I still miss my E46 from time to time that is...until I see the F30. It's front fascia just stares at you in anger wondering why the F aren't you driving me right now? As many people have said to me, "It's a beauty and a beast".

Advantages of the E46 over the F30.

1. Hydraulic steering: Yes, the EPS does not have as much feedback as the hydraulics but it still is fantastic. You don't get as much road feel but it's super responsive, direct, stiff in sport mode and accurate. You still feel the road and the wheels turning but not as much. As others have said, once you put in higher performing tires and a lower suspension, it would feel a lot closer to the E90s and older 3ers.

2. Size/Weight: Yes, the F30 335i is a little on the heavy side being roughly 280 lbs heavier than an E46 330i. Me being a stickler about car weight can feel every pound difference. I wish it was a tad lighter but I don't mind it because I know and feel what's under the hood. The weight is still evenly distributed as always and the car does not feel that heavy. As for the size, it's definitely a pretty big mid-size sedan but you get used to it very quickly and it's not a big deal. It still drives like a sports car.

3. Suspension: Yes, the F30 has the softest sports suspension in a 3 series to date. Has little more wheel gap than normal and could be lower/stiffer. Body roll is a bit more than previous 3'ers with sports suspension. This however can easily be rectified with the H&R or the upcoming M-performance suspension. This does not mean the F30 is a "soft" car like some people think. It's still stiff and solid as hell. The chassis is 30% stiffer than the E90 and you feel it.

Those are the 3 main advantages of the E46 over the F30 but two of them will be canceled by spending a little more $.

Advantages of the F30 over the E46.

Everything else.

The E46 is a timeless classic design but the F30 is a modern marvel especially in M-Sport which I will always recommend to anyone thinking about which line to get. The interior and exterior is drop-dead gorgeous. The wide...low stance with the staggered tires and dual exhausts The E46 ZHP and M3 although still make my head turn every time I see one. The interior cockpit feeling is back which was lacking in the E90. It's even more driver focused than ever. The sport seats are amazing and the ride is much smoother. The tech of course is great. The N55 engine is awesome and this is coming from a person that only loved N/A cars. N55 is the closest to N/A you can get while having that low-end torque. The sound at higher RPM is eargasmic. It roars. My car just passed 2700 miles and is just fully opening up. Every time my head hits against the headrest, it puts a smile on my face. One of my favorite things about the car is also it's efficiency. It's a 300 hp/tq beast yet I average 23 mpg when I managed 20 mpg under the same driving style in my 184 hp 2.5L E46. 36 mpg in ECO on the highway. It's a terrific daily driver yet it's got the power to burn vast majority of cars on the street.

Adding up everything the E46 has to offer vs the F30 equals out to the 335i being the "better" car at least for me. It's got a more aggressive and beautiful exterior. A better driver focused interior w/ useful Tech and more comfortable. It handles better(more body roll doesn't mean worse handling). It feels more solidly built. More advanced and powerful engine. More fuel efficient. With the enhancements like the better tires and lower suspension will make it perfect to me. The E46 is a rawer car and a little more of a driver's car than the F30 but it does not measure up to the overall package the 335i delivers.

Get the 335i in M-Sport and if you can...in 6MT for a better driving experience



^ The only day the two cars were together. I made the buyer wait till the next day just so I can have both cars together for 1 day. The first thing I'm going to get after I pay off the 335i is an E46 M3 ZCP for my weekend car
awesome cars, and awesome writeup!!
the eagles suck.
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      11-03-2012, 09:00 PM   #18
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awesome cars, and awesome writeup!!
the eagles suck.
Lol, thanks and so do the Cards but even they beat the Eagles
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      11-03-2012, 10:32 PM   #19
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Have you looked into BMW Individual
Based on what I've read, BMW isn't yet entertaining Individual requests for the U.S. I'm keeping my ear to the ground, though. Midnight Blue (X1) over Saddle would be hawt, as would Techno Violet (e36 M3) over Everest Grey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E46toF30 View Post
It's front fascia just stares at you in anger wondering why the F aren't you driving me right now? Get the 335i in M-Sport and if you can...in 6MT for a better driving experience
Awesome write up, and exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time to post it! I'm DEFINITELY getting 6MT. If the F30 were auto-only, I wouldn't even consider selling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjames View Post
Just pointing out that there is a way to get the Saddle Brown interior and the Sport driving dynamics if properly equipped.
Unfortunately, no way to also get the sport seats in the U.S., which is a total deal breaker for me. Love your combo though, BJ!
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      11-03-2012, 11:17 PM   #20
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Unfortunately, no way to also get the sport seats in the U.S., which is a total deal breaker for me. Love your combo though, BJ!
Very true, I miss the sport seats very much.

Thanks for the compliment on the color combo; after three 3 Series in a six-year period I couldn't take it anymore with the dull, monochromatic interiors. Had Beige in the E93 and Black in the E90 M-Sport, compromised for the sake of the exteriors, couldn't go there again. Turns out that we spend 10% of the time admiring our cars from the outside and 90% of our time experiencing them from the inside. So I picked an interior first, then chose an exterior that worked. Again a compromise, the Luxury line making the sport seats a casualty.

BJ
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      11-04-2012, 12:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Unfortunately, no way to also get the sport seats in the U.S., which is a total deal breaker for me.
Sports seats are definitely a MUST HAVE for any F30 !
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      11-04-2012, 01:38 AM   #22
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I'm running a 335i sport with H&R Sports and I've been to two different Autocross events so far.

My first one was setup on a gokart track and the car handled amazing. I was doing around the same times as Mazda Miata's and an 2011 M3 ran 55.0 and I did 55.7 so pretty close.

2nd run was a bit more difficult at an AutoX that was setup in a parking lot but it was last Sunday where Hurricane Sandy had left the area well very sandy. They brought in a street sweeper but did not help me as I was sliding around the place a lot. My times weren't too bad but the all wheel drives owned that day for sure. I am not sure about the results as yet because it hasn't been posted as yet.
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Timeline: 335i Sport W/ Adaptive M suspension| Sport Variable steering| Technology PKG| HK Sound PKG| BMW apps| BMW Assist| Sport line hand brake grip| M Performance black kidneys|
ric124 is offline   Jamaica
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