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      11-04-2012, 12:13 PM   #1
utenigma
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Magazine reviews and steering feel

As I wait for delivery of my F30 I'm reading and watching everything I can get my hands on about the F30 335 and consistently I hear magazine reviewers complaining about the F30's lightened and disconnected electric steering - lamenting the feel they had in the E90 and more-so in the E46. I've been driving a 2001 E46 330i for the last 11 years now so all these reviews mentioning the same thing is a little disheartening.

For fun, I went out and looked at reviews of the "brand new" 2001 E46 330i from 11 years ago - guess what the same magazine reviewers said about the E46 when it was released

"Lows: Softening up the steering for "tough" parking jobs diminishes the breed."

"The base E46's increased flab, its softer ride and steering, and the general inching of the car toward the side of cushiness are reprimands this publication has printed in the recent past."

"... E46s built after June will have more steering boost to make parking easier. Judge for yourself the implications; we nearly choked on our Wiener schnitzel"

"The only disappointment is the steering, which, although as accurate as ever, has been lightened to satisfy parking-lot jockeys. Which is just wrong. "

Along with general lamentation about the lost perfection that was the steering in the E36 and E30

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/bmw-330i-road-test

So I guess I'll take magazine reviews for what they are and take heart that in the next decade when they're reviewing the 2022 3 series, they'll harken back to the good old days when the F30 had "perfect" steering before BMW had to mess it all up.
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      11-04-2012, 12:56 PM   #2
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Nice research! Seems like a trend for everyone to criticize the steering feel of the newest production 3er...

as for the steering, I think it's excellent. I have the DHP and it definitely improves the feel over the standard sport suspension. Also much easier and livable for everyday driving, while still being very sporty when you want. I think BMW did a great job (aside from the steering vibration epidemic) and I'm sure they will continue to improve it as production years go by.

Enjoy your ride when it arrives!
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      11-04-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
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the first year of the e46 330i did have overboosted steering which BMW fixed in later models and offered a free fix to existing owners
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      11-04-2012, 01:28 PM   #4
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Magazine reviews on F30 tell that Variable Sport Steering has more steering feel than the base one.
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      11-04-2012, 03:20 PM   #5
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i dont know maybe i'm crazy but i test drove the F30 and I thought the steering felt fine. I have an A4 right now with hydraulic steering and it seems just about the same feedback wise.

these magazines just have to say something to have something to write i guess.
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      11-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #6
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My daughter drives an 2002 E46 SP package and I have a 2003 E46 also with SP package. Her's feels stiffer than mine, we both have the same Michelin tires. Also, her exhaust has a different throaty sound than mine.
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      11-04-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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The sort line's steering feel is ok, but the rest is too light.
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      11-04-2012, 07:32 PM   #8
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When will everyone get it?? This happens EVERY SINGLE TIME a new model comes out. If it meant that much to you, you wouldn't be sticking around on these forums. It is not wrong to buy a car that feels different. Odds are, you'll fall in love with the car for everything else it does right. People will continue to buy the models that come out because they secretly trust that every change was made for a good reason, and in due time, that reason will illuminate itself.

But if you're married to the "feeling" of the car you have now, it must not be time to buy a new one. If you've never owned a BMW, take all the criticism with a grain of salt. As long as you don't know what you're missing, don't let enthusiasts and fanboys sour your first impressions.

That's the evil of these forums. Say you love your car and it feels solid. Then you read a bunch of forum posts about how the interior is creaky and rattly and cheap. This had never occurred to you before. You begin to adopt the mindset of the extremists, and suddenly your standards are higher and you notice every single rattle in your car. Forever thereafter you are cursed with a hyper-awareness to every noise your car makes. Every car you test drive will be written off because you notice it rattles or creaks a little when turning right up a steep driveway, which is something I'm sure most of you do not do every day. But the fact that it happens at all is somehow entirely unacceptable. And then you forget that there was a time when you didn't even notice that kind of stuff.

Don't let other people ruin your fun just because what's good enough for you isn't good enough for them.
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      11-04-2012, 07:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juddholland
When will everyone get it?? This happens EVERY SINGLE TIME a new model comes out. If it meant that much to you, you wouldn't be sticking around on these forums. It is not wrong to buy a car that feels different. Odds are, you'll fall in love with the car for everything else it does right. People will continue to buy the models that come out because they secretly trust that every change was made for a good reason, and in due time, that reason will illuminate itself.

But if you're married to the "feeling" of the car you have now, it must not be time to buy a new one. If you've never owned a BMW, take all the criticism with a grain of salt. As long as you don't know what you're missing, don't let enthusiasts and fanboys sour your first impressions.

That's the evil of these forums. Say you love your car and it feels solid. Then you read a bunch of forum posts about how the interior is creaky and rattly and cheap. This had never occurred to you before. You begin to adopt the mindset of the extremists, and suddenly your standards are higher and you notice every single rattle in your car. Forever thereafter you are cursed with a hyper-awareness to every noise your car makes. Every car you test drive will be written off because you notice it rattles or creaks a little when turning right up a steep driveway, which is something I'm sure most of you do not do every day. But the fact that it happens at all is somehow entirely unacceptable. And then you forget that there was a time when you didn't even notice that kind of stuff.

Don't let other people ruin your fun just because what's good enough for you isn't good enough for them.
+1
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      11-04-2012, 07:47 PM   #10
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In 2001 BMW raised the boost of the E46's steering, but they soon de-boosted it in response to complaints.

The point that should be taken from this is that feel is being lost with each generation. The F30 just seems to be where a lot of enthusiasts are drawing the line. It isn't some conspiracy by the car mags to sell copies.

And really the E46's steering isn't that heavy (at least compared to the E90), but it does have more feel.

F30 owners: If you enjoy your car don't let others ruin it for you, but allow them to voice their concerns, because they have every right to.
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      11-04-2012, 08:40 PM   #11
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I drove a car that was vss and dhp but didn't feel any noticeable difference in steering feel than a regular MSPORT 335. In fact I like the steering feel of the non dhp car better on highway speeds. Very similar to the e92 m3 servo. The vss car I drove in fact felt lighter in the steering and the ride felt softer too. There was no significant difference for me with dhp. I don't know why some people race about it and say its a night and day difference.
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      11-04-2012, 09:46 PM   #12
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switch to sport mode- problems solved
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      11-04-2012, 09:49 PM   #13
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Im sure the steering will feel light but im not planning on taking this car to the track so its worthless to have a bunch of feedback. After i drove my friends 89' civic with manual rack no car comes close to feed back and on the autox course it is a beast.

I try and not read too many reviews from people on the forums, i used to have a TDi Jetta and on the tdi forums it made my head hurt. Their are people posting the fuel pump dies, additives, drive like this do this, etc all the people did was complain it seemed so i never went back to that forum. If you like your car enjoy it.
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      11-05-2012, 05:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utenigma View Post
....So I guess I'll take magazine reviews for what they are and take heart that in the next decade when they're reviewing the 2022 3 series, they'll harken back to the good old days when the F30 had "perfect" steering before BMW had to mess it all up.
I've been owning and driving BMW cars long enough (since 1978) to have seen all this contadiction of models and extreme opinion, but to be perfectly frank, each generation marches forward and is a better car.

Not always perfect and hitting the mark when first introduced, like the E60 5-series, really shook up the traditional BMW driver, but when sorted in the LCI model, was true BMW once again.

I love all these enthusiast comments and how we now have a "diluted chassis". The way I see it, the M-cars are for the enthusiast, all the bread and butter models move with the times for the mass BMW market. That is where the sales are. Folks want refinement these days, lighter steering and controls. No good harping back to manual steering, unassisted brakes, no ABS, no DSC, etc., and how we had lots more feel "in the good old days". Most folks couldn't be bothered, want safety and an easy drive. The steering is excellent to most users, and if anything, has been too heavy for many drivers in previous generation BMW vehicles.

In my own case I am more a 5-series guy, although driving an E91 wagon for over 5-years. My 'pinnacle' of BMW engineering was the E39, I had a 540i wagon for over 4-years, and for me as a BMW 'enthusiast' was a perfect car, BMW at its best.

Now the latest F10/11 has gone through the same forum debates on the "soft chassis", "poor steering", "not a drivers car anymore", etc., so my thinking was to test the options and see how it all stacked up.

OK, some setups are not up there with the best, but after test driving models with the key options (although not in one example) it was clear to me BMW were still capable of providing the BMW experience. I also test drove the F30, (which incidentally I thought was a massive march forward on the E90 models in every way, including the steering precision) as I was still minded to carry on running a 3-series. But the 5-series was still tugging at the heart.

I've just bought into an F11 535i wagon, a nearly new ex BMW UK HQ model, with most of the bells and whistles. Is it a match to my 'perfect' E39 model? Absolutely, plus some more.

But here is the rub, it is specced with the kit that elevates the model to the enthusiasts drive, IMO. Adaptive Drive, to sort the chassis, keeping with 18" wheels, on which AD was developed and designed, to get the best ride. SAT which in each mode gives the driver better responses and feedback, steering, throttle and gearchanging right where it should be.

Absolutely blown away by the whole vehicle. Is it any less a BMW than any previous model? For me with all my background and time with BMW vehicles, it is the best I've ever owned and/or driven and oozes BMW DNA. I really never thought any BMW would give me more than the E39 540i, but this car has definitely moved on.

I feel the same for the F30/1 3-series, get the specification right and the model will reward in spade fulls, over and above any previous generation.
With one caveat, BMW is now a superb road car, if you want more and/or a track driving feel, go for an M-car. Something for everyone.

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      11-05-2012, 07:39 AM   #15
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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.

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      11-05-2012, 08:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwilly View Post
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.

Joel
yet you`ve bought one ))
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      11-05-2012, 08:35 AM   #17
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I am currently driving an E46 and my F30 is on order. The steering in the E46 is fantastic for about 20% of my driving: when I'm cruising around the twisty back roads. For in town and parking it's a little bothersome but a downright pain if I've got a coffee in my hand.

So I'm welcoming a little lighter of a feel. There is a lot of difference between the sporty feel of the E46 and a boat feel like the Camry and I think the F30 will fill that gap nicely, leaning a little bit more to the sporty side. What's more important is whether or not you can feel the [important] bumps in the road and can feel how the tyres are gripping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by utenigma View Post
As I wait for delivery of my F30 I'm reading and watching everything I can get my hands on about the F30 335 and consistently I hear magazine reviewers complaining about the F30's lightened and disconnected electric steering - lamenting the feel they had in the E90 and more-so in the E46. I've been driving a 2001 E46 330i for the last 11 years now so all these reviews mentioning the same thing is a little disheartening.
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      11-05-2012, 08:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwilly View Post
There is no FEEDBACK from the F30 electric steering!! None, nada, zippo, zilch. That's the point all the reviews are making.

Joel
I disagree. There is less, for sure, than the E46 but compared to other cars I've driven (Camry specifically) there is still a lot of feedback.
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      11-05-2012, 08:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utenigma View Post
As I wait for delivery of my F30 I'm reading and watching everything I can get my hands on about the F30 335 and consistently I hear magazine reviewers complaining about the F30's lightened and disconnected electric steering - lamenting the feel they had in the E90 and more-so in the E46. I've been driving a 2001 E46 330i for the last 11 years now so all these reviews mentioning the same thing is a little disheartening.

For fun, I went out and looked at reviews of the "brand new" 2001 E46 330i from 11 years ago - guess what the same magazine reviewers said about the E46 when it was released

"Lows: Softening up the steering for "tough" parking jobs diminishes the breed."

"The base E46's increased flab, its softer ride and steering, and the general inching of the car toward the side of cushiness are reprimands this publication has printed in the recent past."

"... E46s built after June will have more steering boost to make parking easier. Judge for yourself the implications; we nearly choked on our Wiener schnitzel"

"The only disappointment is the steering, which, although as accurate as ever, has been lightened to satisfy parking-lot jockeys. Which is just wrong. "

Along with general lamentation about the lost perfection that was the steering in the E36 and E30

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/bmw-330i-road-test

So I guess I'll take magazine reviews for what they are and take heart that in the next decade when they're reviewing the 2022 3 series, they'll harken back to the good old days when the F30 had "perfect" steering before BMW had to mess it all up.
Its funny, I ordered a E46 330 just as all those reports came out. It was stupid then and its stupid now. I had a F30 328 Sport in my possession for about a week. Yes the steering feel is different compared to an E46 ,,,but its a DIFFERENT CAR.Its the first year for this car, it may needs some tweaks as they go, but I don't think the steering was a big deal. I'll admit I can be overly picky about steering feel in a car. I constantly drove the car around in "sport mode" just to get some "weight back in the wheel. You're gonna love the car and you're right,in 2022 they'll be talking about the steering ,,again. Enjoy your car
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      11-05-2012, 08:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juddholland View Post
When will everyone get it?? This happens EVERY SINGLE TIME a new model comes out. If it meant that much to you, you wouldn't be sticking around on these forums. It is not wrong to buy a car that feels different. Odds are, you'll fall in love with the car for everything else it does right. People will continue to buy the models that come out because they secretly trust that every change was made for a good reason, and in due time, that reason will illuminate itself.

But if you're married to the "feeling" of the car you have now, it must not be time to buy a new one. If you've never owned a BMW, take all the criticism with a grain of salt. As long as you don't know what you're missing, don't let enthusiasts and fanboys sour your first impressions.

That's the evil of these forums. Say you love your car and it feels solid. Then you read a bunch of forum posts about how the interior is creaky and rattly and cheap. This had never occurred to you before. You begin to adopt the mindset of the extremists, and suddenly your standards are higher and you notice every single rattle in your car. Forever thereafter you are cursed with a hyper-awareness to every noise your car makes. Every car you test drive will be written off because you notice it rattles or creaks a little when turning right up a steep driveway, which is something I'm sure most of you do not do every day. But the fact that it happens at all is somehow entirely unacceptable. And then you forget that there was a time when you didn't even notice that kind of stuff.

Don't let other people ruin your fun just because what's good enough for you isn't good enough for them.
+10000000000000 ....Buy it cuz you love it...Drive it cuz you love it...Who cares what anyone has to say.
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      11-05-2012, 08:58 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwilly View Post
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.

Joel
Did your hands go numb????
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      11-05-2012, 09:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by jsedlak View Post
For in town and parking it's a little bothersome but a downright pain if I've got a coffee in my hand.
OMG, you drink coffee while you drive. BMW should have known this would happens when they put in those big cup holders
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