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      02-09-2013, 10:49 AM   #1
F30AM
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Suspension: M Sport Adaptive vs M Sport Passive

Two Cars, two drivers:
(1) F30 330d M Sport, Servotronic Steering, 18" Wheels, Bridgestone tyres, Adaptive M Sport Suspension, Sport Mode.
(2) Exactly as above but with Passive M Sport Suspension.
Both with full tanks of Diesel. Tyre pressures checked when cold to be exactly the same.

Roads:
Motorway, A Roads, B roads, Twisty roads, Bumpy roads, Potholed roads.

Ride:
Adaptive better on rough roads even though it felt slightly stiffer due to less body roll. Less crashing on potholes. At 70 mph Adaptive had a flatter ride and the car felt more secure/planted. There was a roughness to the cars overall feel with Passive suspension. I found the car with Passive Suspension a bit tiring. The other driver agreed with these differences but felt they were not enough to worry or concern him. I felt the opposite.

Handling:
Adaptive superior, less roll, felt more planted and stable. Better cornering ability. Car felt more at one with the driver. Both drivers agreed on the differences. However, the other driver did not feel they were significant enough. Again, I felt the opposite.

Steering feel:
Adaptive tracked better in a straight line on Motorways. Adaptive felt less twitchy. Overall steering feel very similar. Adaptive seemed to take bumpy corners with less steering fight. The other driver did not notice any difference.

Noise:
Somehow the car with Adaptive suspension seemed quieter to my ears. A much more refined drive. The other driver felt there was no difference which really surprised me.

Summary:
Perhaps, as I am used to a car with Adaptive Suspension, the change to the Passive setup was more obvious to me than the change from Passive to Adaptive to the other driver. Yes, he agreed the Adaptive setup was better overall, the car feeling more communicative but he could easily live without Adaptive. I strongly felt the opposite. To me, the F30 with the Passive setup felt a lower grade of car. It lacked the refinement and the overall prowess of the famed BMW drive. I think the other driver was in denial.

I know for sure I made the right choice. The other driver only had minor regrets in not having Adaptive, UNTIL .........

HE DROVE MY CAR IN COMFORT MODE AND WAS KICKING HIMSELF FOR NOT HAVING ADAPTIVE M SPORT SUSPENSION.

He regretted that for a few hundred quid he could have had two different superior cars!

Boy, I'm tired but happy.
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      02-09-2013, 10:57 AM   #2
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Nice Comparison review between the two. Glad I ordered the Adaptive. I remember saying to the dealer that I hated the M Suspension on the E46 I currently have. I asked would the adaptive be better? He said just delete the M Suspension... Glad I didn't just delete and added Adaptive...
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      02-09-2013, 11:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venkata View Post
Nice Comparison review between the two. Glad I ordered the Adaptive. I remember saying to the dealer that I hated the M Suspension on the E46 I currently have. I asked would the adaptive be better? He said just delete the M Suspension... Glad I didn't just delete and added Adaptive...
My local dealer told me the same thing when the F30 was just launched, if memory serves the Adaptive M Sport was not released with the initial F30 batch, so I think they just didn't know.

The M Sport Suspension on our E91 with the 18" 193M was quite an unsettled ride esp on bad roads around where we live. But on a twisty/smooth road it was amazing. Glad I ignored the dealer and went for the Adaptive M Suspension.
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      02-09-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
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Just as I thought really, adaptive all the way, good write too.
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      02-09-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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Very interesting observations. About as close as you can get for a user comparison test. Very useful feedback on the different setups. Much how I expected the OP's view to be. As I posted just this morning in the other thread:

Quote:
Will be interesting to read the review of the 'back to back' test.

Even if they do have the same sport 'firmness', (I understand the adaptive valving is firmer anyway) the feel will be different, simply on refinement in the sport mode.....

I was reading a magazine review just last evening on VDC against passive sport. The feeling was the VDC sport setting ties the car down better than the passive sport system. More the "hunkered down" feeling a decent BMW suspension should give us.

Wonder if that will be the feeling in today's review.
But it does appear to confirm what I've believed and debated for a long time, driver opinions and what we view as acceptable can be totally different, even wide apart. Also it does support the view that some drivers are far less tuned into the finer nuances of suspension settings and resulting ride and handling balance. I'm not saying drivers are wrong, as there is more than one reason for this, including our own particular 'human' sensibilities to the frequencies in which a suspension and car body work and resonate. So it all becomes subjective anyway, and what value we put on a particular car's dynamics can be quite different.

Been similar discussions on the 5-series forums, where some drivers just don't see much difference in the VDC fitted cars, whereas other drivers say it is "chalk and cheese", one of the best bits of technology on the car, and lifts the drive to another level.

I note that F30AM has VDC in his Golf GTi, so very aware of the finer and subtle differences over passive systems. Myself, I come from the 330d with Koni FSD (Frequency Selective Damping), and after living with that setup for about 5-years, no BMW passive system (standard or sport) could give the same quality of suspension refinement (out of the box) until VDC came along. Then I know some tried the Koni FSD and didn't like the feel as they didn't find it a sporty enough feel. VDC has brought refinement without losing the sporty handling abilities, which refinement I've felt has been lacking in BMW for a few years, since RFTs were introduced.

Interesting comments on the steering feel, that is my feeling as well, for the 5-series cars. As a settled suspension allows the steering to be more fluid, with less of a corrupted twitch.

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      02-09-2013, 01:07 PM   #6
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Pete:
The experience was most interesting. In fact, after he tried my car in 'Comfort' mode, he wished to try the 'Sport' mode again. Then, suddenly, as if by a miracle, it clicked! He's now a 100% fan of Adaptive Suspension. He's furious with his Salesperson who's advice he took.
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      02-09-2013, 01:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for the review. I didn't test drive cars back to back but came away with a similar impression. That the M adaptive is so much worth the extra price for 'enthusiast' drivers.

After testing the regular sports suspension, I still preferred my E92's drive, despite the trashy ride due to the (older generation) run-flats.

Then I got to try the same car but with M adaptive suspension. Now that was a car I could get behind.
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      02-09-2013, 01:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F30AM View Post
Pete:
The experience was most interesting. In fact, after he tried my car in 'Comfort' mode, he wished to try the 'Sport' mode again. Then, suddenly, as if by a miracle, it clicked! He's now a 100% fan of Adaptive Suspension. He's furious with his Salesperson who's advice he took.
Careful, you'll really get me on a soapbox.

When folks question the sport suspension, "Delete the sport suspension" or "Adaptive it is not worth the money", is all a lot of them seem to say.

Now the other factor is wheels, at least you have 18", so sit there on optimum design specification, for the adaptive suspension.

I'm on 18" summer wheels with the 5-series. Talking with the dealer I got my car from, they did know 18" are the optimum for Adaptive Drive, and appreciated I'd be getting the best possible from it.

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      02-09-2013, 01:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
Careful, you'll really get me on a soapbox.

When folks question the sport suspension, "Delete the sport suspension" or "Adaptive it is not worth the money", is all a lot of them seem to say.

Now the other factor is wheels, at least you have 18", so sit there on optimum design specification, for the adaptive suspension.

I'm on 18" summer wheels with the 5-series. Talking with the dealer I got my car from, they did know 18" are the optimum for Adaptive Drive, and appreciated I'd be getting the best possible from it.

HighlandPete
Absolutely agree.
18" + Adaptive Suspension = Optimum setup.
Car feels fabulous in both suspension modes.
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      02-09-2013, 04:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for the write up F30AM. This exactly fits my experience of comparing 330d with adaptive to same car with non adaptive.

I have an interesting additional factor that affects my drive (positively) in Variable Sport Steering. I'll do a separate post on this.
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      02-09-2013, 04:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveyc View Post
Thanks for the write up F30AM. This exactly fits my experience of comparing 330d with adaptive to same car with non adaptive.

I have an interesting additional factor that affects my drive (positively) in Variable Sport Steering. I'll do a separate post on this.
Yes PLEASE.
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      02-09-2013, 04:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveyc View Post
Thanks for the write up F30AM. This exactly fits my experience of comparing 330d with adaptive to same car with non adaptive.

I have an interesting additional factor that affects my drive (positively) in Variable Sport Steering. I'll do a separate post on this.
When you posting up this sounds interesting
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      02-09-2013, 04:44 PM   #13
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F30AM thanks for the review
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      02-09-2013, 06:38 PM   #14
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Great write up F30AM and good to see the adaptive is worth getting.

I have a question which I'd be interested in with regards the F30 compared to my E90......
In my car, when driving around bends and hitting pot holes and manhole covers etc, the car has a tendency to "hop" very slightly off line. Its always done this from new. Looking at e90post it appears people blame the run flats for this and changing to non-run flats apparently improves things.

Anyway, does the F30 suffer in a similar way when hitting pot holes and manholes when pushing on around the bends? Or is the suspension much better regardless of the fact run flats are fitted?

Cheers.
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      02-09-2013, 06:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dopper99 View Post
Great write up F30AM and good to see the adaptive is worth getting.

I have a question which I'd be interested in with regards the F30 compared to my E90......
In my car, when driving around bends and hitting pot holes and manhole covers etc, the car has a tendency to "hop" very slightly off line. Its always done this from new. Looking at e90post it appears people blame the run flats for this and changing to non-run flats apparently improves things.

Anyway, does the F30 suffer in a similar way when hitting pot holes and manholes when pushing on around the bends? Or is the suspension much better regardless of the fact run flats are fitted?

Cheers.
I've not had this happen yet with the F30 as I'm driving the car quite gently. But I did drive on some terrible roads today and the car was as stable as Mable. I was really impressed. My GTI is nowhere near as stable as it can sometimes hop, skip and jump on the same roads depending on speed.
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      02-09-2013, 06:53 PM   #16
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Sounds good and a lot better than the E90. I'm not talking caning it in mine to get it to hop. Just ordinary brisk-ish speeds, nothing too fast. Its not until I drive another car that I realise how poor mine is. Is not a major problem, but not great for a BMW.
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      02-10-2013, 03:22 AM   #17
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How much is the Adaptive drive?

I have adaptive on my X5, I bought it used and its the only one I have ever seen with the option, probably effectively cost me nothing but cost the first owner 2000!!
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      02-10-2013, 03:29 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davyk31 View Post
How much is the Adaptive drive?

I have adaptive on my X5, I bought it used and its the only one I have ever seen with the option, probably effectively cost me nothing but cost the first owner 2000!!
Adaptive M Suspension was a 515 option on M Sport trim, I think it costs a bit more if you don't have M Sport.
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      02-10-2013, 03:53 AM   #19
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How much is the Adaptive drive?

I have adaptive on my X5, I bought it used and its the only one I have ever seen with the option, probably effectively cost me nothing but cost the first owner 2000!!
Adaptive Drive is much more than the adaptive M-sport suspension. I, like you have Adaptive Drive in my 5-series, we have active roll bars (ARS) as well as the adaptive damping. It is the ARS option that actually costs the big money, but is the part that allows us to corner much flatter and refines the ride, particularly over single bumps on the straight.

For a current 5-series, Variable Damping Control is 985; Adaptive Drive is 2,770 The other steering upgrade (sporty steering) is Integral Active Steering at 1,330, so makes the F30/1 Variable Sport Steering (VSS) quite a cheap option.

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      02-10-2013, 03:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dopper99 View Post
I have a question which I'd be interested in with regards the F30 compared to my E90......
In my car, when driving around bends and hitting pot holes and manhole covers etc, the car has a tendency to "hop" very slightly off line. Its always done this from new. Looking at e90post it appears people blame the run flats for this and changing to non-run flats apparently improves things.

Anyway, does the F30 suffer in a similar way when hitting pot holes and manholes when pushing on around the bends? Or is the suspension much better regardless of the fact run flats are fitted?

Cheers.
In my experience we have moved on. I know exactly what you mean by wheel hop in an E90. It is the tyres, as getting away from run-flats changes that feature. It was one of the first things I noted in a standard suspension F30 I test drove, it was as if the car wasn't on run-flats. Much more refined over broken surfaces.

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      02-10-2013, 06:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
Adaptive Drive is much more than the adaptive M-sport suspension. I, like you have Adaptive Drive in my 5-series, we have active roll bars (ARS) as well as the adaptive damping. It is the ARS option that actually costs the big money, but is the part that allows us to corner much flatter and refines the ride, particularly over single bumps on the straight.

For a current 5-series, Variable Damping Control is 985; Adaptive Drive is 2,770 The other steering upgrade (sporty steering) is Integral Active Steering at 1,330, so makes the F30/1 Variable Sport Steering (VSS) quite a cheap option.

HighlandPete
After reading the above, I had a look at the options etc for the 5 Series. Good Lord, there is so much more there to fleece one with compared to the 3 Series. Serious money.
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      02-10-2013, 07:15 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
In my experience we have moved on. I know exactly what you mean by wheel hop in an E90. It is the tyres, as getting away from run-flats changes that feature. It was one of the first things I noted in a standard suspension F30 I test drove, it was as if the car wasn't on run-flats. Much more refined over broken surfaces.

HighlandPete
Pete bang on the money i have moaned to BMW at big events for as loan as i remember about run flats, always the promise they will stick by them as will improve but there was no way to do this on very low profile tyres unless they reduced the ridged ness of the side walls giving less miles on in emergeny and thats what they have done. You just need to drive a couple of Alpina car's to relise the damage to ride they do.
I remember a motor show when i was speaking to one of the suspension guys from BMW in 2007 i was invited up with a few others to have a chat on what we felt the issue was with e90 m sport and they must have been worried all present sales unless ride improves or got ajustable suspension they would lose market share to other brands, as my street was an example one moved from old 5 series to e class another to Audi and a few more, two of them back to 5 series with adaptive damping, or non RFT.
I think the Adaptive was put on spec list due to the facts above to keep the hard core BMW car buyes that buy not for the badge or looks , but that does help, but for the Drive train and 50/50 balance and also well controlled and compliant handling. Not all owners are looking for this
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