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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > 2012-2019 BMW 3 and 4-Series Forums > General F30 Sedan / F32 Coupe / F36 Gran Coupe Forum > I think I have changed my mind about the F30
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      02-03-2013, 09:25 PM   #23
PK2348
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Originally Posted by sinuspain View Post
So I take it sports line is a must if buying a new 3 series? Is it really that bad if you go with a base model performance-wise? I think you can always do aftermarket stuff
Base is pretty bad. But you can get base with DHP
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      02-03-2013, 10:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinuspain
So I take it sports line is a must if buying a new 3 series? Is it really that bad if you go with a base model performance-wise? I think you can always do aftermarket stuff
I didn't like the base at all. Sports suspension like I said isn't as sporty as I would like, but it does feel like a proper BMW.
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      02-03-2013, 10:57 PM   #25
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So I was one of the ones that was adamantly against the F30. I had taken a short drive in a no-line base car, and well it was crap in terms of sportiness. I still maintain that, but today I got to test drive the Sport Line w/ Sport auto for about an hour on the twistiest roads I know of, and I think I now have enough experience to write a review of it. My review is going to be in comparison to the E60 and E46, which are the two BMW's I have the most experience with.

Interior
Since the car was a sport line, it came equipped with the sport seats. These seats are absolutely wonderful. They strike the perfect balance of comfort and control; in fact I would go so far to say that the sport line is worth it for the seats alone. The seats in this car were also leatherette, but unless I told you, you would never guess that. BMW has done the job of recreating the creamy feeling of leather so well that I would say it is not worth spending $1,500 on the real deal. The interior plastics have improved also. All of the controls have a very chunky, high quality feel to them. In the back there is nearly as much (if not more) room as in my mom's E60. I am 6' and I still had about 2 inches of spare leg room. Thats not to say that the F30 has no flaws when it comes to the interior. The interior lighting is sub-par in my opinion, the driver head rests make it harder to check behind you, visibility in general just isn't as good as it was in the E46, and I actually found the older i-drive easier to use (although that could be because I am used to it). Overall the interior is a massive leap forward from the E90, and a comparison to the E46 would best be served by an analogy. The F30 is to the E46 what Homo Sapiens are to Homo Erectus.

Transmission

This car came with the optional Sport Automatic Transmission. I am not going to beat around the bush, everything you have heard about this transmission is an understatement. Around town the shifts are very smooth and uneventful, but in manual mode at the red-line the box quickly slams the gears into place, its actually surprisingly satisfying. Also the quality of the paddles have improved. In the E90 the shifters felt slightly cheap and plasticky, but now they feel much more metallic. While I personally would probably opt for the manual, with this transmission you can no longer flame those that buy the sport auto. It is that good.

Engine

BMW is renowned for their legendary inline-6 engines. Their smoothness, higher revving character, and flat torque curves have become an expectation of cars from BMW (or at least in the states where a four banger has not been on sale since the late 90's) . So I was a little bit worried that the new N20 would not live up to the reputation the 6's have earned over the years. Now I know all of the magazines have said that there is nothing to worry about and that the N20 is a major improvement over the N52, but I had to try it out for my self to be sure. There is a lot more low end torque than there is in the N52 or M54, this is an obvious side effect of turbocharging. However one usual consequence of turbo chargers were not present, turbo lag. Trust me when I say that I looked for it; I Mashed the throttle in 5th gear at 30mph and still could only maybe slightly feel a little bit of lag. In my mom's car (N54) you can still feel a little bit of lag in normal driving, but only if you are looking for it. On this car I had to put it in un-normal conditional to even slightly feel lag. Another way that I feel it differs from the N54 is that it holds its power better up to the 7,000 red-line. However I do have one complaint, the sound. At full throttle it has a nice raspy roar, but at anything less it makes nearly no noise at all. I find that a little disappointing. How it is just a little niggle, and it should not take away from the fact that this is a magnificent engineering achievement.

Handling and Steering
This is the most controversial aspect of the F30. Many say that the car has become too soft and luxurious for a car that has defined the sport sedan market for nearly 40 years. They say that the steering is a disappointment and that the car is awash with body roll. And after a 1 hour performance drive on roads with decent elevation changes, switchbacks, fast corners, and slow tight ones I can finally report what I think about the new 3-Series.

I am going to start with the handling and ride. The ride in town is appropriately smooth, it is not crashy over bumps, but it is not a car you waft in either. There is also a surprisingly low amount of body roll. Much less that in my car (e46 non-sport) or my moms (E60 non-sport). I was driving down an extremely twisty road and I never thought about the body roll. By which I mean that there is no significant amount. So I have no idea where the reports came from that said otherwise. Overall I think the sports suspension is good. Would I like it to be sportier? Yes, but I do realize that BMW wants to sell cars, so I think it is an okay compromise.

The steering is more of a mixed bag. In comfort mode the steering is just flat out too light. It does however tighten up in sport mode, but the weight just does't quite feel natural. There is no change in weight as you turn in or based on your grip level. However it is very very precise and contrary to what the magazines say you can still feel some bumps in the road. I don't think it would be a big deal to improve the steering. Better programing would fix the steering feel, and I think different bushings would help with feeling the bumps.

I just want to add one last thing about the steering. Apart from the amount of road noise, it really isn't that different in feel from the E60. Neither are really swarming with steering feel. However in someways it actually feels better than the E60. This is because of the Servotronic speed sensitive steering in the E60 is way to obvious. So in regards to consistency I think the F30 is actually better.

Overall:

I got into this car fearing the worst. Fearing that BMW had lost its way, and that the company I one day hope to work for is not the company it once was. After an hour of driving I can report that I now have a feeling of relief. It is not the apocalypse that many think it is. It is not as sporty as I would like, but it is a much better all rounder than the E90. In short, this is the absolute best 5-Series that BMW has ever made.



Any comments, questions, or angry rants are welcome!
I'd say they have done such a lousy job on the leather that you can't tell it from vinyl. The new interiors look so contrived and that Mmi has got to be an afterthought

Last edited by 335BBS; 02-04-2013 at 08:28 AM.
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      02-03-2013, 11:00 PM   #26
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I'd say they have done such a lousy job on the leather that you ant tell it from vinyl.
Fair point, but either way the Leatherette feels enough like Dakota Leather to where I don't think its worth the money.
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      02-03-2013, 11:14 PM   #27
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Fair point, but either way the Leatherette feels enough like Dakota Leather to where I don't think its worth the money.
Good point. I'd have to agree. Once the smell goes away you can't tell the diff.

Last edited by 335BBS; 02-04-2013 at 08:28 AM.
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      02-03-2013, 11:14 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinuspain View Post
So I take it sports line is a must if buying a new 3 series? Is it really that bad if you go with a base model performance-wise? I think you can always do aftermarket stuff
Base is pretty bad. But you can get base with DHP
Not true.

I have a base with Tech, Premium, and Cold.

I added M Perf parts which are superior to the sports/M sports suspension parts and still made out cheaper...
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      02-04-2013, 02:20 AM   #29
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Your observation, OP, regarding the vinyl seats has been, IMO, true since the E36. I had one with taupe vinyl seats and never longed for leather. Indeed, the sole reason I'd pay for leather seats in a BMW is to get the seat color I want. The leatherette really is outstanding, and it's a good deal more durable and easier to care for.
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      02-04-2013, 10:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivaswrath
Not true.

I have a base with Tech, Premium, and Cold.

I added M Perf parts which are superior to the sports/M sports suspension parts and still made out cheaper...
I think he was referring to a base car with the standard suspension.
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      02-05-2013, 12:00 AM   #31
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yeah i was referring to a base w/ standard suspension...
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      02-05-2013, 10:36 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by shivaswrath View Post
Not true.

I have a base with Tech, Premium, and Cold.

I added M Perf parts which are superior to the sports/M sports suspension parts and still made out cheaper...
Cheaper than what? than 1k for DHP package?
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      02-05-2013, 11:02 AM   #33
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Cheaper than what? than 1k for DHP package?
A car with a line.
A car with a line and DHP package.
Take your pick!
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      02-05-2013, 01:04 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by shivaswrath View Post
A car with a line.
A car with a line and DHP package.
Take your pick!
on a 335 sport line is 1,700 i believe? I think sport seats are worth that alone.
or, you can opt for base with DHP whcih will cost 1K.
It's non of my business, but just curious, how much did you save?
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      02-05-2013, 01:14 PM   #35
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on a 335 sport line is 1,700 i believe? I think sport seats are worth that alone.
or, you can opt for base with DHP whcih will cost 1K.
It's non of my business, but just curious, how much did you save?
Oddly...with everything I have in my signature (minus 400M rims which I bought off of a forum member), plus the 6 year Extended Warranty and 6 year Maintenance Program (and state taxes), I came to ~$52k including cost of labor for installations.
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      02-05-2013, 02:56 PM   #36
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In short, this is the absolute best 5-Series that BMW has ever made.
Haha I saw that one coming.

Same feeling here tbh.

Cheers
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      02-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
Your observation, OP, regarding the vinyl seats has been, IMO, true since the E36. I had one with taupe vinyl seats and never longed for leather. Indeed, the sole reason I'd pay for leather seats in a BMW is to get the seat color I want. The leatherette really is outstanding, and it's a good deal more durable and easier to care for.
I respectfully disagree. I had a brand new (6 miles) loaner 128i with the leatherette for a month and a half while I waited on my build. Mine has the leather. I may just be more sensitive to it than others, but I sweat more on any kind of vinyl than on leather. Superficially though, and to a simple touch, yes the leatherette is a superb counterfeit. I had to ask the dealer if it was the leatherette but the sweat and the subtly artificial look to the grain on it was the giveaway.
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      02-12-2013, 12:46 AM   #38
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Nice write up. Very honest and real world.
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