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      04-06-2012, 06:08 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by mapezzul View Post
Do I like the new EPS- yes and no. What many think of road feel (in most cars) is really noise- it doesn't provide you with any needed information (like being in a room with the Fan humming), and what the steering now communicates is the information you need to make a driving adjustment (Fan is clunking so you better duck or get out of dodge). What this means is that it provides you with enough to do what you need to but that is about it- I'd prefer a more progressive nature to it, a bit more communicative change like the change in the hum rather than going to the clunk.
That is a really good summary. The "feel" that many of us look for actually serves very little purpose if all you care about is going fast. You don't need to have the tactile feel of the road surface, which is essentially a glorified steering kickback, to assess your grip level.

But subjectively, it does make you feel more connected to the road, and to the machine. It makes the car feel more "raw", more focused, and less refined. In a way, it is analogous to preferring pure 3 pedal manuals over dual clutch transmissions. There is no longer an objective advantage of rowing your own gears, and yet for subjective reasons, some of us insist on doing just that.

Compared to the competition, one of the things that the 3er really shines (at least to me) is the juxtaposition of this raw-ness and the refinement. I really enjoy sitting in a refined and quiet cabin, while piloting the car with a steering that is in some ways more feelsome than the racks found in insanely focused cars like the STI or the Evo. It seems to me that BMW really understands that there are things that need to be refined, and then there are things that should be left mechanically honest. Or at least that's how I perceive it.
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      04-06-2012, 06:43 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by mapezzul View Post
You are absolutely correct!

The steering "feel" is the same in all modes as far as communication goes- the weight is what changes (less electric assist). The communicative feedback is limited until the wheels are about to break loose; there is enough info to to feel the car and safely correct.

The F30 chassis unlike the E46 and E90 is more neutral from the start as the engineers did not need to dial in understeer for the "safety" of the masses as DSC is now standard and that takes care of inducing understeer. The car is much more tossable and the balance point in a slide is where it was in the E90 M3 which is ideal for a sedan, right behind the front seat. (Get rid of the staggered tires and it helps greatly!)

The chassis is very impressive. Many have said BMW cheapened the suspension by going to steel in the rear- the real reason was increased stiffness and added weight to the rear for ideal weight balance.

Do I like the new EPS- yes and no. What many think of road feel (in most cars) is really noise- it doesn't provide you with any needed information (like being in a room with the Fan humming), and what the steering now communicates is the information you need to make a driving adjustment (Fan is clunking so you better duck or get out of dodge). What this means is that it provides you with enough to do what you need to but that is about it- I'd prefer a more progressive nature to it, a bit more communicative change like the change in the hum rather than going to the clunk.

It is leaps and bounds over the F10 but it is also a different customer- the Z4 35IS has the best EPS rack and if they replicate that in the F30 it would be sensational.

-M

E9X line only had the different rack steering with the M3 and the horrendous Active Steering system.
1 series as well... 135i steering felt identical to my 335i, the old 535i felt very similar too... in fact; it felt like you were driving a larger 3.
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      04-06-2012, 07:36 PM   #25
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Everyone talks about the loss of feeling due to the electric assist but you have to keep in mind that some of the aluminum suspension was switched back to steel, the car has a slightly softer ride, and the current generation of run flats ride better/softer. I'm sure those things could contribute to some of the steering feel but I don't know how much.
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      04-06-2012, 08:08 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
Same! i already had it in and they rebalanced the tires but still shakes, nothing to crazy but noticeable, let me know if they fix it and what it is. thx
They put on new tires but it didn't fix it, so they're keeping it for the weekend to figure it out. I have an X5 as a loaner...diesel
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      04-06-2012, 08:23 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by mfear View Post
They put on new tires but it didn't fix it, so they're keeping it for the weekend to figure it out. I have an X5 as a loaner...diesel
weird, its noticeable but it doesnt really bother me. Let me know if the find a fix, it happens on mine between 40-60
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      04-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
weird, its noticeable but it doesnt really bother me. Let me know if the find a fix, it happens on mine between 40-60
Same. I'll let you know
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      04-07-2012, 03:08 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by micknugget View Post
...and the current generation of run flats ride better/softer.
This is the most surprising part of my experience:

My wife's old 2009 wagon with the Sports package (17" rims and medium profile RFTs) was *harsh* over anything but smooth pavement. My 2011 coupe with M-Sport (18" rims and lower profile RFTs) rides far better because BMW changed the shocks for MY2011, and it handles better, of course.

My wife's new 2012 sedan (Luxury Line) is smooth most of the time, but over the same bumps and divots as my coupe, the impact harshness is noticeably worse most of the time. I've been reading that the new (3rd generation, I think) RFTs are better, but I think the upsized wheels and tires on the F30s offset any gains that the new tires may offer.

The overall diameter of the wheel/tire combo on the F30 is 1" greater that the E9X and I think that change has the most to do with the disappointing impact harshness on our F30. I'd love to see someone compare the weight of the wheel/tire combo on the E9X vs. F30. Increasing unsprung weight is a primary enemy of good wheel/tire control.

Last edited by simianspeedster; 04-07-2012 at 03:13 AM.
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      04-07-2012, 03:12 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Propagator View Post
That is a really good summary. The "feel" that many of us look for actually serves very little purpose if all you care about is going fast. You don't need to have the tactile feel of the road surface, which is essentially a glorified steering kickback, to assess your grip level.

But subjectively, it does make you feel more connected to the road, and to the machine. It makes the car feel more "raw", more focused, and less refined. In a way, it is analogous to preferring pure 3 pedal manuals over dual clutch transmissions. There is no longer an objective advantage of rowing your own gears, and yet for subjective reasons, some of us insist on doing just that.
I largely agree. I can't recall where I read this, but I'm fairly certain I recently read that a manufacturer created some kind of physical coupling between the front axle and the electric steering system so some of the "road noise" can be felt by the driver. It's kind of analogous to cars that have a resonator in the dash that lets some of the engine noise sneak into the cabin for a more visceral, enjoyable experience.
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      04-07-2012, 06:57 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micknugget View Post
Everyone talks about the loss of feeling due to the electric assist but you have to keep in mind that some of the aluminum suspension was switched back to steel, the car has a slightly softer ride, and the current generation of run flats ride better/softer. I'm sure those things could contribute to some of the steering feel but I don't know how much.
Not completely true- the aluminum was removed from the rear and there is no difference in feel from aluminum to steel that 99.9% of humans can tell. The car with the sports line is actually firmer than the last car in terms of rigidity and compliance- the new run flats are what are softer and vastly improved. To the best of my knowledge I am not aware of any key front components going to steel.

As I noted above the steel was used to add weight, save cost and actually increase rigidity. The M3 gets away with copious amounts of aluminum because of the increased bracing and added thrust plates. With the F30 they also changed how the rear axels are integrated directly into the diff (splined) rather than attached to couplings which decreased the weight enough that the steel was also needed to partially offset this in order to keep the magical 50/50 weight balance.

They don't just do things to do them.... these engineers look at what makes things the best and the try and make it the most cost effective.

Last edited by mapezzul; 04-07-2012 at 07:09 AM.
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      04-07-2012, 06:46 PM   #32
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Makes me wonder if there were online forums when they invented power steering back in the early 1900s if people would complain and say they hated their steering cause it felt softer.

Seriously though. Although I don't have the technical schematics for the new electric assist, from a logic standpoint... if someone was to put a new f30 on the lift and turn the front wheels, don't you think the steering wheel will move in the same direction also? In the same vein... when the road "noise" you feel as the tires are pulled and pushed in one direction or another (even micro-corrections like follow ruts) on a non-power, power, or electric steering you will feel it in the feedback in the steering wheel. In regards to how much sensitivity you will feel on an electric rack will depend on how much the steering wheel is setup for feedback. (think PS3 or PC steering wheel for racing simulation games) Although I would have put a little more weight or resistance in the electric steering in comfort mode, I have not had a problem with getting feedback through the steering wheel with the f30 especially in sport mode. I think the time you notice most that it's an electric setup is during low speed parking or driving where the engineers have (in my opinion) overboosted the electric assist which was probably done by design as this is the time someone doesn't want to have lots of steering effort to turn. Sometime, try driving a M3 or 1M with those thick front tires and try to parallel park. It's a lot more steering effort. At high speeds, that's not an issue in any of the cars even the f30.

As a side note, I remember driving a pair of Porsche 997 Carrera S back to back a few years back at Barber Motorsports Park. One with traditional steel brakes and the other w/ PCCB. It was amazing the difference in steering feel and responsiveness of the car. The steering in the PCCB car's steering felt lighter due to the unsprung weight differences and initially felt less "communicative." But ultimately, once you get used to it, you realize the car was more responsive to turn in and easier to drive faster. For those who think a heavier steering feel would be better (as I first thought when I got into the 997 w/ PCCB and the 328i f30) it's not. It's just something you have to get used to. I think those jumping from a e90 to a f30 (like I did when I traded in my e90 328i for the f30) the difference in force is just a major change.

Times are changing. Technology changes. Fast drivers will learn how to adapt to a feel of a car faster than slow drivers. Oh wait... we're not talking racing.

Last edited by sleedawg; 04-07-2012 at 06:53 PM.
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      04-08-2012, 01:17 AM   #33
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For those who think a heavier steering feel would be better (as I first thought when I got into the 997 w/ PCCB and the 328i f30) it's not.
That's your opinion, which I respect, but I also disagree. I prefer the steering feel in my E9X over our new F30 in every way.
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      04-11-2012, 10:22 AM   #34
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It’s not so much the lightness of the new EPS that’s the problem, it’s the artificial feeling that I don’t like.
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      04-11-2012, 11:31 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
I largely agree. I can't recall where I read this, but I'm fairly certain I recently read that a manufacturer created some kind of physical coupling between the front axle and the electric steering system so some of the "road noise" can be felt by the driver. It's kind of analogous to cars that have a resonator in the dash that lets some of the engine noise sneak into the cabin for a more visceral, enjoyable experience.
The newest generation VW GTI has an inlet through the firewall to allow some engine noise to come through. I know they've been tweaking their electric steering since it's intro due to people saying it feels too light( sounds familiar?) and disconnected
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      06-21-2012, 05:14 PM   #36
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I have been driving my F30 320D for 4000 KM's now. i can not get used to the EPS /steering characteristics.

1. The F30 steers much lighter then my E90. On its own, thats not so much of a problem

2. The artificial feel close to the centre is what bothers me. I get the feeling the EPS provides road/ride feedback actively in some way. It makes for a vague steering sensation, especially at higher speeds

3. also what i do not like is that the car has a slower 'return to a straight line' response. I really think they reduced the KPI on the steering setup compared to the E90.

For me this takes away at least 30% of the 'Freude am fahren'...

I have the standard powersteering and i notice hardly any difference in steering when i go to sport or sport+ mode.

I wonder if i can do anything to improve the steering. any suggestions?

Thanks
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      06-22-2012, 02:33 AM   #37
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Nope, love it! 328i 18" 398 mixed tyres.
The F10/F11 is vague, not a fan of that at all but the F30 is brilliant! For everyday use, I think I prefer it to the E90's :O
But, I will be creating a thread in the upcoming week, if not this weekend, with a general review, pics and video!
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      06-22-2012, 09:59 AM   #38
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I wonder if the vibration issue is with those who have the variable steering option? I just ordered the standard steering. Now I'm torn. Though I won't be tracking this car or going much over 100 mph around curves, I wonder if variable steering is worth it?
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      06-22-2012, 10:04 AM   #39
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My steering is awesome, and lot of fun!
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      06-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #40
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quite happy with it, have the servotronic , not the sport one, and find it, if short of some feedback, precise, and not to light, in particular to the light and artificial steering of others.
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      07-12-2012, 07:33 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remvs View Post
I have been driving my F30 320D for 4000 KM's now. i can not get used to the EPS /steering characteristics.

1. The F30 steers much lighter then my E90. On its own, thats not so much of a problem

2. The artificial feel close to the centre is what bothers me. I get the feeling the EPS provides road/ride feedback actively in some way. It makes for a vague steering sensation, especially at higher speeds

3. also what i do not like is that the car has a slower 'return to a straight line' response. I really think they reduced the KPI on the steering setup compared to the E90.

For me this takes away at least 30% of the 'Freude am fahren'...

I have the standard powersteering and i notice hardly any difference in steering when i go to sport or sport+ mode.

I wonder if i can do anything to improve the steering. any suggestions?

Thanks
In this recent review they tell that it's the variable sport steering that provides nice steering feedback and overall steering feel compared to the standard steering. Russian journos tell the same thing. So maybe starting from F30 we have to pay for steering feel by getting VSS? From the other hand, official info on VSS is that it changes steering ratio and nothing more. Maybe there is some different EPS firmware used in case of VSS? Or maybe those reviews are just a way to sell VSS better? Cannot confirm or disprove it by myself and cannot decide whether to order standard steering or VSS either.
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      07-12-2012, 07:46 AM   #42
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I recently test drove the new F30 328i, Modern line, standard EPS.
Coming from my hydraulic E90, the steering felt way too mushy and light. Don't get me wrong, i love electric steering in cars; i also drive a Peugeot 207, which also has EPS, but in the 207 i think the feeling is 'better', although it's lighter than in the F30.
Probably also has something to do with the size of the vehicle. Put it in SPORT mode, but no major change.

I guess you can get used to it, but first impression wasn't a good one for me. Felt better when i stepped back in my E90.
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      07-12-2012, 11:15 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Bold Vitalic View Post
In this recent review they tell that it's the variable sport steering that provides nice steering feedback and overall steering feel compared to the standard steering. Russian journos tell the same thing. So maybe starting from F30 we have to pay for steering feel by getting VSS? From the other hand, official info on VSS is that it changes steering ratio and nothing more. Maybe there is some different EPS firmware used in case of VSS? Or maybe those reviews are just a way to sell VSS better? Cannot confirm or disprove it by myself and cannot decide whether to order standard steering or VSS either.
I feel the same way....very mixed reviews about the VSS....some say you need it to get steering feel similar to the E90 and some say you don't. Quite honestly, I remember driving an F30 335i with VSS back in Feb and getting right into my E90 afterwards and the steering felt pretty much the same. But I also drove a basic 328i and remembering that the difference was vast. I haven't driven a sport line F30 without the VSS so I'm confused on if I really need VSS or not.
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      07-12-2012, 11:35 AM   #44
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i drove the sport line with and without vss. vss felt much better, much more like what I used to in my e90, especially in sport mode.
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