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      07-18-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
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A Question and An Observation or More for E9X Owners

The Question:

Just to the right of the Auto button/wheel/knob is a small black dot thing. This same black dot thing exists on mine and my daughter's E9X cars. Now, I've thought (since 2007) it was just a decoration since it was placed symmetrically on the control panel in the middle of the car. But now that I see it on the F30 also, and it's clearly not placed in any artful spot, I'm wondering what it is. Does anyone know?

The Observations:

Driving
I took my kid's 328 wagon in to the BMW store today because the fuel needle seems to not work and they gave me an F30 loaner. (base model, CWP and PP) I then drove the loaner to visit my father, a 94 year old who has an e92 (loaded to the gills with everything but M Sport).

The very first thing he said was: boy, you turn the wheel and nothing happens. The next thing he said was: they're making like that old Buick you learned to drive on now aren't they? I guess I'm the only old thing that's not new again. We both laughed.

I'll grant you that Dad isn't your typical old coot. He will, once or twice a year, make he go with him to the track so he can drive in a spirited manner, or what he calls, "run me some 'shine." (That's the closest he's come to discussing that topic, so I have nothing more to say on it.) Even so, it is telling that a nonagenarian noticed the numb steering before even pulling out of the driveway.

That said, I don't like the steering, but I could endure it. But it's not exactly confidence inspiring when you are rapidly moving around an exit ramp. For now, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the F32 doesn't have the same lame steering.

Luxury and Space
Dad and I agree: this car is no more luxurious than the E9X. Indeed, we both observed that on the dashboard and center console, there's less wood and more plastic/rubber in the F30 than there is in the E90.

It's just new and different, and I think that's why folks think it more luxurious. I know when I first test drove one some months back, my first thought was it might be a tad more luxurious. But now, after driving around in one for a few hours, I know I was wrong; it's not. I was just under the influence of the newness and the difference.

I can accept folks liking the new interior design (de gustibus non disputandum est), but more luxurious? I don't think so. But perhaps it is more luxurious if:
  • one thinks more space in the back equals more luxury, but then that would make an Impala more luxurious as well. And I suspect nobody here thinks an Impala a luxury car or that it's more luxurious than a 3er.
  • one outfitted their F30 with more stuff than one had on one's E90, but then that would be a matter of choice not something inherent to the car itself.
Even so, more luxurious or not, it's "cush factor" is nice enough to suit my needs.

The rear is a good deal roomier than the E90. I think I'd say the 3er is now a full on mid-size car.

Fuel Gauge
The fuel gauge no longer has little hash marks indicating each gallon's worth of fuel in the tank. Some of you may recall that the E9X has a 16 gallon gas tank and that there are exactly 16 little hash lines evenly spaced on the fuel gauge. It's hardly a big deal, but I will admit that I used those little marks to know how much fuel to put back into the service loaners. Also, I used to use those marks to judge how much fuel I had just burnt during a period of "joyful" driving. (The missing marks are not a big deal; I'm just saying I did have practical uses for them.)

Do any of you know if the little hash marks are present on the Sport Line or on a 335? (I did look on the BMW configurator, but it's hard to tell for sure.)

Ergonomics
When I drive casually, I tend to hold my leg in a position like when I'm seated in a regular chair (knee bent more or less at 90 degrees) and my foot planted flat on the floor just in front of the seat. When I sit this way, my knee rests against the car door. After a short time -- 15 minutes perhaps -- this becomes painful as the placement of the door pull is situated to make it so. Now whereas I could get over the numb steering, and the lack of fuel gauge hash marks, if I can't find a suitable, everyday seating position, I would under no circumstances buy and F30.

Lights
You can now have both the fog lights and high beams on at the same time. Also, when you turn off the car with them on, the car turns back on with them on.

Sounds
With the radio at a normal new radio listening volume, you really don't hear the motor, even in Sport mode and accelerating heavily (floored).

The standard radio thumps!!! It puts out far more volume than the standard one on the E90. Now that is something to bounce up and down about. I won't lie, if I were to have the windows down when I'm driving around town, I'd be heard long before I'm seen.

Appearance
From several angles, this car, without looking carefully, looks like the F10. I had both parked in my driveway when my boy, their nanny and I walked to a restaurant for dinner. Upon returning, we all agreed that it looked, until you really pay attention, like there were two F10s there. This is especially so when looking at it from behind, be it at an angle or directly behind. Up close and from in front, it's clearly not an F10. Personally, that's neither a good nor bad thing to me. It's just an observation.
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Last edited by tony20009; 07-18-2012 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Added observations and changed the thread title
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      07-18-2012, 02:04 PM   #2
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Yes, the F30 sucks. You are the first person to make this observation. There are plenty of E46 M3s for sale on Auto Trader.

Enjoy.
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      07-18-2012, 02:12 PM   #3
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Every current E90/E92 owner = E90 > F30

Every former E90/E92 owner = F30 > E90

Fuel guage hash marks? Are you kidding me?
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      07-18-2012, 02:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
Just to the right of the Auto button/wheel/knob is a small black dot thing. I'm wondering what it is. Does anyone know?
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      07-18-2012, 02:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
Yes, the F30 sucks. You are the first person to make this observation. There are plenty of E46 M3s for sale on Auto Trader.

Enjoy.
TY for the suggestion, but I don't want an E46 M3 any more than I want an F30, though they are both nice cars. What in my post made you think I did?

I don't think tje F30 sucks, and I didn't say I did think that. Indeed, I explicitly said or implied more than once that the car's ok. Moreover, the only thing I noted that would deter me from having one is the paid of my knee against the door pull.

I know I'm not the first to comment on the luxury or the steering/driving, though I have yet to see anyone say anything about the fuel gauge hash marks or the ergonomics.

I understand too that the ergonomic aspect that is literally painful for me, may not affect others the same way. But I thought I'd share that piece of information for folks who may sit as I do in the car. That is the kind of thing one might not notice/encounter at all during a test drive. I test drove the car and didn't notice it.

As goes the question I asked, do you have any idea what that dot thing is?
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      07-18-2012, 02:19 PM   #6
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TY

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerbs View Post
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      07-18-2012, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smohr33 View Post
Fuel guage hash marks? Are you kidding me?
Not that I didn't already say this in the original post, but:

The missing marks are not a big deal; I'm just saying I did have practical uses for them.
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      07-18-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
Fuel Gauge
The fuel gauge no longer has little hash marks indicating each gallon's worth of fuel in the tank. Some of you may recall that the E9X has a 16 gallon gas tank and that there are exactly 16 little hash lines evenly spaced on the fuel gauge. It's hardly a big deal, but I will admit that I used those little marks to know how much fuel to put back into the service loaners. Also, I used to use those marks to judge how much fuel I had just burnt during a period of "joyful" driving. (The missing marks are not a big deal; I'm just saying I did have practical uses for them.)
You've lost me on the hash marks, unless the US market has to be set up in such a way.

Here in the UK there are 20 divisions on the gauge for my 61-litre tank (or 13.42 imperial gallons) so don't think the marks are there for any 'exact' measure.

BTW, the luxury thing is all about what options you put in the cabin to make it more luxurious, IMO.

UK basic specifications look and feel nothing like a well specced model with the 'luxury' touches.

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      07-18-2012, 02:40 PM   #9
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After bringing in my F30 335i in for service and getting loaner F30 320i, there's a huge gap in quality of materials between mine and the lowest base model. It feels like a completely different car, the steering is definitely lighter in all modes (eco -> sport). First couple hours with the loaner and I hated it. But then something happened, I started tossing it around had lots of fun with it . It's much lighter and more balanced than mine. That being said, there's a huge gap in quality of materials, feel of the steering, feel of the seats etc... between base model and higher spec F30s and I'm wondering if you're taking into account that you're comparing a loaded E92 vs base F30.
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      07-18-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewishamilton View Post
I'm wondering if you're taking into account that you're comparing a loaded E92 vs base F30.
Agreed.
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      07-18-2012, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewishamilton View Post
That being said, there's a huge gap in quality of materials, feel of the steering, feel of the seats etc... between base model and higher spec F30s and I'm wondering if you're taking into account that you're comparing a loaded E92 vs base F30.
This^^ It's pretty much the same as driving an IS350 and getting an IS250 as a loaner... this happened to my brother a few times when he owned a 350 and i can assure you from a driver's standpoint, those were COMPLETELY different cars... the 250 just felt like a POS
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      07-18-2012, 04:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
The Question:

Ergonomics
When I drive casually, I tend to hold my leg in a position like when I'm seated in a regular chair (knee bent more or less at 90 degrees) and my foot planted flat on the floor just in front of the seat. When I sit this way, my knee rests against the car door. After a short time -- 15 minutes perhaps -- this becomes painful as the placement of the door pull is situated to make it so. Now whereas I could get over the numb steering, and the lack of fuel gauge hash marks, if I can't find a suitable, everyday seating position, I would under no circumstances buy and F30.
You are having issues with comfort because you are sitting in the wrong position. BMW designs the seat of the car for you to sit with your left foot against the dead pedal. If you ever get a chance to take a driving course at the Performance Center or even pick your car up on PCD, this is the very first thing that they talk about and to them, it is extremely important. You should not be sitting with your foot flat on the floor. The dead pedal is there for a reason. If your father is in his 90s, I assume that you have been driving for some time, so it may be difficult to change this habit. However, it is not BMW's fault that you are sitting yourself in a poor position.

Personally, I find my F30's seats to be extremely comfortable (sport seats). I am scheduled for back surgery in a few weeks because of severe injuries I sustained in a crash of another vehicle, and the only car that I am comfortable in is the F30. As much as it pains me to say, the 18-way Recaro seats in my 911 aren't as comfortable at my 328i. Try driving in the proper seat position and I think you won't have any comfort problems.

Last edited by gator15; 07-18-2012 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Thanks ric124
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      07-18-2012, 04:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
You've lost me on the hash marks, unless the US market has to be set up in such a way.

Here in the UK there are 20 divisions on the gauge for my 61-litre tank (or 13.42 imperial gallons) so don't think the marks are there for any 'exact' measure...

HighlandPete
Sounds like you have hash marks -- the 20 divisions -- and we don't. That's about the beginning and end of it.

I have to agree it'd be rather difficult to -- quickly, in one's head -- equate 20 divisions to 13 (or 13.4) gallons. But it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that each division corresponds to roughly 3 litres. If I'm right, then they would serve the same purpose for which I use the marks found on my e92's fuel gauge.

There is one other way in which I use the marks on my fuel gauge. My phone has this app called Gas Buddy. It tells me where the cheapest gas is. I look at my gauge to see how much fuel I'll need to fill up and then figure whether it's worth my bother to go to this or that gas station or just buy the higher priced gas that's where I happen to be at the moment. (None of the cheapest places are on my regular routes, but none of them are that far away either.

That may sound penurious, but the gas station down the street wants $4.99/gallon (premium - 93 oct.). The one four miles from my parent's home $3.51/gallon (premium - 93 oct.). And though I have to deliberately go there (as it's not on the way to or from their home), when I tell from the little marks that I'm going to need to buy 12 or 8 or whatever gallons of gas, I'll make that detour because to me, gas is gas.

On the other hand, if I'm at home (downtown DC) with half a tank and I know the next day I'm headed toward Williamsburg, VA and should probably just fill up, I won't drive the 40 mile round trip out to my folks' area to save $9. I might however drive to a different station here in the city; there's no denying all of them downtown here are high as hell.
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      07-18-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
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You are having issues with comfort because you are sitting in the wrong position. BMW designs the seat of the car for you to sit with your right foot against the dead pedal.
I hope you meant to say left?
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      07-18-2012, 05:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
Sounds like you have hash marks -- the 20 divisions -- and we don't. That's about the beginning and end of it.
E91 (not the F30) as you are talking of the E92. I'd not really taken particular notice of them, just the quarter segment marks, so popped out to see how many hash marks we have in the UK in the E91 model, as we have "real" gallons.

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      07-18-2012, 05:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gator15 View Post
You are having issues with comfort because you are sitting in the wrong position. BMW designs the seat of the car for you to sit with your right foot against the dead pedal. If you ever get a chance to take a driving course at the Performance Center or even pick your car up on PCD, this is the very first thing that they talk about and to them, it is extremely important. You should not be sitting with your foot flat on the floor. The dead pedal is there for a reason. If your father is in his 90s, I assume that you have been driving for some time, so it may be difficult to change this habit. However, it is not BMW's fault that you are sitting yourself in a poor position.

Personally, I find my F30's seats to be extremely comfortable (sport seats). I am scheduled for back surgery in a few weeks because of severe injuries I sustained in a crash of another vehicle, and the only car that I am comfortable in is the F30. As much as it pains me to say, the 18-way Recaro seats in my 911 aren't as comfortable at my 328i. Try driving in the proper seat position and I think you won't have any comfort problems.
I agree the seats are quite comfy. It's just the bad driving position and that left knee. But I don't see me sitting differently either and this is the first 3er (or car really) in which I've had this issue.

There is yet hope for poor ol' me. I was quite a good student in school. Perhaps if I take a PCD class, I'll correct my bad habit.
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      07-18-2012, 05:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
E91 (not the F30) as you are talking of the E92. I'd not really taken particular notice of them, just the quarter segment marks, so popped out to see how many hash marks we have in the UK in the E91 model, as we have "real" gallons.

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      07-18-2012, 05:33 PM   #18
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Its my observation that the e9X is the most boring 3 series.
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      07-18-2012, 05:48 PM   #19
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Thanks for posting the details as you find them. Some might find it helpful, some will certainly give you some flak.
I personally can't give any credence your opinions, as I would not take seriously any statement from a person that puts the interior of the e90 remotely on par with that of the f30 - but that also is just an opinion.
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      07-18-2012, 05:52 PM   #20
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Its my observation that the e9X is the most boring 3 series.
Ah, but it gained status, after users forgot the E46 (the best 3-series ever at the time) had owned the crown. Now the E9* models hold it, as there is another contender. Won't take long and the F30 will be the 'title holder'. Always happens.

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      07-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewishamilton View Post
After bringing in my F30 335i in for service and getting loaner F30 320i, there's a huge gap in quality of materials between mine and the lowest base model. It feels like a completely different car, the steering is definitely lighter in all modes (eco -> sport). First couple hours with the loaner and I hated it. But then something happened, I started tossing it around had lots of fun with it . It's much lighter and more balanced than mine. That being said, there's a huge gap in quality of materials, feel of the steering, feel of the seats etc... between base model and higher spec F30s and I'm wondering if you're taking into account that you're comparing a loaded E92 vs base F30.
(New observations added to original post.)

You might be right. I don't really know.

Loaner -- PP, CWP, and nothing else I can discern. Beige inside.
My E92 -- Red leather, iPod hookup, upgraded stereo and heated seats. Those are the only options I bought on it. And I do love it just the way it is.
Dad's E92 -- Loaded to the gills!!
Cousin Cheryl's E90 -- PP, heated seats, navigation. Her's has wood trim whereas the loaner has aluminum, as does mine. Hers is the one I was comparing to the F30 loaner as both have the beige leather.
My daughter's E91 - Loaded. Black on Oyster
My F10 -- Loaded to high heaven. Black on black nappa. I wouldn't think it fair to compare any 3er to this car.

One thing I have noticed is that the 3er beige leather I've encountered seems different from my red leather or leather of other colors.

Crazy as it sounds, my seats feel like Dooney and Bourke pebbled leather (check your wife's/girlfriend's purses). The texture is quite nice. They look and feel like quality leather. Even the back seats feel this way, and they haven't been used more than 15-20 times since I got the car in '07.

My kid's oyster seats also feel nice, as do Dad's black seats. Cheryl's seats, however, feel downright crappy to me, like antique parchment or a paper towel. The seats in the loaner feel the same way.

Be that as it may, it was really Cheryl's car that to me seems, for all intents and purposes, only a tad cushier, but only because she a has a tab more wood than does the loaner aluminum. And that's really the basis for my thinking the F30 isn't as luxurious as the E90.

There is no question that for typical around town driving, the F30 offers a much softer/smoother and quieter ride than any of my family's E9x cars. And I noticed later today that at speed and during heavy acceleration, the car is quieter than the 328i E90, and the steering does get better feeling -- not by a lot, but better. Despite the lack of steering feel, the F30 does handle just fine, you just don't feel the expansion joints and manhole covers and surface scabs and divets through the steering wheel.

I suspect the greater quietude and lesser "feel" is what makes folk find the F30 more luxurious. One of those, I'd agree contributes to luxury; the other, not so much.
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      07-18-2012, 06:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
The Question:

Just to the right of the Auto button/wheel/knob is a small black dot thing. This same black dot thing exists on mine and my daughter's E9X cars. Now, I've thought (since 2007) it was just a decoration since it was placed symmetrically on the control panel in the middle of the car. But now that I see it on the F30 also, and it's clearly not placed in any artful spot, I'm wondering what it is. Does anyone know?

The Observations:

Driving
I took my kid's 328 wagon in to the BMW store today because the fuel needle seems to not work and they gave me an F30 loaner. (base model, CWP and PP) I then drove the loaner to visit my father, a 94 year old who has an e92 (loaded to the gills with everything but M Sport).

The very first thing he said was: boy, you turn the wheel and nothing happens. The next thing he said was: they're making like that old Buick you learned to drive on now aren't they? I guess I'm the only old thing that's not new again. We both laughed.

I'll grant you that Dad isn't your typical old coot. He will, once or twice a year, make he go with him to the track so he can drive in a spirited manner, or what he calls, "run me some 'shine." (That's the closest he's come to discussing that topic, so I have nothing more to say on it.) Even so, it is telling that a nonagenarian noticed the numb steering before even pulling out of the driveway.

That said, I don't like the steering, but I could endure it. But it's not exactly confidence inspiring when you are rapidly moving around an exit ramp. For now, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that the F32 doesn't have the same lame steering.

Luxury and Space
Dad and I agree: this car is no more luxurious than the E9X. Indeed, we both observed that on the dashboard and center console, there's less wood and more plastic/rubber in the F30 than there is in the E90.

It's just new and different, and I think that's why folks think it more luxurious. I know when I first test drove one some months back, my first thought was it might be a tad more luxurious. But now, after driving around in one for a few hours, I know I was wrong; it's not. I was just under the influence of the newness and the difference.

I can accept folks liking the new interior design (de gustibus non disputandum est), but more luxurious? I don't think so. But perhaps it is more luxurious if:
  • one thinks more space in the back equals more luxury, but then that would make an Impala more luxurious as well. And I suspect nobody here thinks an Impala a luxury car or that it's more luxurious than a 3er.
  • one outfitted their F30 with more stuff than one had on one's E90, but then that would be a matter of choice not something inherent to the car itself.
Even so, more luxurious or not, it's "cush factor" is nice enough to suit my needs.

The rear is a good deal roomier than the E90. I think I'd say the 3er is now a full on mid-size car.

Fuel Gauge
The fuel gauge no longer has little hash marks indicating each gallon's worth of fuel in the tank. Some of you may recall that the E9X has a 16 gallon gas tank and that there are exactly 16 little hash lines evenly spaced on the fuel gauge. It's hardly a big deal, but I will admit that I used those little marks to know how much fuel to put back into the service loaners. Also, I used to use those marks to judge how much fuel I had just burnt during a period of "joyful" driving. (The missing marks are not a big deal; I'm just saying I did have practical uses for them.)

Do any of you know if the little hash marks are present on the Sport Line or on a 335? (I did look on the BMW configurator, but it's hard to tell for sure.)

Ergonomics
When I drive casually, I tend to hold my leg in a position like when I'm seated in a regular chair (knee bent more or less at 90 degrees) and my foot planted flat on the floor just in front of the seat. When I sit this way, my knee rests against the car door. After a short time -- 15 minutes perhaps -- this becomes painful as the placement of the door pull is situated to make it so. Now whereas I could get over the numb steering, and the lack of fuel gauge hash marks, if I can't find a suitable, everyday seating position, I would under no circumstances buy and F30.
The coupe may be different, but there is no reason to think so.
Maybe they will keep it more "sporty" and leave it with hydraulic steering.
That would be cool.

Honestly this whole light steering thing is getting old.
Look, all you need to do it put the silly beyond silly drive mode in "sport".
Then, the effort gets heavier and it's nearly as heavy as previous models.
It's not as heavy, but pretty close.

Saying it's like a Buick clearly shows you were not in sport mode.
Since it's so easy to correct, why bother with the complaint as if there is no way out of it.

I don't understand your worry about confidence in turns with this steering.
Everyone who has tested this steering comments on the lightness in non sport mode. Yet, everyone also loves how direct and accurate the steering is. Even if the effort is light, and electric assist dampens some feel, the steering is still accurate, meaning, as long as you're maintaining control of the wheel the car will go where you point it.

I've never had a car with an accurate fuel gauge.
I only use it to see when it's almost empty to let me know it's time to fill up.

The seat comfort issue is very important. You need to be comfortable.
The non sport seats suck, that's all.
I too like to put my left leg like you describe from time to time.
I find that I have to get used to every new car I get as they are built for the general public.
The new sport seats are very comfortable and for me, a MUST have.
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