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      03-04-2014, 05:09 PM   #1
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Stock (mostly) F31 328xi Station Wagon on the Track - WOW!



I took my '14 328xiT F31 Wagon to Summit Point Raceway this last weekend for the NCC BMW CCA HPDE. I normally would take my M3 but decided I wanted to see how the Wagon would do. You can imagine the initial conversation when I met up with my instructor...

(I'm standing in front of the wagon)
Instructor (looking around): "So... Where's your car?"
Me: "I'm driving this sexy beast!"
Instructor: "A station wagon? ok... What's it got, straight 6, V8?"
Me: "4 cylinder. 2 liter."
Instructor: "Oh... Manual?"
Me: "Automatic. 8 speed."
Instructor (disgusted and confused face): "ok... Rear wheel drive?"
Me: "All-wheel, xdrive."
Instructor: "Alright, well, what kinda tires are you running, PS2s?"
Me: "Runflats."
Instructor: "My God, do you at least have track pads on?"
Me: "Actually... no, street pads"
Instructor: "Did you take the groceries out before you came here?"
Me: "I just took out the baby seat!"
Instructor: "haha, ok, well I guess you run what you brung."

So the car is bone stock except for the BMS piggy-back tune. The tune is set to its most conservative 91 octane setting, so it's better than the stock 87 octane tuning but nothing crazy. Neither of us knew what to expect but WOW, it's insanely good!

Now if you've never been to a BMWCCA HPDE, they have 4 classes, D, C, B, A. D being beginners and A being well experienced. I'm in IA which is Instructor Academy, training to become an instructor and they mix with A students and Instructors only on the track. So everyone out there with me is pretty good with many years of track time behind them. I've personally driven this track in my '07 M Coupe, e92 M3, and heavily modded 95 M3.

I was consistently able to pass stock e46 M3s and was able to drive toe-to-toe with track prepped(stripped, caged, and heavily modded) e36 M3s. I consistently passed a heavily modded 135is but the driver wasn't very good so I can't count that. The only cars that could pass me were e92 M3s and a Porsche 911. The e92 M3, which was driven pretty well, was only pulling away by about 3-5 seconds each lap which made me feel great!

Attached are my M Laptimer screen shots. The forum won't let me attach the actual M laptimer data so message me and I can email it to you. You can download the app and import it to your iphone. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bmw-...684370062?mt=8



My best lap was a 1:32.5. Again, this is Summit Point Main. If anyone has M Laptimer data from that course, please send me a copy so I have something to compare to! Also, note that windows are always down on the track, that's a requirement. So at 120MPH on the main straight, there's a lot of drag on everyone's car.

The Good: The car is extremely well balanced, it doesn't understeer and has enough bias to the rear that I can rotate the car when needed. The Manual mode with paddle shifters works very well - but 8 gears is A LOT to keep track of. I wish the current gear number could be displayed on the HUD along with RPMs. The sport suspension is pretty good, even on xdrive. Turbo lag is hardly noticeable in manual Sport + mode.

The Bad: Since the car is on street pads, I couldn't brake at 10/10ths because they would fade after one lap. Instead I drove between 7/10 - 9/10ths as you can see in the M laptimer data. Runflats suck. They've gotten better but they're still heavy and don't roll so I can't get that extra traction when cornering.

On the skidpad the 328xiT was a blast! Correct me if I'm wrong but I think it's setup for 60/40 rear bias on the xdrive that mechanically distributes power where needed. So I was able to hold the back out for 1/2 a lap before it would pull me in. I pushed it real hard and was able to do 100 degree slides (impossible) but it would do it and then the front tires would pull me back in line. AMAZING and so much fun. I finally figured out that I could hold a constant small angle oversteer if I drove fast on the edge of the skid pad, tons of fun!



At the end of the weekend it started to rain a bit and I was passing everything on the track. This was easily the star of the weekend. BMW should have been paying me to be there because a lot of people said they needed to look into getting one and I overheard another guy on his phone with his wife saying "... Yeah, it's a 328 wagon, it's amazing. You said wanted something practical ..." I couldn't of had more fun. In my M3, when I drive well, I feel good. But in the 4-banger wagon, when I drove as well as M3s, I felt like a freaking HERO!

This really made me realize that while driving a fast car fast is fun, driving a "slow" car fast is a hundred times more fun, especially when you're passing cars that should be faster. There was one time I was able to pass an e92 M3 driven by an instructor, granted he was driving at 8/10ths and I was driving at 11/10ths and ended up melting one of my runflats in the process. Worth it? Well, it was the most fun lap of a race track in my life, so yeah, worth it. After the session that instructor said, "I thought I was going pretty fast, but you were moving." That's about as much of a complement as you'll get out of an instructor, we're all secretly competitive

So, the F31 328 xdrive Station Wagon, best car in the world? Well, now I would certainly argue it is the best all-round car in the world. I can go to the track, sleep in the back, do very well and have lots of fun on the track, then drive home, in the snow, uphill, pick up the Newfoundland and kids, and go on vacation. It can do literally everything and it's excellent at all of it. The only thing I would change is put on some non-runflats and better brake pads.

Options:
F31 328xi Wagon
M Sport Line
Estoril Blue
Black leather
Cold Weather Package
Dynamic Handling Package
Lighting Package
Technology Package
Driver Assistant Package
Driver Assistant Plus
Premium Package
Harman Kardon Sound System
Automatic High Beams
Rear side window shades
M Sport Brakes

The wagon with snow tires/wheels:


EDIT::
I recently took the wagon back to the track. Still on the runflats but I bought some used rims and tires while I was there, one set for the M3 and the other for the Wagon. 8 wheels and tires, I just threw them in the back, no problem. Other people at the track that had to bring trucks and trailers to haul their spares and tools were looking on in envy - The wagon truly does everything.



Attached Images
      
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Last edited by DarkstarZero; 01-30-2016 at 01:28 AM.
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      03-04-2014, 05:42 PM   #2
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Great post can't wait to see some pics, any video?
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      03-04-2014, 05:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elevenfive View Post
Great post can't wait to see some pics, any video?
Good idea! I don't run with a gopro but other guys were, let me see if I can get their video...
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      03-04-2014, 06:05 PM   #4
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You just made my day. No, you made my year! My Estoril M-Sport that I ordered on Christmas is finally off the boat and I should be picking it up next week. I searched for a long time for the perfect family car that is a jack of all trades and your post is hands down the most exciting post I have read on this forum since I joined. Like many who are waiting for their cars, I search this forum every day looking for details about what to expect when I get my car. Thanks for all the details and I agree it sure would be awesome if you have any video of you passing M3 track-prepared cars! I've been worried that the F31 might be too softened up especially after reading all the complaints on this forum but the fact that you are racing your F31 faster than I can drive my E46 M3 has erased my worries for good.

I ordered the same car as except for the auto-high beams and I let my daughters pick the interior color so naturally it is bright red.

Your opinion on the run flats is why I bought the staggered summer tires and I plan to replace them with non-runflats as soon as I can wear them out. A winter set of wheels will make this the best summer/winter car I have ever owned.
Thanks and post any more pics you have too!
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      03-04-2014, 07:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWbill View Post
I ordered the same car as except for the auto-high beams and I let my daughters pick the interior color so naturally it is bright red.

Your opinion on the run flats is why I bought the staggered summer tires and I plan to replace them with non-runflats as soon as I can wear them out. A winter set of wheels will make this the best summer/winter car I have ever owned.
Thanks and post any more pics you have too!
I'm glad I could help! Wow, super-man colors, that's going to look awesome! These were the OE summer runflats, I'm trying to kill them as well. The fronts are really skinny and I'm sure I could fit a wider tire to both the fronts and the rears. But the first order of business is to rip up these free tires!

There was a professional photographer at the track, I'm trying to get ahold of him so I can get on-track pictures.
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      03-04-2014, 08:22 PM   #6
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I may have missed it, but are you running summer or A/S tires?

Summit Main is a great track - this post made me realize that track season is here
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      03-04-2014, 08:58 PM   #7
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Awesome Post!
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      03-04-2014, 09:20 PM   #8
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Very cool. Great review of xDrive on the track. xDrive ///M cars will dominate the track! It's the future.
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      03-04-2014, 09:58 PM   #9
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      03-04-2014, 10:15 PM   #10
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This is awesome. I just took delivery of mine last week and I love it. I LOVE it.

Coming from a 335i with jb4, I was worried id be left wanting more. Grant it, I haven't pushed the new whip much, but it feels great, sounds great and looks awesome.

Now I can feel great comfort to know it'll handle well on the track, against very formidable competitors. I'll never be tracking mine though. Lol. I've got 5 kids - no time for racing!
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      03-04-2014, 11:20 PM   #11
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I love your description of the exchange with your instructor. Summit is my all time favorite track. I've logged thousands of miles over the years. Now you've got me wanting to take my F30 out instead of my track car just for giggles...
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      03-04-2014, 11:38 PM   #12
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I have your exact F31 (plus ACC and park assist) and you made my night with this post (especially with the dog pic!!). I am sad to read that the the "upgraded" M Sport brakes faded so quickly. Will you do a brake upgrade in the future then?
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      03-04-2014, 11:42 PM   #13
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No street pad will stand up at the track if you're hauling tail. You need only change pads to higher temp track pads to mitigate fade. Track pads are designed to withstand high operating temps so they don't work well on the street. They are very noisy when cold and wear very quickly. With all of the whining folks have done about their too-noisy-for-such-an-expensive-car M Sport pads, I think they'd all have strokes if they heard actual track pads...
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      03-05-2014, 01:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinetic View Post
I have your exact F31 (plus ACC and park assist) and you made my night with this post (especially with the dog pic!!). I am sad to read that the the "upgraded" M Sport brakes faded so quickly. Will you do a brake upgrade in the future then?
Awesome Yeah, that's Bear, my Newfoundland. He's 130lbs and fits fine in the back when he's not trying to shove his head out the window.

The M Sport brakes are actually very good, multi piston, painted calipers, large discs. But as Bavarian said, they come with street pads so that they wont make noise. Track pads are an easy swap and you can do it yourself. I'm sure once they're on there, the brakes will be phenomenal. I'll just need to swap them back to the street pads afterwords so I don't wake up my neighbors when I come home.
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      03-05-2014, 01:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QTC View Post
I may have missed it, but are you running summer or A/S tires?

Summit Main is a great track - this post made me realize that track season is here
These are the stock summer runflat tires that you get when you select the "mixed summer tires" option when ordering the car. They're not impressive, though decent for runflats I guess.
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      03-05-2014, 08:28 AM   #16
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a little off topic but since you posted the pic of your winter wheels on the car, can you tell me what tire you went with and how you like them? And are those 18s?
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      03-05-2014, 01:57 PM   #17
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Great post! Not that i will be taking my F31 to the track anytime soon but it's good to know that under capable hands, the practical wagon can perform just as well - if not better than - as other supposedly track cars.
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      03-05-2014, 02:29 PM   #18
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Awesome to see a wagon on the track, but man does it lean in the corners. Looks like a swaybar setup is in order.

Thanks for sharing.
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      03-05-2014, 04:35 PM   #19
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LOL on the dialog with the instructor

Your touring looks sweet!! Did you ever consider getting the 328d touring instead?
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      03-06-2014, 12:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92 M2530Z
LOL on the dialog with the instructor

Your touring looks sweet!! Did you ever consider getting the 328d touring instead?
No, because I'm just addicted to revs. The 328d would be the better choice if I never intended to do stuff like this. But I do
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      03-08-2014, 07:40 PM   #21
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I love it, I just wish they sold a 328 non xi with a stick here!
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      03-08-2014, 08:02 PM   #22
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What a hoot!!!!!!
Loved the dialogue, images, and the commentary.

Thanks for sharing.
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