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      10-16-2014, 11:01 AM   #1
GatorGreg
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Drivers view in 4 series vs. 3 series

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Hi folks,

I have been taking a hard look at the 4 series grand coupe and have noticed one aspect of the car has me wondering if the 4 is right for me.

I have an M3 E92 and 328 sport wagon and with each of these cars (when sitting in the drivers seat), I am able to look out and basically see the pavement not to far out in front of the car's front bumper. The engine hood slopes down slightly and does not obstruct my viewing angle out to the front of the car.

On the 4 series grand coupe, I noticed that that hood seems to be elevated enough that (in combination with the lower slung seating positions) it makes it impossible to see the front end of the car. The point in which I actually see the pavement in front of the car is extended well beyond what it is in the 3 series.

Have any of you noticed that, did it bother you at first, and was it hard to get used to? Any problems when pulling up close to things?


Thanks for thoughts in advance - I hope to pull the trigger on a custom 435 GC build soon.

-Greg
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      10-16-2014, 11:22 AM   #2
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Blame it on Euro pedestrian impact regulations that came out in mid-2000's. The 3 series is almost as bad.
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      10-16-2014, 12:01 PM   #3
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mine has front sensors that alert when you hit a curb so Im good
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      10-16-2014, 12:30 PM   #4
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Are you referring to the radar sensors? I have them and the system works really well if I sneak up on parking curbs. And I think you do need to go slow as it seems there is a wee bit of a delay before the warning beeps. I think you could plow the front end into a curb if you weren't careful and going slow.
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      10-16-2014, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
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mine has front sensors that alert when you hit a curb so Im good
Doesn't the crunch of your bumper alert you enough?
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      10-16-2014, 03:08 PM   #6
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Hi Greg

I agree with your thoughts on the 4GC hood. Coming over from E92 and being 5'6" I was able to have a better view over the hood from driver's position compared to the 4GC. The 4 driver's seat is lower despite rising it to the highest level and feels like a longer hood, I've been having many challenges to judge parking distance (meaning stopping short of the line) compared to the E92. And with ASS it makes parking quite interesting. I guess with more driving time with the 4GC I'll get use to the lower sitting position.
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      10-16-2014, 03:43 PM   #7
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Thanks for all your inputs on this. At least I know it is not just me having a problem with the front end visibility. I hope in fact the radar sensors will help with this and that I can get used to the change in drivers perspective that the 4 series offers.
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      10-16-2014, 03:44 PM   #8
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Backing into spots when available takes the guess work out but I agree, you do sit low, the hood is high and seeing the front of the car isnt gonna happen.

I'm a short person too at 5'6".
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      10-16-2014, 03:54 PM   #9
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Not sure what the problem is. When you are driving you should be looking out not down. Parking nose in your perifial vision should tell you when you are close enough for government work.
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      10-16-2014, 04:02 PM   #10
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You're not alone. I notice this on occasion. For parking it's not so bad...I'm learning to judge with the view we have. Just yesterday though, while making a sharp left turn onto a very narrow street with a curbed median, I lost sight of the edge of the curb. It's just a bit unsettling when you're used to better front end visibility.
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      10-16-2014, 06:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F32 N55 View Post
Backing into spots when available takes the guess work out but I agree, you do sit low, the hood is high and seeing the front of the car isnt gonna happen.

I'm a short person too at 5'6".
You should be able to adjust the seat height so that you are at the proper level. Raise it so that if you put your hand on top of your head as if to do a salute your little finger should just touch the headliner.

That's a good ride height. And don't trust the front sensors for parking lot curbs--even with the cameras I still kissed the air dam.
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      10-16-2014, 08:26 PM   #12
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If I can get used to it in my E89 Z4 you have nothing to worry about OP

In all seriousness, I think it is similar between the 4 GC (test drove) and 335 (wife's car)

You'll just have to get used to it
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      10-17-2014, 06:43 AM   #13
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I think my 94 Civic was the last car I had where I could see where the hood ended from the driver's seat. I certainly couldn't on my 95 Integra or my two RSX-S's that I was driving before I went German. My e90 and my current f30 were both a bit weird compared to the Acura's since the front end is so long. You do get used to it, though.
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      10-17-2014, 07:13 AM   #14
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Here's the problem, I like to sit low and get my @$$ on the floor. So that being said, I deal with the poor forward vision.

In fact, I sit so low I can't see the bottom line of text on the dash display (clock / odometer).
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      10-17-2014, 10:01 AM   #15
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435i forward view

GatorGreg, thanks for bring up this subject.
For what its worth, I agree. The driver vision issue in the 4 series is the only issue that has caused me to hesitate toward a 435i GC purchase. (This issue even caused me to peek into the dark side and test drive a MB C300!) I was stunned during a test drive of the 435i GC that the seat stopped elevating so low during seat adjustments.

I am coming from a 2011 E90 Sport. I am 5í 6Ē and I have not felt comfortable during test drive maneuvering and parking of the 4ís. The 2014/15 3ís arenít any better. I guess the cameras may help but I have not had enough seat time to learn to use them. Perhaps someone can comment on parking and tight maneuvering with the cameras.

Interestingly, even if I press my head against the headliner, from the driverís position, the view seems farther out than observed on the E90. So it is not that the seat will not elevate high enough. It is the design of the dash and hood that pushes out your forward road vision. It makes the car feel bigger than it really is.

There are so many great things about the 435i GC that I will probably purchase one and learn to live with the new hood design and learn the perimeter of the car. However, my wife, at 5í 3Ē is clinging to the 24,000 mile E90 and never wants to let go. She hates the 4 for the above mentioned reasons and I have had to promise a European Delivery to get her to agree to a 4.

I took a few rough measurements from my Drivers point of vision, across the front of the hood and to the first visible ground in both my E90 and the F36. (Line of sight intersecting the hood and ground.) Of course, different drivers and driverís positions would generate different results.

The E90 vision point for me is 15 feet from the front bumper.
The F36 vision point for me is 20 feet from the front bumper.

The difference is greater in perception than reality. This issue does not effect the wonderful road driving of the 4. It is just strange to see so much hood.
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      10-17-2014, 12:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battguy View Post
Perhaps someone can comment on parking and tight maneuvering with the cameras.

I have had to promise a European Delivery to get her to agree to a 4.
The 360* view cameras are fantastic!! No excused for a curbed rim or a messed up bumper. You'll just need to make sure that all the options are there for them.

She's smart, bargaining for ED.
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      10-17-2014, 05:17 PM   #17
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Battguy,

I plan to take a hard look at the 335 GT today and take it for a test drive. I think that model might not have as much of a problem since you sit higher, etc.. I know a lot of people don't like the look of that car but I don't mind it so I figured it is worth doing the due diligence to evaluate it fully along with the 435 GC. Tomorrow, I plan to hit a different dealer and drive their 435 GC so by the end of tomorrow, I will know for sure whether or not I can live with the 4 series driver view.

Yeah, seeing so much "hood" feels really strange to me as well but I do love the lines on the 4 series. Best of luck to you on your car search and thanks again to everyone for chiming in on my original post/question. Much appreciated!
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      10-17-2014, 06:58 PM   #18
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Just a bit of information, I just got out and measured my ground clearance and it is as follows:

Back: Approx. 9in. ( lowest point was bottom of exhaust )
Front: Approx. 5 3/4in.
Side: Approx. 5in. ( lowest point was bottom of front skirt )

So I am going to try backing into spots from now on to take advantage of th 9in clearance.
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      10-17-2014, 09:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Rocc View Post
Just a bit of information, I just got out and measured my ground clearance and it is as follows:

Back: Approx. 9in. ( lowest point was bottom of exhaust )
Front: Approx. 5 3/4in.
Side: Approx. 5in. ( lowest point was bottom of front skirt )

So I am going to try backing into spots from now on to take advantage of th 9in clearance.
best camera view too. doing this is wise.
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      10-17-2014, 09:31 PM   #20
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I had the 335i xDrive coupe and now the 435i xDrive coupe.

Wider windshield on 435i is first reaction. Seems easier to see the big picture around you via the rear view as well.

You sit lower and feel more in control IMO.

Negative is the front fenders and wide hood block view somewhat compared to the 335.

Handling and feel are better than 335.

Exterior styling is won by the 435 hands down. Never liked the soft, chopped rear end on my 335i. Love the wedge shape and stance on my 435.

No 335 looks like this from the back or front IMO.....
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      10-18-2014, 01:51 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorGreg View Post
Battguy,

I plan to take a hard look at the 335 GT today and take it for a test drive. I think that model might not have as much of a problem since you sit higher, etc.. I know a lot of people don't like the look of that car but I don't mind it so I figured it is worth doing the due diligence to evaluate it fully along with the 435 GC. Tomorrow, I plan to hit a different dealer and drive their 435 GC so by the end of tomorrow, I will know for sure whether or not I can live with the 4 series driver view.

Yeah, seeing so much "hood" feels really strange to me as well but I do love the lines on the 4 series. Best of luck to you on your car search and thanks again to everyone for chiming in on my original post/question. Much appreciated!
This is a very good approach and should be helpful. Please share your observations with us.
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      10-18-2014, 01:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Rocc View Post
Just a bit of information, I just got out and measured my ground clearance and it is as follows:

Back: Approx. 9in. ( lowest point was bottom of exhaust )
Front: Approx. 5 3/4in.
Side: Approx. 5in. ( lowest point was bottom of front skirt )

So I am going to try backing into spots from now on to take advantage of th 9in clearance.
DJ Roc has shown us how clever he is. Backing in may be useful in many situations. No one wants bumper rash.
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