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      02-03-2012, 03:23 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Agree.

It's why I was a little skeptical when the claims of a lighter car were made in some of the early press material. I'm sure that they employed plenty of techniques to save weight in everything from the unibody to the suspension to the interior parts and electronics, and this is a commendable effort. It at least means the car is lighter than it otherwise would have been, which is a good thing. But if the end result is that, in the typical factory configuration, the car is heavier than the one it succeeds, then the significance of all the work they did ends up being somewhat diminished in the grand scheme of things.

I don't think we are going to see any revolutionary turnaround to vehicle weight until BMW's CFRP process becomes affordable enough to permeate into the bulk of their product range. The good news is that this is rumored to be starting in the next decade or so. Even the next M3 will reportedly make use of carbon fibre throughout the car (i.e. not just the roof). But don't expect another sub 3400 pound 3 Series before the next generation, and maybe not until after that one.
The F30 IS bigger, so they must've done a good bit of work to make the weight at least similar to the E90. But I agree it's unlikely we'll see a substantially lighter car any time soon, barring a major break through.

I also noticed that the C&D review mentions "surprising amount of tire noise". If you look at new cars that succeeded in weight reduction, you often find that noise insulation has been somewhat reduced. For example you can look at the recent Hyundai models, like the Sonata and the Elentra, both of which are actually lighter than their predecessors, but also somewhat noisier. So it seems possible to me that the F30 may be slightly noisier than the E90.

Regarding this "similarly equipped" claim, it seems to me that there is a lot of ambiguity in what counts as an "equipment". I think wheels and tires are certainly equipments, but what about the brakes? Exhaust system? Stereos? Seats? etc etc. They might have more of an engineering definition of the term equipment.