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      10-31-2014, 01:24 PM   #1
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ATLBlue's 2014 F30 and 2017 F36 Journal

Starting a Journal/build thread for my new F30 was not part of my initial plan, but I enjoy the car so much that I feel like sharing my enthusiasm and progress. I have already shared some of this in other threads, but I'll start with a recap'

To keep a long story short, I have been cross shopping between an Audi S4/S5 and a 335i/435i M sport. For multiple reasons, one being that I already owned a B8 S4 and was in the mood to try something different, I went for an F30 335i M sport in Estoril Blue. I am extremely happy with the car and do not regret my choice for a minute.

Here's the car as I found it at the dealership:



It is a 2014 F30 335i made in Rosslyn, South Africa. I raised an eyebrow about this -you always want the "made in Germany" thing- but after closely examining the car, it has the exact same level of fit and finish of any BMW.

It is optioned the following way:
-M Sport package
-Driver Assistance package
-Premium package
-Technology package
-Sport Automatic transmission
-Heated front seats
-Harman Kardon sound system
-Black kidney grilles

and all the other stuff that comes standard with the car in the US: Anti-theft system, garage door opener, moonroof, auto dimming mirrors, power front seats, split fold down rear seats, Xenon headlights, Automatic climate control, Ambiance lighting and Teleservices.
Being a European relocated in the US -7 years ago- it is always amazing to see how US cars come 'loaded' and affordable.

I got started on mods rightaway and got the Dinan tune that was advertised as "Stage 1 (DINANTRONICS™ Performance Tuner ONLY) Maximum Power: 360 HP, 392 lb-ft of torque". It feels like it according to my butt dyno. I'll do an actual dyno of the car in a few weeks when it is completely broken in. There is definitely a nice power & torque improvement and the drivability is not impacted at all. The comfort mode (or Eco-Pro I never use) is still as smooth as stock.

The car came with tint, so I did not have to worry about this and the next step was springs (H&R sport springs) and spacers (10 mm front, 15 mm rear).








The 18" wheels fill the wells a lot better and are now sit nicely flush:





With the H&R springs, comfort is preserved but the car really feels tighter and more planted with less body roll. I think that the car should come from the factory with sport springs. Bigger sway bars are under consideration but not urgent.

You will notice from the pictures that I also started with a few cosmetic enhancements (IMO at least) and will come back on this later as there a few more on their way...

Last edited by ATLBlue; 11-08-2016 at 03:23 AM..
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      10-31-2014, 02:55 PM   #2
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H&R springs rocks!
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      10-31-2014, 03:30 PM   #3
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Looks good! Can't wait to see more progress
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      10-31-2014, 05:09 PM   #4
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Very Clean! I'm tossing up getting the H&R super sports or just the sports, I'm worried the supersports will be too low with my front lip. Your car looks to sit just right!
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      10-31-2014, 05:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 510135 View Post
Very Clean! I'm tossing up getting the H&R super sports or just the sports, I'm worried the supersports will be too low with my front lip. Your car looks to sit just right!
Asked myself the same question and went for 'sports' vs 'super sports'. Happy with the lowering and driving improvements!
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      10-31-2014, 05:33 PM   #6
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Looking good! welcome
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      10-31-2014, 07:02 PM   #7
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Lookin' good! Hope to see it in person soon. Dinan rates their numbers at the crank right? Where do you plan on going to dyno it?
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      10-31-2014, 07:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f30luxline View Post
Lookin' good! Hope to see it in person soon. Dinan rates their numbers at the crank right? Where do you plan on going to dyno it?
I think they rate their numbers at the crank but are supposedly a bit conservative. The numbers the guy of the dealership showed me are in fact a bit higher than what is advertised on the website, but I do not remember exactly.

The few times I have dyno'd a car, I have been to Vengeance Racing in Cumming, GA. They are an american muscle car tuning shop, but their prices are very reasonable for a dyno. I'll probably go dyno the car in about 2 weeks when I reach 1,500-2,000 miles on the odometer.
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      11-01-2014, 10:40 PM   #9
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Big mod this saturday

All of the exterior car trim being already black, I found the chrome exhaust tips a bit out of place and got myself OEM black chrome tips from GetBMWParts that got delivered in only a couple of days

A few before and after pics:













Swapping the tips took in fact less time than this post. A rubber mallet, a bit of WD40 and everything was done under 5 minutes.
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      11-02-2014, 01:00 AM   #10
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can you tell us your thoughts comparing S4 and 335?
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      11-02-2014, 01:49 PM   #11
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congrats on the new pickup. will be following this thread as I've been looking at the 335i Msport as well.
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      11-02-2014, 09:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cracing View Post
can you tell us your thoughts comparing S4 and 335?
Great question, it could get me going for hours!
Stock, I find the cars very close from a performance standpoint. Interestingly, when Motor Trends did a 'Heat to Head' between the S4 and 335i (Sportline, both in MT), the BMW was way behind: 0.5s in 0 to 60, 0.6s in 1/4 mile, 131ft vs 108ft in the 60 to 0 braking test, a full second more for the figure 8 and -0.05 in lateral g's). Then when you watch the individual reviews, numbers are much much closer if not identical which is also my experience. The supercharged V6 is of course smoother and linear while the N55 kicks your butt sooner with a (very) tiny bit of turbo lag. Nothing new there.

So what sets the cars apart is not performance but the experience they provide. I wanted to be as honest and specific as I could so I left home at dawn this AM for a quick mountain run (I just reached 1,000 miles and needed and excuse to push the car harder ). I went on roads I drove many times with the S4.
To summarize it, I would say that the S4 is more 'clinical/surgical' Not as good at turn in, but incredibly planted and feeling like it is on rails when you accelerate out of the turns (I had the rear sports diff option). The 335 in Sport+ mode was overall more fun with a bit of very controllable oversteer, but the road was perfectly dry and in great condition. In other circumstances (rain, low temperatures, leaves on the road...), I would have felt more secure in the S4, but then, I would not have turned off the DSC on the BMW either. For both car, I found the stock suspension to be too soft.

Conclusion 1: I would call it a tie when you a re comparing an S4 to a 335i M sport from a performance point a view.

So what is left, aside from the obvious (supercharger vs turbo, front heavy AWD vs RWD)?
The cabin is one thing: the fit and finish of Audi products is the best in the industry, but despite what many says, the interior of the A4/S4 is dated (just compare it to the A3, A6, A7 etc.). In spite of a few harder/cheaper plastics, BMW's 3 and 4 series interior is not bat and I like it better from a design standpoint. The iDrive is more legible and easier to use than the Audi A/S 4 &5 MMI.
The dealership experience is another difference. New Audi dealerships are uber-cool while many BMW dealerships still look more like they are selling Honda's BUT the 'attitude' of people working there is also very different. I am very upfront about what I am ready to pay and Audi came back with a ludicrous counter proposal while BMW was a lot more easy to deal with from the get go. Sure there are a lot more 335i Msport than S4s in stock, but I did not have the impression that Audi was not really interested in selling me something. When I challenged them with BMW's offer, I have been told: "you are not comparing apples to apples... and Audi is Audi". They may be suffering from a slight complex of superiority. I spent the first 37 years of my life in Europe and I still remember the time when Audi was only a seen as a better VW while BMW and Mercedes Benz were playing in a higher league.

Conclusion 2: the BMW is better value for money

My final point is about tuning where I have been told that Audi has become extremely aggressive in terms of voiding warranties whenever an engine scan shows a "TD1" code indicating that something has been done with the ECU, that operating engine parameters are out of design range, etc (not entirely sure, I have not spent time on Audizine/Audiworld in a while). I had done quite a few modifications on my S4: APR stage 2+ (intake, tune, exhaust, pulley etc.), KW V3 coilovers, sway bars, StopTech BBK, new wheels, short shifter and a few other things. I returned the car to stock before trading it in 2 years ago and never had an issue. Here are a few pics for those of you who appreciate Audi's:





In case of the BMW, I went with a Dinan Stage 1 tune (warrantied by the same BMW+Dinan dealership) and do not intend to go as far with mods... but who knows. Since I do not intend to track the car, I am good with the extra hp/torque I got, the stock brakes held up very well this morning and the H&R springs did a good job. Bigger wheels, louder exhaust, splitter etc could be nice but not essential. A LSD would be great, even for spirited driving only, but is kind of expensive. Michelin PSS tires are definitely on my shortlist though.

Conclusion 3: I consider myself happy to have owned both (and a few others) and think that variety is what makes life interesting. So I am all at my BMW experience for now


Sorry about the very long answer -probably more than what you wanted- and if it does not shed any new light on these two great cars .
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Last edited by ATLBlue; 11-02-2014 at 10:07 PM..
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      11-03-2014, 01:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLBlue View Post
Great question, it could get me going for hours!
Stock, I find the cars very close from a performance standpoint. Interestingly, when Motor Trends did a 'Heat to Head' between the S4 and 335i (Sportline, both in MT), the BMW was way behind: 0.5s in 0 to 60, 0.6s in 1/4 mile, 131ft vs 108ft in the 60 to 0 braking test, a full second more for the figure 8 and -0.05 in lateral g's). Then when you watch the individual reviews, numbers are much much closer if not identical which is also my experience. The supercharged V6 is of course smoother and linear while the N55 kicks your butt sooner with a (very) tiny bit of turbo lag. Nothing new there.

So what sets the cars apart is not performance but the experience they provide. I wanted to be as honest and specific as I could so I left home at dawn this AM for a quick mountain run (I just reached 1,000 miles and needed and excuse to push the car harder ). I went on roads I drove many times with the S4.
To summarize it, I would say that the S4 is more 'clinical/surgical' Not as good at turn in, but incredibly planted and feeling like it is on rails when you accelerate out of the turns (I had the rear sports diff option). The 335 in Sport+ mode was overall more fun with a bit of very controllable oversteer, but the road was perfectly dry and in great condition. In other circumstances (rain, low temperatures, leaves on the road...), I would have felt more secure in the S4, but then, I would not have turned off the DSC on the BMW either. For both car, I found the stock suspension to be too soft.

Conclusion 1: I would call it a tie when you a re comparing an S4 to a 335i M sport from a performance point a view.

So what is left, aside from the obvious (supercharger vs turbo, front heavy AWD vs RWD)?
The cabin is one thing: the fit and finish of Audi products is the best in the industry, but despite what many says, the interior of the A4/S4 is dated (just compare it to the A3, A6, A7 etc.). In spite of a few harder/cheaper plastics, BMW's 3 and 4 series interior is not bat and I like it better from a design standpoint. The iDrive is more legible and easier to use than the Audi A/S 4 &5 MMI.
The dealership experience is another difference. New Audi dealerships are uber-cool while many BMW dealerships still look more like they are selling Honda's BUT the 'attitude' of people working there is also very different. I am very upfront about what I am ready to pay and Audi came back with a ludicrous counter proposal while BMW was a lot more easy to deal with from the get go. Sure there are a lot more 335i Msport than S4s in stock, but I did not have the impression that Audi was not really interested in selling me something. When I challenged them with BMW's offer, I have been told: "you are not comparing apples to apples... and Audi is Audi". They may be suffering from a slight complex of superiority. I spent the first 37 years of my life in Europe and I still remember the time when Audi was only a seen as a better VW while BMW and Mercedes Benz were playing in a higher league.

Conclusion 2: the BMW is better value for money

My final point is about tuning where I have been told that Audi has become extremely aggressive in terms of voiding warranties whenever an engine scan shows a "TD1" code indicating that something has been done with the ECU, that operating engine parameters are out of design range, etc (not entirely sure, I have not spent time on Audizine/Audiworld in a while). I had done quite a few modifications on my S4: APR stage 2+ (intake, tune, exhaust, pulley etc.), KW V3 coilovers, sway bars, StopTech BBK, new wheels, short shifter and a few other things. I returned the car to stock before trading it in 2 years ago and never had an issue. Here are a few pics for those of you who appreciate Audi's:





In case of the BMW, I went with a Dinan Stage 1 tune (warrantied by the same BMW+Dinan dealership) and do not intend to go as far with mods... but who knows. Since I do not intend to track the car, I am good with the extra hp/torque I got, the stock brakes held up very well this morning and the H&R springs did a good job. Bigger wheels, louder exhaust, splitter etc could be nice but not essential. A LSD would be great, even for spirited driving only, but is kind of expensive. Michelin PSS tires are definitely on my shortlist though.

Conclusion 3: I consider myself happy to have owned both (and a few others) and think that variety is what makes life interesting. So I am all at my BMW experience for now


Sorry about the very long answer -probably more than what you wanted- and if it does not shed any new light on these two great cars .

Thanks for spending time on my short question with a very comprehensive & thorough answer, which can be only summarized by the owner of both. You made a valid point that there are more BMWs on the street comparing to Audis. Furthermore, from my observation, there are only newer Audis (2010 +) on the road, and you hardly ever see a Audi (Ex. year 2008) at least in Canada, wondering where those Audis ended up with.
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      11-03-2014, 09:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cracing View Post
You made a valid point that there are more BMWs on the street comparing to Audis. Furthermore, from my observation, there are only newer Audis (2010 +) on the road, and you hardly ever see a Audi (Ex. year 2008) at least in Canada, wondering where those Audis ended up with.
Your perception is right. Audi has seen the strongest YoY sales increase in the recent past (meaning the average age of an Audi is the lowest) but still sells the least amount of cars. I only have US sales numbers for 2013, but here's what they look like:

Merc' (excl. vans and Smart):
-312,534 cars in total
-88,251 C-classes

BMW (excl Mini):
-309,280 cars in total
-119,521 3/4 series

Audi:
-158,061 cars in total
-55,408 A4/5 series (includes S4 and S5)

So the 3/4-series is the winner in its segment. It is the most recent car, with a broader range of engines/product lines (Luxury, M-sport...) and more local inventory available. Maybe things will change with the new C-class and the new A4 that should be launched next year.

Thinking back about VW's investment in Chattanooga, they may have better done to go for an Audi plant making A4/A5/Q5 that would match the current plant capacity. They have big plans and want to reach 800,000 vehicles sold in the US by 2018, but with the dull US-spec Passat, they may not be on the right path (a good car, but that with exception of the TDI engine lacks differentiation).

Sorry, long answer to a short question again
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      11-03-2014, 11:05 AM   #15
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cool review comparing the S4 to the 335. My friend has a 2012 S4 and I do like the way it drives, but I thought the same as you in that the car looked dated. I don't like the rear 1/4 view and the interior design definitely needs to be updated.

Also, i like the look of the back of your car with the black chrome tips and license plate frames. Looks like it's quickly coming together nicely!
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      11-03-2014, 01:32 PM   #16
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Another major mod...

Still busy with the small stuff at this point and replaced the amber corner turn light bulbs with the OEM chrome version. $20 and 5 minutes well spent.

Before:



OEM chrome light bulbs (part# on the box if you are interested):



After:



I am not a hardcore LED fan and incandescent bulbs are still fine for this type of application, especially when it can be a simple swap with no resistor or error code to deal with.
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      11-03-2014, 03:22 PM   #17
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Hope to see you on the Atlanta Roads soon.
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      11-03-2014, 04:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bif View Post
Hope to see you on the Atlanta Roads soon.
Maybe sooner than later . Check this thread in case you'd be interested in a local meet/mountain run : http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho....php?t=1048087
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      11-03-2014, 06:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLBlue View Post
Maybe sooner than later . Check this thread in case you'd be interested in a local meet/mountain run : http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho....php?t=1048087

^^what he said^^

I like the chrome bulbs. I've been on the fence about changing to this type but think I kinda like the orange in contrast with my MR. Same goes for the orange reflectors. Am I weird

What dealer do you work with, Roswell?

Last edited by f30luxline; 11-03-2014 at 07:57 PM..
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      11-03-2014, 07:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f30luxline View Post
^^what he said^^

I like the chrome bulbs. I've been on the fence about changing to this type but think I kinda like the orange in contrast with my MR. Same goes for the orange reflectors. Am I weird

What dealer to you work with, Roswell?
Funny. We are at a point where it becomes unconventional to like the amber bulbs and orange reflectors I am still old school and 'automotively-correct' which means I try to get everything neutral or body colored...

My dealership is United BMW in Roswell. I got two minor quirks with the car (defective tire pressure sensors and the AC hose rattle) and they have taken very good care of me.

I was a little less happy a bit more than a year ago when I wanted to get the ABS of my son's 1995 E36 M3 fixed and got quoted $3,000+ (never fixed it and ended up as a track car). I saw another guy getting quoted $1,700+ to retrofit an ipod connector to his early E9x while you can probably go for a simple DIY for less than $250. Not really the dealership's fault as they have to play by BMW's book and only offer new OEM parts. It gives business and create jobs for independent shops which is not bad either.
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      11-04-2014, 11:51 AM   #21
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Nice mods!
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      11-04-2014, 04:55 PM   #22
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Does the chrome plating make them dimmer then OEM?
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