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      02-21-2020, 03:54 AM   #1
ashkanvafaee2
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M-Sport Suspension vs xDrive Suspension

Hey guys, I'm in the market for a used msport f30 335i. After much searching I found one in the right color/options but noticed it was an xDrive model so no m-sport suspension, just standard.

I would love to hear some thoughts on people's experience/comparison between the two. Is there really that much more body roll? Does the difference in suspension make the steering feel tighter/softer? Is the 10mm height difference really that noticeable? Thanks in advance!
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      02-21-2020, 02:23 PM   #2
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The difference between M-Sport suspension and xDrive is probably 20mm. xDrive sits 10mm higher than standard RWD suspension and M-Sport suspension sits 10mm lower than the standard RWD.

If you don't live at a place where it snow then stay away from xDrive, right now I'm about to spend about $2k to improve my xDrive suspension, not to mention the ridiculous wheel gap. xDrive also has more drivetrain power loss. Only makes sense if it's your daily driver at places where it snows.
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      02-21-2020, 03:30 PM   #3
ashkanvafaee2
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Dang, 20mm higher than RWD? I thought it was just 10... I feel like I can live with the looks tho considering it's a garage kept estoril blue

I guess my biggest concern is driveability. I've owned a RWD msport 328i before and loved the handling. I also had a base 2007 530i. If this xDrive suspension is worse than the '07 5 series than I'll probably wait a bit longer for more options lol.

This would be my daily driver but I'm in Austin, TX where it only snows 1 day/year.
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      02-21-2020, 04:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashkanvafaee2 View Post
Dang, 20mm higher than RWD? I thought it was just 10... I feel like I can live with the looks tho considering it's a garage kept estoril blue

I guess my biggest concern is driveability. I've owned a RWD msport 328i before and loved the handling. I also had a base 2007 530i. If this xDrive suspension is worse than the '07 5 series than I'll probably wait a bit longer for more options lol.

This would be my daily driver but I'm in Austin, TX where it only snows 1 day/year.
It will definitely be much worse than your 328i with M-Sport suspension.

With the added height there is more body roll, higher center of gravity, less stability, I've only had xDrives and I'm fed up of the suspension now, cornering is bad, so much body roll. It was worse in my previous 328i xDrive. From what I've read on the forum RWD M-Sport is way better than xDrive, everyone complains about xDrive suspension, and again, the wheel gap I'll am getting coilovers in a month or two.

If it snows only once a year then just get an RWD with M-Sport suspension. It will probably be cheaper also. This car you are looking at, does it have M-adaptive suspension?
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      02-21-2020, 04:49 PM   #5
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x drive is great. bulletproof all weather capability and stability in sticky situations which can happen when least anticipated.
suspension is shit and as i have learnt the hard way with my 335d to enjoy the engine and its power i had to change stock suspension to bilstein b8 shocks and acs springs combo(coilovers would be equally good) but had to spend an extra £2000 on the above and totally worth it.
Now i have an x drive and also have a great handling car.
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      02-21-2020, 08:02 PM   #6
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I live in Texas too and made sure to only look at RWD cars. Besides the suspension and weather issues already mentioned, you'll take a gas mileage penalty as well. All for something entirely unnecessary in our warm (ie HOT) climate.
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      02-21-2020, 11:34 PM   #7
ashkanvafaee2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatBimmerBloke View Post
This car you are looking at, does it have M-adaptive suspension?
It doesn't come with the dynamic handling package so unfortunately not.


Well, it sounds like it's worth the wait for a RWD f30. Just wish BMW made more in estoril blue..
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      02-22-2020, 05:54 AM   #8
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If the xDrive vehicle is priced right, $2K would be a reasonable investment in coilovers with an even better handling than M Performance suspension.

I owned 2013 335i xDrive sedan and installed KW Street Comfort coilovers. Never looked back at OEM suspensions.
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      02-22-2020, 08:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfm56d7b View Post
If the xDrive vehicle is priced right, $2K would be a reasonable investment in coilovers with an even better handling than M Performance suspension.

I owned 2023 335i xDrive sedan and installed KW Street Comfort coilovers. Never looked back at OEM suspensions.
I agree, $2k should get you a good suspension setup. BMW xDrive is also supposed to have RWD like driving dynamics, at least some of it, it splits power 60:40 and 80:20 at higher speeds with more power going to rear wheels. I wouldn't know how close it gets to RWD though, only driven all wheel drive and front wheel drive cars, my next car will probably be a RWD.
I'm happy with my xDrive, specially in snowy conditions. I'm in the process of upgrading the suspension, I'll stop complaint after that 😄
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      02-22-2020, 09:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashkanvafaee2 View Post
Hey guys, I'm in the market for a used msport f30 335i. After much searching I found one in the right color/options but noticed it was an xDrive model so no m-sport suspension, just standard.

I would love to hear some thoughts on people's experience/comparison between the two. Is there really that much more body roll? Does the difference in suspension make the steering feel tighter/softer? Is the 10mm height difference really that noticeable? Thanks in advance!
There are wide ranging opinions on suspension so search the forum and read wisely.

I have a '15 335i xDrive that I have modified the suspension for both street performance and comfort in a daily driver that we also take on trips.

Often guys make the assumption that awd's only advantage is driving in snow. Not so at all! I've driven rwd, fwd and awd from many manufacturers. XDrive is unique in that it has rwd bias as its soul. It drives like a rwd sports car on steroids. Having four driven wheels provides amazing traction when the light turns green and it sucks you right around an on-ramp curve when you really push it.

Snow is only an issue for a few months a year, if at all. Every day of the year in any climate you can hit unexpected traction problems like gravel, wet leaves and slippery roads. Rain is the worst, creating traction issues and limiting your visibility to see them until it's too late.

Last week a guy in a tricked out loud Camaro came flying up my butt at the start of a long circular on-ramp. I glanced in my mirror, say what I was dealing with, and stepped on it. As I came around the zenith of the curve suddenly there was gravel that probably would have slid me into the curb if I wasn't xDrive. Car held the line and powered right onto the interstate. Camaro caught up to me in traffic. Guy pulled up next to me, rolled down his window and gave me a smile and a big thumbs up!

Your question: "Does the difference in suspension make the steering feel tighter/softer?" I'm going to do a post on steering improvements. The short answer to your question is that springs, shocks and sway bars aren't going to impact steering. Added a front strut tower brace will make steering feel tighter. It's really reducing chassis flex. When you begin to turn into a curve there is a slight delay when the chassis flexes slightly. So a strut brace eliminates that delay making the steering feel more responsive. See this Kies Motorsports video. I have that brace that I had powder coated. See photo.



I don't have a fixation with tire/fender gap. If I did I may have installed the Bilstein B16 coilovers or at least considered them to have ability to fine tune ride height and ride comfort.

What I did install on my xDrive listed below:
These best of breed components formed an improved suspension system that gave my car sports car handling without body roll along with a much more compliant ride to handle rough roads and long trips.

Koni Special Active Shocks (with stock bump stops)-
a best of both worlds two valve system developed with McLaren to handle curves like a sports car and soak up rough roads without rattling teeth. Meant for stock height springs, and Koni considers a mild drop of only 3/4" to be the same as stock height springs as far as shock piston travel. If I was dropping more I would have used Koni Yellow Sport Shocks that are adjustable for comfort.

Eibach spring kit-
a mild drop of 0.8" front and 0.6" rear (eliminates some reverse rake) and is about 10% stiffer than stock for more control without added harshness. I didn't want to drop an xDrive 1.5" with stiffer springs like H&R. That just messes with xDrive front suspension geometry and provides a harsher ride.

H&R Sway Bar Kit-
it's ironic that the biggest suspension complaint is body roll, but the least discussed suspension component is the one that directly affects it, anti-sway bars! The reason is that the labor is expensive to swap sway bars on an F3x. It's not complicated. There are just a lot of parts to remove to gain access to them.

I chose an H&R Kit because I've used their products for decades. High quality & great engineering. They are on the heavier duty end of seats available for this platform which I wanted. I like my car to corner flat!

Caution: Sway bars are engineered in pairs for a reason. If the ratio between front and rear changes, you will suddenly create more understeer or oversteer. Fine for racing if you know what you are doing and why, but disastrous for a street car with expected handling characteristics. So don't be listening to someone say to just change one bar to save money. It could jeopardize your car's safety.

Brakes- are another key component to a sports sedan. I've written extensively about my brake upgrade projects. Brake pads are the most important component. Upgrading stock pads to Hawk 5.0 pads is a noticeable improvement. First thing that I would do.

Tires-
Never cheap out and try to save a couple hundred dollars over a couple years by buying a worse rated tire. Everything is dependent on tires. Safety, performance, handling, braking. Never cheap out on tires. Get a top rated tire. TireRack tests and reviews are a great resource.

There are three ways to upgrade tires:
1) Better rated tire model
2) Different size tire for better handling and/or comfort
3) Switching from runflats to non-runflats

My stock tires were Pirelli runflat 225/45-18.

Got Michelin Pilot Sport 4S in 245/40-18, the best handling size. They're the most amazing tires. The stick to the asphalt like glue. When you enter a turn you can actually feel the side tread grab the road. I could have gotten 245/45-18 for great handling, best comfort and they would have removed some tire/fender gap.

I had not anticipated that the goflats would remove about half of the harshness of the stock BMW suspension which comes from the ultrastiff runflat sidewalls. Now I can drive around potholes city streets and my tires soak them right up! 18" tires seem to be the sweet spot since 19" tire guys seem to report more tire damage from potholes whether on runflat or goflat.

I researched separately and also ended up with a Michelin winter tire, the X-ICE Xi3. (Would have gone with Blizzak WS90 if we got a ton of snow in my area) If someone twisted my arm and forced me to choose an all season I'd probably go with the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+.

Hope this stuff helps someone! Just passing it along... can't wait until spring!
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      02-22-2020, 11:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashkanvafaee2 View Post
Hey guys, I'm in the market for a used msport f30 335i. After much searching I found one in the right color/options but noticed it was an xDrive model so no m-sport suspension, just standard.

I would love to hear some thoughts on people's experience/comparison between the two. Is there really that much more body roll? Does the difference in suspension make the steering feel tighter/softer? Is the 10mm height difference really that noticeable? Thanks in advance!
Attached is that photo of the front strut tower brace under my hood. It's the Kies Motorsports brace that I had powder coated at Bonehead Performance for about $60 including tax. If I was doing it again, I would buy the strut brace from Kies Motorsports, but have them ship it directly to Bonehead for powder coating. Then have Bonehead ship it to me. That would only add about a week. Both companies ship things daily so it's no big deal for them.



Bonehead can do any color (see website) but I wanted something that would blend in like stock. Chuck, the owner, took about 20 samples of different black colors out in the parking lot and we compared in sunlight under my hood. He cautioned me against various colors like gloss black that show fingerprints and look dirty most of the time. The chosen color is called "Black Mini-Texture". Guys look under my hood now and think the strut brace is a stock item! The powder coating is beautiful on not just the bar, but the brackets and fasteners too!

Bonehead Performance is a second generation family business that does high quality meticulous work at reasonable prices. I've seen things that they've done on exotic cars, motorcycles, two-tone wheels- just amazing!

Bonehead Performance also does ceramic coating. See attached photo of my downpipe! Also cost about $60 including tax. My downpipe is catted so only the outside is ceramic coated, but they ceramic coat catless downpipes inside and out.

Note: Allow about two weeks for ceramic coating because included in that is about 5 days for curing before it can be exposed to heat. See photo for some ceramic color choices.

https://boneheadperformance.com/

Hope this helps!
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      02-22-2020, 12:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnung View Post
There are wide ranging opinions on suspension so search the forum and read wisely.

I have a '15 335i xDrive that I have modified the suspension for both street performance and comfort in a daily driver that we also take on trips.
.........
Some great advice John. I'll be doing the coilovers soon and then probably the strut brace for now. Any experience with Bilstein B14? It's either that or KW V1, and it might make sense to just go with SC in case I don't end up with B14( $600 extra ). I think just the 15-20mm drop of Bilstein B8+Eibach won't be enough for me otherwise I know it improves the suspension a lot.
B14 minimum lowering of 30mm all around seems alright as the wheel gap is about 2.15" all round on a newer car, my rear is currently sagging at 1.6", car has 45k miles.
Also, I've already gotten rid of the runflats, I've Apex Arc8 with MPSS for summer.
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      02-22-2020, 04:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatBimmerBloke View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnung View Post
There are wide ranging opinions on suspension so search the forum and read wisely.

I have a '15 335i xDrive that I have modified the suspension for both street performance and comfort in a daily driver that we also take on trips.
.........
Some great advice John. I'll be doing the coilovers soon and then probably the strut brace for now. Any experience with Bilstein B14? It's either that or KW V1, and it might make sense to just go with SC in case I don't end up with B14( $600 extra ). I think just the 15-20mm drop of Bilstein B8+Eibach won't be enough for me otherwise I know it improves the suspension a lot.
B14 minimum lowering of 30mm all around seems alright as the wheel gap is about 2.15" all round on a newer car, my rear is currently sagging at 1.6", car has 45k miles.
Also, I've already gotten rid of the runflats, I've Apex Arc8 with MPSS for summer.
I don't have any specific experience but Bilstein makes great products and there is a lot written about them. B14s seem to have a lot of favorable opinions.
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