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      06-02-2019, 09:33 AM   #1
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Steering very Sensitive

Hi Guys - I picked up a 16 CPO 328 a couple weeks ago, and took it out for a long drive yesterday. I feel that the steering is very sensitive/loose (not sure I am using the right word, sorry!). I assume/was hoping that the steering would have been tighter, so the car wont drift across lanes with the slightest movement of the steering wheel. Is this how the BMW steerings are? I have a C300, and a Porsche Cayenne and they are not like this. This is my first BMW, so maybe I just need to get used to the car, but wanted to ask you guys !. I do have to say that I love this car the most....and now understand why its called the ultimate driving machine
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      06-02-2019, 11:15 AM   #2
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Welcome to the world of BMW's electric power steering. It was one of the major complaints of the F30 since the previous gen E9X had hydraulic power steering that provided great feedback and feel, and by all accounts, the new G20 has improved steering feel in response to the complaints.

Putting it in Sport mode firms up the steering a bit, but still not to the level of a hydraulic system. Better tires will also help with feel and feedback. The only advantage I can think of is for slow-moving turning maneuvers, ie. parallel parking.
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      06-02-2019, 04:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jh_f30 View Post
Welcome to the world of BMW's electric power steering. It was one of the major complaints of the F30 since the previous gen E9X had hydraulic power steering that provided great feedback and feel, and by all accounts, the new G20 has improved steering feel in response to the complaints.

Putting it in Sport mode firms up the steering a bit, but still not to the level of a hydraulic system. Better tires will also help with feel and feedback. The only advantage I can think of is for slow-moving turning maneuvers, ie. parallel parking.

Thank You! Im glad nothing's wrong with my car!...but sucks that this is the result of the electric power steering. You are absolutely correct - it does help driving in the city, but does take out some fun driving on the highways.
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      06-02-2019, 05:20 PM   #4
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I have a '16 F31 coming from an E91. I am just now getting used to the steering. The sport steering is just a stiffer version of the regular steering and doesn't seem to improve anything. This is probably the worst steering feel of any car I have owned.
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      06-02-2019, 05:59 PM   #5
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I notice that my wife's 328xd is pretty light (about on par with my '01 330xi, which had the notorious E46 light steering). Still perfectly accurate, however.

Two things: rough roads tend to make some cars "jump" around in the lane. Also, the harder RFT's, especially the all-season tires, make for even lighter steering effort. Definitely would be worth going to summer rubber, or wider if you want to pimp things up a bit.
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      06-02-2019, 08:02 PM   #6
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I swear I'm the only one here who doesn't mind the F30's steering. Maybe LCI models are better.
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      06-02-2019, 08:27 PM   #7
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It’s not clear what exactly you’re describing. If you feel that small steering inputs result in too much directional change, that’s describing the “speed” of the steering. The F30 has relatively “quick” steering, and is likely quicker than an SUV like a Cayenne. If this is the case, you’ll adjust fairly quickly. Just have “quiet hands” on the highway and you’ll be fine. Steer with purpose, not with nervous twitches.

You use the word “loose”. If you mean that initial movement of the steering wheel doesn’t result in directional change, that’s called a “on center dead spot”. Some people feel the F30 has one, I personally haven’t experienced it.

If you think the steering wheel is too easy to twirl, that’s the steering weight. Comfort mode steering weight is light and sport mode is heavier.

Finally, if you feel like directional changes are only loosely correlated with steering inputs, or the car wants to do its own thing directionally, then that’s a bonafide suspension or steering component issue that needs correction.

I have my own criticisms of the F30 steering, but it’s definitely very precise and should do exactly what you tell it to do with great predictability (except under certain conditions with VSS which is one of my criticisms).
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      06-03-2019, 08:58 AM   #8
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Thank You for the very detailed explanation Chief. Steering Speed is what I'm having issues adjusting. Will take a few days of driving to get used to it I guess. Again, thank your input. Really glad this forum has great members that can help out a newbie like me!!
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      06-03-2019, 11:44 AM   #9
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It takes getting used to the different steering characteristics; I do prefer the steering feel of my 2019 230i vs our 2016 428iGC, not quite so dampened. However, I drove our 2001 X5 this weekend and that steering is very “stiff” compared with today’s electric steering. Of all the Bimmers I’ve driven over the years, I’m enjoying the 230i's feel the most with just the right balance of stiffness vs assistance and control/feedback.
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      06-03-2019, 11:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F30ZHP View Post
I swear I'm the only one here who doesn't mind the F30's steering. Maybe LCI models are better.
I've driven a lot of F30s as I was trying to replace my 2014. There are minor differences at best. Also, 2016 is an LCI.
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      06-03-2019, 01:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatevs View Post
Thank You for the very detailed explanation Chief. Steering Speed is what I'm having issues adjusting. Will take a few days of driving to get used to it I guess. Again, thank your input. Really glad this forum has great members that can help out a newbie like me!!
I just took a peek at the Cayenne’s steering ratio and it looks pretty quick. If you have 4 wheel steering in your Cayenne that contributes to stability at highway speeds, so you might be feeling the lack of that in your BMW.

I do remember when I went from my 1995 325i to a 2002 330i, the steering was noticeably faster. The first time I was changing lanes on a highway, I was all “whoah!” But I got used to it in a few days.
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      06-03-2019, 10:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatevs View Post
Hi Guys - I picked up a 16 CPO 328 a couple weeks ago, and took it out for a long drive yesterday. I feel that the steering is very sensitive/loose (not sure I am using the right word, sorry!). I assume/was hoping that the steering would have been tighter, so the car wont drift across lanes with the slightest movement of the steering wheel. Is this how the BMW steerings are? I have a C300, and a Porsche Cayenne and they are not like this. This is my first BMW, so maybe I just need to get used to the car, but wanted to ask you guys !. I do have to say that I love this car the most....and now understand why its called the ultimate driving machine
I didn't notice what you are describing in my old F30's. It's quick, but you shouldn't have to feel like you are having problems staying in the lanes. Check your tires and alignment. Maybe your toe or camber out of spec.
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      06-04-2019, 03:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatevs View Post
...I assume/was hoping that the steering would have been tighter, so the car wont drift across lanes with the slightest movement of the steering wheel. Is this how the BMW steerings are? ..
That is not normal BMW steering behaviour. As has been said, should be precise, EPS isn't slack, not any more so than hydraulic assistance. Even the on-center 'dead spot' some feel, is not just an EPS characteristic, HPAS can be the same, as on-center feel and 'tightness' involves suspension bushing and tires.

For drift with slight steering movement, I'm in the tires camp as the first point of call. Pressures, wear patterns, tire type, then look at suspension alignment/geometry.
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      06-04-2019, 01:24 PM   #14
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OP I'd also check the control arm bushings. If they are completely shot, then you could have some negative caster which could result in what you are experiencing.
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      06-05-2019, 12:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndDown View Post
Of all the Bimmers I’ve driven over the years, I’m enjoying the 230i's feel the most with just the right balance of stiffness vs assistance and control/feedback.
Ditto! I had a chance to drive the new M240i at my local BMW Ultimate Driving Experience events this year and it provided the best steering feel of all the cars I tested that day including the so called improved G20. It felt the most "hydraulic" like in weight and feedback. It was very obvious.

I drive an LCI 2017 340ix now and the F30 steering feel is numb. Putting it in Sport makes it heavy without adding any feel to the wheel. I had a 2015 pre-LCI 335ix which was no better or worse but I think my older F30 already incorporated some of the steering tuning BMW attempted to add back in after all the complaints.

The most embarrassing part of it all is the my 2014 Honda Odyssey has BETTER steering feel then my BMW! It was the last generation of the vehicle Honda kept the hydraulic steering and I am always shocked at how I can feel the wheel telepath road texture, kickback on bumps and provide good "on center" resistance while going straight down the road! A minivan, of all things is superior!
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      06-05-2019, 08:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc888 View Post
Ditto! I had a chance to drive the new M240i at my local BMW Ultimate Driving Experience events this year and it provided the best steering feel of all the cars I tested that day including the so called improved G20. It felt the most "hydraulic" like in weight and feedback. It was very obvious!
One other thing that also affects the steering feel is that my 230i (as well as the UDE M240) runs on non RF tires. I have the Michelin SS and they are really great, but they won’t last past 12K miles. I have 6500 miles and the rears are already at 5/32.
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      06-05-2019, 11:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by AndDown View Post
One other thing that also affects the steering feel is that my 230i (as well as the UDE M240) runs on non RF tires. I have the Michelin SS and they are really great, but they won’t last past 12K miles. I have 6500 miles and the rears are already at 5/32.
That is true. It’s one thing I will replace on my car to improve feel and handling once my OEM runflats are decently worn.
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      04-01-2021, 02:15 PM   #18
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Reviving an old thread

Hi all, I’m reviving an old thread with a question: is the F3x (F31 in specific) steering feel the same across all years of the F3x generation, or did later year models improve the feel?

I have a 2015 F31 328i x-drive sports wagon. It’s a pretty sweet car, all in all, but that loose steering feel makes is very unpleasant to drive, especially on the freeway with the dead spot in center and how loose the steering feels.

I am curious about picking up a 328d for the better mileage - but wonder if the steering feel from the earlier F31 years is improved in the later years or if it basically feels the same for all the years in that generation.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by chakatrain; 04-01-2021 at 02:35 PM..
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      04-01-2021, 03:13 PM   #19
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I had a 328dx and it felt ok, I got a 328ix, both pre-Lci & it feels a lot lighter.

I thought it was because I had the luxury package at first and maybe they lightened it, but I believe it's due to tires.

The best thing you can do is to get wider tires with more grip if you had plans on lowering your car even better.
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      04-01-2021, 05:14 PM   #20
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There is a power steering software update that makes the steering 1000000x better. When I took my car in last year for it's final free service, I mentioned it based on another thread on this forum, and they did the update.

I found my car to have this huge dead spot at center, which was much worse in sport mode. It felt like one of the old farm trucks to drove when I was a kid. Very dead and very jittering when the wheel was on center.

The update fixes all of that. If you are looking for the tightness that the E9x had, it won't be like that though.
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      04-01-2021, 05:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wires View Post
There is a power steering software update that makes the steering 1000000x better. When I took my car in last year for it's final free service, I mentioned it based on another thread on this forum, and they did the update.

I found my car to have this huge dead spot at center, which was much worse in sport mode. It felt like one of the old farm trucks to drove when I was a kid. Very dead and very jittering when the wheel was on center.

The update fixes all of that. If you are looking for the tightness that the E9x had, it won't be like that though.
That sounds like something I would love to try. I asked my local BMW expert shop about any way to address the steering feel and they didn’t know about any hardware or software fixes.

Does anyone know the name or number of the power steering software update - firmware version? - so I can check out what I have on the 2015 328i wagon now and ask a shop for this update by specific name/number?

Thanks!

p.s. I replaced the RF with Michelin Pilot All Season 4s in January. Same size. It certainly helped the ride quality, but didn’t impact the steering feel much at all.
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      04-01-2021, 07:21 PM   #22
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There is a TSB (SIB I think they call it). I don't recall what it was called though.
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