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      10-14-2016, 12:10 PM   #1
englishguy84
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LCI Standard Suspension Questions

I'm going back on forth about how to order my 330i. This is my first modern BMW. I have a hard stop at $46,000 for the price, so I have a couple of difficult choices.

Some background: I have a 10 mile round trip daily commute on surface streets, not much opportunity for fun. I don't track my car, but I do drive for fun on the weekend, and my girlfriend and I take day trips a couple times a month. So my car needs to be a mix of comfortable commuter and fun driving machine.

I test drove a base 330i, and it felt pretty good, quite a bit firmer than a pre-LCI 328i that I drove previously. Steering was better too. The car didn't "dance" like a Cadillac ATS, but I liked it.

The dealership didn't have an M Sport 3, so I drove an M Sport 430i. Different car, of course, and lower heavier than the 3. Hard to make a good comparison, but the handling did feel more like the car was an extension of my head/feet/hands. Definitely more fun to drive. Don't know how much of that is the 4 platform vs. the three.

My two choices are:
Standard suspension with leather/premium, driver assistance, moonroof, H/K.
M-Sport with sensatec, moonroof, driver assistance, H/K, 704 suspension.

I'd like leather and the better headlights. I'm In the minority, but I prefer the non-Sport styling, too. However, I've been a bit concerned by all the posts saying that the post-LCI base suspension still isn't very good. As I said, I didn't think it was bad, but it was hard for me to know after the test drives which one would be more rewarding to live with.

I'm probably going to have to go drive them again, but I was hoping board members who've actually lived with these cars could weigh in. Even if you've just had the base car as a loaner!
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      10-14-2016, 12:23 PM   #2
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If those are your only two choices I would definitely go with: M-Sport with sensatec, moonroof, driver assistance, H/K, 704 suspension.

I agree, the base suspension is much better than the pre LCI base suspension. Still though, I would take the 704 suspension.
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      10-14-2016, 12:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pz619 View Post
If those are your only two choices I would definitely go with: M-Sport with sensatec, moonroof, driver assistance, H/K, 704 suspension.
That'd be my personal preference too, but I must say I think it's just horrible that 46K car has no leather seats.
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      10-14-2016, 12:45 PM   #4
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+1 to M-Sport with sensatec, moonroof, driver assistance, H/K, 704 suspension

Dakota leather is pretty crappy but durable. I wish nappa was standard. I also like the sports seats in the M sport much more than the regular seats so that's another plus

Comfort access in the premium package is great when I'm carrying things and don't have hands to take out the keys but definitely a luxury and not a necessity.
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      10-14-2016, 01:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pz619 View Post
If those are your only two choices I would definitely go with: M-Sport with sensatec, moonroof, driver assistance, H/K, 704 suspension.

I agree, the base suspension is much better than the pre LCI base suspension. Still though, I would take the 704 suspension.
+2

I have a sport with sensatec and 704 suspension. I chose it after much research and multiple extended test drives. I am happy with it 3.5 months in and have similar use for my car as the OP.

Last edited by metallicpea; 10-14-2016 at 01:19 PM..
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      10-14-2016, 01:16 PM   #6
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Take a look at the ordering guide (not the website). My 228i has M-Sport suspension as a no-cost standalone option. If you want to save the money from the M-sport pack that may be a good alternative if it's still possible to order that way.
(Photo of my window sticker showing the n/c option is at the link in my sig)
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      10-14-2016, 01:25 PM   #7
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BTW, you could get a 320. You can get the sport package with the M sport steering wheel and led lights are ala carte. You can get the moonroof, but not the h/k, not sure on the driver assistance, but would certainly have $ left over and could add leather, just a few colors though... pros and cons

edit - with the non sport styling too

Last edited by metallicpea; 10-14-2016 at 03:58 PM..
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      10-14-2016, 01:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoyasaxa View Post
Take a look at the ordering guide (not the website). My 228i has M-Sport suspension as a no-cost standalone option. If you want to save the money from the M-sport pack that may be a good alternative if it's still possible to order that way.
(Photo of my window sticker showing the n/c option is at the link in my sig)
Good idea, just checked--not available for the 3 unless you get the full M Sport package.

Thanks everyone for the replies. Impression I'm getting is that to get a "real" BMW, you need M Sport.

Only concern--how bad is the ventilation with sensatec? I'm in D.C., which gets very hot and humid. Am I going to show up at work with the back of my shirt wet and clinging to me?
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      10-14-2016, 01:38 PM   #9
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I don't have M sport and the car still says BMW on it.

I would get the stiffer and lower suspension. I have the ZTR option and in sport plus setting I find the car could be stiffer, so the base suspension to me is floaty.
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      10-14-2016, 01:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicpea View Post
BTW, you could get a 320. You can get the sport package with the M sport steering wheel and led lights are ala carte. You can get the moonroof, but not the h/k, not sure on the driver assistance, but would certainly have $ left over and could add leather, just a few colors though... pros and cons
I thought about that, but I couldn't get the H/K, which I want, and by the time I add everything onto the car, I'm in 330 territory. I don't "need" the extra HP, but I think 68 extra hp is a big enough difference to the fun factor to be worth it to me.
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      10-14-2016, 03:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicpea View Post
+2

I have a sport with sensatec and 704 suspension. I chose it after much research and multiple extended test drives. I am happy with it 3.5 months in and have similar use for my car as the OP.
Missed this post. This is great to hear. Thanks!
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      10-14-2016, 03:11 PM   #12
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Find and drive a car with ZTR and 18" 398 wheels (the ones that come with non-RFT tires). Become amazed by the fact that you have found an F30 that feels the way older 3 series used to.

Ignore M Sport if you don't care about the looks.

Sport seats with tight side bolsters + sensatec = sweaty back all day long.

This http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...?CMId=d6oqvx9n comes to $48,570 including d&h, which should be an easy thing to negotiate below $45K.

Last edited by ynguldyn; 10-14-2016 at 03:17 PM..
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      10-14-2016, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by englishguy84 View Post
I thought about that, but I couldn't get the H/K, which I want, and by the time I add everything onto the car, I'm in 330 territory. I don't "need" the extra HP, but I think 68 extra hp is a big enough difference to the fun factor to be worth it to me.
Fair enough. Glad you looked.
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      10-14-2016, 03:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbb34 View Post
I think it's just horrible that 46K car has no leather seats.
My $60k F80 has cloth seats and I wouldn't have it any other way

OP, I would get the m sport brakes and track handling package to get the adaptive suspension, and double check to make sure that get the added cooling. Good to have option for that in case you decide to track it

BTW, you should test out used M3s

My only regret with my first BMW experience was not going M car out of the gate.

My E90 328 6MT sport package was great, but an E36 M3 with mods or E46 M3 would have been better as a start point
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      10-14-2016, 03:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by englishguy84 View Post
Good idea, just checked--not available for the 3 unless you get the full M Sport package.

Thanks everyone for the replies. Impression I'm getting is that to get a "real" BMW, you need M Sport.

Only concern--how bad is the ventilation with sensatec? I'm in D.C., which gets very hot and humid. Am I going to show up at work with the back of my shirt wet and clinging to me?
Well, mixed thoughts on this. I have had both leather and sensatec/leatherette cars and I don't see a difference. And I am usually always hot. But I know many people who just won't do sensatec for this exact reason.

Perhaps you could go with the beige sensatec to help with the temp. All 3 of mine have been black. Beige comes with black carpet now which is nice.
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      10-14-2016, 04:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
My $60k F80 has cloth seats and I wouldn't have it any other way
It's great that you like it , but I don't think cloth seats should be offered in F80 at all, other than maybe custom "free of charge" order for those who absolutely prefer that over leather.

I'm not knocking the material itself, I had tons of cars with cloth seats, also owned two with "leatherette" and was perfectly fine with them. None of those were north of 45K sticker price though. In that price range, you should have leather on your seats. In my opinion, this is just another way of car companies maximizing their profit margin.
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      10-14-2016, 06:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicpea View Post
Perhaps you could go with the beige sensatec to help with the temp. All 3 of mine have been black. Beige comes with black carpet now which is nice.
Wife's car is beige sensatec, mine is saddle brown leather. Both sport seats, with side bolsters cranked up almost to the max (we both are slim and drive in a way that results in, ahem, significant lateral acceleration). In her car, my back gets wet in the summer, in mine it doesn't.
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      10-14-2016, 06:47 PM   #18
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I'm going to play devils advocate here and suggest that you not buy a car with a suspension you have never driven. You can't be sure that you will like what the forum likes. I'd lean towards getting premium instead, if for no other reason than living without comfort access would annoy me in that price range.
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      10-14-2016, 08:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by englishguy84
I'm going back on forth about how to order my 330i. This is my first modern BMW. I have a hard stop at $46,000 for the price, so I have a couple of difficult choices.

Some background: I have a 10 mile round trip daily commute on surface streets, not much opportunity for fun. I don't track my car, but I do drive for fun on the weekend, and my girlfriend and I take day trips a couple times a month. So my car needs to be a mix of comfortable commuter and fun driving machine.

I test drove a base 330i, and it felt pretty good, quite a bit firmer than a pre-LCI 328i that I drove previously. Steering was better too. The car didn't "dance" like a Cadillac ATS, but I liked it.

The dealership didn't have an M Sport 3, so I drove an M Sport 430i. Different car, of course, and lower heavier than the 3. Hard to make a good comparison, but the handling did feel more like the car was an extension of my head/feet/hands. Definitely more fun to drive. Don't know how much of that is the 4 platform vs. the three.

My two choices are:
Standard suspension with leather/premium, driver assistance, moonroof, H/K.
M-Sport with sensatec, moonroof, driver assistance, H/K, 704 suspension.

I'd like leather and the better headlights. I'm In the minority, but I prefer the non-Sport styling, too. However, I've been a bit concerned by all the posts saying that the post-LCI base suspension still isn't very good. As I said, I didn't think it was bad, but it was hard for me to know after the test drives which one would be more rewarding to live with.

I'm probably going to have to go drive them again, but I was hoping board members who've actually lived with these cars could weigh in. Even if you've just had the base car as a loaner!
I have a 2014 328i luxury line with the base suspension. I replaced the RunFlats with Michelin pilot super sport tires. I don't find the suspension too soft. I find it has an excellent blend of a very supple ride quality with a still agile and nimble feel for everyday driving. I personally like this setup more than M-Sport, as the 704 suspension still isn't all that amazing but you will find the ride firmer with not that much return for much better handling.

I've had MANY BMW's. Everything from the E34, E39, E60, and F10 5-series. As well as a few E46, E90 3-series. The E90 was beyond WAY too firm. Traditionally BMW's from the 80's and 90's still had a relatively soft setup with some firmness which people seem to forget. BMW's were all about balance with a great ride and capable agile handling.

With all that said, I feel my F30 pre LCI standard suspension is perfect for everyday.
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      10-14-2016, 10:26 PM   #20
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I went to another dealership and test drove both back to back. I know this puts me in the minority, but I noticed the poorer ride quality more than I appreciated the improved handling. To be sure, the car felt more responsive, but the difference wasn't as dramatic as were the more pronounced bumps/imperfections. Being realistic, I'm not going to be able to get the incremental advantages of the 704 suspension often enough to justify getting it at the expense of the leather--I sweat fairly easily, and I also thought the Sensatec was less comfortable to sit in. The leather will make me happy every day.
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      10-14-2016, 11:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbb34
Quote:
Originally Posted by pz619 View Post
If those are your only two choices I would definitely go with: M-Sport with sensatec, moonroof, driver assistance, H/K, 704 suspension.
That'd be my personal preference too, but I must say I think it's just horrible that 46K car has no leather seats.
Take it from a guy that owned both, the sensatec is just fine. The only reason I have leather is because I wanted red seats and stitching. The actual material feels the same.
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      10-15-2016, 12:17 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by englishguy84 View Post
I went to another dealership and test drove both back to back. I know this puts me in the minority, but I noticed the poorer ride quality more than I appreciated the improved handling. To be sure, the car felt more responsive, but the difference wasn't as dramatic as were the more pronounced bumps/imperfections. Being realistic, I'm not going to be able to get the incremental advantages of the 704 suspension often enough to justify getting it at the expense of the leather--I sweat fairly easily, and I also thought the Sensatec was less comfortable to sit in. The leather will make me happy every day.
Yup. Track Package with adaptive suspension and leather.

(BTW, adaptive is usually discussed as a way to improve handling, but in reality it can also manage bad roads better than standard non-sport.)
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