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      10-13-2016, 07:57 PM   #1
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xDrive Adaptive Suspension Skidpad Numbers???

People have been saying for years on this forum that an xDrive with an adaptive suspension is the only way to get rwd handling in an all wheel drive 3 series. Basically avoiding the "soft" factory default tune of the xDrive cars...

Does anyone have any real-world evidence from a track test, magazine review, etc. that actually supports this claim?

I'm about to pull the trigger on my families first ever xDrive BMW, after a LONG history of rwd passive Msports and passive sport suspension 3 series.

The adaptive suspension on my M3 is negligible between settings, as every setting is "harsh" on MI roads.

We're looking at a 340i xDrive Msport with the track handling package and 19"s. And for the record, I keep my cars 100% stock, hence my question.

I understand the ride height is slightly higher, and the car weighs slightly more, but does the optional adaptive suspension truly become as firm as a rwd sport suspension car when set to Sport, Sport +, etc.??? Does it corner as well???

Any evidence from an online source (with numbers) to back this up?

Thanks everyone, and curious to hear any real-world impressions!

(it probably goes without saying that none of my local dealers has an adaptive suspension xDrive to test drive back to back with a passive or adaptive rwd car)
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      10-14-2016, 12:09 AM   #2
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I have a 328i LCI xDrive with adaptive suspension so I can talk to suspension. It's really floaty and didn't inspire confidence at the corners. I got Dinan shockware to fix the comfort/sport EDC settings so they felt a lot better after that

But it wasn't enough for me so I got the Dinan springs as well and only then did the car feel comfortable going into corners fast.

The only F30 factory suspension i would recommend is m performance suspension (passive suspension only). Everything else is floaty for me

For #s, Car and Driver recorded 0.86g for a 2015 F30 335i (so pre-LCI) with DHP (so it includes adaptive suspension). Not exactly equal but close (http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...ve-test-review).
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Last edited by anotheran; 10-14-2016 at 01:38 AM.. Reason: skidpad
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      10-14-2016, 10:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anotheran
I have a 328i LCI xDrive with adaptive suspension so I can talk to suspension. It's really floaty and didn't inspire confidence at the corners. I got Dinan shockware to fix the comfort/sport EDC settings so they felt a lot better after that

But it wasn't enough for me so I got the Dinan springs as well and only then did the car feel comfortable going into corners fast.

The only F30 factory suspension i would recommend is m performance suspension (passive suspension only). Everything else is floaty for me

For #s, Car and Driver recorded 0.86g for a 2015 F30 335i (so pre-LCI) with DHP (so it includes adaptive suspension). Not exactly equal but close (http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...ve-test-review).
Just to note: this car had all seasons with 18 inch wheels. You'll get better performance with 19 inch summer tires. Probably get get into the 9s with that set up.

"However, we think these grip and braking stats can be easily improved. Simply discard the all-season run-flat tires—in this case Pirelli Cinturato P7, size 225/45-18—and substitute some real performance rubber."
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      10-14-2016, 10:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raikkonen View Post
People have been saying for years on this forum that an xDrive with an adaptive suspension is the only way to get rwd handling in an all wheel drive 3 series. Basically avoiding the "soft" factory default tune of the xDrive cars...

Does anyone have any real-world evidence from a track test, magazine review, etc. that actually supports this claim?

I'm about to pull the trigger on my families first ever xDrive BMW, after a LONG history of rwd passive Msports and passive sport suspension 3 series.

The adaptive suspension on my M3 is negligible between settings, as every setting is "harsh" on MI roads.

We're looking at a 340i xDrive Msport with the track handling package and 19"s. And for the record, I keep my cars 100% stock, hence my question.

I understand the ride height is slightly higher, and the car weighs slightly more, but does the optional adaptive suspension truly become as firm as a rwd sport suspension car when set to Sport, Sport +, etc.??? Does it corner as well???

Any evidence from an online source (with numbers) to back this up?

Thanks everyone, and curious to hear any real-world impressions!

(it probably goes without saying that none of my local dealers has an adaptive suspension xDrive to test drive back to back with a passive or adaptive rwd car)
Your in a tough spot. If your past RWD with sport suspension has been "harsh" to you, but you want BMW sport handling it's hard to say. You did say it was your M3 that was harsh so... the 340i sport wouldn't be so bad.

I have driven several different set-ups just like you are asking about. Given you know BMW sport suspensions and are looking for another BMW, I would suggest a 340i RWD with M sport and do not option the adaptive or track package. If you want to go with x-drive, adaptive is your best option, but it is undersprung so although it drives firm, it is not planted, especially in longer sweeping corners. With the xdrive and adaptive, I would select the 18" non run flat tires of the track handling package if I were you. I am pretty sure the 19" selection in the track handling package goes back to the harsher run flats plus the smaller sidewall - so double harsh on soft spring - not a great choice based on your questions.
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      10-14-2016, 10:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raikkonen View Post
I understand the ride height is slightly higher, and the car weighs slightly more, but does the optional adaptive suspension truly become as firm as a rwd sport suspension car when set to Sport, Sport +, etc.??? Does it corner as well???

Any evidence from an online source (with numbers) to back this up?
You know what they say about opinions.

As you said, it weights more and it's higher, you do the math. Not sure what online evidence you would be able to find other than drive and judge for yourself, even if you can't drive them back to back.

Adaptive certainly improves it, but given your background, I think you might be looking towards upgrading suspension soon after purchase. Good luck shopping, I'm curious to hear your opinion once you've tried it.
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      10-16-2016, 02:23 AM   #6
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The basic BMW suspensions from the last few years are weak. The X-drives were not offered with the 704 sport suspension and the adaptive on the x-drives still used the same springs and swaybars as the base. That's the problem.

I switched the springs, shock tuning (shockware) and swaybars. The stock rear swaybar is a ridiculous 12mm, to give you an idea. This is the problem. Crazy weight transfer, soft suspension, poor handling. Now, with the setup I have, I forget I'm in an AWD car all the time. I read that BMW makes their AWD cars "rear wheel drive biased", but that's BS to me, in stock form no way. Now, yes, fun to drive like rear wheel drive. Honestly, this has been one of the most disappointing things about BMW. After coming from my camaro SS (that i admittedly had a strut bar, eibach sways and rear chassis tie on), the BMW was many levels below. The BMW still doesn't handle near camaro, but it's at least acceptable now. Driving a great handling car kind of ruins you, now I"m thinking Cayman S/GT4 or something similar for my next car, just due to this.
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      10-16-2016, 04:02 AM   #7
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After nearly 10 years in RWD coupes, I leased a 328i xdrive off the dealer lot after my 1 series was totaled in an accident. The 328 did NOT have the adaptive suspension and there was way too much float and bounce in that car. At the end of the lease, I got a 228i xdrive with the track handling package and the non run flat summer performance tires. The difference is night and day. The car is planted. The same as RWD? It will never be the same, but the stock set up with the THP and the right tires is pretty impressive for an AWD car.
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      10-16-2016, 10:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raikkonen View Post
...I'm about to pull the trigger on my families first ever xDrive BMW, after a LONG history of rwd passive Msports and passive sport suspension 3 series.

The adaptive suspension on my M3 is negligible between settings, as every setting is "harsh" on MI roads. (1)

We're looking at a 340i xDrive Msport with the track handling package and 19"s. And for the record, I keep my cars 100% stock, hence my question. (2)

I understand the ride height is slightly higher, and the car weighs slightly more, but does the optional adaptive suspension truly become as firm as a rwd sport suspension car when set to Sport, Sport +, etc.??? Does it corner as well??? (3)

Any evidence from an online source (with numbers) to back this up?

Thanks everyone, and curious to hear any real-world impressions!(4)
Hello fellow Michigander!
1. Yes the Michigan roads are terrible to say the least. As you already know, the M3 is a different league and built for different reasons. Any of the other 3 series will not be as harsh.
2. The xDrive will have softer springs and an extended drive will offer insight to the suspension feel. The 19" wheels come with "Summer" tires so you will need to get a set of winter wheels. The 19" wheels are also stiffer due to the side walls being smaller (they are also subject to damage on these pesky Michigan roads). I have owned both F30's, an xDrive and RWD Sport suspension (present vehicle is 335i M-Sport RWD).
3. The adaptive suspension corrects the ills of the xDrive but it still has a higher center of gravity. The xDrive is 20 MM (3/4") higher than the sport (704) suspension.
4. I do not own the adaptive suspension but did drive one for 10-12 miles during a BMW drive event. Although the suspension itself was not a game changer when hitting the switch (what I mean is the adaptive suspension did not change the car from a mellow cruiser to a track car), it did provide two specific effects, first, the suspension did provide a noticeable stiffening up and the cornering "Roll" was reduced. Second, it did increase the road feel through the steering wheel. However, IMHO, although the cornering and handling were better, it did not match my RWD 704 suspension, however, the road feel seemed better than my 704 when it was activated. This may not be entirely reflective of the vehicle because I am comparing a 2016 test drive vehicle to my 2014 335i. Besides, the new 340i "LCI"suspension has been updated with stiffer tower braces (BMW added a 5 bolt tower vs original 3 bolt tower winter of 2015) and updated software in the electronic steering.

Conclusion: By the way, the 2017 Track and Handling Package comes with the "Adaptive Steering" standard. (closest 2017 with that package looks like in Texas). That being said, if you choose the xDrive, do not skip the Adaptive Suspension as you have already come from a M3, you would second guess the decision from day one (have no regrets!). Also, I would highly suggest the "M Performance Power & Sound" package. This will increase your power to 355 HP with a minimal increase in noise decibels (but a much better sound). My xDrive was fabulous in the snow, better than my Wife's SUV. But I wanted my car for the other 350 days a year that is why I went back to RWD. That being said, I firmly believe if you get the xDrive with the Track (Adaptive Suspension) and Performance options, this would be a near perfect Michigan car! I would think if you ordered, you could have it built in 6-8 weeks (before Christmas). Good luck.
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Last edited by kpgray; 10-16-2016 at 10:52 AM..
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      10-16-2016, 11:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raikkonen View Post
The adaptive suspension on my M3 is negligible between settings, as every setting is "harsh" on MI roads.
(
Unlike the M3, the adaptive suspension on my 435i xDrive is very different between comfort and sport settings. My long experience of Michigan roads driving six BMWs with various tires - including E36, E46 and E92 M3s and a broken wheel on a 2007 335i - suggests to me that the best solution would be 18" non run flats with adaptive suspension.

Last edited by BimmerBoomer; 10-16-2016 at 12:24 PM..
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      10-16-2016, 09:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BimmerBoomer View Post
Unlike the M3, the adaptive suspension on my 435i xDrive is very different between comfort and sport settings. My long experience of Michigan roads driving six BMWs with various tires - including E36, E46 and E92 M3s and a broken wheel on a 2007 335i - suggests to me that the best solution would be 18" non run flats with adaptive suspension.
What he said.
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      10-17-2016, 12:08 AM   #11
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I'm in west michigan with adaptive suspension, 340i xdrive, factory ssr 18" rubber... it "feels" more competent than my e90 335i xdrive.

I've never driven 704 suspension and it certainly doesn't have the turn in of my corvette but I wouldn't say I'm at all disappointed... at low speeds it slides through an apex like a rwd... odd feeling since I owned many understeer ing front grab happy sti's
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      10-20-2016, 10:12 AM   #12
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OK, thanks a million for the replies everyone (kpgray -special thanks!).

From what I'm gathering, it seems I won't "hate" the adaptive on my new xDrive, but it won't be a match for the passive Msport rwd...

As several have done, I'll look towards Dinan shockware and springs to adequately sort my suspension...I've never modded a car before, but my local BMW dealer is a Dinan retailer/installer, so I think I'll take the plunge.

I'll drive the car a few thousand miles before I modify.


Thanks again folks!!!
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      10-20-2016, 12:41 PM   #13
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I'm not sure why anyone complains, ok 704 is probably firmer on day to day driving giving the impression it "must handle better"... all I know is the 340i xdrive in sport mode with adaptive rotates the rear before understeering and the chassis is not overloaded by the stock power output.
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      10-21-2016, 10:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls3c6 View Post
I'm not sure why anyone complains, ok 704 is probably firmer on day to day driving giving the impression it "must handle better"... all I know is the 340i xdrive in sport mode with adaptive rotates the rear before understeering and the chassis is not overloaded by the stock power output.
Brilliant.

Best summary I've read thus far. Short and concise!

Basically saying that adaptive on an xDrive will provide awd stability, while still retaining some rwd characteristics (rear rotates before the car understeers).

All hope is not lost for my first xDrive 3 series!!!
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      10-21-2016, 01:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raikkonen View Post
Brilliant.

Best summary I've read thus far. Short and concise!

Basically saying that adaptive on an xDrive will provide awd stability, while still retaining some rwd characteristics (rear rotates before the car understeers).

All hope is not lost for my first xDrive 3 series!!!
yeah all of this stuff is subjective i'm sure and everyone on the internet forums are professional race car drivers... for me this car has an outstanding balance and fun factor with the tendency to try and be as much racecar as it can on runflat tires on a city street pulling ~3800lbs where I myself drive 99% of the time.

take a look at this video just posted:


1:26 is pretty god damn good when you listen to the shit tires begging for help and that a C7 Z06 did 1:18 there, I am happy with my little peasant non ///M "just a 3 series" or whatever the internet tells me I bought.

edit: also I see the fog lights so it doesn't have THP, who knows if it has adaptive.
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      10-21-2016, 02:42 PM   #16
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Personally, I am a tad bewildered at the negative comments regarding the BMW's handling.

I am new to BMW...first was 2008 325 a few years ago, which was eye opening to me.
I have raced motorcycles for 14 years, but have now 'retired' 'cause too fat and too old. lol
I will track my new 2015 435xi MPE with Sports Car Club of BC at Mission next year. 9,000 km on the 435 thus far, driving on Hwys to and from family 900 km away.

In the process of installing M4 strut brace and next will look at shocks/springs, etc. and brakes next.

20 inch MPE wheels and P-Zero run flats. No problems with these tires as is. I did not buy the car thinking I would not feel every bump in the road. When changing from comfort to sport, there is a noticeable difference in terms of feeling the bumps, but I don't care about that. This car seems to be on rails as it is...not sure what you guys drive, but wow, there must be some pretty great stock cars out there in this price range to be able to put this factory 'street performance' setup to shame.

Here's my impression of MPE x-Drive handling in some pretty high spirited driving.
Between Cache Creek and Lytton, BC, there is a very nice 60 km stretch of Hwy that is a joy to drive in the BMW. In many of the stretches, there are 4-lane, long sweeping corners, and there are a few very hairy 'slow to 30 km' corners where you can see any incoming traffic and 'give a go'. Don't try this at home of course...

In the long sweepers, this car is totally planted at 200 kmh. I feel very secure in the car at this speed through these type of long sweepers. It'll do better through that anyhow, but point is it got me very excited to get this car into track shape and get back to the track. In the short twisties, same secure feeling at very high speeds. I can describe how my race bike (Aprilia RSV4) feels with its Ohlins front forks and rear shock upgrades, but I have no idea how to describe the BMW through these types of section, other than, 'fucking amazing'. But then I am new to spirited driving in cars. All I know is that this car is more than up to task for the street and I am thinking it wouldn't take too much to get it into very descent track shape. Needs brakes and is extremely short on power IMHO.

There seems to be so many variations between BMW models, how do you really compare one person's experience in their car to another's, as we've heard from the OP and one of the reasons for the question.
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      10-21-2016, 03:34 PM   #17
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ls3c6, great find and thanks for posting...

You're absolutely right; that's an amazing time when compared to the competition they list, and I think it has to have the adaptive suspension, as aside from some minor lean, the car seemed to be mostly flat through corners...even with some steering correction from oversteer!!!!

I believe some foreign markets may still have fogs w/ the THP as well (could be wrong though...)

And I agree, as my car will be on city and country streets 99% of the time as well...as a road car (when properly optioned), a 3 series can't be beat.

Dr. Thrillride, I know what you're saying. Everyone has a tendency to say this option is a "must", and the car drives like crap if you don't do this or that mod to it, when in reality and in the real world, as you and I have both experienced, these cars are pretty amazing right out of the box!

(Even though you're running 20"s)
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      10-21-2016, 03:55 PM   #18
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The corvette stays parked unless I want targa top driving. Tells you something, it's also manual even with pilot super sports and ls3 engine!
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      10-21-2016, 04:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
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(Even though you're running 20"s)
Lol, I'm starting to understand the, 'all in good fun' jabs at 20's, but my MPE wheels are ~6 pounds in total lighter than most other wheels (probably needs correcting). In the motorcycle world, 1 pound is equivalent to 7 hp. Not sure what it is in car world. Maybe my car rocks because of the 20's?
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      11-04-2016, 01:53 AM   #20
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Hey Raikko, how you doing with the car? Any winter projects planned?
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