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Cindy M
02-18-2005, 06:10 PM
I'm a month or so away from ordering a 2006 330i with the Sport and Premium Packages and a manual transmission. I have NO idea whether or not to order active steering. Although I have autocross experience, I probably won't race this car, but I mention it because it's important to know that handling is the reason I buy BMWs. I drove a 5-series with active steering recently, admittedly only for a short time around the city, and I didn't like it. I'm not sure if it was the bigger car I didn't like, or the inconsistent feel of the steering. Probably both.

I have a 2001 330i now and I love everything about the steering. Do you think ordering the new 330i without active steering is a bad idea or a good idea? I worry a bit about not ordering a car with the configuration the factory is most used to installing. I wonder if it will affect the quality of the manufacturing and the integration of all systems.

Your thoughts will be most appreciated.

Dave 330i
02-18-2005, 06:23 PM
I'm a month or so away from ordering a 2006 330i with the Sport and Premium Packages and a manual transmission. I have NO idea whether or not to order active steering. Although I have autocross experience, I probably won't race this car, but I mention it because it's important to know that handling is the reason I buy BMWs. I drove a 5-series with active steering recently, admittedly only for a short time around the city, and I didn't like it. I'm not sure if it was the bigger car I didn't like, or the inconsistent feel of the steering. Probably both.

I have a 2001 330i now and I love everything about the steering. Do you think ordering the new 330i without active steering is a bad idea or a good idea? I worry a bit about not ordering a car with the configuration the factory is most used to installing. I wonder if it will affect the quality of the manufacturing and the integration of all systems.

Your thoughts will be most appreciated.
I also have an '01 330i. I dove both an active/non active 530i at a Lexus test drive in Houston. I found the active steering very non-linear around the short slalom track. At times I thought the steering was fighting me, rather than helping me. I love my 330i retrofitted steering, and I would not take the chance on paying for active steering and having to get use to it. I don't think it is an option that I would regret not getting.

numbersguy
02-18-2005, 09:30 PM
Do you think ordering the new 330i without active steering is a bad idea or a good idea? I worry a bit about not ordering a car with the configuration the factory is most used to installing. I wonder if it will affect the quality of the manufacturing and the integration of all systems.


Build quality won't be affected by how the car is configured.

It seems like the main benefit of active steering is less turning of the steering wheel when parking. I suppose that what some customers really want is the ultimate parking machine. That's not what you want, is it?

MarcusSDCA
02-18-2005, 09:32 PM
I came from a 2001 330i sport to a 2004 545i sport...both steptronic and of course the 545 has the active steering. If you like the feel of your 330 now then DON'T get the active steering. I think it makes the drive a little quishy. Don't get me wrong...I got used to it very quickly and really appreciate it in all the many city miles I drive. But since you said you buy BMWs for the handling then I would stick with what you like.

Since I wanted the sport pak on my 545 I had no choice but to get the active steering. I wish I could drive the 545 w/o active steering but WITH the active rool stab. and the sport wheels and tires... The biggest unanswered question (and I've posted this before with no real snswer) is this: Is the 5 series steering squishy BECAUSE of active steering or not? Does the active steering only change the steering ratios or does it take away road feel? And, can you do one without the other?

All I know is I drove my friends new 325 with a stick and it really felt like a sport car compared to the squishy feel of the 5er. I assume BMW wants to sell to exec types/suits that want a bigger quieter car. Too much steering effort (translate: road feel) might be a turn off to some luxury car buyers.

Sorry for rambling: why can't BMW offer a "Sport Mode" for the steering system? Soft and squishy vs. Bicep busting? (or would that be tri-ceps or delts? hmm)

Cindy M
02-18-2005, 09:42 PM
Thanks everyone for the posts. Very helpful AND funny!

dynosor
02-21-2005, 12:30 AM
With conventional steering, more steering angle at higher speed for the same cornering radius means the front tires are slipping more than the rear, and you are pushing the car. Yet, active steering increases the steering angle required for the same cornering radius as speed increases by significantly more than would normally occur, in the name of safety. This will give the feeling that you are cornering harder than you really are, while at low speed the steering will more resonsive than you would expect.

Making the steering feel artificial with a variable ratio will force you to relearn your natural driving instincts that relate to cornering speed and the expected steering angle and load.

The steering response on the E46 is quite sharp compared to other cars and needs no help at low speed. Typically 3-series cars track straight with only a small area of slow response right on center for the sake of high speed stability. With the tires at the appropriate pressure, this makes the car corner almost telepathically with very little need for correction.

I would forgo the active steering, unless you are able to sample it on an extended test drive over all expected road and speed conditions before placing your order. That is, assuming you like it...

tierfreund
02-21-2005, 02:11 AM
Just a hint. The M-division currently does not fit active steering or the dynamic drive package to their cars. Not even the brand spanking new M5 and M6. Dynamic drive obviously beacuse the donīt need that far of a range between sport and comfort on an M and rather save the weight.

Reason given for not adding active steering in a recent german car mag: "Well, we feel it is not our job to install everything BMW has developed into an M"

Read: M-divison does not like the feel the active steering currently gives. Maybe later when itīs further developed.

From all whoīve driven it though: Itīs not awfull either. So if you should get it anyhow, youīll not be too unhappy.

voltron1011
03-15-2005, 05:41 AM
I think if your any kind of driving enthusiast to stay away from both active stearing and sequential gearboxes. The only benefit I see from the steering is that you don't have another accessory running off of your engine.

hmr
03-15-2005, 06:33 AM
I'd get it.

The E60 sport I drove once felt great with active steering (and active roll stabilization). Active steering is part of the electric power steering system, and the steering ratio given by the system is just right for the speed one's travelling.

brkf
03-15-2005, 08:33 AM
I'm a month or so away from ordering a 2006 330i with the Sport and Premium Packages and a manual transmission. I have NO idea whether or not to order active steering. Although I have autocross experience, I probably won't race this car, but I mention it because it's important to know that handling is the reason I buy BMWs. I drove a 5-series with active steering recently, admittedly only for a short time around the city, and I didn't like it. I'm not sure if it was the bigger car I didn't like, or the inconsistent feel of the steering. Probably both.

I have a 2001 330i now and I love everything about the steering. Do you think ordering the new 330i without active steering is a bad idea or a good idea? I worry a bit about not ordering a car with the configuration the factory is most used to installing. I wonder if it will affect the quality of the manufacturing and the integration of all systems.

Your thoughts will be most appreciated.

I wouldn't buy the active steering but that's just me. I don't like computers messing with the way a car drives. Throttle is one thing but steering? Yikes!

Rob325_in_AZ
03-15-2005, 11:51 AM
I wouldn't buy the active steering but that's just me. I don't like computers messing with the way a car drives. Throttle is one thing but steering? Yikes!

I agree. I wouldn't get it either.

Of all the things people complain about with BMWs, you never hear "they don't steer very well". I mean precise steering and handling was the first thing I noticed when I first test drove a 3-series a few years ago. It was the feeling of control that first attracted me to the car. No way I would trust a computer assisted steering with variable ratio.

cantona7
03-15-2005, 01:37 PM
I think active steering is a bit overhyped--both the positive and negatives. I drove a 645Ci at Drive For The Cure and didn't find out until afterwards that it had active steering. At the time, I thought that car was a blast to drive and handled just fine, whether it was in parking lots, on the highway, and taking corners agressively. The only thing more fun that day was a Z4. Still, I'm a bit leery of active steering and would try to drive a specific example of the car I'd be ordering with one--it might just be that active steering could feel different depending on individual series.