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-   -   I'm driving an F30 (328i and 335i) on the track tomorrow... (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=598135)

Emission 02-01-2012 06:01 PM

I'm driving an F30 (328i and 335i) on the track tomorrow...
 
I spent today tooling around in both the new 328i (AT) and the new 335i (6MT). Tomorrow, I will drive both at Laguna Seca (and bring a 335i 6MT Sport home for a week or so).

Being a former E36, E46 and E90 owner I know the 3 Series sedan. So, what do you want me to report back on? I assume most of you have seen the car... if not, do you want specific pics?

Let me know, and I will check this thread after dinner.

BTW, I am up here with all of the F30 engineers and Ludwig (CEO). If you have a specific engineering question, please post them and I will pass them on!

- Mike

SD Z4MR 02-01-2012 06:19 PM

Mike, I think I mentioned this to you at the VDC Tour, but you just have one of the coolest jobs ever!

I'm particularly interested in the following:
  • How the new electric steering feels
  • Whether the 335i has the optional variable sport steering and how that feels

Overall, I am interested in your feedback on how the 335i steers, brakes, and accelerates. It will be interesting to get your feedback on the relative performance of the 328i vs. the 335i since they're now so close on paper.

Great track to wring out the new F30!

Emission 02-01-2012 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SD 335is (Post 6603281)
Mike, I think I mentioned this to you at the VDC Tour, but you just have one of the coolest jobs ever!

I'm particularly interested in the following:
  • How the new electric steering feels
  • Whether the 335i has the optional variable sport steering and how that feels

Overall, I am interested in your feedback on how the 335i steers, brakes, and accelerates. It will be interesting to get your feedback on the relative performance of the 328i vs. the 335i since they're now so close on paper.

Great track to wring out the new F30!

I can say that my first impression is that the steering in the 335i feels artificial (consider that I drive a '12 X5, one of the last pure hydraulic steering systems which BMW offers). However, after about ten minutes it felt pretty good. I need to mess with the settings (sport, normal, etc...) as they change feel too. More on that tomorrow.

- Mike

Inline Sixer 02-01-2012 06:34 PM

Mike,

I too am interested in the steering feel. How bad is it going to be?

Will it feel sluggish from a rolling start? The 5-60 times are above 7 seconds. Will this determine the biggest performance gap between the 328i and the 335i?

In the sport line, is the red trim on the inside too annoying? I love the piano black panel but it can only come with this eye-burning red trim. This concerns me.

How many false alarms will I get out if the lane departure warming?

How's the HK sound system?

No pressure Mike, but the future of the 3-series in the eyes if bimmerfest depends on your review. :rofl:

MMME30W 02-01-2012 06:38 PM

1) You so suck out loud
2) How much BMW "DNA" does the car have?

PS just kidding on #1. Love to have your job. :bigpimp:

JoeFromPA 02-01-2012 06:52 PM

From an engineering standpoint:

1. Has the suspension emphasized a greater degree of comfort than previous generations in their mission?

2. How do they feel about the current generation of fuel delivery on these vehicles? Do they feel it's been worked out?

3. What changes have been made to the braking system and what was their intent?

4. Did they learn anything from the e90 series, which introduced the first turbo engine since the 2002, that they couldn't take advantage of in that chassis/design but now can? I.e. better placement of cooling ducts/air intake/oil coolers? Looking for improvements from the e90 that specifically relate to engine life, performance, reliability/longevity, etc.

5. Any fancy new stuff done with the valvetrain itself? I.e. I think the e90 introduced hollow magnesium cams (I could be wrong) with their new engine. What's different with the new 335 from a powertrain perspective from the last e90 335i?

....

Just thinking off the top of my head. I don't really read the new 3-series as having changed alot from an engineering standpoint - it's more "I'm bigger, weigh less, look better, and have better interior design" and less "I have a revolutionary suspension"

4susan2 02-01-2012 06:56 PM

we are looking at a 328i sport trim with auto and paddle shifters. Currently driving an E46, and tested a 335D which felt big and bulky. I'm hoping the new model in 328i trim will feel a bit lighter on it's feet. Balance and feedback is what I think makes my BMW a joy... does this new 328i still have it?

Inline Sixer 02-01-2012 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeFromPA (Post 6603391)

Just thinking off the top of my head. I don't really read the new 3-series as having changed alot from an engineering standpoint - it's more "I'm bigger, weigh less, look better, and have better interior design" and less "I have a revolutionary suspension"

Joe, the change on everyone's mind, and a cause for anxiety is the shift to electric steering. Those that have test driven the F10 and felt spooked by the lack of feedback are particularly concerned.

SD Z4MR 02-01-2012 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inline Sixer (Post 6603329)
In the sport line, is the red trim on the inside too annoying? I love the piano black panel but it can only come with this eye-burning red trim. This concerns me.

I sat in the red 328i F30 Sport Line that was at the NAIAS. As others have said, it's not the same red as the body color, but it's matte and more muted. I didn't find it objectionable, but I might opt to wrap it if it's the only available option. I'm also under the impression that my tastes aren't nearly as conservative as most others on Bimmerfest. I'm sure there will be plenty of aftermarket companies provided all sorts of wraps for this.

I also sat in the 335i F30 with the M Sport Package and I found the blue even less objectionable.

Inline Sixer 02-01-2012 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SD 335is (Post 6603462)
I sat in the red 328i F30 Sport Line that was at the NAIAS. As others have said, it's not the same red as the body color, but it's matte and more muted. I didn't find it objectionable, but I might opt to wrap it if it's the only available option. I'm also under the impression that my tastes aren't nearly as conservative as most others on Bimmerfest. I'm sure there will be plenty of aftermarket companies provided all sorts of wraps for this.

I also sat in the 335i F30 with the M Sport Package and I found the blue even less objectionable.

Yup. The bottom line I guess is that this is too subjective. I'll have to see it for myself!

AutoUnion 02-01-2012 07:50 PM

Hey Mike,

1) Steering feel
2) is the HUD full color?
3) Does the new interior design still retain that "cockpit" feel?
4) ask the engineers if the diesel is coming

thanks!

brkf 02-01-2012 09:22 PM

Emission:

My two biggest worries:

Weight... does the F30 335i feel as heavy as the e90 328i, e90 335i or e46 ZHP?
Steering... on sport+ does it provide feel on par or better than the e46 ZHP, e90 328i ZSP, e90 335i ZSP?

The weight loss intrigues me but the electric steering scares me unless the mode I'd tend toward anyway (sport+) is as good as I want for a non-M.

pcbrew 02-01-2012 09:25 PM

  1. Steering feel, esp. differences between Normal, Sport, Sport+
  2. Differences in power & acceleration between 28i & 35i, any lag in either on 5-60?
  3. What is the iDrive like at night - a little worried about a big, distracting, glowing screen sitting there on the dash.
  4. 8AT vs. 6MT assessment, even if you don't have same engine to compare
  5. Can I fly out this weekend and borrow the 335i/6MT for a drive up the coast on Sat?:drive:

Emission 02-01-2012 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4susan2 (Post 6603404)
we are looking at a 328i sport trim with auto and paddle shifters. Currently driving an E46, and tested a 335D which felt big and bulky. I'm hoping the new model in 328i trim will feel a bit lighter on it's feet. Balance and feedback is what I think makes my BMW a joy... does this new 328i still have it?

I spent a lot of time in the 328i (non-sport) with the 8AT today. It feels very light and nimble.

Yes, it is very fun to drive... very much a BMW. However, my first impression is that the F30 isn't as quiet as some of its competitors -- there is audible road and wind noise at speed -- but some would argue they make the driving experience more involving.

BMW has focused tons on the safety, electronics and driver interface (ergonomics). This is good, actually, as they haven't screwed up the BMW dynamics. :thumbup:

I am going to do a 5-hour road trip on Friday afternoon (BMW is giving me a car to drive from Monterey to my home in Los Angeles). That will be telling.

- Mike

Emission 02-01-2012 10:51 PM

Thanks for all of the questions... I am writing them down and will get answers.

BTW, I sat next to Bill Auberlen at dinner tonight. While I have met him countless times, it was my first opportunity to really spend a couple hours in solid conversation. Long story short, despite his fame as one of BMW's best drivers, he is a really nice guy who very much enjoys talking cars with enthusiasts. It was a great meal, with great company. Of course I made him take off his Daytona Rolex (yeah, from winning the race!) so I could check it out... :thumbup:

BMW has a good friend in Mr. Auberlen.

- Mike

tturedraider 02-02-2012 12:16 AM

Mr. Emission,

It seems to me you have more to do than you can possibly do well by yourself. You would be much more productive with a dedicated assistant. I would be happy to fill that position. I'm confident I could add great value to your work.


OK, now the questions. IIRC, the "Driving Experience" switch affects the steering and throttle response. Is that correct? And these response settings can also be adjusted within iDrive.

What does the Variable Sport steering do? How does it compare to Active Steering?

What are the mechanical differences between the standard suspension and the sport suspension? What are the differences between the sport and the M Sport suspensions?

What and how will the M Adaptive suspension change the suspension settings with the sport suspension and the M Sport suspension, respectively?

Even BMW has indicated the N20, even with all their design efforts, is not able to match the inherent smoothness of the inline six. To the hardcore inline six and BMW enthusiast how will the N20 feel in comparison to an inline six?

Thanks for doing this.

Phil

Emission 02-02-2012 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutoUnion (Post 6603581)
Hey Mike,

1) Steering feel
2) is the HUD full color?
3) Does the new interior design still retain that "cockpit" feel?
4) ask the engineers if the diesel is coming

thanks!

I know some of these:

1) Different. More on this tomorrow.
2) Yes, the first ever in this segment.
3) Yes, every bit as cockpit feel.
4) Diesel is coming... I think it has been already announced. I can check.

- Mike

Emission 02-02-2012 12:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tturedraider (Post 6604013)
Mr. Emission,

It seems to me you have more to do than you can possibly do well by yourself. You would be much more productive with a dedicated assistant. I would be happy to fill that position. I'm confident I could add great value to your work.


OK, now the questions. IIRC, the "Driving Experience" switch affects the steering and throttle response. Is that correct? And these response settings can also be adjusted within iDrive.

What are the mechanical differences between the standard suspension and the sport suspension? What are the differences between the sport and the M Sport suspensions?

What and how will the M Adaptive suspension change the suspension settings with the sport suspension and the M Sport suspension, respectively?

Even BMW has indicated the N20, even with all their design efforts, is not able to match the inherent smoothness of the inline six. To the hardcore inline six and BMW enthusiast how will the N20 feel in comparison to an inline six?

Thanks for doing this.

Phil

You'd hate me even more if I brought you along... unlimited track time in someone else's car and with their tires... ;)

The N20 isn't nearly as smooth as the N55. I immediately said it had a diesel-like idle... no fooling me. It will never feel or sound like an inline-six. On the other hand, it pulls really well once boost builds up (no worries there). Many of my friends (ahem, well-known magazine journalists) who drove on the track today prefer the 328i over the 335i due to its balance. I'll make my own determination. :confused:

- Mike

VDPHB 02-02-2012 12:33 AM

Hey Mike,

I've owned an E46 328i and am in an E90 335i. I'd love if you could share your opinion on the following:

N20 Engine - I know the performance specs are there, but how's the quality/character/sound of it after being spoiled by inline sixes? Also, outside of character, how does the performance "feel" compared to the N55?

8 Speed Auto - 6 Speed being preferred, but 8 speed being more efficient, is it too many gears and how is the transmission for "enthusiast" everyday driving?

Handling/Ride - If you were able to experience them in the real world, how's runflat integration and did the F30 lose the "aggressiveness" of a Sport Package equipped E90 (i.e. is it closer to an Audi A4 in feel now?)

Overall feel/quality/heftiness - Overall impressions of quality and/or cost cutting?

Thanks so much!

7or8 02-02-2012 06:52 AM

Like pcbrew asked, is the new idrive screen distracting during night time driving?

And I've got the same question as tturedraider, how does the m adaptive suspension really differ from the sport suspension in driving dynamics? Up to this point, there's been very little reviewers information on the difference in feel between sport and M sport suspension so far. Hopefully you'll get to test out the differences.

Thanks for going out of your way with letting us list out our questions Mike! It's appreciated!

Customisbetter 02-02-2012 07:21 AM

How quick are the the manual shifts with the 8 speed?

Can you aim the dash vents towards the drivers hands easily?

Can you reach the base of the windshield easily to clean it?

If one of your dumb friends tries to jump on the hood or trunk will it leave a dent?

justinnum1 02-02-2012 07:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Customisbetter (Post 6604400)
How quick are the the manual shifts with the 8 speed?

Can you aim the dash vents towards the drivers hands easily?

Can you reach the base of the windshield easily to clean it?

If one of your dumb friends tries to jump on the hood or trunk will it leave a dent?

Maunal shifts are lightning quick. Noticelably quicker than the zf 6speed in the e90

dtc100 02-02-2012 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Emission (Post 6604018)
... Many of my friends (ahem, well-known magazine journalists) who drove on the track today prefer the 328i over the 335i due to its balance. I'll make my own determination. :confused:

- Mike

Please let us know. What have made the 335i less balanced?

Less refined N20 is no surprise.

westwest888 02-02-2012 10:09 AM

@Emission - Take note of the engine temp after a 30 minute session, please.

Emission 02-02-2012 04:53 PM

Okay, so I just spent the day on the track with four different versions of the F30:

328i 6MT Sport
328i 8AT Sport
335i 6MT Sport
335i 8AT Sport

My time was equally spent, about 30-40 minutes in each back-to-back. All damn fun. :thumbup:

That said, in order of which is fastest around the track (assuming identical wheel/tire packages). My butt timer:

1--335i 8AT Sport
2--328i 8AT Sport (tie)
2--335i 6MT Sport (tie)
3--328i 6MT Sport

Okay, before you all soil your shorts... the N55 engine is heavier and placed much further forward in the nose of the 335i when compared to the N20 in the 328i. When driving both vehicles around the track at 10/10ths, the 335i will understeer much quicker (plow) while the 328i has faster turn-in. And, the big four-piston front brakes on the 335i (vs. the single-piston front brakes on the 328i) are offset by its additional mass. There is no obvious advantage on the track.

The 8AT is just about flawless on the track, cracking off bloody-fast shifts and always seeming to be in the torque curve. So good, that it makes the 6MT feel sloppy and with tall ratios (even Bill Auberlen said the 8AT is faster than the 6MT).

So, which keys would I grab first for driving on a track (not the fastest, but the most enjoyable):

1--328i 6MT Sport
2--335i 6MT Sport
3--328i 8AT Sport
4--335i 8AT Sport

Which keys would I grab first for driving on the street (money no object):

1--328i 6MT Sport
2--335i 6MT Sport
3--328i 8AT Sport
4--335i 8AT Sport

Lastly, which keys would I grab first if I was paying for the vehicle:

1--328i 6MT Sport
2--328i 8AT Sport
3--335i 6MT Sport
4--335i 8AT Sport

Being honest here, I feel the performance difference between the N20 and N55 doesn't warrant the price premium. They are less than 1/2 second apart to 60 mph. If the N55 was tuned to 340 horses, my tune would change.

That said, the N20 is buzzy as all hell. It feels like a four-cylinder engine in terms of vibration and sounds like a damn diesel at idle (super loud fuel rail). It doesn't try to be an inline-6 and it shouldn't. It does sound kinda cool at WOT.

The answers to some of your above questions to follow.

- Mike

LA Folk -- I may bring one car (335i 6MT Sport) down to Orange County on Saturday to show it off... if you want to check it out. More details to follow.


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