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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > X Series > X3 F25 (2011 - current)

X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #1  
Old 08-22-2011, 05:40 PM
vptrails vptrails is offline
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Mein Auto: 2011 X3 X35i
New to Forum - Some opinions please

I'm new here. I have an X3 X35i on order to be delivered late September. I was more interested in the driving dynamics and a few electronics features so I order the X3 without the premium package itself but with navigation, a back up camera and the sport activity package. I was looking to keep the vehicle at a certain price point so I ranked all the things I wanted and decided against the premium package so that I could get some of them.

I have a few questions for all of you:

1) What did those with the Sport Activity Package think of it? It was either this or DHP. sport activity package and not the dynamic handling package. It was one or the other. I believe both packages have DDC, performance control and adjustable throttle, steering and transmission shifting characteristics. DHP goes a couple of steps further with suspension adjustments & variable sport steering but SAP came with paddle shifters, sports seats, a "sport"transmission and some attractive exterior features.

2) Is the sport transmission in the SAP package any different from the regular transmission or is it just considered "sport" because it comes with paddle shifters?

3) Regarding seating, I chose to go with leatherette and not upgrade to leather. I couldn't really see much of a difference between the two in black except that the leather had more stitching to it. I looked at a 3 year old car with leatherette and the material looked brand new and held up very well. Has anyone who chose leatherette regret doing so?

Any input, thoughts, recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 08-23-2011, 06:26 AM
KeithS KeithS is offline
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I can answer 2 out of the 3. I don't own an X3 (but am thinking about one to replace our 2000 540iT now that BMW has left us touringless).

2). It's the exact same transmission, just the addition of the paddles. No different than shifting using the center console shift lever.

3) Leatherette holds up just as well if not better than leather. To me the largest difference is the smell! But don't laugh, your nose adds to the experience.
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  #3  
Old 08-23-2011, 06:51 AM
BruceOmega BruceOmega is offline
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Mein Auto: 2008 535Xi, 2006 X3 (wife
Quote:
Originally Posted by vptrails View Post
.....

2) Is the sport transmission in the SAP package any different from the regular transmission or is it just considered "sport" because it comes with paddle shifters?
.....
I'm hoping someone with detailed knowledge will respond to this.

FWIW, I made an assumption that this option on the new X3 offered the capabilities of the sport automatic transmission option offered on the 2008 535i and 550i cars (I was closely tracking at the time)- when in the proper sport mode, the transmission has faster shifts, and it rev matches on downshifts.

Bruce
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2013 335i xDrive, Mineral Grey, Sportline, Black/Red leather, Dynamic Handling, Shockware, Sport AT, Performance Tires, Increased Top Speed, Premium Pkg, Cold Weather Pkg, HK audio
2011 X3 35i, Titanium Silver, Black Nevada, Fineline Wave Wood, Premium, Technology, Cold Weather, Dynamic Handling, Sport Activity, 19" wheels, Premium Hi-Fi, Sat Radio
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  #4  
Old 08-23-2011, 07:17 AM
KeithS KeithS is offline
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Remember transmissions are now electronically shifted. The features you are describing are available by selecting 'sport' mode, which is in all BMW automatics regardless of options (I have it in my 2000 540). My understanding is if you select the dynamic handling package option, there is additional tuning of those shifting settings as well as changes to throttle response, etc.

Transmission will rev match as much as possible at all times to minimize jolting and wear and tear. Not as critical in an automatic (with a torque converter) as in a DCT or SMG trans (no torque converter). The comment about faster shifts and rev matching sounds like you are describing the DCT, not the automatic.

Not sure why any of this would be so important. It's still an automatic transmission.

Last edited by KeithS; 08-23-2011 at 07:18 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-23-2011, 02:40 PM
vptrails vptrails is offline
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Mein Auto: 2011 X3 X35i
Thanks for the input. I did notice a difference in the way the leatherette smelled vs the leather. The way the sales person described it to me is that leatherette smells more like a typical new car where as leather seating smelled more like a leather jacket than a new car smell if that makes any sense.

Regarding the transmission, I figured it might be the same transmission. It's a little misleading calling it a sport automatic transmission but the transmission itself in the car a test drove was fantastic. I don't know how much better it could get other than having the ability to change the shift points or throttle sensitivity depending on your driving mood for the day.

Anyone with SAP that can describe the difference between how the normal mode felt vs the sport mode. It looked like you could change just the steering itself and not the shift points if you just wanted a little heavier steering. I hope that ultimately holds true.
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  #6  
Old 08-24-2011, 08:58 AM
BruceOmega BruceOmega is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithS View Post
..... The comment about faster shifts and rev matching sounds like you are describing the DCT, not the automatic.

Not sure why any of this would be so important. It's still an automatic transmission.
My comments were based on forum discussions of the experiences of 2008 550i and 535i owners who opted for the Sport Automatic Transmission. It was not an SMG or DCT, but a Steptronic where, as I understand, the control parameters could be changed by putting it in an SAT Sport mode that was not available on the regular Steptronic. There was a transmission Sport button on those SAT 5 series cars that looks similar to the Sport button on a 135i with DCT.

The shift times were faster than the regular Steptronic, analogous to the shift times of a DCT being faster than a MT. And the rev matching was the equivalent of blipping the gas pedal when down shifting a MT, reportedly different than what happens when downshifting a regular Steptronic.

The difference was owners who used to opt for a MT over a regular Steptronic were happy with the performance of the SAT.

What I don't know is whether the performance features of the '08 550i/535i SAT option in the 5 series are included in the new X3 35i with SAP, or whether its just an advertising term.

Bruce
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2013 335i xDrive, Mineral Grey, Sportline, Black/Red leather, Dynamic Handling, Shockware, Sport AT, Performance Tires, Increased Top Speed, Premium Pkg, Cold Weather Pkg, HK audio
2011 X3 35i, Titanium Silver, Black Nevada, Fineline Wave Wood, Premium, Technology, Cold Weather, Dynamic Handling, Sport Activity, 19" wheels, Premium Hi-Fi, Sat Radio

Last edited by BruceOmega; 08-24-2011 at 09:24 AM.
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  #7  
Old 08-24-2011, 11:14 AM
KeithS KeithS is offline
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I think bottom line it's all for user perception. Be willing to bet there is only very very tiny to no difference in actual performance.
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  #8  
Old 08-24-2011, 12:27 PM
mspringer mspringer is offline
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vptrails

I've had a 35i with SAP and DHP for a month and 1500 miles. Prior to ordering I had tested this configuration as well as a base X3 and one equipped with SAP only. I ordered both options because I wanted the seats and paddles from the SAP and the extra chassis and body control from the DHP. Base X3s and SAP only cars have the same suspension system which was a little soft and floaty for my tastes and lacked the control of body and chassis movements I wanted. The DHP did help in this regard. However, if the ride and and control in the base or SAP cars is to your liking there is no reason to get the DHP. If there is really a difference in steering I haven't felt it. Going to sport mode will increase steering weight but certainly doesn't add any feel.

I much prefer the SAP seats, and if you're going to do any shifting I find the paddles more convenient to use than the shifter. The transmission is the same in all of the cars, and you can access sport mode in all (without the SAP just move the shifter to the left). One more point, in SAP or DHP cars you can program sport mode to be chassis only (steering, torque vectoring, suspension (DHP) ), or chassis plus transmission. I have mine set to chassis only. As far as throttle mapping, that's something I never really understood, it doesn't make the car any faster, and you can always compensate with your right foot.

Marty
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2011, 06:27 PM
vptrails vptrails is offline
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Mein Auto: 2011 X3 X35i
Thanks for the insights again guys. I did find that the ride was a little softer than I'd like with the base suspension - not too soft but just softer than I would have thought for a BMW. I did find the sport seats to be more comfortable with the thicker side bolsters they had and felt more contoured to my body.

If the transmission is really the same - that wouldn't be bad because the transmission is excellent to begin with.

Now I'm wondering if I should add DHP to the list of options before its too late. My concern with DHP originally (since there were no X3's available with it to test drive) was that the normal setting would actually be softer than a non-DHP X3's regular suspension. That was something I definitely didn't want. I would like the normal setting to be the same and the sport setting to be noticeably firmer but not jolting in any way.

Marty,

Did you find the sport setting firmness with the DHP to be that much more noticeable than the x3 you test drove without DHP?

Last edited by vptrails; 08-24-2011 at 06:28 PM.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2011, 08:48 PM
mspringer mspringer is offline
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Mein Auto: M3 & X3
I think the the DHP in normal mode may be a little softer than the standard suspension but the differences didn't seem to be great. However, my comparison is a little uncertain since while I drove each multiple times the tests were never back to back on the same roads. However, every test drive I came away feeling that each was a little too soft for my liking and that the DHP in sport mode mitigated that feeling and was better overall. Bear in mind there is some added ride harshness. but for my tastes it was the best compromise and I drive the car with the chassis setting in sport mode all the time. My likes may be different than most as I really put a premium on control of chassis and body movements and don't mind a firm ride - for perspective my other car is an E46 M3.

However, like I said earlier if you didn't find the stock suspension too soft, skip the DHP. It adds initial cost, complexity, and I'm sure will be more expensive to repair for little benefit. My car is leased which mitigates the cost concerns. If I had to pick between the SAP and DHP I'd choose the SAP.
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  #11  
Old 08-25-2011, 06:46 AM
BruceOmega BruceOmega is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithS View Post
..... Be willing to bet there is only very very tiny to no difference in actual performance.
That may well be the case on the new X3. May not be any difference!

But I do not think that was the case with the '08 5 series with the Sport Automatic Transmission option. All Steptronics I have used have the ability to move the shift lever to the left to put it in sport mode, and the ability to manually upshift and downshift, but the SAT was an additional mode beyond that. It was the same physical automatic transmisison, but with a special control mode turned on or off by a dedicated sport button at the base of the shift lever. Cars without the SAT option did not have this button.

Sorry to belabor this, but reason I brought it up is BMW is capable of providing a higher performance version of their automatic transmission. I can't remember where I read this but I saw something from a BMW engineer saying everything else being equal, a Steptronic is lighter than a DCT and they can make the Steptronic shift almost as fast as the DCT.

But, this may not have any relevance to the new X3.

Bruce
__________________
2013 335i xDrive, Mineral Grey, Sportline, Black/Red leather, Dynamic Handling, Shockware, Sport AT, Performance Tires, Increased Top Speed, Premium Pkg, Cold Weather Pkg, HK audio
2011 X3 35i, Titanium Silver, Black Nevada, Fineline Wave Wood, Premium, Technology, Cold Weather, Dynamic Handling, Sport Activity, 19" wheels, Premium Hi-Fi, Sat Radio
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  #12  
Old 08-26-2011, 03:57 AM
vptrails vptrails is offline
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Mein Auto: 2011 X3 X35i
Marty,

Thanks again for your insight. It really helps clear things up for me. Between the additional exterior flare and the sports seats, I think I'm really going to like the SAP. The fact that it tightens up the steering a bit is an extra bonus for me as well. I also wanted to be able to adjust the throttle sensitivity to help keep any lag in pedal responsiveness at bay. On a test drive that the 28i, the pedal had a noticeable lag in responsiveness from a complete stop. The 35i was a better at that mitigating that. From what I've read in some of the threads here, setting the accelerator setting to sport mode should further add to the pedal's responsiveness.

Because I'm buying the X3 and not leasing it, less complexity is probably better. Maybe I'll skip the DHP, I still have some time to decide. If all goes well, I plan to keep the X3 for many years.

Last edited by vptrails; 08-26-2011 at 04:00 AM.
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