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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 (2012 - current)
The sixth generation 3 series, chassis code F30. 2013 model year 328i and 335i sedans now in production. Read the F30 frequently asked question thread for all your basic question and dive into all the details in the ultimate F30 information thread.

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  #1  
Old 02-14-2012, 11:51 AM
neilsarkar neilsarkar is offline
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[Opening a can of worms] Did anyone else test drive 328i and miss the N52?

First of all, let me state that N20 engine is a major feat of engineering. I cannot think of any other (non-hybrid) engine right now that sips 30+ mpg with mid-5 second 0-60 acceleration.

That said, I test drove a 328i last evening and the only thing I disliked about the car is N20. When I traded my TSX for a E90, the buttery smoothness, linear power delivery, and turbine-like wail of the naturally aspirated N52 mesmerized me (and still do). I rev the engine from a red-light just to hear it moving past 5000 rpm -- it's music to my ears.

Sadly, I sorely missed all these in the new 328i . It offers plenty of power, but does not sound good and/or feel good doing so. I think BMW has a hit in their hand with N20, but a handful of people (including me) who prefer refinement and finesse over raw performance number will always feel nostalgic for N52, the epitome of BMW's naturally aspirated straight-six awesomeness.

R.I.P. N52.
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2012, 11:55 AM
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They make a N55 if you must have a I6. N20 is very impressive.
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2012, 12:06 PM
neilsarkar neilsarkar is offline
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Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
N20 is very impressive.
I whole-heartedly agree.
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2012, 12:26 PM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
They make a N55 if you must have a I6. N20 is very impressive.
N55 is not NA so it's a fail to those who cut and paste engine qualities from Car and Driver.
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  #5  
Old 02-14-2012, 02:25 PM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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Neilsarkar,

I drove a 328i Modern (Mineral Gray / All Beige Interior) this past weekend in Denver. I took it out for a good 45 minutes to test both highway and city driving. While the N20 is a noteable advancement in efficiency engineering, it doesn't feel or sound like a true BMW. The combination of the lighter steering (which makes it feel less accurate imo), softer ride and the quintessential sound and shake of a 4 cylinder really had me disappointed. The new 328 is a car that will attact more non-BMW drivers/buyers to the BMW brand precisely becuase it is moving towards being less of a BMW and more like competitors in the small sedan market. Granted, I did not drive the Sport Line 328i with adaptive sport steering; that model could potentially quell my steering and ride woes, but for me I opted for a 2012 E91 Sport with the N52. In the words of my brother: "There is no replacement for displacement" (2.0L vs. 3.0L).

Build quality item I noticed on the test drive: The mirrors vibrate pretty badly when you shut the front doors. Could have just been the one I drove.
Personal taste item: The all beige modern interior is sure to make an exit from the line-up. Otherwise, the cabin was fine.

It will be a big seller.

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  #6  
Old 02-14-2012, 02:38 PM
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This being the 1st gen 4 cylinder turbo, BMW will likely make one that sounds better and is smoother in the future.

BMWs have always been about compromises, and this is a necessary one for the base 3 series. I do think BMW should start offering more than 2 engines like they do everywhere else but here in the Land of Freedom.
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  #7  
Old 02-14-2012, 02:52 PM
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People are blowing this whole 4 cylinder turbo BMW thing completely out of proportion. It's hilarious because even with all this bitching, it will probably sell like hot cakes and win many comparisons

In fact, I'm probably buying a 3 series in the next year and was HOPING for a small displacement turbo. I refuse to get a N/A I6. The N52 wasn't even that great. If I want power, I'm coughing up for the 335i, but if I want a small, sporty feeling car with decent power, the turbo 4 does the job perfectly

Last edited by AutoUnion; 02-14-2012 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:11 PM
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Horses for courses. I'm hanging on to my '08 328i for the normally aspirated six. I like the N20 for its economy, but the advantages even in fuel consumption are small.
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  #9  
Old 02-14-2012, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
People are blowing this whole 4 cylinder turbo BMW thing completely out of proportion. It's hilarious because even with all this bitching, it will probably sell like hot cakes and win many comparisons

In fact, I'm probably buying a 3 series in the next year and was HOPING for a small displacement turbo. I refuse to get a N/A I6. The N52 wasn't even that great. If I want power, I'm coughing up for the 335i, but if I want a small, sporty feeling car with decent power, the turbo 4 does the job perfectly
+1, going from the N54(which was a beast) to the N52 which is very underpowered(especially torque) the N20 fits me perfectly. Small drop off in performance compared to the turbo 6, and i had no issues with sound or refinement from the motor while driving it. Had the 335 come with the N54, it would have complicated the decision.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:16 PM
georgejm georgejm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
People are blowing this whole 4 cylinder turbo BMW thing completely out of proportion. It's hilarious because even with all this bitching, it will probably sell like hot cakes and win many comparisons

In fact, I'm probably buying a 3 series in the next year and was HOPING for a small displacement turbo. I refuse to get a N/A I6. The N52 wasn't even that great. If I want power, I'm coughing up for the 335i, but if I want a small, sporty feeling car with decent power, the turbo 4 does the job perfectly
Have yet to drive any model (sat in one with wrapping paper fresh off the truck) last week while X5 getting oil change. How can one be sporty and not the other? Folks read wayyy too much as real world driving is not the track. I will go with the 335i when the time comes but the future really is much like the N20. If you have not noticed each year that goes by the auto love affair light gets a little dimmer. Not meant to be a downer cause I'm not, just looking back on the years and can see where the road leads to. I love love love my X5 and look forward to the 335 coupe, have fun.
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  #11  
Old 02-15-2012, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgejm View Post
Have yet to drive any model (sat in one with wrapping paper fresh off the truck) last week while X5 getting oil change. How can one be sporty and not the other? Folks read wayyy too much as real world driving is not the track. I will go with the 335i when the time comes but the future really is much like the N20. If you have not noticed each year that goes by the auto love affair light gets a little dimmer. Not meant to be a downer cause I'm not, just looking back on the years and can see where the road leads to. I love love love my X5 and look forward to the 335 coupe, have fun.
I think what the point I'm trying to get across is that the N20 is a better engine than the torqueless N52. A base 328 with the N52 isn't sporty. Frankly, it's slow as hell. Sure it sounds good, but that's it. If I'm dropping money on a E90, it sure as hell isn't a watered down I6. I would cough up for the 335i. But for the F30, that is not needed. The base model's engine is tremendously sporty feeling, loves to rev, and sounds decent.

The Audi A4 comes with a 2.0T and we don't see people bitching about it do we?

Maybe I'm just a fan of small turbo 4 engines in general, but unless I'm willing to spend more for the FI 6, the N20 isn't a bad engine. It is better in every way to the N52
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  #12  
Old 02-15-2012, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
+1, going from the N54(which was a beast) to the N52 which is very underpowered(especially torque) the N20 fits me perfectly. Small drop off in performance compared to the turbo 6, and i had no issues with sound or refinement from the motor while driving it. Had the 335 come with the N54, it would have complicated the decision.
This. The N55 Is a noticeable downgrade to the N54

Last edited by AutoUnion; 02-15-2012 at 07:48 AM.
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  #13  
Old 02-15-2012, 07:46 AM
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raleedy raleedy is offline
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"Slow" is relative. N52 powered 328i is quicker than any M5 prior to the E39.
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  #14  
Old 02-15-2012, 08:09 AM
mohrgan mohrgan is offline
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"Slow" is relative. N52 powered 328i is quicker than any M5 prior to the E39.
My RWD 6 MT M Sport 328i is not slow by any means. Once it hits 4K, it's very quick. The trick is to keep it in that range if you are looking to have fun. Yes, it is not a "Torque Monster" but I keep my cars a long time and put a lot of miles on them so reliability is a key factor in my purchase decision.
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  #15  
Old 02-15-2012, 08:37 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is online now
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The Audi A4 comes with a 2.0T and we don't see people bitching about it do we?
The only people bitching about it are those I referenced in my post above.
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  #16  
Old 02-15-2012, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mohrgan View Post
My RWD 6 MT M Sport 328i is not slow by any means. Once it hits 4K, it's very quick. The trick is to keep it in that range if you are looking to have fun. Yes, it is not a "Torque Monster" but I keep my cars a long time and put a lot of miles on them so reliability is a key factor in my purchase decision.
Well said. No complains with my 328i either. With 230hp rating this car is faster and more pleasant than most of Japanese 300hp+ cars. I find it to have very nice low-end torque (compared to lets say 270hp Honda Accord V6 which has 0 torque till it spins up past 5K).

The car is plenty fast off the line too. Yes, I red line it pretty much all the time I drive it, but it's good to hear that engine rev.
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  #17  
Old 02-15-2012, 10:13 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
I think what the point I'm trying to get across is that the N20 is a better engine than the torqueless N52. A base 328 with the N52 isn't sporty. Frankly, it's slow as hell. Sure it sounds good, but that's it. If I'm dropping money on a E90, it sure as hell isn't a watered down I6. I would cough up for the 335i. But for the F30, that is not needed. The base model's engine is tremendously sporty feeling, loves to rev, and sounds decent.

The Audi A4 comes with a 2.0T and we don't see people bitching about it do we?

Maybe I'm just a fan of small turbo 4 engines in general, but unless I'm willing to spend more for the FI 6, the N20 isn't a bad engine. It is better in every way to the N52
It's wrong to say the N52 is "slow as hell". If the N20 does 0-60 in about 5.5 seconds according to Car and Driver and the N52 5.9 according to the same magazine, that's not a very large difference. I'm not commenting on the sportiness of the N20 but the difference is pretty small. And for sure the N52 is sporty. It eagerly roars to the redline and in the midrange gets on the cam and scoots.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:22 AM
SuperTerp SuperTerp is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
It's wrong to say the N52 is "slow as hell". If the N20 does 0-60 in about 5.5 seconds according to Car and Driver and the N52 5.9 according to the same magazine, that's not a very large difference. I'm not commenting on the sportiness of the N20 but the difference is pretty small. And for sure the N52 is sporty. It eagerly roars to the redline and in the midrange gets on the cam and scoots.
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...st+page-3.html

The 07 version got 6.1, so 5.5 to 6.1 is a big difference. Again I've not spent allot of time around 328s, so I have no idea the changes that have or haven't taken place since 2007.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
It's wrong to say the N52 is "slow as hell". If the N20 does 0-60 in about 5.5 seconds according to Car and Driver and the N52 5.9 according to the same magazine, that's not a very large difference. I'm not commenting on the sportiness of the N20 but the difference is pretty small. And for sure the N52 is sporty. It eagerly roars to the redline and in the midrange gets on the cam and scoots.
Yes, it might not be slower on paper, but I prefer the torque curve of a FI motor any day of the week next to an anemic NA I6. You don't have to rev the balls off the turbo to get fantastic performance
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:50 AM
SuperTerp SuperTerp is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
Yes, it might not be slower on paper, but I prefer the torque curve of a FI motor any day of the week next to an anemic NA I6. You don't have to rev the balls off the turbo to get fantastic performance
I'd also wager the turbo helps the average driver post better numbers, I'm sure for them to get that 5.9 it was a professional driver.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:55 AM
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I'd also wager the turbo helps the average driver post better numbers, I'm sure for them to get that 5.9 it was a professional driver.
I think that's a reasonable statement to make

I think the turbo will also help owners get better MPG numbers too (as long as one stays out of the boost)
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  #22  
Old 02-15-2012, 11:19 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is online now
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Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
Yes, it might not be slower on paper, but I prefer the torque curve of a FI motor any day of the week next to an anemic NA I6. You don't have to rev the balls off the turbo to get fantastic performance
But I like the idea of revving an engine to its redline. It's great fun and sounds great. I'll reserve judgement on the N20 until I drive one but I prefer the idea of a hi revving engine to the US model of a low revving torque monster. I also prefer a MT which allows you to control the car more.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:28 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is online now
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Originally Posted by SuperTerp View Post
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...st+page-3.html

The 07 version got 6.1, so 5.5 to 6.1 is a big difference. Again I've not spent allot of time around 328s, so I have no idea the changes that have or haven't taken place since 2007.

I doubt anyone can tell a .2 second difference and there isnt a documented test of an F30 328 yet as far as I know. But the point is that the e90 328 is not as AutoUnion says above "slow as hell". That's just dumb.

I'm not trying to compare the two engines but I'm looking forward to a test drive of the F30. It's amazing that BMW got this much HP and 10-15% better gas mileage out of this engine. It may not have the free revving character of the N52 but it's very fast and efficient.
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  #24  
Old 02-15-2012, 12:43 PM
kck7 kck7 is offline
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Things change. The insane population growth the planet has seen over the past x decades dictates lots of changes for those of us who can remember those days. Food tasted better, water was cleaner, traffic was lighter, people had more time to talk to you, etc. Along with all those things going to heck we have too many people driving too many cars, with the attendant fuel consumption that demands, which means cars have to get more fuel efficient.

If you are rich you can still buy gas-guzzlers, just like the rich could always do things the regular folk couldn't.

OTOH medicine is better (dubious benefit; this is part of what causes population growth), we have the internet (another dubious benefit) and airbags (see item 1).
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:55 PM
dtc100 dtc100 is offline
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I agree with the OP, the N20 is fast on the foot and will make many people happy, especially those who migrate from the competing brands. But once you are used to the N52 rev, the N20 felt like a diesel.

Anyone who thinks the N52 is slow, probably never liked to rev high, if so, what a waste of driving that N52, but the N20 will be perfect for you I agree.
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