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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 10-09-2012, 10:22 AM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Thumbs down E90 loaner... I really miss my F30

So, my dealership has given me an E90 loaner today as they have a laundry list of items to take care of with my F30 including fixing a stubborn squeak in the console as well as giving the car a fresh detailing and giving me a heavily discounted window tint job.

Honestly, this E90 is a "nice" car, but it flat out is not in the same league as my F30 in any way shape or form.

The suspension is rock hard but offers no more road feel than I am getting from my F30 with adaptive-m suspension. The E90 is NOISY. I never thought the F30 was particularly silent until I hopped out of my F30 and did the same drive in this car. There was enough additional background and road noise that Siri could not even understand me dictating a text to my wife... something that never happens in the F30, and this is going 20 mph down a packed side street... not even cruising on the highway.

The 3.0 I6 engine and automatic gearbox in this older 328i (I think it's a 2011 with about 6000 miles) is good, but honestly it does not hold a candle to the N20 engine with 8 speed gearbox. Not only is the newer 328i noticeably faster (even when slogging the 200 lbs of x-drive around) but the N20 gives much better fuel economy. I almost always get about 34 mpg on my morning commute, but today, with the loaner I suspect I averaged mid 20's on the same drive.

The E90 also has very firm steering. I thought that my A4 had nice sporty firm steering but the steering on the E90 is VERY firm. I'll take the nicely weighted steering on my F30 in sports mode, thanks.

The E90 interior feels simply primitive compared to the F30.... it felt like I had stepped down to a Camry or Accord and that's not trying to be harsh on the E90. It's simply spartan and/or makes the F30 seem "plush" by comparison. Thin steering wheel, harder to read gauges (what the hell, where's my HUD?), joke of a cupholder (yes on a 1 hour drive I need a coffee at 6AM, sorry die-hards), tighter cockpit, etc.

All in all, I posted this because we have seen a lot of negative comments about how the F30 has gotten "soft". There's nothing "soft" about having a highly capable sports sedan with a much updated interior and technology that is also a blast to drive.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:01 AM
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Keep in mind your F30 probably cost $10K+ more than the E90. Also, keep in mind that you are comparing a loaded sport package F30 with dynamic suspension to a strip down E90. The F30 is a nicer car than the E90 in some areas, but rather if the F30 is worth the additional premium, that is for one to decide.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:03 AM
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Keep in mind your F30 probably cost $10K+ more than the E90. Also, keep in mind that you are comparing a loaded sport package F30 with dynamic suspension to a strip down E90. The F30 is a nicer car than the E90 in some areas, but rather if the F30 is worth the additional premium, that is for one to decide.
Certainly there is a price difference between the two, but I remain skeptical that even loaded up with options the E90 would offer much competition.

My criteria and that of other buyers will not be the same. However, I do believe that I am in the targeted demographic that BMW is after with the F30. Someone who wants a luxury sedan that is at the same time quite sporty.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:03 AM
shabadoo25 shabadoo25 is offline
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Oh, boy. You are opening a can of worms. To some boy racer types, that very firm steering is why you buy a BMW.

Otherwise, I agree with you. Trying to drive an E90 over rough terrain was positively teeth rattling. The F30 is a "better for all occasions" BMW, though the E90 might trump it in one or two. Not the cupholders, though.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:04 AM
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I haven't driven an F30 but it appears that in many respects it is a step forward from the E90, which it should be since it is a 7 year newer design. My biggest gripe with my E93 which I was able to solve (with no help from BMW I might add) was the harshness of the very poorly sorted out sports suspension and the OEM RFTs. It appears that issue has been greatly reduced, if not eliminated with the F30. As for the transmission I would like to compare an E9x with the ZF transmission (in other words a 335i) to an F30 with the 8 Speed. I found the 6 speed ZF to be a very good transmission but that does not mean there was no room for improvement and I have heard nothing but praise for the 8 Speed ZF. As far as noise goes my 335i is very quiet with the top up. I think the noise you are referring to may be due to the tires.

CA
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
Oh, boy. You are opening a can of worms. To some boy racer types, that very firm steering is why you buy a BMW.

Otherwise, I agree with you. Trying to drive an E90 over rough terrain was positively teeth rattling. The F30 is a "better for all occasions" BMW, though the E90 might trump it in one or two. Not the cupholders, though.
You summed it up pretty well. The E90's steering on the highway is second to none, in the city, some find it too tight while others are just fine with it. If a 3 series handles like a A4 or a S4, why should one buy a 3 series when I can save a few thousand by buying the competition. The F30 is a better overall everyday driver than the E90, but it has lost some of its legendary 3 series attribute and it is becoming more and more like the competition.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:11 AM
g37to335i g37to335i is offline
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I have had some descent seat time with an E90 328i loaner when I take my X5 for service. Maybe the manuals are more fun but I am yet to be convinced that the e90 328i is more fun to drive than the g37.
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  #8  
Old 10-09-2012, 11:18 AM
shabadoo25 shabadoo25 is offline
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The other thing I should mention is that the F30 328i was a quantum leap from the E90 328i. Less so for the 335i.

The new 328i convinced me I didn't need what the 335i had to offer. I don't think the same comparison in the E90 could be made.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:21 AM
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I never found the steering in the E9x to be overly stiff and neither did my wife. I think the steering feel is one of the best attibutes of he car. While I may not object to the fact that the F30 has lighter steering (won't know until I try one) at this point it is not something that I would look for. I also happen to like the E9x cup holders.

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  #10  
Old 10-09-2012, 11:30 AM
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Gotta agree VN. I will say I love the feel of the steering on the E90. Overall, it's an excellent car. But now that I've adapted to the steering of the F30 I prefer it.
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  #11  
Old 10-09-2012, 11:46 AM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voip-ninja View Post
So, my dealership has given me an E90 loaner today as they have a laundry list of items to take care of with my F30 including fixing a stubborn squeak in the console as well as giving the car a fresh detailing and giving me a heavily discounted window tint job.

Honestly, this E90 is a "nice" car, but it flat out is not in the same league as my F30 in any way shape or form.

The suspension is rock hard but offers no more road feel than I am getting from my F30 with adaptive-m suspension. The E90 is NOISY. I never thought the F30 was particularly silent until I hopped out of my F30 and did the same drive in this car. There was enough additional background and road noise that Siri could not even understand me dictating a text to my wife... something that never happens in the F30, and this is going 20 mph down a packed side street... not even cruising on the highway.

The 3.0 I6 engine and automatic gearbox in this older 328i (I think it's a 2011 with about 6000 miles) is good, but honestly it does not hold a candle to the N20 engine with 8 speed gearbox. Not only is the newer 328i noticeably faster (even when slogging the 200 lbs of x-drive around) but the N20 gives much better fuel economy. I almost always get about 34 mpg on my morning commute, but today, with the loaner I suspect I averaged mid 20's on the same drive.

The E90 also has very firm steering. I thought that my A4 had nice sporty firm steering but the steering on the E90 is VERY firm. I'll take the nicely weighted steering on my F30 in sports mode, thanks.

The E90 interior feels simply primitive compared to the F30.... it felt like I had stepped down to a Camry or Accord and that's not trying to be harsh on the E90. It's simply spartan and/or makes the F30 seem "plush" by comparison. Thin steering wheel, harder to read gauges (what the hell, where's my HUD?), joke of a cupholder (yes on a 1 hour drive I need a coffee at 6AM, sorry die-hards), tighter cockpit, etc.

All in all, I posted this because we have seen a lot of negative comments about how the F30 has gotten "soft". There's nothing "soft" about having a highly capable sports sedan with a much updated interior and technology that is also a blast to drive.
Good post and observations.

Of course, the four cylinder is still a sore spot with me. I know I can't change it, but I was reminded again yesterday of BMW's past production of smaller displacement inline sixes. I had forgotten they produced a 2.0 liter inline six in the past. I remain convinced if not for laziness they could have produced a smaller displacement inline six with forced induction that would achieve the same fuel economy and emissions as the N20. Especially mated to the fantastic ZF 8AT. Just imagine how enjoyable it would be to drive your 328i with that motor. Instead BMW chose to take the easy and lazy route of just chopping off two cylinders from the N55. They had the opportunity to maintain a unique advantage they held in the market segment and made the decision to forfeit it. It's a shame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I haven't driven an F30 but it appears that in many respects it is a step forward from the E90, which it should be since it is a 7 year newer design. My biggest gripe with my E93 which I was able to solve (with no help from BMW I might add) was the harshness of the very poorly sorted out sports suspension and the OEM RFTs. It appears that issue has been greatly reduced, if not eliminated with the F30. As for the transmission I would like to compare an E9x with the ZF transmission (in other words a 335i) to an F30 with the 8 Speed. I found the 6 speed ZF to be a very good transmission but that does not mean there was no room for improvement and I have heard nothing but praise for the 8 Speed ZF. As far as noise goes my 335i is very quiet with the top up. I think the noise you are referring to may be due to the tires.

CA
CA, I think you are too broad in calling the E9x sport suspension not well sorted. You yourself say you were very pleased with it in Florida. I think it would be more accurate and fair to say it was not designed for the streets of Manhattan. For the most part I have very few issues driving my sport suspension equipped E90 around the streets of Chicago. A few more issues than driving in Fort Worth, Texas, but not many.

The ZF 8AT is in another league all together from the ZF 6AT in the E9x. It is just an outstanding piece of engineering technology.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:01 PM
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The response from my friends who have all had a non-sport, automatic E90 328i to my car is "Wow, this car is actually good when it has a manual!"

I haven't driven an F30 yet, but I would imagine that the same difference is there between a stripped 328i and one that's well equipped, as mentioned above. The E90's xDrive system was garbage IMO, and giving that up was a quantum leap for me.

Also, the E90 cupholder is great (the hole where the iDrive knob would go, had I ordered it plus a coozie around my drink )
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post
Good post and observations.

Of course, the four cylinder is still a sore spot with me. I know I can't change it, but I was reminded again yesterday of BMW's past production of smaller displacement inline sixes. I had forgotten they produced a 2.0 liter inline six in the past. I remain convinced if not for laziness they could have produced a smaller displacement inline six with forced induction that would achieve the same fuel economy and emissions as the N20. Especially mated to the fantastic ZF 8AT. Just imagine how enjoyable it would be to drive your 328i with that motor. Instead BMW chose to take the easy and lazy route of just chopping off two cylinders from the N55. They had the opportunity to maintain a unique advantage they held in the market segment and made the decision to forfeit it. It's a shame.



CA, I think you are too broad in calling the E9x sport suspension not well sorted. You yourself say you were very pleased with it in Florida. I think it would be more accurate and fair to say it was not designed for the streets of Manhattan. For the most part I have very few issues driving my sport suspension equipped E90 around the streets of Chicago. A few more issues than driving in Fort Worth, Texas, but not many.

The ZF 8AT is in another league all together from the ZF 6AT in the E9x. It is just an outstanding piece of engineering technology.
I am hardly the only poster here that had issues with the E9x sport suspension and I did not coin the phrase "Pothole Explosions".

Belive it or not I rarely drive on the streets of Manhattan although on the few occaisions that I did the car was borderline undrivable. The E93 is a weekend car and is only used to get in and out of the city.

I had issues and pothole explosions on Route 46 in New Jersey, in Stamford, Ct, on route 95, on the Grand Central Parkway, an Interstate off-ramp in upstate New York on the way to Watkins Glen, in Putney, Vt. and scores of other places.

On the roads I regularly take through Western Ct. on the way from NYC to Lakeville, CT the rear end would bounce around and step out on bumpy curves. This is not a characteristic of what I would consider a well sorted out suspension.

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 10-09-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:19 PM
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I am hardly the only poster here that had issues with the E9x sport suspension and I did not coin the phrase "Pothole Explosions".

Belive it or not I rarely drive on the streets of Manhattan although on the few occaisions that I did the car was borderline undrivable. The E93 is a weekend car and is only used to get in and out of the city.

I had issues and pothole explosions on Route 46 in New Jersey, in Stamford, Ct, on route 95, on the Grand Central Parkway, an Interstate off-ramp in upstate New York on the way to Watkins Glen, in Putney, Vt. and scores of other places.

On the roads I regularly take through Western Ct. on the way from NYC to Lakeville, CT the rear end would bounce around and step out on bumpy curves. This is not a characteristic of what I would consider a well sorted out suspension.

CA
OK. Was it the type of suspension or the poor quality of the roads? Was the suspension well sorted for the quality of the roads in Florida?

I just completed a 1,100 mile trip on the interstate from Chicago to Fort Worth. I had zero suspension issues.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:23 PM
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I haven't driven an F30 but it appears that in many respects it is a step forward from the E90, which it should be since it is a 7 year newer design. My biggest gripe with my E93 which I was able to solve (with no help from BMW I might add) was the harshness of the very poorly sorted out sports suspension and the OEM RFTs. It appears that issue has been greatly reduced, if not eliminated with the F30. As for the transmission I would like to compare an E9x with the ZF transmission (in other words a 335i) to an F30 with the 8 Speed. I found the 6 speed ZF to be a very good transmission but that does not mean there was no room for improvement and I have heard nothing but praise for the 8 Speed ZF. As far as noise goes my 335i is very quiet with the top up. I think the noise you are referring to may be due to the tires.

CA
The 8 speed downshifts like a DCT. It's also very smooth. It's the only thing that left me impressed when I got out of the F30. The car's suspension also sorts out and soaks up any bumps in the road with ease. Even the M-Sport model is 'tame' on the streets of DC.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:23 PM
NoI4plz NoI4plz is offline
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I think this review is an excellent example of personal opinion and preference all mixed in a lovely light read. VoIP ninja wants the next big thing in BMW engineering in a 3 series saloon. Op clearly wants a car that can offer amazing on road performance without sacrificing comfort, and the post clearly exemplifies this. None of the back history of why the new f30 is garbage.

That being said, I do appreciate the last paragraph, but beg to differ. I think if we look at any review we have to consider one thing, what the individual drivers/reviewers preferences are. If you personally think that the f30 is awesome for your needs, then no amount of convincing and debating will probably change that since, your needs are different from those who are convincing otherwise.

For me I think I believe the comment the f30 has gone soft, but that's personally great for me and BMW. I love the handling and road feel communicated on the prior e generation cars. They would always seem ready for anything. However myself and possibly a ton of others hated driving e series cars when you were tired or didn't want to lug around the weighted feeling of the road. That's where Audi and MERC came and offered their take on what a luxury car should feel like, MERC w floaty yet supremely comfortable and Audi with middle ground between mb and BMW. BMW couldn't hold a candle to these two since they were strictly road feel oriented. This generation capitalizes heavily on tuning the car to the individual driver. You have different drive modes, with varying suspension feel, steering feel, engine response and so on. The only thing is you have to pay 2 play which benefits BMW and brings every type of driver to give BMW a chance. This intern helps us by customizing the way we want a car to feel at any given time. However the soft comment comes with the pay 2 play idea. Back when the e90 was sold, you could purchase any model base or high end and expect a classic BMW feel to the car. Road noise was absent, drive 100mph and you felt you were doing 50 since it was built like a tank, and road feel was always there. Try that with a base f30 and you would probably think you were driving a MERC or an Audi, the classic BMW response is missing. However if you check the right boxes and add couple to the msrp that classic BMW is back. That's why I believe the f30 is softer Than the e90.

Finally in regards to comparing the previous generation over the current over transmission, road noise, and other gripes I think it's somewhat unnecessary since, if the next generation doesn't vastly improve over the previous, what's the point of paying for a new vehicle?.... Plus the i4 has To be quieted since they tend to be vastly noiser than 6s (squeal vs rumble)

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Old 10-09-2012, 12:36 PM
Jamesonsviggen Jamesonsviggen is offline
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Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post
Good post and observations.

Of course, the four cylinder is still a sore spot with me. I know I can't change it, but I was reminded again yesterday of BMW's past production of smaller displacement inline sixes. I had forgotten they produced a 2.0 liter inline six in the past. I remain convinced if not for laziness they could have produced a smaller displacement inline six with forced induction that would achieve the same fuel economy and emissions as the N20. Especially mated to the fantastic ZF 8AT. Just imagine how enjoyable it would be to drive your 328i with that motor. Instead BMW chose to take the easy and lazy route of just chopping off two cylinders from the N55. They had the opportunity to maintain a unique advantage they held in the market segment and made the decision to forfeit it. It's a shame.


.
Pop the hood on an N20.

Its architecture allows nearly the entire engine to be behind the axle center line. Any inline 6 would have been less than ideal compared to how this is situated.

I also do a lot of my own work. My S52 can be a nightmare. Meanwhile there is a lot of room with the N20, I can basically reach in and place both hands on the turbo.

To me the only thing the N20 lacks is noise. It will never sound like a 6, but it can still sound GOOD. My car is being used as we speak(dyno'ing today) for what should be a great sounding exhaust option.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:04 PM
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NoI4plz, very well said. It all depends on the target consumer. For example, I was looking for a well rounded mid size car. The last gen 5 series was not comfortable enough for me, but it was much sportier than the F10, too bad that was not what I was looking for. The same can be said with the F30, its a well rounded car, but the non sport line versions does not feel as sporty as the the base E90. That doesnt make it a bad car if the buyer is looking for a comfortable car with a some sportiness to it. The sport line does offer better sporty feel, but now we are taking about a car in the high $40K and up.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:10 PM
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OK. Was it the type of suspension or the poor quality of the roads? Was the suspension well sorted for the quality of the roads in Florida?

I just completed a 1,100 mile trip on the interstate from Chicago to Fort Worth. I had zero suspension issues.
It was the suspension.

I could not change the quality of the roads but was (easily and relatively inexpensively) able to change the suspension and was able to solve the problem with absolutely no downside. Cars should be designed to work well in real world conditions that will be encountered by a significant number of drivers. I was not exactly driving on unpaved logging roads. I was driving the car on public roads in heavily populated areas where BMW sells a very large number of cars, and in some cases in not so heavily populated areas where BMWs are not as common.

I did not have an issue with the suspension in South Florida but since the car is no longer in South Florida that is somewhat of a moot point. I also did not have an issue with the heater (and don't in the Northeast either but if I did the fact that it was OK in Florida would be of little consolation if it could not keep up with Northeast winter temperaures). I purchased the car in Palm Beach but did not purchase the "Florida Only" model. I don't think expecting to drive the car in the Northeast without breaking it (8 tires and 5 rims had to be replaced) is unreasonable,

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 10-09-2012 at 01:15 PM.
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  #20  
Old 10-09-2012, 01:11 PM
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voip-ninja voip-ninja is offline
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Adjusted for inflation the price of the F30 is similar to the E90 until you get into some of the more esoteric options that weren't even available on the E90 such as adaptive suspension and safety features like overhead parking cameras, advanced cruise control with radar, blind spot detection, etc.

Don't get me wrong, the F30 is a VERY pricy car for what it is.. but that's comparing it to other cars in the segment, not other BMWs (new or old). Back when I test drove the F10 I wanted the F10 feature set but I felt that the F10 drove like a boat. I wanted something just a touch more comfortable/roomy than my B7 A4 but still able to attack corners when called upon and enough get up and go to keep me happy. F30 delivers but yes you have to tick the right boxes.

Honestly, I think for most 3 series buyers, they will probably be delighted with what they get in a base level F30 now that they've added power seats with memory, split rear seat fold-down, etc. If I remember correctly, John said that most of the F30s being sold at their dealership were "strippers". BMW knows their customers well.

I had extensive experience with a base 2012 F30 in CA and I would still say that it would eat the E90 in 90% of situations and spit the seeds out.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:16 PM
NoI4plz NoI4plz is offline
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Originally Posted by voip-ninja View Post
I had extensive experience with a base 2012 F30 in CA and I would still say that it would eat the E90 in 90% of situations and spit the seeds out.


Thank god, or BMW would have a debacle similar to the new Honda civic in their portfolio.

The idea isn't to compare old 3 design features vs new 3's design feature since each group will say their better, rather compare with minimal bias, does the new improve on the central vehicle features that you the driver hold most important. If it does, than yes your absolutely satisfied and you should have a cheeky smile.if not then its time Rethink your next purchase, and try to find a vehicle that brings a cheeky smile every time you drive it.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:22 PM
samualcc samualcc is offline
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Same experience. I had my F30 in for service and they gave me a 2011 E90 loaner. About the only things I enjoyed about it was the engine note (classic BMW) and MAYBE a more connected steering wheel. Otherwise the inside is just awful compared to the F30, the engine is anemic when paired with the old 6 speed auto, and it just felt dark and uninviting to be in.

I also found the steering to be trying to hard on the stiffness. I never thought that stiffness = connectivity. I feel that the sport mode on the F30 is a pretty good middle ground between lexus light, and E90 insane steering heft. Strangely enough my buddies 2007 335i does not have the insane stiffness in the steering, is this something new to the late mode E90s?
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:28 PM
NoI4plz NoI4plz is offline
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Originally Posted by samualcc View Post
Same experience. I had my F30 in for service and they gave me a 2011 E90 loaner. About the only things I enjoyed about it was the engine note (classic BMW) and MAYBE a more connected steering wheel. Otherwise the inside is just awful compared to the F30, the engine is anemic when paired with the old 6 speed auto, and it just felt dark and uninviting to be in.

I also found the steering to be trying to hard on the stiffness. I never thought that stiffness = connectivity. I feel that the sport mode on the F30 is a pretty good middle ground between lexus light, and E90 insane steering heft. Strangely enough my buddies 2007 335i does not have the insane stiffness in the steering, is this something new to the late mode E90s?
Does your buddies 07 have active steering. If so, that changes ratios on the fly,aand tends to feel a lot different then the standard heft of an e90
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:32 PM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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The comments about heavy steering in the E90 are leaving me scratching my head. I never found the steering in my 2007 35i to be heavy and neither did my wife and we both frequently drive other cars.

Of course I hated the stock sport suspension on my E9x and others have no issue with it at all so who's to say?



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Last edited by captainaudio; 10-09-2012 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:14 PM
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JustinTJ JustinTJ is offline
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Originally Posted by shabadoo25 View Post
Oh, boy. You are opening a can of worms. To some boy racer types, that very firm steering is why you buy a BMW.

Otherwise, I agree with you. Trying to drive an E90 over rough terrain was positively teeth rattling. The F30 is a "better for all occasions" BMW, though the E90 might trump it in one or two. Not the cupholders, though.
When I got home from two weeks of ED driving my new F30, I honestly thought the power steering was broken in my Z3 for the first day driving it.

Maybe I'm getting older, but I'm happy.
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