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F30 / F31 / F32 / F33 / F36 (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 10-16-2011, 06:47 PM
Cognition Cognition is offline
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Hope that Fantastic Steering Isn't Gone

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Reading through the press release material, it appears that the 'old' hydraulic steering is now gone, replaced by a new electric model.

This change from analog to digital occured in the 5 series and test reviews have shown that the steering has been considered numb and less-involving.

Will this happen to our beloved 3-series?

I'm sorry to say this but if that classic, you-can-feel-everything-the-front-tires-are-doing steering has been replaced, I won't be buying the new 3.

It's all about the steering.
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2011, 08:25 PM
Gold323Ci Gold323Ci is online now
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I can attest the that new 5 Series steering does feel way too Lexus like. We can only hope the tuners at BMW got the steering right on this new F30. Here's what you will read in BMW Media Information, 10/2011, Page 27:

The new BMW 3 Series is fitted with the electromechanical power steering system EPS (Electronic Power Steering), which uses an electric motor to provide steering assistance, with no concessions on the sporty steering characteristics for which this sedan is noted. EPS only operates when steering assistance is actually required: no electrical power is consumed during straightline driving or steady-state cornering. That is what differentiates electromechanical steering from hydraulic systems, which use power and therefore fuel even when not providing steering assistance.

Highlights of this system include not only high efficiency but also low weight, high steering precision with good feedback, and comfort-enhancing self-centering and anti-roll characteristics. The BMW 335i and 328i are both equipped as standard with the Servotronic function for speed-sensitive power assistance.

Optional Variable Sports Steering
Optionally a new variable-ratio steering system can be specified. Variable Sports Steering provides different steering gear ratios depending on the angle of the steering wheel, so that the new BMW 3 Series responds either more directly or more softly to the driver's inputs. This reduces the number of steering wheel rotations required for bigger turns by up to 25 per cent and makes for easier, more convenient parking and turning since less effort is required from the driver. Also, the handling is sharper in general, for example when very sudden evasive action is called for. At smaller steering angles between zero and 100 degrees, on the other hand, the Sedan provides high standards of track-holding and straightline stability, and offers very precise response to steering changes. The variable-ratio steering is a purely mechanical system based on a variable-ratio steering rack.
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2011, 11:16 PM
bmw5151 bmw5151 is offline
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Electric Steering Assist

Many manufacturers are going with electronic assist to gain efficiency (MPG) - as there is no drag on the engine without the belt driven pump. Haven't heard raves about anyone's electronic system yet. Even Porsche has gone electric with the new 911.

I have an E60 550i and F25 X3, and the steering feel is like night and day. The 550i being terrific, and the X3 feeling very Lexus like (and it has the "sport steering). It is accurate, but very numb. Sad.

Hopefully, the F30 will be one of the first vehicles to have great feeling electronic steering, but I doubt it. Especially if hydraulic assist will be available as an option with Active Steering? Is BMW hedging its bets?
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  #4  
Old 10-17-2011, 10:19 AM
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dandanio dandanio is offline
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I have the electric steering (revised) in my F25 X3. I have to admit, it is not half as bad as the one I had in my 5-series tester. It is still a far cry away from my e92 steering feel though...
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2011, 10:24 AM
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Yikes....fuel efficiency is great but why mess up a good steering. How about weight reduction instead. The new 5 series is horrible...I might as well be playing a $50 video game at home...
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  #6  
Old 10-17-2011, 10:53 AM
PhilH PhilH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cognition View Post
This change from analog to digital occured in the 5 series and test reviews have shown that the steering has been considered numb and less-involving.
The new 6 Series' steering is getting bad reviews too. This one really hit home with me when I read it.

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...take_road_test
Quote:
Originally Posted by Car & Driver
2012 BMW 650i Convertible - Short Take Road Test - BMW's Duck Hunt Continues
September 2011

If we may, a hypothetical situation for the reader: Say a family of ducks lives in your yard. And when the neighbor kid mows your lawn, he runs over a duckling. Youd complain, right? And if he kept doing it, youd continue to complain until he finally stopped? (For the purposes of this illustration, you must retain his services.)

We ask because we realize were repeating ourselves, but the reader must understand that BMW has been dicing some ducks. We cried foul after the company fitted the 5-series with a new electric power-steering system, as it deprives the driver of any feel through that most important of automotive interfaces. Now BMW has fitted the 6er with this system. Its as if there were a rogue faction within the Bayerische Motoren Werke that is trying to scuttle the mother ship. Were particularly disappointed because the setup otherwise has everything we want in really good steering: immediacy and satisfying weight. The steering effort is variable via the 6s standard driving-dynamics-control system, but none of the settings (comfort, normal, sport, or sport plus) results in any communication.
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  #7  
Old 10-17-2011, 11:41 AM
Robert A Robert A is offline
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I drove a 650i recently and it felt very disconnected. At the end of the drive, I got back in my 530i with active steering and realized that I had a much better system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilH View Post
The new 6 Series' steering is getting bad reviews too. This one really hit home with me when I read it.

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...take_road_test
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  #8  
Old 10-17-2011, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw5151 View Post
Many manufacturers are going with electronic assist to gain efficiency (MPG) - as there is no drag on the engine without the belt driven pump. Haven't heard raves about anyone's electronic system yet. Even Porsche has gone electric with the new 911.

I have an E60 550i and F25 X3, and the steering feel is like night and day. The 550i being terrific, and the X3 feeling very Lexus like (and it has the "sport steering). It is accurate, but very numb. Sad.

Hopefully, the F30 will be one of the first vehicles to have great feeling electronic steering, but I doubt it. Especially if hydraulic assist will be available as an option with Active Steering? Is BMW hedging its bets?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gold323Ci View Post
I can attest the that new 5 Series steering does feel way too Lexus like. We can only hope the tuners at BMW got the steering right on this new F30. Here's what you will read in BMW Media Information, 10/2011, Page 27:

The new BMW 3 Series is fitted with the electromechanical power steering system EPS (Electronic Power Steering), which uses an electric motor to provide steering assistance, with no concessions on the sporty steering characteristics for which this sedan is noted. EPS only operates when steering assistance is actually required: no electrical power is consumed during straightline driving or steady-state cornering. That is what differentiates electromechanical steering from hydraulic systems, which use power and therefore fuel even when not providing steering assistance.

Highlights of this system include not only high efficiency but also low weight, high steering precision with good feedback, and comfort-enhancing self-centering and anti-roll characteristics. The BMW 335i and 328i are both equipped as standard with the Servotronic function for speed-sensitive power assistance.

Optional Variable Sports Steering
Optionally a new variable-ratio steering system can be specified. Variable Sports Steering provides different steering gear ratios depending on the angle of the steering wheel, so that the new BMW 3 Series responds either more directly or more softly to the driver's inputs. This reduces the number of steering wheel rotations required for bigger turns by up to 25 per cent and makes for easier, more convenient parking and turning since less effort is required from the driver. Also, the handling is sharper in general, for example when very sudden evasive action is called for. At smaller steering angles between zero and 100 degrees, on the other hand, the Sedan provides high standards of track-holding and straightline stability, and offers very precise response to steering changes. The variable-ratio steering is a purely mechanical system based on a variable-ratio steering rack.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cognition View Post
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Reading through the press release material, it appears that the 'old' hydraulic steering is now gone, replaced by a new electric model.

This change from analog to digital occured in the 5 series and test reviews have shown that the steering has been considered numb and less-involving.

Will this happen to our beloved 3-series?

I'm sorry to say this but if that classic, you-can-feel-everything-the-front-tires-are-doing steering has been replaced, I won't be buying the new 3.

It's all about the steering.
+1
It is official?
BMW has lost it's way.
Or does not care about it's own history?
The "mothership" is sputtering and heading for a nose dive into the abyss

While brands like Lesus (IS-F) and Audi (RS 5)...are moving closer & closer the the M3 legacy and clearly inspired about what BMW has done in the past...
...BMW continues to move towards the numb bling bling glamour saloons
FAIL.
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  #9  
Old 10-17-2011, 07:15 PM
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Beha Beha is offline
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I heard new M5 steering wasn't impressive also...
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2011, 07:43 PM
JBsZ06 JBsZ06 is offline
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Think positive that BMW has the most sales in the three series.

I'd suggest waiting until anyone can test drive a new F30.
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  #11  
Old 10-17-2011, 10:29 PM
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SD Z4MR SD Z4MR is offline
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Originally Posted by JBsZ06 View Post
Think positive that BMW has the most sales in the three series.

I'd suggest waiting until anyone can test drive a new F30.
I agree!

Just because BMW put a numbed-down EPS system in the F10 and then in the F12/F13 why does everyone automatically believe that they will put this same exact system in the F30? Those models were designed more for the luxury market than the sport market. The 3 Series is BMW's bread and butter and they still define the sport sedan segment. I believe that they will put a more appropriate EPS system in the F30. I'm at least going to wait and test drive one before condemning BMW in advance with no hard data.
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  #12  
Old 10-18-2011, 12:12 AM
TMQ TMQ is offline
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Well, pretty much every automaker is going this route, so it's hard to fault BMW. Anyway, I think we just have to wait and see - the optional sport steering is probably a must have for enthusiasts.
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  #13  
Old 10-18-2011, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beha View Post
I heard new M5 steering wasn't impressive also...
Huh? Where did you hear that? The M5 is supposed to have hydraulic steering. I heard some reviews complaining about the turbo lag (which is surprising as BMW has gotten turbo lag under control in previous M and non-M FI engines), but your comment is news to me.

Please share your source.
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2011, 01:21 AM
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Is it this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=1qPbNv4D4M8

or this
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  #15  
Old 10-18-2011, 02:55 PM
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There was a post in the 5-series forum from a member who picked up his 2012 and he reports the steering has much better feel than the 2011... so maybe it is sorted out.
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  #16  
Old 10-31-2011, 02:45 PM
LS2 MN6 LS2 MN6 is offline
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All cars are moving to EPS, some OEM's have stopped development of HPS entirely.

BMW isn't new to EPS, in fact they helped the supplier (ZFLS) launch their first "belt drive" unit in the mid-2000's. The E60 and the E90 in Europe have had EPS since launch, the US cars retained the hydraulic setup because BMW feared a US backlash after the horrid steering reviews given in magazines on cars with column drive systems (such as the old Z4).

Tuning is a big factor in how EPS feels, not the hardware. You can take a system and make it feel like a dead fish then change a few settings and bam it's better than a hydraulic setting. With EPS you can have different tuning files based on trim level, and even based on the sport\comfort modes you now find in cars.

There are three basic types of EPS and they have various pros and cons:

Column Based Systems: The Electric Motor is mounted on the Steering Column in the passenger compartment. This offers a packaging benefit for small cars (like the old Z4). However since you now have to transmit the full steering force further upstream you have to significantly increase the size of the intermediate shaft. This can cause problems that can't be overcome by tuning. Most of the "disconnected" and crappy feeling systems have high isolated I-shafts that don't transmit torque to the manual rack well thus giving you a "dead" feeling.

Dual Pinion Based Systems: This is one of the two "Rack EPS" type systems, it relies on a second Pinion which then has a worm wheel and gear that is then attached to the electric motor. So the motors torque is delivered mechanically thru this second pinion directly to the rack. Most VW's and Audi's use this type of system. And while it's an excellent system, it doesn't have the oomph at higher rack loads to get a smooth feel. For that there is the next option

Belt Drive Systems: This is the high end "Rack EPS" system, it uses a Belt on the end of the motor which is attached to a recirculating ball unit that moves linearly on the rack. The ball nut unit is thus the main force transferring device. It has a robust design which allows smooth motor torque delivery to the rack. This system is used in current BMW's, newer Mercedes Benz cars and is coming to Ford and GM.

I've driven my Uncles European E60 (he lives in Germany) and I was totally satisfied with the Belt Drive EPS.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:53 PM
Robert A Robert A is offline
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OT question for you about the E60.

My 2007 E60 has active steering, which feels much improved and far more linear, than the early 2004 cars that I drove at launch. I always assumed that the improvement between 04 and 07 was a matter of tuning from BMW, but now I wonder if the steering systems are fundamentally different. Would you know about this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LS2 MN6 View Post
All cars are moving to EPS, some OEM's have stopped development of HPS entirely.

The E60 and the E90 in Europe have had EPS since launch, the US cars retained the hydraulic setup because BMW feared a US backlash after the horrid steering reviews given in magazines on cars with column drive systems (such as the old Z4).

EPS.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:58 PM
LS2 MN6 LS2 MN6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
OT question for you about the E60.

My 2007 E60 has active steering, which feels much improved and far more linear, than the early 2004 cars that I drove at launch. I always assumed that the improvement between 04 and 07 was a matter of tuning from BMW, but now I wonder if the steering systems are fundamentally different. Would you know about this?
I could find out for certain (this may take some time). But I would suppose that more likely it's a combination of software and tuning. If the hardware was changed, it more than likely was only the actuator.
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:22 AM
adgrant adgrant is offline
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Originally Posted by bmw5151 View Post
Many manufacturers are going with electronic assist to gain efficiency (MPG) - as there is no drag on the engine without the belt driven pump. Haven't heard raves about anyone's electronic system yet. Even Porsche has gone electric with the new 911.

I have an E60 550i and F25 X3, and the steering feel is like night and day. The 550i being terrific, and the X3 feeling very Lexus like (and it has the "sport steering). It is accurate, but very numb. Sad.

Hopefully, the F30 will be one of the first vehicles to have great feeling electronic steering, but I doubt it. Especially if hydraulic assist will be available as an option with Active Steering? Is BMW hedging its bets?
The E70 is more fun to drive than the new 5.
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:59 AM
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SilverX3 SilverX3 is offline
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I drove new 1 series with new electric steering

Bad news it steers like a corolla
It sux
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:28 AM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is offline
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Numb steering +
4 cyl turbo =

E92 is my last BMW.
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  #22  
Old 11-02-2011, 06:58 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pony_trekker View Post
Numb steering +
4 cyl turbo =

E92 is my last BMW.
What are you going to get instead? All the cars in this class will eventually have electronic steering and 4 cylinder engines. Audi has had turbo 4's for a very long time and the next C series Mercedes certainly will have EPS. The new E series has it.

CAFE standards are driving all of this.
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  #23  
Old 11-02-2011, 07:27 AM
tagheuer tagheuer is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
What are you going to get instead? All the cars in this class will eventually have electronic steering and 4 cylinder engines. Audi has had turbo 4's for a very long time and the next C series Mercedes certainly will have EPS. The new E series has it.

CAFE standards are driving all of this.
yeah, but BMW is now far from anything special, its the same as everybody else.

Things have changed dramatically over the last 12 years, since I got my first BMW in 1999 and three more since.

But for me, BMW has jumped the shark. Its clearly going in a direction that no longer interests me...more luxury, less sport, more whiz bang computer tech and much less about the driving experience.

That is a choice, and probably a very profitable choice...and I am not passing judgment on that choice, its just not for me. I don't care about HUD displays, laser cruise control, lane departure warning, etc.

All of those "features" make the car more expensive, complex and don't add anything to the pure driving experience.

I had a 535 loaner for the past 4 days while a radio problem was being sorted out in my e90, and I have to say the steering was a BIG let down. My co-worker also had a 2011 Acura TL loaner while his 2001 NSX was having an oil change, and we drove those back to back, several times, and I honestly preferred the steering in the Acura to the 5 series, it had a more direct feel.

On the way in this morning I saw a fat blonde lady driving a white 535 and she was drinking a 32oz 7/11 drink (probably diet coke).

This is the new demographic for BMWs, people with money, who like heated leather seats, Zagat restaurants in the NAV, and automatic transmissions.

I'm holding out hope for the F30, but I can't imagine the steering will be fantastic...unless they pull off a miracle.
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  #24  
Old 11-02-2011, 08:42 AM
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dandanio dandanio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagheuer View Post
Its clearly going in a direction that no longer interests me...more luxury, less sport,
Get an M5/M3, or your best choice: 1M. I am pretty sure it WILL make you happy.
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  #25  
Old 11-02-2011, 09:23 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagheuer View Post
yeah, but BMW is now far from anything special, its the same as everybody else.

Things have changed dramatically over the last 12 years, since I got my first BMW in 1999 and three more since.

But for me, BMW has jumped the shark. Its clearly going in a direction that no longer interests me...more luxury, less sport, more whiz bang computer tech and much less about the driving experience.

That is a choice, and probably a very profitable choice...and I am not passing judgment on that choice, its just not for me. I don't care about HUD displays, laser cruise control, lane departure warning, etc.

All of those "features" make the car more expensive, complex and don't add anything to the pure driving experience.

I had a 535 loaner for the past 4 days while a radio problem was being sorted out in my e90, and I have to say the steering was a BIG let down. My co-worker also had a 2011 Acura TL loaner while his 2001 NSX was having an oil change, and we drove those back to back, several times, and I honestly preferred the steering in the Acura to the 5 series, it had a more direct feel.

On the way in this morning I saw a fat blonde lady driving a white 535 and she was drinking a 32oz 7/11 drink (probably diet coke).

This is the new demographic for BMWs, people with money, who like heated leather seats, Zagat restaurants in the NAV, and automatic transmissions.

I'm holding out hope for the F30, but I can't imagine the steering will be fantastic...unless they pull off a miracle.
The 5 series has certainly gone in the direction of luxury and that's what the market wants. I seriously doubt that will be the case with the F30. You'll be able to option it with the luxury package but the chassis is not that much different than the current e90 which has set the class standard for the last 6 years.

Also, you seem to be living in the 1970's or 1930's regarding BMW's target market. They've been a luxury car for decades. There is little market for a $40K hair shirt sedan. Sure you can get a WRX but most of us are not 25 years old and willing to live with plastic interiors.

I have not problem with having luxury features on my e90 328. I love the way it handles and goes.

If you don't want the electronic safety aids, they are optional.
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