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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 10-12-2012, 08:42 AM
Jokerswld34 Jokerswld34 is offline
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2013 328 N26 M Sport quick review

Last night I finally picked up my N26 M sport to replace my N20 Sport with the vibrating steering. Ive only put a few miles on her but I wanted to comment on some differences I noticed and a review of the car so far. Both cars were equipped exactly the same except I opted for the Dynamic handling package this time with M Adaptive and VSS with summer tires.

First, the EBII color in person is stunning and the M sport kit really makes the 3 series look amazing. Its an eye catching combo. I also like the staggered wheel set up on the 18s better too. The tire profile offers a bit more lip protection and looks much better than those skinny 225s on the sport. The ride height also seems lower than my Sport was as far as wheel gap and stance. I also really like that the black trim around the windows is painted gloss black not the matte that the sport came with. The flow around the windows is much nicer now IMO.

On the inside, the M steering wheel, foot plate and door sills definitely dress up the interior. The steering wheel is so soft and provides much better feel and visibility to the tach. Worth the M sport package alone! I also got woodgrain on black leather and I think it really suits this car (vs the red stitching with gloss black trim).

I have noticed a few subtle changes to the Air Con system from the 2012 Sport where they added some words to the buttons. On the extended tach i also noted an Auto start/stop icon that pops up to show if its active or inactive (didnt have that on the sport). The most noticeable change though was the seats. They are much more comfortable than the SPorts were. They look exactly the same but the padding, leather and support are much much better than my Sport was. My sport seats were very hard and took some getting used to to get comfortable. My wife hated sitting in them for any extended period. The new seats are much more supple, with the same bolstering and support; which makes the misses very happy! The doors seem better insulated and have a much nicer thud when closing than my Sport did (which always sounded cheap and slammed hard every time the door closed) One option I do miss is the auto high beams which apparently is a separate add-on I was unaware of...

Onto the drive, the M adaptive and VSS are worth the upgrade! What a difference it made to the driving experience! Comfort mode is perfect now without so much stiffness on the bumpy roads, and in Sport the ride is very solid. Its so nice to be able to configure Sport to have stiffer chassis setting without the twitchy throttle. With the DHP, the car feels much more planted and sops up bumps much nicer than the Sport did. Im sure the summer Conti SSRs are also adding to the nicer ride. The car has a more solid feel to it and doesnt rock you around over every bump. DHP is a must have option over the sport suspension!!!

As for the engine and tranny, I havent played too much. I did do I few pulls to seat the rings but have only used manual gear shifts to keep in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear. I dont want to kick down too much until the 350 mile tranny break-in period. I will say the N26 feels like a different motor than the N20 did. So far the N26 is quieter and has less turbo lag. The boost does not kick in as violently as in the N20 but it does seem to hold a more linear power delivery (even with the BMS tune installed on both motors). I sense a bit more restriction on airflow in and out, and the engine note sounds a little different than the N20 (but that could change as she breaks in). I also noticed my gas mileage looking a little better than in my previous car on my way to work this morning.

Anyway, thought this would be an interesting read for some of you and I will update when I get to turn her out more. Cheers!

Last edited by Jokerswld34; 10-12-2012 at 08:54 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2012, 09:08 AM
DerekS DerekS is offline
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Thank you for posting your very informative comments !

I was especially interested in your feedback on the adaptive suspension and VSS. Also, it was encouraging news to read about the various technical improvements that have been incorporated into your new M Sport.
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Last edited by DerekS; 10-12-2012 at 09:11 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-12-2012, 10:48 AM
Jokerswld34 Jokerswld34 is offline
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Youre welcome! The N26 is the SULEV version to the N20 ULEV. Some states in the US have stricter emissions laws and thus, the engines have been modified to meet these requirements. As for the the N26, the exhaust side of the engine is a bit different than the N20, with electronic controlled boost and additional filters/CATs. Im not sure what else is different ...

The N55 has a SULEV version as well and if you live in one of the several emissions states like MA, NY, CA and others, you will most likely be getting a N5x SULEV for 2013 model. Im not sure if Canada has such regulations for the SULEV vs ULEV. If you check your order sheet from your CA you will see on the top if its a ULEV or SULEV vehicle.

I will say they have upped the build quality of the F30 in 2013 versus 2012. And, the DHP is by far the best option for this vehicle. Looking at the car you ordered, you will not be displeased! Happy waiting!

Last edited by Jokerswld34; 10-12-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2012, 11:31 AM
DerekS DerekS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jokerswld34 View Post
Youre welcome! The N26 is the SULEV version to the N20 ULEV. Some states in the US have stricter emissions laws and thus, the engines have been modified to meet these requirements.

I will say they have upped the build quality of the F30 in 2013 versus 2012. And, the DHP is by far the best option for this vehicle. Looking at the car you ordered, you will not be displeased! Happy waiting!
Thanks again ! Good to read your comments on the improved build quality. I had not noticed the difference in sports seats between Sportline and M Sport, other than no red stitching.
There are no SULEV versions of F30 sold in Canada, but we do get the non-turbo N20 engine, sold as 320i. This is our entry level F30.

Yes, the waiting since mid-August is driving me nuts. I will have to be patient for almost two more months !
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Last edited by DerekS; 10-12-2012 at 11:33 AM.
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  #5  
Old 10-12-2012, 12:16 PM
shutterlife shutterlife is offline
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I know this has been asked, but how do you know if you have the n26 as opposed to n20. I've picked up my 328i m sport last month. Bmwvin.com says N20, but I'm in CA so I'm confused.
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2012, 12:54 PM
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justinnum1 justinnum1 is offline
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Originally Posted by shutterlife View Post
I know this has been asked, but how do you know if you have the n26 as opposed to n20. I've picked up my 328i m sport last month. Bmwvin.com says N20, but I'm in CA so I'm confused.
you most likely have the N26 as you live in cali
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2012, 01:00 PM
shutterlife shutterlife is offline
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Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
you most likely have the N26 as you live in cali
I understand the logic, but how to confirm.
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  #8  
Old 10-15-2012, 09:53 AM
Jokerswld34 Jokerswld34 is offline
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you can verify a couple ways. First is check your order sheet if you have it. On the top left you will see 328i ULEV or SULEV. N20s are ULEV, N26s SULEV.

If you dont have that, pop the hood. There should be a sticker on the hood indicating its a SULEV vehicle. If thats not there, take a look at the motor. On the left side of the engine (exhaust side) look right below the engine cover towards the rear. If you have an N26, you will see a big black rubber cover with a wire connected with red and white wires. You should be able to easily pull the rubber cover off to reveal the boost solenoid.

On the N20, if you look at the same place on the motor, you should find 2 small vacuum lines connected directly onto 2 nipples on the engine cover and no boost solenoid.

hope that helps.
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  #9  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:03 AM
Jokerswld34 Jokerswld34 is offline
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update:

Ive put a few miles on since last week so i thought id share a few more findings.

Braking: I have noticed much better braking and pedal feel with the M Sport over the Sport. I know it has been discussed that the M sports come with different pads than the other lines, and I think that is true. They dust like crazy which did not happen on my previous sport model, but the bite and modulation is better.

Engine: I still havent really turned the engine out, but I have done a few quick 1 gear accelerations to seat the rings and wind everything up. With the N26, throttle response doesnt feel as crisp as the N20 was, and power delivery is a little different. However, the N26 feels more powerful and holds the power well. Low end torque comes on stronger and faster than the N20. I cant wait to really give her the beans and get a better comparison across the rev range.

Interior: The interior is definitely higher quality than my 12 Sport. With the radio on medium, you cant hear the bass kicking the door panels from outside. On my previous car, from outside it sounded like i had a sub box on full blast even on low volume. The windows and doors have more insulation and dont slam shut. Even the HK sound system sounds a bit better (probably because of the better insulation?)
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  #10  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:56 AM
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AndDown AndDown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
you most likely have the N26 as you live in cali
I was able to specify an N20 when I placed my order with BMW of Santa Barbara here in Ca. Initially when Jon configured it, it was with the N26 engine but he said no problem changing it to N20. Main reason I did this was I wasn't sure how well the N26 would do and what track record it had, but based on this thread maybe I should have stayed with the N26
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  #11  
Old 10-15-2012, 11:37 AM
Jokerswld34 Jokerswld34 is offline
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I tried to change my order to N20 but missed the cut off. I dont think you made a bad call with the N20 and you did it for the exact same reasons I was. I really liked the N20 motor so i hope when I start pushing it, the performance is the same or better. so far so good though
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  #12  
Old 10-15-2012, 01:16 PM
jlukja jlukja is offline
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The F30 with the N20 engine is model code 133N while with the N26 (SULEV) engine the model code is 133O. Your order info should have the model code of the vehicle. Not sure if there is a way to tell the model code from the VIN.
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  #13  
Old 10-15-2012, 04:38 PM
jlukja jlukja is offline
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Originally Posted by jlukja View Post
...Not sure if there is a way to tell the model code from the VIN.
Correction. You can plug in the last seven characters of your VIN into http://bmwvin.com/ and it will tell you the engine code (N20 or N26) of your vehicle.
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  #14  
Old 10-15-2012, 04:56 PM
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FrogmanF30 FrogmanF30 is offline
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My 2012 328i shows as an N20 in bmwvin, not N26 and I'm in California.

My order sheet shows that my car is a 123N. It looks like the N26 is a 2013 thing only.
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  #15  
Old 10-15-2012, 06:27 PM
shutterlife shutterlife is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlukja View Post
Correction. You can plug in the last seven characters of your VIN into http://bmwvin.com/ and it will tell you the engine code (N20 or N26) of your vehicle.
Checked the website And it says N20

When ordered I did not specify

2013 M Sport 328i
w dynamic handling package and
Sports auto transmission

Delivered to California.

Guess ill have to check the other methods
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  #16  
Old 10-15-2012, 07:00 PM
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mdsbuc mdsbuc is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jokerswld34 View Post
Last night I finally picked up my N26 M sport to replace my N20 Sport with the vibrating steering.........
A really nice report and interesting to hear from you the differences between your previous Sport model and the new MSport. One more thing though.......Photos please!

.
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