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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 03-02-2013, 08:03 PM
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Harmon Kardon Sound System

Close to ordering a 2013 335i sport and want to know anyone who has firsthand experience with the differences between the standard sound system vs. the upgraded Harmon Kardon system. I am a huge music fan and think I will probably lean toward the HK....but I wanted to know if its really THAT much better than the standard. Any thoughts either way?
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2013, 08:06 PM
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If you enjoy listening to music, the decision is easy. Get the HK.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:13 PM
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boltjaM3s boltjaM3s is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Nerd View Post
Close to ordering a 2013 335i sport and want to know anyone who has firsthand experience with the differences between the standard sound system vs. the upgraded Harmon Kardon system. I am a huge music fan and think I will probably lean toward the HK....but I wanted to know if its really THAT much better than the standard. Any thoughts either way?
The HK sounds better, definitely. Two things to know, however:

1. What they call the "standard" audio system in the American 335i is actually the "premium" audio system in the European 335i. We get the enhanced version with more power and more speakers as standard here, so it will sound better than your 5 Series' standard system, for example.

2. If the price for Harmon Kardon ($875) is going to mean you're skimping on a more critical option or package like Enhanced USB & Bluetooth ($650), Park Distance Control ($750), Rear Camera ($450), Heated Seats ($500), Xenons ($950), or Dynamic Handling ($1,000) then my advice would be skip HK over any of these if you were thinking of skipping any of these.

BJ
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:08 PM
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^Good to know....I wasn't going to skimp on some of the others you listed, however, aren't Xenons standard in the 335i (I know they're an option on 328)? Very helpful feedback!
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:13 PM
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boltjaM3s boltjaM3s is online now
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^Good to know....I wasn't going to skimp on some of the others you listed, however, aren't Xenons standard in the 335i (I know they're an option on 328)? Very helpful feedback!
Yes, sorry, xenons standard on the 335i, I keep forgetting that.

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  #6  
Old 03-02-2013, 09:38 PM
Eric Genname Eric Genname is offline
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HK is surround sound, which some people don't like. One alternative is to go aftermarket with a direct replacement of the speakers and amp, but that will cost more than the HK upgrade and is obviously more of a hassle. But it's what I plan to do.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:57 PM
woodswatchco woodswatchco is offline
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The HK system is $14 a month on a 5 year loan and about $21 a month on a 3 year lease. If you even sort of like music and can afford a $40k+ car, ofcourse get it! I did and it's a pretty amazing system.




Quote:
Originally Posted by The Nerd View Post
Close to ordering a 2013 335i sport and want to know anyone who has firsthand experience with the differences between the standard sound system vs. the upgraded Harmon Kardon system. I am a huge music fan and think I will probably lean toward the HK....but I wanted to know if its really THAT much better than the standard. Any thoughts either way?
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjaM3s View Post
The HK sounds better, definitely. Two things to know, however:

1. What they call the "standard" audio system in the American 335i is actually the "premium" audio system in the European 335i. We get the enhanced version with more power and more speakers as standard here, so it will sound better than your 5 Series' standard system, for example.

2. If the price for Harmon Kardon ($875) is going to mean you're skimping on a more critical option or package like Enhanced USB & Bluetooth ($650), Park Distance Control ($750), Rear Camera ($450), Heated Seats ($500), Xenons ($950), or Dynamic Handling ($1,000) then my advice would be skip HK over any of these if you were thinking of skipping any of these.

BJ
Would say only the xenons snd dynamic handling aee essentials, no?
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:24 AM
PeteRock PeteRock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjaM3s View Post
The HK sounds better, definitely. Two things to know, however:

1. What they call the "standard" audio system in the American 335i is actually the "premium" audio system in the European 335i. We get the enhanced version with more power and more speakers as standard here, so it will sound better than your 5 Series' standard system, for example.

2. If the price for Harmon Kardon ($875) is going to mean you're skimping on a more critical option or package like Enhanced USB & Bluetooth ($650), Park Distance Control ($750), Rear Camera ($450), Heated Seats ($500), Xenons ($950), or Dynamic Handling ($1,000) then my advice would be skip HK over any of these if you were thinking of skipping any of these.

BJ
Would say only the xenons snd dynamic handling aee essentials, no?
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  #10  
Old 03-03-2013, 05:32 AM
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A bit off topic....but the sport suspension that comes with the sport isn't enough? It's a necessity to have dynamic handling as well? Just curious.....I won't be running this at the track or anything, but I do appreciate a well performing suspension in the twisties. Also....one of my priorities is the lowered ride height (for aesthetic reasons as well). I don't need DH to achieve the lowering, right?
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by The Nerd View Post
A bit off topic....but the sport suspension that comes with the sport isn't enough? It's a necessity to have dynamic handling as well? Just curious.....I won't be running this at the track or anything, but I do appreciate a well performing suspension in the twisties. Also....one of my priorities is the lowered ride height (for aesthetic reasons as well). I don't need DH to achieve the lowering, right?
DHP is the best of both worlds. It has active dampers so it rides better in general, but it also allows you to select either comfort or sport settings. So you can have an incredibly smooth comfortable ride and also a very firm one in the same car.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:48 AM
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....one of my priorities is the lowered ride height (for aesthetic reasons as well). I don't need DH to achieve the lowering, right?
Correct. Keep in mind however that the ride height is only minimally lowered in any event.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Nerd View Post
A bit off topic....but the sport suspension that comes with the sport isn't enough? It's a necessity to have dynamic handling as well? Just curious.....I won't be running this at the track or anything, but I do appreciate a well performing suspension in the twisties. Also....one of my priorities is the lowered ride height (for aesthetic reasons as well). I don't need DH to achieve the lowering, right?
reg sport suspension is awesome. i wouldn't waste money on the DH, but thats me
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:21 AM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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Originally Posted by boltjaM3s View Post
2. If the price for Harmon Kardon ($875) is going to mean you're skimping on a more critical option or package like Enhanced USB & Bluetooth ($650), Park Distance Control ($750), Rear Camera ($450), Heated Seats ($500), Xenons ($950), or Dynamic Handling ($1,000) then my advice would be skip HK over any of these if you were thinking of skipping any of these.

BJ
Why is Park Distance Control or Rear Camera critical? The most dented in and scratched bumpers I see out there are those with parking sensors, and the dent always seems to be right on top of the sensor.
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  #15  
Old 03-03-2013, 08:21 AM
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reg sport suspension is awesome. i wouldn't waste money on the DH, but thats me
I agree on not wasting money on DH
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:32 AM
jmsent jmsent is offline
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Originally Posted by Eric Genname View Post
HK is surround sound, which some people don't like. One alternative is to go aftermarket with a direct replacement of the speakers and amp, but that will cost more than the HK upgrade and is obviously more of a hassle. But it's what I plan to do.
I've heard far too many aftermarket systems that don't deliver on their promise, and end up screwing up the car to boot. It's a real crap shoot. The HK far exceeds most listener expectations, and the majority of complaints about sound quality have more to do with the awful sounding sources like Sirius and MP3's or bad adjustment of the eq. I'd just get the HK and if you don't like the surround, go into the Idrive menu and turn it off.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:37 AM
ddas1992 ddas1992 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Nerd View Post
Close to ordering a 2013 335i sport and want to know anyone who has firsthand experience with the differences between the standard sound system vs. the upgraded Harmon Kardon system. I am a huge music fan and think I will probably lean toward the HK....but I wanted to know if its really THAT much better than the standard. Any thoughts either way?
I was also in the same dilemma. Take your fav CD, go to the dealer, ask him to show you two cars, one with HK and one with the stock audio but NOT TELL YOU WHICH ONE IS WHICH. Get into the car, put on the CDs, close your eyes, if you can sense an obvious difference, get the HK, if you can't go with the stock. In my case, I was able to tell which one was HK but the difference was not that huge for me, so I went with the stock.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:44 AM
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I wish they'd offer the Bang and Olufson sound system on the 3. That makes a HUGE difference.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:05 AM
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I went back and forth a bit when I got my 1'er, but in the end I decided that the $875 was a very small price to pay for what I considered a significantly better sound system. Is it audiophile quality? No... and does need some adjustment with the engine off with one of your favourite CD's to really dial in the perfect settings for you... but for a car it's more than good enough.

Truth is, the car is an awful listening environment anyway. A truly audiophile system is a bit of a waste because most of the subtlety of the music will be lost in the white noise of the car itself. The HK system is good enough for 99.9% of my listening needs, and even then it's only on very quiet, subtle pieces of classical music that I'll notice the difference... but even then I have to turn the volume way up to hear it over the car, and then the top end gets lost as the speakers get slightly overloaded... yeah if I want to really listen to music for quality it's not going to be in my car anyway.

Now, my girlfriend's A4 has the B&O sound system... now that is noticeably better than the HK in my 135i... but not to the extent that I would consider selling my Bimmer to buy an Audi. It's better, but not so much that I feel my next car would be an Audi, either.

You're buying the car for 3 years on a lease... or more if you're buying (to make it cost effective). An extra grand isn't going to break the bank on a $50K-$60K car... just do it
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Nerd View Post
A bit off topic....but the sport suspension that comes with the sport isn't enough? It's a necessity to have dynamic handling as well? Just curious.....I won't be running this at the track or anything, but I do appreciate a well performing suspension in the twisties. Also....one of my priorities is the lowered ride height (for aesthetic reasons as well). I don't need DH to achieve the lowering, right?
Remember that the lowered height is for RWD only with Sport or M-sport models! I see you are in Ohio and did not know if you were considering the xDrive which has the raised height and standard suspension across all lines.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:08 AM
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All great points on the HK sound system....I will certainly check one out in person at the dealership to see if I can hear the difference (I'm sure I will). I just don't want to be "that idiot" who's blaring the sound system in the showroom....lol.

Regarding the ride height....I currently have an 05 545i with the sport package (RWD) and I have always swapped my larger sized, staggered wheels/tires for smaller 225/45R17 all-seasons just for the winter month of November-March and never had a problem....even in my RWD car (my normal 275/35R18 size that are on it for the majority of the year is like driving on an ice rink if I don't swap out for the winter months!). So I guess this brings up another question I had.....I was NOT planning on going with the xdrive.....will I be ok in a RWD 335i if I'm running all seasons on it? Or....maybe a better question is....will it be any worse than my RWD 545 with all seasons (which I'm already used to)?
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:11 AM
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I'm of the opinion that having summer performance tires and dedicated winter tires is better than having a compromise year round.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:20 AM
Bmwlvr60 Bmwlvr60 is offline
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Originally Posted by The Nerd View Post
All great points on the HK sound system....I will certainly check one out in person at the dealership to see if I can hear the difference (I'm sure I will). I just don't want to be "that idiot" who's blaring the sound system in the showroom....lol.

Regarding the ride height....I currently have an 05 545i with the sport package (RWD) and I have always swapped my larger sized, staggered wheels/tires for smaller 225/45R17 all-seasons just for the winter month of November-March and never had a problem....even in my RWD car (my normal 275/35R18 size that are on it for the majority of the year is like driving on an ice rink if I don't swap out for the winter months!). So I guess this brings up another question I had.....I was NOT planning on going with the xdrive.....will I be ok in a RWD 335i if I'm running all seasons on it? Or....maybe a better question is....will it be any worse than my RWD 545 with all seasons (which I'm already used to)?
I would check out the sound system outside or better yet: while driving it around which is the environment you'll be mostly using it in.
3 series is a lighter car than the 5 so it probably will do worse with all seasons. I don't how you get through Ohio winters with a rear wheel drive car and all seasons. Put winter tires on it and you'd be much happier- and safer.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:20 PM
Axxlrod Axxlrod is offline
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The nerd needs to spend some time searching and reading.

Every new thread he's started and question he's asking has been answered countless times already.

Use the search button.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:15 PM
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Oh geez....sorry about that. I guess one topic kind of lead to another....

I'll try searching separate topics next time....didn't mean to get anyone worked up.
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