Bimmerfest Long Term Review 328i breaks the 500 mile barrier. Read on to get the scoop.

by Tim Jones on February 19, 2012, 11:37 pm
2012 BMW 3 Series 328i Long Term Review Car

In just three days we've put over 500 miles on our long term review 328i. Its been a lot of fun to rack up the miles, break in the motor (some - keeping it under 5,000), tweaking the almost endless number of settings via iDrive and of course taking in the sixth generation 3 series driving dynamics.

The long term review car is a loaded 2012 328i with the following specs -
  • Melbourne Red with Black Dakota Leather
  • 6 speed manual transmission
  • Sport Line
  • M Adaptive Suspension dampers
  • Just about every bit of technology you can cram into the car.

2012 BMW 328i F30 N20 Engine Bay

The number one takeaway that we have from the first 500 miles is no matter how you slice it, the car just flat out feels and behaves like you expect from a BMW. There are certainly differences in the driving dynamics from the previous generations of 3 Series cars but while driving the car you have no doubt you are in a BMW. The two biggest changes that you get over pretty quickly are the inclusion of a 4-cylinder 2L turbo motor and the switch from hydraulic steering to electronic power steering (eps). The motor just keeps on giving you gobs of power and the steering is better than expected.

Take a look at the full photo gallery of over 300 photos from our first 500 miles!

If you have priced out a new 3 Series, you will have certainly noticed that there is a ton of technology that can ratchet up the costs of an entry level 3 Series quite a bit. Some of the technology is great and we are glad that BMW has gotten on the ball to include things like USB ports standard, bringing iDrive to all trim levels and bringing higher fuel efficiency to the 3 Series line up. There is a steep learning curve if you haven't experienced iDrive before but a lot of the options are "set it and forget it" type settings that you may never visit a second time.

One of the more interesting new features available to US drivers is the My BMW Remote iPhone app (we hear an android version is in the works) which allows you to remote control lock/unlock, finding your car and using Google local search to quickly find destinations and send them to your car. See our demo video of how the My BMW Remote works below:



Mark's Top Three Favorites about the 2012 F30 328i
  • Heads Up Display. Call me crazy but this is the feature I have been looking for the most. When you see all the information that gets displayed in the HUD, I almost don't know why it's not on everyone's list. Current speed, turn by turn navigation, radio channels, phone call information and more allows me to keep my eyes on the road where they should be. It is awesome.
  • The Driver Experience Button. You may want to add in the Adaptive M suspension here and the variable steering but I would want to drive a car without those options to say for sure. Overall this customization option gives a level of versatility that is needed in a car that is going to be driven by multiple people. Your wife can drive the car in the stock comfort mode and be happy but you can customize the drive in sport mode to have fun on the twisty roads. If nothing else, it may be a good selling point for your better half.
  • For now the 3rd point goes to overall seating position. In my E92 335i I sit close up to the wheel but have very little head room...in fact, I can't wear a hat without it hitting the roof. This is 100% not the case for the F30...I can sit where I want and not feel like I'm going to hit the roof. The additional headroom makes for a much more enjoyable experience whether you are driving to the store or on a 500 mile trip to Bimmerfest.

Tim's Top Three Favorites about the 2012 F30 328i
  • Comfort access - Coming from an E46 this is so cool! The hands free trunk opening is fun and useful.
  • HUD - Not the most useful feature overall but the cool factor of having the speed and other info floating on the windshield does it for me.
  • Seat and Seating position - Being 6'5" I don't expect to fit in cars. The F30 is first car I actually feel I fit into and can get into a good driving position. Plus the seats are comfortable and very adjustable.

BMW 328i under the lights

Overall, we have been pleasantly surprised with how great the 2012 BMW 328i has turned out to be. There are certainly some things that could be changed but most are nit picky things that do not change our overall impression of the car but are worth mentioning.

Room for improvement
  • Brake feel. The brakes work great but the pedal is spongy and doesn't provide the feedback and confidence BMW brakes should. The 335i with the bigger brakes and fixed calipers should feel better.
  • Front facing camera in surround top view. When pulling forward in tight spaces, the side view cameras alone don't cut it
  • Driver Experience Switch last mode retained in comfort access key profile. It defaults to Comfort currently.
  • Voice recognition is almost worthless for navigation functions and address input via iDrive is cumbersome.
  • More customization via iDrive. The car could have another 20 or 30 options that enthusiasts would appreciate. It could be a simple as a software update so fingers crossed BMW hear us.

We are only 500 miles into a long journey with the Project 328i and are even more excited about the next 5,000 miles. We have a ton of projects in store for you including theses in the near term:
  • 300 mile trip with Eco-Pro - we try hypermiling!
  • Live web cam dyno run on Turner Motorsport's dynopack - Details coming soon
  • Do It Yourself oil change - For those that feel oil changes should happen more then 15,000 miles.

Have you already picked up your 2012 BMW 3 Series? What are your favorite features on the car?

If you are still on the fence about buying a new 3 Series, what can we do to convince you? Tell us what you want to know and we'll test it out for you!
BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 1BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 2BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 3BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 4BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 5BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 6BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 7BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 8BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 9BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 10BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 11BMW-F30-328i-Long-Term-Review-Car 12


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55 responses to Bimmerfest Long Term Review 328i breaks the 500 mile barrier. Read on to get the scoop.

the J-Man commented:
February 20, 2012, 1:12 am

I wonder why they decided to make the new key fob the size of a cell phone? Is there a good reason for this, or did the asshole that came up with the "lines" idea also design the new key?
jackson328xi commented:
February 20, 2012, 2:13 am

Great feedback, thanks for the update guys!

This might sound cynical, but I was interested to see that 0 of 6 favorites involved; the engine, steering feel, or suspension... Maybe Mark's #2 but that sounds more like "your wife can use it to go to the store!".

Do you guys feel like these things are selling points for the car, and best in the class, or are they "things you get over"?

Looking forward to your impressions.
bl@ster commented:
February 20, 2012, 2:50 am

The delay on the app is pretty lame.
johnbmw6 commented:
February 20, 2012, 4:00 am

NO fuel economy figures!!............ Why?.
e39frank commented:
February 20, 2012, 8:19 am

Great review. Again very impressed with your review that is more informative than Satch Carlson from Roundel. The single reason I have not purchased an e90 is the low slung design of the rear of the lower cushion. Lower back issue bothered me after driving more than thirty minutes. This same was a problem in my e39, however, not the e36 or e46. I know you have the sport seats, however, if anyone could share experience with standard seating I would appreciate it very much. Sport line is not in my plans due to roads in my area being somewhat rough.
tim330i commented:
February 20, 2012, 10:08 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson328xi View Post
Great feedback, thanks for the update guys!

This might sound cynical, but I was interested to see that 0 of 6 favorites involved; the engine, steering feel, or suspension... Maybe Mark's #2 but that sounds more like "your wife can use it to go to the store!".

Do you guys feel like these things are selling points for the car, and best in the class, or are they "things you get over"?

Looking forward to your impressions.
For me the engine, steering feel and suspension are exactly what I expected them and very much BMW. Anyone coming from an other BMW will feel that it handles and drives exactly like a BMW should. There are a few subtle differences such as the idle sound from the 4 cylinder but its minor (might add that to the area for improvement). The simply answer is that the the suspension, engine and feel is just BMW.

Tim
m8o commented:
February 20, 2012, 10:38 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbmw6 View Post
NO fuel economy figures!!............ Why?.
In all fairness to whatever it is now, the engine in my '09 JCW -- which has certain similarities to the N20 -- didn't maximize and stabilize its fuel economy until after a few thousand miles were put on the engine. Early on I was getting around 24 - 27 mpg combined and was quite worried my MPG wasn't going to be what I was expecting [28 or 29 mpg combined]. That is however exactly what I am getting now.
johnbmw6 commented:
February 20, 2012, 10:42 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by m8o View Post
In all fairness to whatever it is now, the engine in my '09 JCW -- which has certain similarities to the N20 -- didn't maximize and stabilize its fuel economy until after a few thousand miles were put on the engine. Early on I was getting around 24 - 27 mpg combined and was quite worried my MPG wasn't going to be what I was expecting [28 or 29 mpg combined]. That is however exactly what I am getting now.
Thanks .
brkf commented:
February 20, 2012, 10:49 am

How do you guys feel about the leather? Seems nobody is mentioning how different it feels from the last gen.
pix335i commented:
February 20, 2012, 10:58 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson328xi View Post
Great feedback, thanks for the update guys!

This might sound cynical, but I was interested to see that 0 of 6 favorites involved; the engine, steering feel, or suspension... Maybe Mark's #2 but that sounds more like "your wife can use it to go to the store!".

Do you guys feel like these things are selling points for the car, and best in the class, or are they "things you get over"?

Looking forward to your impressions.
I did not include the engine/suspension in my favorites simply because we are in the break in period and you can't fully get on the motor. From what I have seen during the break in period though, the motor is quite strong and is going to be a strong selling point for the car. It certainly brings a smile to your face in the driving I have done so far.

I am sure I'll have more feedback after we get the car fully broken in and have a chance to really open it up.
pix335i commented:
February 20, 2012, 11:03 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbmw6 View Post
NO fuel economy figures!!............ Why?.
I saw another member responded to this but I also wanted to add that during the break in period we aren't exactly doing "normal" driving with varying the rev ranges intentionally. In one segment the car was reporting that we had gotten 37.9 miles per gallon on a 44 mile trip averaging nearly 70 MPH. If this is any indication on what the numbers will show after break-in, I think the car should easily beat out the EPA estimates for a lot of people.
Blax commented:
February 20, 2012, 11:24 am

I think you guys are the first to review a manual transmission 328i. How is the turbo lag or does it seem just like driving an e9x 6 cylinder?
Majikthese42 commented:
February 20, 2012, 11:29 am

Interesting. On the 4-banger, is that big shroud there to cover up the empty space between the front of the engine and the radiator?
the J-Man commented:
February 20, 2012, 11:53 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueguydotcom View Post
How do you guys feel about the leather? Seems nobody is mentioning how different it feels from the last gen.
From the cars I sat in, I thought the quality was down several notches. Which isn't saying much since the E90/2 leather wasn't anything special either.
JoeFromPA commented:
February 20, 2012, 12:06 pm

Tim,

500 miles in and your "read the review now" includes about 2-3 sentences on driving dynamics and experience, and about 30 sentences on technology. That about sums up to me where the focus on BMW has shifted among it's primary buying demographic.

I'm sorry but as someone who hasn't spent ages owning a BMW, let me say that "it drives like a BMW" is a completely useless experience for me. I've driven e30s 325is, e36 328is, e46 330i w/ sport and w/o sport, e39 528/530/540/m5, e90 330i/335i/328i, e60 545i/550i.

Manual transmission, auto trans, all wheel drive versions, sport package'd, and not sport package'd

And the one thing I will report from all those experiences...

BMW does not have a "BMW feel" besides a certain level of solidity and cohesive controls . A sport package changes everything. Transmission choice changes everything. An e90 drives differently than an e46 and very differently than an e30 and e46 (makes sense). An e39 doesn't feel at all like an e60, when driven, IMHO.

I would really love to read a review that treats the reviewer as someone who wants granular information on each system of the driving experience. Does the steering still feel "telepathic" and "part of the whole", or is it now something you actually pay attention to getting right? How's the throttle input on the latest DBW generation? Natural, or a bit artificial? What does driving road noise/wind noise compare too and what's your perception of it after serious seat time? How does the suspension soak up mid-corner bumps during throttle application?etc.

Joe
justinnum1 commented:
February 20, 2012, 12:41 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFromPA View Post
Tim,

500 miles in and your "read the review now" includes about 2-3 sentences on driving dynamics and experience, and about 30 sentences on technology. That about sums up to me where the focus on BMW has shifted among it's primary buying demographic.

I'm sorry but as someone who hasn't spent ages owning a BMW, let me say that "it drives like a BMW" is a completely useless experience for me. I've driven e30s 325is, e36 328is, e46 330i w/ sport and w/o sport, e39 528/530/540/m5, e90 330i/335i/328i, e60 545i/550i.

Manual transmission, auto trans, all wheel drive versions, sport package'd, and not sport package'd

And the one thing I will report from all those experiences...

BMW does not have a "BMW feel" besides a certain level of solidity and cohesive controls . A sport package changes everything. Transmission choice changes everything. An e90 drives differently than an e46 and very differently than an e30 and e46 (makes sense). An e39 doesn't feel at all like an e60, when driven, IMHO.

I would really love to read a review that treats the reviewer as someone who wants granular information on each system of the driving experience. Does the steering still feel "telepathic" and "part of the whole", or is it now something you actually pay attention to getting right? How's the throttle input on the latest DBW generation? Natural, or a bit artificial? What does driving road noise/wind noise compare too and what's your perception of it after serious seat time? How does the suspension soak up mid-corner bumps during throttle application?etc.

Joe
Just test drive one...
pix335i commented:
February 20, 2012, 12:57 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFromPA View Post
Tim,

500 miles in and your "read the review now" includes about 2-3 sentences on driving dynamics and experience, and about 30 sentences on technology. That about sums up to me where the focus on BMW has shifted among it's primary buying demographic.

I'm sorry but as someone who hasn't spent ages owning a BMW, let me say that "it drives like a BMW" is a completely useless experience for me. I've driven e30s 325is, e36 328is, e46 330i w/ sport and w/o sport, e39 528/530/540/m5, e90 330i/335i/328i, e60 545i/550i.

Manual transmission, auto trans, all wheel drive versions, sport package'd, and not sport package'd

And the one thing I will report from all those experiences...

BMW does not have a "BMW feel" besides a certain level of solidity and cohesive controls . A sport package changes everything. Transmission choice changes everything. An e90 drives differently than an e46 and very differently than an e30 and e46 (makes sense). An e39 doesn't feel at all like an e60, when driven, IMHO.

I would really love to read a review that treats the reviewer as someone who wants granular information on each system of the driving experience. Does the steering still feel "telepathic" and "part of the whole", or is it now something you actually pay attention to getting right? How's the throttle input on the latest DBW generation? Natural, or a bit artificial? What does driving road noise/wind noise compare too and what's your perception of it after serious seat time? How does the suspension soak up mid-corner bumps during throttle application?etc.

Joe
We certainly plan on providing a much higher level of review but this was meant as an initial thought into the car. Most of what you are talking about relates to a fully broken in car and to review it before that point would be a disservice.

There is a lot more coming in terms of reviewing the driving dynamics but we need to have some more miles on it before making any judgments.
pix335i commented:
February 20, 2012, 1:04 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blax View Post
I think you guys are the first to review a manual transmission 328i. How is the turbo lag or does it seem just like driving an e9x 6 cylinder?
There is certainly a "sweet spot" for power delivery in the car and the low end (up to 3k) does provide a small amount of lag. That being said, you are probably going to end up driving this car in the rev ranges that make the most sense to your driving style. The other area where I noticed a change is highway driving in 6th gear at 65mph or so...if you do not down shift to 5th, there is a delay in some of the power delivery. This is not a big deal to me since I would most likely act the same way in both cars.

Once we get the car broken in, we will be able to talk about this a lot more. The initial 1,000 miles or so is really a test to see just how much self control you have
Carlos Thomas commented:
February 20, 2012, 1:55 pm

My only advice is to get some dressing on those tires. I hate the look of dry tires.
m8o commented:
February 20, 2012, 2:36 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlos Thomas View Post
My only advice is to get some dressing on those tires. I hate the look of dry tires.
Lol ... And my preference is the opposite ; I prefer dry & matte (but black, not brown'ed as most dressing often makes them over time).
jackson328xi commented:
February 20, 2012, 2:42 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
For me the engine, steering feel and suspension are exactly what I expected them and very much BMW. Anyone coming from an other BMW will feel that it handles and drives exactly like a BMW should. There are a few subtle differences such as the idle sound from the 4 cylinder but its minor (might add that to the area for improvement). The simply answer is that the the suspension, engine and feel is just BMW.

Tim
Thanks Tim, I was just wondering. I guess it makes sense that you guys can't fully test out the driving dynamics in the break in period anyway.
JoeFromPA commented:
February 20, 2012, 3:27 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by pix335i View Post
We certainly plan on providing a much higher level of review but this was meant as an initial thought into the car. Most of what you are talking about relates to a fully broken in car and to review it before that point would be a disservice.

There is a lot more coming in terms of reviewing the driving dynamics but we need to have some more miles on it before making any judgments.
That's totally fair. I'd appreciate the title of "tech review" then -

As a "agree to disagree" - none of what I asked about had to do with a fully broken in car. I didn't ask about braking at the limit, power at the top-end, or clutch slippage in track conditions.
JoeFromPA commented:
February 20, 2012, 3:29 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
Just test drive one...
Why? I can be like you and buy one without ever having test driven one

Seriously justin, you of all people should know the relative scarcity right now of a 6-speed manual 328i w/ sport package. And if you read my comments, you'd see that my past experiences driving any series with different transmissions/suspension packages leads me to believe they'll drive very differently.

....

Put another way, with your statement what's the point of their reviews? I could just drive one and never value the opinion of someone's review.
buckboss81 commented:
February 20, 2012, 3:34 pm

I test drove the new 328 sedan automatic yesterday and am happy to offer my humble opinion. Let me preface my comments below with some history on my ownership experiences.

I've owned numerous BMW's and have been thoroughly impressed by each one (E36 318is, E36 318ic, E36 328 sedan, E39 540i, E46 323ci, E86 Z4 Coupe 3.0si, and E92 328xi Coupe. I've always ordered cars equipped with manual trans, but I always test drive an automatic with each new model as it seems they always arrive at the showroom first. I test drove the previous generation E90 sedan in automatic form when it first arrived back in 2005 and was more impressed with that car than any automatic I had ever driven. I currently drive a 2009 328xi manual coupe with sport pkg and love the performance of that car. Strangely, my favorite car was the 1994 318is (E36). It lacked HP and was slow off the line, but it was very light and responsive with good gas mileage...an absolute blast to drive! I've been driving inline 6 cars since selling that car in 1996 and have grown to love that engine.

As I went into my test drive, I was wide open to driving a 4 cylinder. I realized that BMW needed to step up their efforts towards fuel consumption, and understood that a 4 cylinder engine was a necessary option. I was actually hoping I could regain the feel of driving that 318is. For me, the feel of the engine was going to be as important or more important than the horsepower.

As I arrived on the lot, the sales person handed me the keys to a white 328 "Modern." I spent some time with him learning the new technology and then left for what I hoped would be an exhilarating test drive, much like every other experience of driving the new model. I was immediately impressed with improvements in the gadgetry, safety features, appeal of the interior, and the exterior (big improvement). I know I'm spoiled by the silky smooth inline 6 that my cars have been equipped with since the early 90's, but I remember how much I loved that 137 HP 318is car, and was wide open to moving back in that direction. Unfortunately, he turbo 4 engine seemed to have significantly more vibration at lower speeds and I experienced a noticeable amount of turbo lag. As I got onto the open road and started opening up the engine, I was less than impressed with the performance and feel of the turbo 4.

To be honest, I cut the test drive short, because I have never been so turned off by a BMW. I fear the company may have erred by offering neither a normally aspirated version, nor the N52 3.0L naturally aspirated I6 as on option on the new model. I asked the dealer to contact me once they have a manual transmission example on the lot and I will give this another shot, but I wouldn't go anywhere near the turbo 4. I'm seriously considering spending the extra $$ on gas and placing an order for the previous generation of 5-Series sedan while I still can.

I would be interested to know what others think of the performance of the new turbo 4 engine. It's clearly not my cup of tea, but maybe others can shed some light on their positive impressions.
7or8 commented:
February 20, 2012, 3:46 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckboss81 View Post
I test drove the new 328 sedan automatic yesterday and am happy to offer my humble opinion. Let me preface my comments below with some history on my ownership experiences.

I've owned numerous BMW's and have been thoroughly impressed by each one (E36 318is, E36 318ic, E36 328 sedan, E39 540i, E46 323ci, E86 Z4 Coupe 3.0si, and E92 328xi Coupe. I've always ordered cars equipped with manual trans, but I always test drive an automatic with each new model as it seems they always arrive at the showroom first. I test drove the previous generation E90 sedan in automatic form when it first arrived back in 2005 and was more impressed with that car than any automatic I had ever driven. I currently drive a 2009 328xi manual coupe with sport pkg and love the performance of that car. Strangely, my favorite car was the 1994 318is (E36). It lacked HP and was slow off the line, but it was very light and responsive with good gas mileage...an absolute blast to drive! I've been driving inline 6 cars since selling that car in 1996 and have grown to love that engine.

As I went into my test drive, I was wide open to driving a 4 cylinder. I realized that BMW needed to step up their efforts towards fuel consumption, and understood that a 4 cylinder engine was a necessary option. I was actually hoping I could regain the feel of driving that 318is. For me, the feel of the engine was going to be as important or more important than the horsepower.

As I arrived on the lot, the sales person handed me the keys to a white 328 "Modern." I spent some time with him learning the new technology and then left for what I hoped would be an exhilarating test drive, much like every other experience of driving the new model. I was immediately impressed with improvements in the gadgetry, safety features, appeal of the interior, and the exterior (big improvement). I know I'm spoiled by the silky smooth inline 6 that my cars have been equipped with since the early 90's, but I remember how much I loved that 137 HP 318is car, and was wide open to moving back in that direction. Unfortunately, he turbo 4 engine seemed to have significantly more vibration at lower speeds and I experienced a noticeable amount of turbo lag. As I got onto the open road and started opening up the engine, I was less than impressed with the performance and feel of the turbo 4.

To be honest, I cut the test drive short, because I have never been so turned off by a BMW. I fear the company may have erred by offering neither a normally aspirated version, nor the N52 3.0L naturally aspirated I6 as on option on the new model. I asked the dealer to contact me once they have a manual transmission example on the lot and I will give this another shot, but I wouldn't go anywhere near the turbo 4. I'm seriously considering spending the extra $$ on gas and placing an order for the previous generation of 5-Series sedan while I still can.

I would be interested to know what others think of the performance of the new turbo 4 engine. It's clearly not my cup of tea, but maybe others can shed some light on their positive impressions.
Very interesting read. Thanks!
m8o commented:
February 20, 2012, 4:02 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckboss81 View Post
...Unfortunately, he turbo 4 engine seemed to have significantly more vibration at lower speeds and I experienced a noticeable amount of turbo lag. As I got onto the open road and started opening up the engine, I was less than impressed with the performance and feel of the turbo 4.
...
To be honest, I cut the test drive short,
...
I would be interested to know what others think of the performance of the new turbo 4 engine. It's clearly not my cup of tea, but maybe others can shed some light on their positive impressions.
Curious whether you were in EcoPro or one of the other modes?

I'm surprised to read your last sentence tho. Many threads in this forum section to choose from to read others' impressions. I've read many instances of what others think here and in many other places on the web and none were this unhappy. I'm 'hoping' EcoPro is behind your unhappiness. Please let us know.
buckboss81 commented:
February 20, 2012, 4:19 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by m8o View Post
Curious whether you were in EcoPro or one of the other modes?

I'm surprised to read your last sentence tho. Many threads in this forum section to choose from to read others' impressions. I've read many instances of what others think here and in many other places on the web and none were this unhappy. I'm 'hoping' EcoPro is behind your unhappiness. Please let us know.


Sorry, but I'm not familiar with the EcoPro. What is it?

I may have worded once sentence of my review poorly. I said, "As I got onto the open road and started opening up the engine, I was less than impressed with the performance and feel of the turbo 4."

I was referring to my experience of leaving the BMW parking lot and entering into city driving... stop and go traffic... where IMHO the performance was less than satisfying and the engine vibration reminded me of the Chevy Cruze I had rented on a recent business trip. I was not referring to freeway speeds where the performance was more than stellar.
buckboss81 commented:
February 20, 2012, 4:31 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckboss81 View Post
Sorry, but I'm not familiar with the EcoPro. What is it?

I may have worded once sentence of my review poorly. I said, "As I got onto the open road and started opening up the engine, I was less than impressed with the performance and feel of the turbo 4."

I was referring to my experience of leaving the BMW parking lot and entering into city driving... stop and go traffic... where IMHO the performance was less than satisfying and the engine vibration reminded me of the Chevy Cruze I had rented on a recent business trip. I was not referring to freeway speeds where the performance was more than stellar.


I checked and now understand what ECO PRO mode is. I never changed the setting, so unless the car was in this mode as a default, it wouldn't have been set to ECO PRO.
bd33 commented:
February 20, 2012, 4:44 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckboss81 View Post
I checked and now understand what ECO PRO mode is. I never changed the setting, so unless the car was in this mode as a default, it wouldn't have been set to ECO PRO.
The default is comfort mode, which has a different throttle and steering response than sport/sport+ modes. Selecting either of these modes may improve your driving experience.
JoeFromPA commented:
February 20, 2012, 4:49 pm

Sounds like you need to go back when it has a 6-speed manual, as you may have been in a mode that emphasized soft starts and minimal throttle input.

The disadvantage of technology - if you aren't ready for it you'll not know what it's doing for you that you may not like.
laser commented:
February 20, 2012, 5:11 pm

I drove a 4cyl 2012 Modern Line F30 this afternoon.

It was more responsive, smoother, and more powerful feeling than our current 6 cyl 2009 328i which it is destined to replace.

Mated to the new 8spd AT the car feels more like a high performance BMW.

The new 8 spd transmission is really an improvement having experienced it now for a year and half in my 535i.

If you liked the 6 cyl E92 you will like the 4 cyl 2012 328i more!
7or8 commented:
February 20, 2012, 5:32 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by bd33 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckboss81 View Post
I checked and now understand what ECO PRO mode is. I never changed the setting, so unless the car was in this mode as a default, it wouldn't have been set to ECO PRO.
The default is comfort mode, which has a different throttle and steering response than sport/sport+ modes. Selecting either of these modes may improve your driving experience.

Yeah, that could've made a big difference on your test drive impressions buckboss. Even the 335 might have felt sluggish in the default comfort mode..
av98 commented:
February 20, 2012, 6:19 pm

Cutting and pasting my post from other threads. The only thing I can add would be to go with only a manual with the N20 since it's awful with the AT. Being a previous WRX owner it's essential on 2.0T engines.

I'm keeping my ZHP!

Summary:
Test drove the F30 328i Sport with the 8-spd auto today which included all the packages (Tech, Premium, NAV, Xenons, paddles, etc.. Fully Loaded except for the M-adaptive suspension). I immediately was reminded why I didn't like the E90/E88, the driving experience was greatly removed from the driver; definitely less connected than my ZHP (even in stock form) w/o the pinpoint and precise refinement. The sum of the ZHP really shines through compared to the current Sport or M tech packages. Highly looking forward to the M-Sport package coming this summer; hopefully it negates all the Cons I experienced with the F30 328i Sport. The F30 328i Sport compared to an E90 328i is a great improvement, however, compared to an E46 ZHP it's a downgrade.

Pros:
-N20 engine is awesome= very responsive with lots of power through out all the rev ranges and has a usable power band. Turbo lag is non-existent.
-Cabin noise= pretty good, not loud at all; quieter than my ZHP through all rev ranges.
-Weight= compared to an E90 328i- F30 is lighter. Accelerates better and more tossable.
-Cabin space= More rear cabin space compared to the E46 or E90.
-Brakes= very good stopping power for the car's weight, not as fast compared to the stock ZHPs. Same BMW bite with great modulation when applying late, slow, on/off, hard brake stops. Predictable and firm without having to guess on when the distance will be; can be gauged very well w/o engaging the ABS.
-Power= Limitless powerband all the way up to redline, could only feel a turbo drop off towards the last 200-500 rpm of the rev. range. Gobs of power for any driving scenario needed- off the line, transitions, passing, top end speed, cruising, etc...
-Technology= HUD, Nav (Voice activated, makes the iDrive difficulty go away), collision warnings, cameras all around make a safer driving environment.
-Paddle and AT shifters= Fast and less travel than the ZHP's Steptronic AT shifter.

Cons:
-8 spd AT transition downshifts are awful= not smooth at all even with the rev match (falls short by about 200-400 rpm between non-turbo spooled and turbo spooled rev ranges). I verified by blipping the throttle before downshifts which were smoother. Add the fact that the out of turbo spool -> turbo spool and vice versa transitions upset the balance of the car more. If you are in a turbo spooled -> turbo spooled or non-turbo spooled -> non-turbo spooled range it's smoother. I messed with all the driving modes- sport+, sport, comfort, eco pro, and the comfort mode seems to have the smoothest transitions during downshift with a middle of the pack response.

-Sport suspension is ok= Been spoiled with my Koni yellows + Hotchkis sways but I didn't remember the stock Sachs ZHP suspension rolling, yawing or moving around so much. It was just all over the place, too much driver compensation needed for my tastes. Very difficult to drive the car precisely to inches of start stop points and transitions. Suspension didn't settle fast enough when needed requiring longer driver corrections with the steering, brake or throttle. Ride height felt tall with the stock Sport suspension + the taller profile RFT.

-Tires= Run Flat POS Goodyear 225/45/18 fronts and 255/45/18 rears. Road feel felt very tall and the grip was not very good; very much an AS tire equivalent. Definitely missed my Michelin PS2s.

-Sport seats= Side bolsters were digging into my sides and were stiff. Guess I need to go on a diet or the seats needed break in. My ZHP sport seats never had this problem.

Thanks to BMW of Fremont for letting me test drive their F30 328i Sport; great service and very much down to earth attitudes.
e39frank commented:
February 20, 2012, 6:38 pm

"my favorite car was the 1994 318is (E36). It lacked HP and was slow off the line, but it was very light and responsive with good gas mileage...an absolute blast to drive!"

I could have written that....and totally agree. I have new car fever but 40k or more for a car less fun than an e36 is hard. I know they ride better and have more comfort and the f30 technology is worth robbing a bank.
mr_clueless commented:
February 20, 2012, 7:31 pm

http://www.bimmerfest.com//gallery/B...ew-Car-247.jpg

In this picture, what is the button on the left just below the circular switch?
Carlos Thomas commented:
February 20, 2012, 8:07 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
http://www.bimmerfest.com//gallery/B...ew-Car-247.jpg

In this picture, what is the button on the left just below the circular switch?
When you push that button, your mirrors fold in. And when you put your BMW in reverse, the mirrors point down so you can see better.
unintelligible commented:
February 20, 2012, 8:18 pm

Tim - can you provide your thoughts regarding the quality of the manual transmission in the F30 328i? Most importantly for me is the clutch action. I had an Infiniti G37 that I only kept for a year simply because the clutch pedal had such a narrow, vague engagement point that it made daily driving more of a chore than it was worth. I want to make sure that before checking the ZMT box, that I'm not going to be disappointed.

I figured I would ask given it seems BMW's focus on this generation has been the 8AT. Combine that with the fact that it's going to be difficult, if not impossible to find a demo 328i with a manual transmission within a couple hours' drive, makes the purchasing decision quite difficult. Plus, the 8AT is very good itself with many pros and very few cons, so again, difficult to decide.

If it helps, I test drove a used 335i with 6MT recently and it was fantastic. Light, smooth clutch with an intuitive friction point. Shifter was very smooth and precise if not a bit on the long side, throws wise. If the 328i's 6MT is anything like that, I would be happy.

Thanks
mr_clueless commented:
February 20, 2012, 8:21 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlos Thomas View Post
When you push that button, your mirrors fold in. And when you put your BMW in reverse, the mirrors point down so you can see better.
Is that standard or is it part of the premium package?
unintelligible commented:
February 20, 2012, 8:24 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
Is that standard or is it part of the premium package?
Premium.
mr_clueless commented:
February 20, 2012, 8:38 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by av98 View Post
-Weight= compared to an E90 328i- F30 is lighter. Accelerates better and more tossable.
Not true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by av98 View Post
-Sport seats= Side bolsters were digging into my sides and were stiff. Guess I need to go on a diet or the seats needed break in. My ZHP sport seats never had this problem.
There's been some discussion here about the side bolsters being adjustable. Did you try to adjust them? (I don't know for sure if they are or not.)
av98 commented:
February 20, 2012, 9:45 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
Not true.
I'm wrong on this one, the E90 328i is lighter. However, I wasn't wrong on the accelaration and IMHO tossability, definitely from the higher HP and Torque displacement on the N20 compared to the N52.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...940&highlight=

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
been some discussion here about the side bolsters being adjustable. Did you try to adjust them? (I don't know for sure if they are or not.)
Sorry didn't know there was a side bolster adjustment. I just messed with the seating height and recline from the side controls as it was similar to my E46 ZHP.
brkf commented:
February 20, 2012, 11:01 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by av98 View Post
I'm wrong on this one, the E90 328i is lighter. However, I wasn't wrong on the accelaration and IMHO tossability, definitely from the higher HP and Torque displacement on the N20 compared to the N52.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...940&highlight=



Sorry didn't know there was a side bolster adjustment. I just messed with the seating height and recline from the side controls as it was similar to my E46 ZHP.
Yeah starting with the e90s the side bolsters on sport seats can cinch ya up. Agree with your review. I had a 2003 ZHP. Still more fun than my last two BMWs. Wife keeps telling me to find a used one and just get it totally fixed up from the ground up as I never took to my e90s.
jackson328xi commented:
February 21, 2012, 1:54 am

Hey guys I was wondering how the sound system is in the test car. I assume it has the HK system but if not I am still interested in your take. At the end of E90 production I remember the standard system was downgraded (lost speakers by the front windows) and people had concerns.

Has anybody tried the standard sound system?

Thanks.
justinnum1 commented:
February 21, 2012, 8:43 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson328xi View Post
Hey guys I was wondering how the sound system is in the test car. I assume it has the HK system but if not I am still interested in your take. At the end of E90 production I remember the standard system was downgraded (lost speakers by the front windows) and people had concerns.

Has anybody tried the standard sound system?

Thanks.
Actually the opposite, my 2010 328 base, had the worst sound system ever, my 2011 base was light years better than the 2010, my F30 HK sounds great, still have to tweak a few setting but im happy with it. Tho i will say that 2011 base was pretty damn good for a base.
accel commented:
February 21, 2012, 11:16 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson328xi View Post
Great feedback, thanks for the update guys!

This might sound cynical, but I was interested to see that 0 of 6 favorites involved; the engine, steering feel, or suspension... Maybe Mark's #2 but that sounds more like "your wife can use it to go to the store!".

Do you guys feel like these things are selling points for the car, and best in the class, or are they "things you get over"?

Looking forward to your impressions.
+1.

It's good as computer hardware review, like a newlaptop.

Not a car review.
tim330i commented:
February 21, 2012, 7:51 pm

Thanks for the feedback on wanting more driving review. With over 900 miles on the car now we're getting close to being able to wind up the N20 to 7K and get all the power it makes down while driving. We will have a full driving dynamic review up once we've had a chance to 'get on it' complete. This is just an initial once over, to me the driving was spot on and I didn't want to go on and on about it without being able to push the engine. I'll have an in depth on all the little detail but to gush about the general feel of the car would be like gushing about how it has a roundel on the hood. It's just supposed to feel the way it does, and it's just supposed to have a roundel on the hood

Hope that makes sense.

Tim
ArtchredTTU commented:
February 28, 2012, 10:37 am

Good God, this new 3 series are Hideous LOL.
nj356 commented:
February 28, 2012, 1:05 pm

With no snow to speak of in NJ, I wonder how the car will drive when it does. BMW's do not do well as a rear drive in the snow. If and when we see snow this year, it would be great to hear how the handling is.
pix335i commented:
February 28, 2012, 1:09 pm

I have used my E92 335i in the snow many times with proper snow tires. The car handles admirably in my opinion and I would expect about the same from the new generation as well.
tim330i commented:
February 28, 2012, 2:18 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by nj356 View Post
With no snow to speak of in NJ, I wonder how the car will drive when it does. BMW's do not do well as a rear drive in the snow. If and when we see snow this year, it would be great to hear how the handling is.
There is a little snow in the forecast for Boston in the next couple days. If possible I'll give it a spin and let you know.

RWD drive BMWs with summer tires are terrible in the winter. Put a set of snow tires on it and you get BMW performance in the show. My M3 with snows handles better in the snow then a FWD car with all seasons.

Tim
JoeFromPA commented:
February 28, 2012, 2:19 pm

3500 pounds, 225 (or narrower) snow/winter tires from the latest generation, and stability control?

That's a better situation to be driving on than 99% of the cars on the road in the winter.
MOPAULY commented:
February 29, 2012, 11:21 am

Hard at work driving a car from BMW? Was this car given at no cost for the review? If that's the case this is far from hard work people.
buckboss81 commented:
May 7, 2012, 8:24 am

I wanted to update my previous posts on this thread. I took my '09 328xi in for service two weeks ago and received a '12 328i loaner car that I drove the entire day. The difference was, this time, I was equipped with the knowledge of how to use the transmission settings. All I can say is, this is a completely different driving experience when set to 'sport' mode.

I wasn't fond of the way the engine stopped at red lights, but I loved the performance of the car. Based on auto Trans in sport mode, I need to completely retract my previous negative posts on the car. I loved it and would have been extremely happy to make this my next new car, if cost were no issue. My '09 is leased and I'm within 5 months of end of term.

After looking again at the price tag of the new 328 equipped as desired ($47K), I opted to start perusing used models and settled on either an E36 M3, or an E46 ZHP. I figured I should start looking, because good examples are somewhat rare, and thought it might take months to find the right one. Surprisingly, I found 'the car' immediately on cars.com and purchased a 2004 330i ZHP sedan in Imola Red. To say I love the ZHP is a vast understatement. Best of all, it's cost was less than a third of the new, similarly equipped 328i.

My '09 328xi hasn't been driven much since, and my driveway is getting a bit crowded.
GVFlyer commented:
May 7, 2012, 6:46 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckboss81 View Post
I wanted to update my previous posts on this thread. I took my '09 328xi in for service two weeks ago and received a '12 328i loaner car that I drove the entire day. The difference was, this time, I was equipped with the knowledge of how to use the transmission settings. All I can say is, this is a completely different driving experience when set to 'sport' mode.

I wasn't fond of the way the engine stopped at red lights, but I loved the performance of the car. Based on auto Trans in sport mode, I need to completely retract my previous negative posts on the car. I loved it and would have been extremely happy to make this my next new car, if cost were no issue. My '09 is leased and I'm within 5 months of end of term.
Shows how personal cars are - we drove the F30 328i, then bought an E90 328i xDrive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckboss81 View Post
After looking again at the price tag of the new 328 equipped as desired ($47K), I opted to start perusing used models and settled on either an E36 M3, or an E46 ZHP. I figured I should start looking, because good examples are somewhat rare, and thought it might take months to find the right one. Surprisingly, I found 'the car' immediately on cars.com and purchased a 2004 330i ZHP sedan in Imola Red. To say I love the ZHP is a vast understatement. Best of all, it's cost was less than a third of the new, similarly equipped 328i.
...
Good choice! The E46 ZHP is one of my favorite BMWs of all time, particularly in Imola Red. Others on that list include my 1989 325is, '91 M3 and my current 335is. I like the E46 ZHP in all it's iterations.





sr5959 commented:
May 8, 2012, 11:12 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by GVFlyer View Post
Shows how personal cars are - we drove the F30 328i, then bought an E90 328i xDrive.



Good choice! The E46 ZHP is one of my favorite BMWs of all time, particularly in Imola Red. Others on that list include my 1989 325is, '91 M3 and my current 335is. I like the E46 ZHP in all it's iterations.





Great-looking cars!