Initial Impressions F30 335i M-Sport comparison to E46 M3

by Bimmerfest.com Member - EddieB on October 18, 2012, 2:36 pm
Picked up the 335i ordered from Munich 2 days ago and wanted to posit a coupe thoughts on the initial first impressions compared to my last Bimmer, the E46 M3 Coupe.

First off the 335i is scary quiet compared to the M3. It has been awhile since my E46 325i and E39 530i, but it seems even quieter than the 5er was. Reminds me of when I drove a C Class Benz.

The HK speakers in the 335i sound better than the ones in either of my E46s, but I think that has more to do with the ambient noise level. Because in any of the cars when you're parked, engine off there is plenty of bass and fidelity.

The F30 is more "floaty" feeling in normal street driving--even with it set for "Sports" mode. Haven't had a chance to drive the canyon yet, but have hit some high speed freeway transitions and then the 335i definitely feels like a 3er when it's cornering. Never had run-flats before and I'm not sure I could tell the difference from the Conti's that came on the 325i or 530i, but definitely not as nice as the Michelin Sport Pilots on the M3. I got 18" wheels this time because I was tired of the 19s on the M3. They look cool, but for driving experience, I'll never do that again.

The only turbo I've owned was an Eclipse back in the 90s, and you could easily feel its lag. The 335i doesn't seem to have much of one. It seems to pull as well as the M3, but I'm still in the break-in period and haven't jumped on it yet. The M definitely has way more compression as evidenced when you're coasting to a light while in gear. But then again the S54 was the epitome of performance out a normally aspirated engine.

The shifting on the 335i is very comparable to the M3 as far as the gearshift throw (IIRC the M-Sport package has a short shifter). The first time I drove my 325i after getting the M3 it was amazing how much throw the stock manual transmission has. The 335i clutch is very light and when I switch back to driving the M3, it feel like the clutch is 10 times heavier--yet when you drive everyday you don't notice that. Plus the E46 M3 manual is a very notchy and noisy thing--BMW even had a published explanation of why it was so.

Overall the 335i exudes a luxury feel while being very sporty, but I will have to get used to the isolated feeling from engine noise/feedback. Overall I'm happy with the purchase.


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12 responses to Initial Impressions F30 335i M-Sport comparison to E46 M3

sean10mm commented:
October 18, 2012, 2:47 pm

I'm pretty sure the 6MT shifter mechanisms are all the same in the F30, and the M Sport just gets a different knob. At least going through RealOEM.com they only have 1 shift mechanism for all 3 series 6MTs, but different knobs and such.

Thanks for the writeup by the way.
Jamesonsviggen commented:
October 18, 2012, 2:51 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by sean10mm View Post
I'm pretty sure the 6MT shifter mechanisms are all the same in the F30, and the M Sport just gets a different knob. At least going through RealOEM.com they only have 1 shift mechanism for all 3 series 6MTs, but different knobs and such.

Thanks for the writeup by the way.
Yeah.

I think it's the same weighted ZHP knob I have in my E36/7.

I was not a fan of the standard non weighted knob.
justinnum1 commented:
October 18, 2012, 2:59 pm

good stuff
EddieB commented:
October 18, 2012, 5:03 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesonsviggen View Post
Yeah.

I think it's the same weighted ZHP knob I have in my E36/7.

I was not a fan of the standard non weighted knob.
It pretty much is the same knob (unlit though), but I thought the M-Sport package had a short shifter. There was a definite difference in the shifting of my E46 325i and the E46 M3--drastically shorter throw on the linkage.

The only other thing that comes to mind is the sport seats don't seem as nice as the M3's. It's nice that they adjust the same, but I'm still trying to tweak the settings to be as good as the M's. In the M3 I felt like a cork in a bottle--which is what you want for the twisties.
johnofcross commented:
October 18, 2012, 5:14 pm

I thought the M Sport had the shorter throw? Thought that was in the brochure or something.
justinnum1 commented:
October 18, 2012, 5:22 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnofcross View Post
I thought the M Sport had the shorter throw? Thought that was in the brochure or something.
Shorter gear shifter means shorter throws i think
EddieB commented:
October 18, 2012, 5:49 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
Shorter gear shifter means shorter throws i think
That would make sense.
sean10mm commented:
October 18, 2012, 7:11 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinnum1 View Post
Shorter gear shifter means shorter throws i think
Eh, by a minor amount, but a real short throw shifter kit changes the geometry and makes a much larger difference than just lowering the knob height a little.

The BMW shifter is very good on its own, it's not like an old WRX 5 speed that feels like it came off a tractor unless you replace the bushing & put in a short throw kit.
windsor027 commented:
October 18, 2012, 8:33 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieB View Post
Picked up the 335i ordered from Munich 2 days ago and wanted to posit a coupe thoughts on the initial first impressions compared to my last Bimmer, the E46 M3 Coupe.

First off the 335i is scary quiet compared to the M3. It has been awhile since my E46 325i and E39 530i, but it seems even quieter than the 5er was. Reminds me of when I drove a C Class Benz.

The HK speakers in the 335i sound better than the ones in either of my E46s, but I think that has more to do with the ambient noise level. Because in any of the cars when you're parked, engine off there is plenty of bass and fidelity.

The F30 is more "floaty" feeling in normal street driving--even with it set for "Sports" mode. Haven't had a chance to drive the canyon yet, but have hit some high speed freeway transitions and then the 335i definitely feels like a 3er when it's cornering. Never had run-flats before and I'm not sure I could tell the difference from the Conti's that came on the 325i or 530i, but definitely not as nice as the Michelin Sport Pilots on the M3. I got 18" wheels this time because I was tired of the 19s on the M3. They look cool, but for driving experience, I'll never do that again.

The only turbo I've owned was an Eclipse back in the 90s, and you could easily feel its lag. The 335i doesn't seem to have much of one. It seems to pull as well as the M3, but I'm still in the break-in period and haven't jumped on it yet. The M definitely has way more compression as evidenced when you're coasting to a light while in gear. But then again the S54 was the epitome of performance out a normally aspirated engine.

The shifting on the 335i is very comparable to the M3 as far as the gearshift throw (IIRC the M-Sport package has a short shifter). The first time I drove my 325i after getting the M3 it was amazing how much throw the stock manual transmission has. The 335i clutch is very light and when I switch back to driving the M3, it feel like the clutch is 10 times heavier--yet when you drive everyday you don't notice that. Plus the E46 M3 manual is a very notchy and noisy thing--BMW even had a published explanation of why it was so.

Overall the 335i exudes a luxury feel while being very sporty, but I will have to get used to the isolated feeling from engine noise/feedback. Overall I'm happy with the purchase.
Excellent read. how did you find the steering feel in sport mode? I think is spot on but would like your opinion.
EddieB commented:
October 18, 2012, 8:45 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by windsor027 View Post
Excellent read. how did you find the steering feel in sport mode? I think is spot on but would like your opinion.
I like the wheel in Sport--nice and heavy but not too. I think I'm going to program Sport to use the normal throttle though.
justinnum1 commented:
October 18, 2012, 8:47 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieB View Post
I like the wheel in Sport--nice and heavy but not too. I think I'm going to program Sport to use the normal throttle though.
+1. The sport throttle is way to agressive for everyday driving.
windsor027 commented:
October 18, 2012, 8:56 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieB View Post
I like the wheel in Sport--nice and heavy but not too. I think I'm going to program Sport to use the normal throttle though.
Hmm. It doesn't bother me, but I think I will play with it and see what I like better.

Thank you Eddie for your response