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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have my E60 and love it. Aside from a Porsche 911 I owned in the 1970's it's the best handling and driving car I've ever had. The steering and road feedback are wonderful and I get a big grin on my face whenever I get behind the wheel, even for a simple 2 mile trip to the grocery store.

Over the last 4-5 years I've been going to the BMW Drive For A Cause events to get an idea of what model I would look to for a replacement when my E60 becomes too troublesome or is totaled in an accident.

At these events BMW has had each years new model and a few others available to test drive. The F30 3 series sedans, F 4 series coupes and Gran Coupe, the F10 5 series LCI, the F12 6 series and F06 Gran Coupe, the newest G11 7 series. I've driven them all and each time I've found the handling and particularly the steering to be very mediocre compared to BMWs of the past. Each time I experienced this disappointment/frustration I talked with the BMW factory representatives who were at the events.

When I've voiced my observations to the BMW reps, they acknowledged my feelings and said the generally poorer handling and steering was due to two two things. 1) Run flat tires give a poorer ride and to compensate for that harshness/roughness BMW has softened their suspension settings, thus making the cars wallow more. 2) Electric power steering (EPS) removes/reduces road feedback, feels numb and often very overboosted. I was told that because EPS is fairly new, BMW is still learning more about it and fine tuning the steering feel as their experience grows. I was told not to be concerned, BMW wasn't giving up it's desire to make sports sedans.

I've tried to remain hopeful until I read this:

It's an interesting article and explains a lot. In it BMW's project director for the upcoming new 5 series explains: ***8220;We surveyed both current BMW 5-series customers and owners of competitive models, asking, ***8216;What are your wishes?***8217; We have two million customers around the globe who***8217;ve purchased the 5-series during the past five years, which results in a broad spread of demands. There was a clear request for less steering effort. No one wants bad feedback***8212;such as a steering wheel that vibrates in response to bumps in the road.***8221;

Continuing, he said: ***8220;My personal opinion is, we***8217;re providing enough feedback to our mainstream customers. Some drive 30,000 miles per year in their BMWs, including long trips at high speeds. So the strongest demand we heard was, ***8216;Please reduce the steering effort.***8217; They seem to want more isolation.***8221;

There's more in the article of course, but the point was definitely made. BMW isn't learning about EPS and striving to get back to their old glory days. They already understand EPS, and the steering we've been getting over the last five years or so, is what it's going to be in the future. They are deliberately building their cars in response to what mainstream drivers want, low steering effort and complete isolation.

This deliberate change by BMW was also acknowledged by Bob Lutz in his column for the July '16 issue of Road & Track. In that column he said: "BMW has ceased to be a company designing responsive sporting cars for enthusiasts. It has gone mainstream....Most BMW buyers today pay a monthly lease and have no idea why they bought the brand, other than that it enjoys instant recognition and respect among the owner's peers. Taut ride, superb handling, sharp steering, and symphonic-quality engine sound have mostly fallen by the wayside; todays BMW customer neither notices nor cares....".

Given all this, I'm giving up on BMW. I'll continue to enjoy and appreciate my E60 for as long as I can. However, it's time to face reality and start looking at other manufacturers who offer cars with a good driving experience. It was great while it lasted, but time to look elsewhere. Very sad. :cry:

Propellers Up Front
2,007 Posts
Ok...I just went to the BMW Drive For A Cause event yesterday and drove what I thought was the sportiest model they had...the 340i Msport. The car is really quick off the line, but you feel like it's just really driving for you. I maintained a constant speed and rolled the windows up and down and the sound of the exhaust did NOT change one bit lolol, that told me straight up that I was hearing it though the speakers. It is really quick, shifts are fast and smooth in manual and sport mode, and the sensation of speed was good. The steering was lighter than expected though. It was very easy to turn the wheel even at slow speeds. But that's the EPS at work. Other than that it was a great modern car, as any non enthusiast would probably agree.
Bottom line: It is a car for today.

Now yes the steering isn't as weighted as many other BMW's but this is how I look at it, does that even matter anymore? :dunno:

We are staring down the road literally at autonomous cars. It is over for the "driver". Steering feel will not matter anymore in a few decades. I mean right now all BMW has left to offer is brute power and great handling, because tech has taken over the automotive industry. This isn't new, and we all know it's coming. These cars now drive themselves so every new generation of people will not understand what a real driving machine once was.

I just picked up a 2011 AW M3 because that to me will be the last of the "ultimate driving machine".
It's a true 6MT, with heavy and precise steering, handles like :yikes:, a masterpiece for an engine with natural breathing and high revving, and the sound is exhilarating. Seats are perfect, thick steering wheel, and that all combined make for a total awesome driving experience.

Those features are falling off one by one as every new generation of models go by until we are all just passengers one day. So yes, steering feel is gone, the manual transmission is damn near gone already, NA is gone so is high revving and sound, because sound is amplified through speakers. One by one each factor of that once complete package of the driving experience that we all loved will be completely gone.
I'm with these journalist that it's not the same, but BMW is just a company trying to sell cars to many people just like any other auto company. And today steering feel isn't a primary factor like Facebook on the homescreen of the display is.
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