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It is well documented and commented on how BMW numbed the steering in the 3 series and 5 series. What is puzzling to me is the source of this anesthesia:

http://www.caranddriver.com/bmw/3-series
"Asked why 3-series steering is less communicative these days, two BMW chassis engineers have told us that they could match the feedback provided by electric assist with what they used to provide with hydraulic power steering, but "our customers don't want it." This is what happens when your primary mission is chasing volume in an attempt to beat Mercedes-Benz and Lexus for the luxury-brand sales crown year after year."

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2018-bmw-5-series-prototype-drive-review
"After successfully passing his test, we challenged Meske to tweak the variables that interested us most: how quickly the steering responds and the amount of road feel and feedback it delivers to the driver. Unfortunately, changing those calibrations are beyond the reach of Meske's computer dialogue with the 5-series's electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering. He stressed that few, if any, BMW customers around the globe are requesting more tactility in their steering. Instead, the opposite is true; one of the most frequent words voiced during customer surveys is "isolation." The buyers find that a desirable trait."

Just who are these customer who want "isolation" instead of steering feel??? Am I too extreme in wanting to revoke their BMW ownership and banish them to Corollas?
 

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The ones who buy BMW because its a fancy brand... are you going to pretend those dont exist?
 

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So, I'm curious if this is all configurable via software, why can't we have it both ways (via a setting in iDrive)? Those who want feel can have it, and those who don't, wont.
 

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So, I'm curious if this is all configurable via software, why can't we have it both ways (via a setting in iDrive)? Those who want feel can have it, and those who don't, wont.
It's not entirely a matter of a software setting. It's quite clear that suspension geometry has a big say in this - there was another article somewhere I read noting that.
 

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Lost but making good time
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Just who are these customer who want "isolation" instead of steering feel??? Am I too extreme in wanting to revoke their BMW ownership and banish them to Corollas?
They are the vast majority of BMW buyers, who are drawn to the brand by its reputation for "great cars" yet have little appreciation of the attributes for which enthusiast drivers proclaimed BMWs "great cars" in the first place. You are perhaps being a little extreme: The customary destination for banishment is a Lexus. ;)

So, I'm curious if this is all configurable via software, why can't we have it both ways (via a setting in iDrive)? Those who want feel can have it, and those who don't, wont.
Simple: There are too few of us who (a) care, (b) gripe to BMW about it and (c) buy something else to make the point, for BMW to justify the investment. (And as floyd noted, it's partly a hardware difference, too.)

I've said it before (here, if interested) but it bears repeating: BMW Group's most valued assets are financial independence and the BMW brand. The cars will become whatever the market demands, to preserve those two.
 

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I'm very satisfied with the power steering operation in my F30. While the Cadillac ATS is best among compact executive sedans in steering and chassis response, F30's steering is plenty quick and responsive, and tracks straight on highways with barely any input from the driver. It's quicker and more responsive than the E90's steering:



As for steering "feel", isn't that a subjective measure? I have a 1972 Chevy Nova I'm currently restoring. The unassisted steering on this car requires much greater effort to turn, delivers less isolation, and is considerably slower and less responsive than any modern car I've experienced with power steering. I doubt drivers of late model BMW automobiles would want any of that.

All in all, I don't understand all the complaints about F3x steering "feel" that crop up here on Bimmerfest and in automotive magazines. :dunno:
 

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Have you had any time in an E39? It had the best, most lively BMW-like road feel of any BMW I've driven since 1990. I'm not critical of the F30's steering, but the E39 highlights what kind of feel BMW is capable of producing.

Incidentally, does your car have VSS? I'm just curious.

I'm very satisfied with the power steering operation in my F30. While the Cadillac ATS is best among compact executive sedans in steering and chassis response, F30's steering is plenty quick and responsive, and tracks straight on highways with barely any input from the driver. It's quicker and more responsive than the E90's steering:



As for steering "feel", isn't that a subjective measure? I have a 1972 Chevy Nova I'm currently restoring. The unassisted steering on this car requires much greater effort to turn, delivers less isolation, and is considerably slower and less responsive than any modern car I've experienced with power steering. I doubt drivers of late model BMW automobiles would want any of that.

All in all, I don't understand all the complaints about F3x steering "feel" that crop up here on Bimmerfest and in automotive magazines. :dunno:
 

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Have you had any time in an E39? It had the best, most lively BMW-like road feel of any BMW I've driven since 1990. I'm not critical of the F30's steering, but the E39 highlights what kind of feel BMW is capable of producing.

Incidentally, does your car have VSS? I'm just curious.
I love the E39's elegant and timeless design, but never had an opportunity to drive one. I know several folks at the local BMW CCA chapter (River City Bimmers) that have an E39. I'll ask them about a quick test drive at the next meet. :)

My F30 320i's steering system has the Servotronic feature, but not VSS.
 

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They are the vast majority of BMW buyers, who are drawn to the brand by its reputation for "great cars" yet have little appreciation of the attributes for which enthusiast drivers proclaimed BMWs "great cars" in the first place. You are perhaps being a little extreme: The customary destination for banishment is a Lexus. ;)

Simple: There are too few of us who (a) care, (b) gripe to BMW about it and (c) buy something else to make the point, for BMW to justify the investment. (And as floyd noted, it's partly a hardware difference, too.)

I've said it before (here, if interested) but it bears repeating: BMW Group's most valued assets are financial independence and the BMW brand. The cars will become whatever the market demands, to preserve those two.
Thanks for linking your previous post on the matter.. great, great insight on the issue. One of the best posts (along with the quotes in your post) on the issue I have read here. :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

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BMW engineer should've been honest. Electric steering was adopted as part of its strategy to meet govt FE targets. I get it though. Car companies don't like to publicly criticize govt mandates.
 

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Electric power steering was not introduced simpoly to fulfill a government mandate. EPS is necessary to accomplish a lot of things:

1. Reduces the weight of the car and increases fuel efficiency. Hydraulic power steering gear is heavy.
2. Reduces parasitic drag on the engine. Hydraulic power steering pulls power off the driveshaft even when you don't need it and robs you of horsepower.
3. Is programmable where hydraulic power steering is not adjustable at all. EPS makes it possible to offer Comfort and Sport modes in your steering response.
4. EPS is necessary to provide steering wheel feedback for Lane Departure Warning and collision avoidance technology.
5. EPS is much easier to upgrade for the future - just provide software updates or upgrade electronic modules. Much easier than redesigning a hydraulic ram and everything that goes with it.

Not everyone likes to have "road feel" transmitted to the steering wheel. For some, it likely makes the car more difficult and demanding to drive. However, I agree with the comment made in this thread that BMW should offer a choice of feedback modes to the driver through a selection. Perhaps a button on the steering wheel itself or a menu choice in the iDrive would work.
 

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I wonder how BMW obtain a representative sample of car buyers and what/how they determine their future wants and needs?

There are those that will continue to drive BMWs no matter how they drive and those that will start looking at the competition. BMW shouldn't want the latter to happen.

What if say Alfa or MB were to produce a car that tops most if not all attributes that are important to the market?

It's happened before and history has an habit.
 

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BMW built a reputation as an enthusiast's car with traits that enthusiasts love. So non-enthusiasts wanted to see what all the fuss was about but then realized that they don't really like some of the traits that enthusiasts like. There's probably 1,000 non-enthusiasts for every enthusiast, so BMW figures, "Hey, my rep is established so now I can start catering to the non-enthusiasts to sell more cars." Sales go through the roof, and BMW figures it's on a good path.
 

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But it's not just about volume...margin is just as important.
 

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Some of you may recall that a couple of years into the E46 cycle (circa 2001) there was an outcry among reviewers and many customers who noted the lack of steering feel in new 3 series vehicles. BMW acknowledged the change and by the next model year had abandoned that approach and even offered a retro-fit fix to those owners who wanted the "real" BMW steering feel. I was kind of hoping that given all the attention to the subject upon the release of the F30, there would have been a significant update for the LCI - apparently not.
 

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I wonder how BMW obtain a representative sample of car buyers and what/how they determine their future wants and needs?
I once participated in a bmw focus group. They sat me in front of a camera and asked me what I liked about my car. Can't recall if there was a group discussion. To filter me into the group I had to fill out a survey on various demographics and preferences, like salary, age, brands of cars I've owned, or ever considered owning, and so on. At the end they gave me something like $150 cash.
 

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Some of you may recall that a couple of years into the E46 cycle (circa 2001) there was an outcry among reviewers and many customers who noted the lack of steering feel in new 3 series vehicles. BMW acknowledged the change and by the next model year had abandoned that approach and even offered a retro-fit fix to those owners who wanted the "real" BMW steering feel. I was kind of hoping that given all the attention to the subject upon the release of the F30, there would have been a significant update for the LCI - apparently not.
I remember.
 

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Electric power steering was not introduced simpoly to fulfill a government mandate. EPS is necessary to accomplish a lot of things:

1. Reduces the weight of the car and increases fuel efficiency. Hydraulic power steering gear is heavy.
2. Reduces parasitic drag on the engine. Hydraulic power steering pulls power off the driveshaft even when you don't need it and robs you of horsepower.
3. Is programmable where hydraulic power steering is not adjustable at all. EPS makes it possible to offer Comfort and Sport modes in your steering response.
4. EPS is necessary to provide steering wheel feedback for Lane Departure Warning and collision avoidance technology.
5. EPS is much easier to upgrade for the future - just provide software updates or upgrade electronic modules. Much easier than redesigning a hydraulic ram and everything that goes with it.

Not everyone likes to have "road feel" transmitted to the steering wheel. For some, it likely makes the car more difficult and demanding to drive. However, I agree with the comment made in this thread that BMW should offer a choice of feedback modes to the driver through a selection. Perhaps a button on the steering wheel itself or a menu choice in the iDrive would work.
BMW has a history of recycling systems. Especially steering. Electric steering has been panned for awhile now (early Z4's had catastrophic problems and the VSS has always had very low uptake). It's about FE first and foremost. Don't kid yourself.
 

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Some of you may recall that a couple of years into the E46 cycle (circa 2001) there was an outcry among reviewers and many customers who noted the lack of steering feel in new 3 series vehicles. BMW acknowledged the change and by the next model year had abandoned that approach and even offered a retro-fit fix to those owners who wanted the "real" BMW steering feel. I was kind of hoping that given all the attention to the subject upon the release of the F30, there would have been a significant update for the LCI - apparently not.
My daughter's 2002 E46 steering feel was noticably stiffer (heavier) than my 2003 E46 - I recall reading that BMW recalibrated the steering feel for 2003 after getting feedback the 2002 was now too stiff. I still have the 2003 as my DD and the steering feel is just right IMO.
 

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My daughter's 2002 E46 steering feel was noticably stiffer (heavier) than my 2003 E46 - I recall reading that BMW recalibrated the steering feel for 2003 after getting feedback the 2002 was now too stiff. I still have the 2003 as my DD and the steering feel is just right IMO.
I loved my 2002 330i! But after driving my F30 for a while, whenever I'd get back in the E46 my first impression was always "WTF is the steering pump broken!" :rofl:

But then 5 minutes down the road and I'd be all, "OMG I miss this car so much!" (I had passed it along to my daughter).
 
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