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BMW F30/32 3 Series - handling complaints

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Is it really so wrong for the current generation 3 Series to ride a bit softer than before? Car reviewers and critics are really not happy about the handling characteristics of the F30/32.

People really dig the fact the Stöckli Stormriders rider softer than ever before and this more real life friendly. Why not for the 3 Series...
post #2 of 19

The F30 generation 3 series rides slightly higher than the prior gen E90's, and on top of all of that, they now incorporate electric steering instead of the old hydraulic steering found in BMW's for pretty much ever.  This gives off an impression of a less sporty car and more akin to a luxury vehicle - BMW has always been in the "luxury" marketplace, but was always seen as the performance machine to aspire to.

 

The enthusiast BMW owner is one who looks for the sporty ride and aggressiveness to the vehicle - the new 3 series takes a little bit of that edge away in favor of trying to cater to the larger masses of people who simply buy the BMW for the name and prestige.  I'd almost garner to say that the average owner of a 3 series owns a 328i off the lot, and they're probably a 40-something female looking for a "nice" car.  But definitely yes, the F30 drives a little softer than the E90 does.

 

Owning both at the same time (I have an F30, my wife drives an E90), I can't honestly say I like one over the other.  The F30 is slightly larger too, which does affect some handling, but honestly speaking, I don't really notice any difference in either car taking turns at high speed.  Both are very well planted through turns, have crisp response, and are fantastic to drive.  There are days I hate the electric steering and it's lack of heft, and there are days I hate the hydraulic steering and how damn heavy it can be at times.  Pro tip - get rid of the run flats on the F30, and it feels SO much better too.

post #3 of 19

Look at the new Mazda MX-5, that is very sofff....err... compliant with a good amount of body roll. The philosophy is that the softness and roll allows you to feel the limits of the car better. I do like your analogy with the new Stormrider, very accurate. This is another case of increasing the performance range without neutering top end.

post #4 of 19

The BMW 3 series was a "performance handling" car.  If Stockli had made their SL or their Laser SX softer and added some tip rocker, you would be seeing complaints about it.

 

It's just like when Kawasaki made their 750 more of a kinder gentler motorcycle, back in the last century, easier to use more accessible powerband, more compliant suspension and all that, but less of a high performance motorcycle (imho).  BOO HISS!

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Perhaps, the 3 series is not comparable to SLs or even non-FIS SLs in the range of (race) skis. The most sporty M3 is not a full-on race car for tracks either.

With so much competition striving to stand out with a "perfect" yet elusive blend/compromise between sport and comfort with an adequate dose of luxury, auto journalists seem to think that every new 3 series should be the most firm-riding and sharp-handling of the bunch and also that every new generation be sportier than the previous.
post #6 of 19

IMO, the current 2 stands in well for the old 3, and the current 3 nearly replicates the old 5, so it works out.

 

A current 3 with sport suspension feels just fine to me, while the standard suspension feels a bit soft.

 

The electric steering is just so damn sad.

 

And don't get me started on the year after year dwindling number of BMWs available with stick shifts.  It's the only reason I don't currently have one in my garage, after many, many years.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
BMW manual is not the most precise / short throw shift out there, don't you think?

Found couple of videos on luxury vs power train va handling. It sounds like the Jaguar XE Supercharged V6 is the new benchmark...gotta pay my visit to a Jaguar dealership soon...

http://youtu.be/7FNBamAkCLg
http://youtu.be/-3YFTFLmcfk
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
New M4 GTS featuring water injection...493hp 0-60 in 3.7 for $185K (UK price translated)!!!
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=874511

New BMW M2...370hp 0-60 in 4.2 for $51K http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=875697
post #9 of 19

From a BMW perspective the benchmark for handling is the E30 M3. Built from '88 to '91 there were approximately 5000 sold in the US.

4 cylinder, 5 speed manual, it is not fast by today's standards but for overall handling it is great. Newer M3's have higher cornering limits yet the balance of the E30 chassis is what stands out.

Given all that you are hard pressed today to find one in stock form. One thing you won't find is an E30 M3 that has been modified with a softer ride and more ground clearance. The basic E30 325 had  a softer ride and even a 6 cylinder engine and sold in great numbers. BMW knew that the average person really didn't want a race car for the street and that hasn't really changed.

The fun factor in an E30 M3 is huge something BMW has not been able to duplicate since. Perhaps the M2 will bring it back a little.

post #10 of 19

run-flat tires produce a rather stiff ride.

 

it is very common for owners to ditch the run-flats (ride & cost) for regular tires to "soften" the car

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post

run-flat tires produce a rather stiff ride.

it is very common for owners to ditch the run-flats (ride & cost) for regular tires to "soften" the car
Critics have been saying the current generation 3 series rides too soft to be the best sporty lux sedan in its class. If people want even softer ride quality out of the run-of-the-mill 3, wouldn't softer riding 3s be a better 3? Journalists (Motor Trend for one) seem to disagree.
post #12 of 19

are they complaining about the regular 3/4-series too soft?  If so, there's the M-sport package.

 

Are they complaining that the M-sport is too soft?  If so, there's the actual M3 & M4.

 

Since the vast majority of BMW owners use their cars to go from point A to Point B, they are giving their customers what they want.  If they needed something sportier for regularly scheduled canyon carving, BMW also gives you options, as well as the aftermarket support for BMW.

post #13 of 19

I think the issue is the perception, probably correct, that they're Camry-fying the 3 series.  The 3 series was supposed to be a sporty sedan, and they're softening it up ( and also making some other sacrifices that are making people unhappy) to sell more cars.  Yeah, you can get upgrade packages etc, but that is sort of anathema to the 3 series mantra.  It's supposed to already be, even in base form, the best handling sedan. 

 

And there are all kinds of "softness" and "firmness" in suspension.  It's not just run-flats or bushings..there are many variables.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Generally they say the current 3 rides softer than the previous. Not a lot of complaints on the M3 at all.

In terms of handling, both Motor Trend and Autotrader gave the XE higher marks for better roll control yet smoother ride (plus more responsive steering).

Perhaps it's time for BMW to stop monkeying around with the McPherson AND Adaptive Suspension option rip-off and just put better hardware...double wishbone.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

Generally they say the current 3 rides softer than the previous. Not a lot of complaints on the M3 at all.

In terms of handling, both Motor Trend and Autotrader gave the XE higher marks for better roll control yet smoother ride (plus more responsive steering).

Perhaps it's time for BMW to stop monkeying around with the McPherson AND Adaptive Suspension option rip-off and just put better hardware...double wishbone.

double wishbone doesn't automatically equal better handling.  It's all in how the suspension is designed for in the first place.

 

Porsche is very stubborn with the engine location of the 911 AND its use of MacPherson struts

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post
 

double wishbone doesn't automatically equal better handling.  It's all in how the suspension is designed for in the first place.

 

Porsche is very stubborn with the engine location of the 911 AND its use of MacPherson struts


It's true..while all have some inherent weaknesses and strengths, it's possible to ruin even the best suspension type with poor parts or poor design.

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post
 

double wishbone doesn't automatically equal better handling.  It's all in how the suspension is designed for in the first place.

 

Porsche is very stubborn with the engine location of the 911 AND its use of MacPherson struts

Porsche makes do with the MacPherson because of the space issue on the 911 don't they?

 

It appears that BMW has been optimizing their MacPherson design over the years to get the best/most out of it, but by design, double wishbone can offer better and more.  The downside is it requires more space, more parts and maintenance, and weighs/costs more.  If BMW can further tweak the MacPherson to make it better, I'm all for it, but there is an inherent limit....Just like the Porsche 911 rear-engine setup. There is no question about mid engine setup being far superior by design no matter how stubbornly Porsche thinks they can make 911 fantastic.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post
 

Porsche makes do with the MacPherson because of the space issue on the 911 don't they?

 

It appears that BMW has been optimizing their MacPherson design over the years to get the best/most out of it, but by design, double wishbone can offer better and more.  The downside is it requires more space, more parts and maintenance, and weighs/costs more.  If BMW can further tweak the MacPherson to make it better, I'm all for it, but there is an inherent limit....Just like the Porsche 911 rear-engine setup. There is no question about mid engine setup being far superior by design no matter how stubbornly Porsche thinks they can make 911 fantastic.


Well..there are trade-offs...depending on what you're trying to do..there isn't necessarily a "right" answer every time out. 

post #19 of 19

Toyota had their Super Strut suspension in certain cars in other markets.  It's sort of like a hybrid Strut suspension, which allows for a larger camber curve like a double-A-arm system, instead of a relatively small curve on a regular MacPherson strut.

 

Ford had a version of it, as well as GM

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