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BMW F30 3-Series (2012+)



  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,854
    edited November 2012
    I recently spent a couple of days in an F30 328i loaner while my son's X3 was getting front pads and rotors(I'm not complaining; they lasted over 84,000 miles), so I was able to make a true A-B comparison as I drove the F30 back-to-back with my wife's 2009 E90 328i.

    Exterior: I like both about the same. I'll note BMW did an excellent job with the E90 LCI(facelift).

    Interior: I've never been a great fan of the E90 interior; it lacks the traditional BMW driver-focused feel. The F30 interior is very nice except for the "beer tap" automatic shifter- why replace something that works perfectly well with a non-intuitive mechanism that requires additional thought and effort? The standard information screen in the F30 looks like it should retract- but it doesn't. I like the oil temperature gauge in the F30; the E90 328i has no temperature gauge of any kind. Seats are adequate in both; the F30 has more rear seat room and a larger trunk.

    Drivetrain: You simply can't beat the E90's BMW inline six. It sounds and feels infinitely better than the F30's four(as a matter of fact, the M42 in my 1995 318ti also sounds and feels smoother- and the M10 in my '02 isn't all that far behind). And while the turbo four in the F30 may be faster on paper, it sure doesn't feel faster. On top of that, the auto-stop feels pretty crude- although now it can be "disabled". Both transmissions are excellent.

    Brakes: Both cars have decent feel and modulation, with a slight edge to the E90.

    Steering/Suspension: The E90 is by far the nicer drive. The F30 steering is better than the numb tiller in the F10 5er, but not by all that much. The cars are approximately equal in terms of grip, but the E90 gives you a much better idea of what is happening at the four contact patches.

    Frankly, I can see no reason why a driving enthusiast would pick an F30 over an E90- and Car and Driver apparently shares my opinion; here's what they said in the November 2012 issue:

    Our grave concern here is that, with each new car it introduces, BMW seems to wrap more padding around the sensations and feel that make them great—while its competitors only zero in more tightly on those same attributes. (We’re convinced that the E90 would handily win a comparison test against the F30.)

    As a matter of fact, after I dropped off the F30 and drove away in the X3, I noticed how much better the X3's steering performed. It felt like I was actually driving a BMW again. That said, I'm glad I had the opportunity to drive the F30, as the experience has almost convinced me to grab an E92 328i M Sport before it is replaced with the F32 4er...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    " the E90 328i has no temperature gauge of any kind."

    My 2010 E93 must be different, as it has an oil temperature gauge.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,854
    edited November 2012
    My 2010 E93 must be different, as it has an oil temperature gauge.

    The E90 335i has an oil temperature gauge; the E90 328i makes do with the fuel economy gauge instead...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    That's interesting. I think I read a similar comparo of a 2011-12 5 Series (Not familiar with the other designations) and the previous version. I do have a 96 Z3 but our driver is an 03 Avalon with updated suspension and while I really like the car now, @ 114k it's time to move on while it still has value. Anyway, we drove a 13 Lexus ES 350 and a 12 528i RWD. We didn't care much for the 5, even discounted $12k with 3800 miles. Dead spot on downshift and lots of wing dip moving the wheel back and forth. Much more than the Lexus. I thought 'This is a BMW?' The delay reminded me of what I didn't like about our Audi 5000. Then we drove an 08 528i. Ya, that's more like it. We're going to look at an 09 ES 350 and an 08 528i tomorrow. That should be interesting. I would probably upgrade the ES suspension with Tokico or KYB/GR2 struts as we did on the Avalon. What a difference. Anyone have thougts on other sport/performance suspension brands? The KYB's offered a great improvement without a real stiff ride. With 60k on them, the ride is perfect.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,854
    I'm partial to Bilstein HDs and Koni FSDs.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • My 2013 335i has very black soot in the exhaust pipes discharge openings. it looks like it is burning rich. The dealer service says its ok. They say the car has four emission sensors and if anything was wrong I would get a service error and notification. They tell me the BMW Emissions are rated super above other cars and Govt. regulations. I asked what causes it and I am told they are all like that. However they cant give me a reason why.
    Does anyone else have this occurance, is it a problem? what causes it. Thanks. Looking forward to a reasonable and technical explanation.
  • Can the host help me with this request on Black Exhaust residue. It looks like not many posts are in the F30 topic forum. Any suggestions.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Back in the days before OBD-II when most engines were carburated, black soot on the inside of the exhaust pipes was usually an indication that the engine was running rich (too much fuel).

    However, nowadays engines and the emissions control system are designed to work right at the stoichiometric air-fuel ratio, ~14.7:1 IIRC. Overly rich air-fuel mixtures are especially bad and can lead to overheating of and damage to the catalytic converter. So any deviation from that ideal air-fuel ratio (and many other things) will cause the OBD-II system to detect a fault and (probably) turn on the CEL and set the appropriate code.

    So, I do know why your '325 has a dark residue on the exhaust pipe. But, I would not be concerned about it so long as the car is running OK, your fuel economy is where it should be, and the CEL is off.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,913
    Seems like a good answer! If more opinions are desired, you might post in our Answers section:

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  • I have the 2013 320i, previously had a 2011 328i which I miss driving. The new one just doesn't feel as connected to the road.

    Anyway, the reason for this post, does anyone know of a way to change the satellite radio display to show the station, song and artist information when it is in the "Presets" mode? I know I can see all of that info when it is in "satellite" and showing all stations but I only listen to a few stations so I'd rather only display the preset stations. Any ideas/suggestions?
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    Just test drove a 328D X-Drive today. I currently drive a 2007 328XI. The diesel has was a very nice drive. Peppy off the line, handles very well and given an EPA of 43 on the highway(diesels typically do better than EPA highway estimates!) seems like a very good compromise. A slight diesel clatter but honestly not much worse than the current 328i. Considering the car doesn't even include xenons quiet pricey at almost $50K with Cold Weather, Premium and Technology packages.
  • dtd98dtd98 Posts: 19
    Hi idoc2,
    Where did you test the 328d X-drive ? What is the price for the RWD 328d and how many 328d do you see at that dealership ? I'm interested in the 328d and just want the simple on without all the bells and whistles.
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    I test drove the 328D at BMW of North Haven (CT). They only had one diesel 3 series at this fairly large dealership. Dealers don't typically stock many RWD 3 series sedans in this part of the country and frankly I didn't ask if they had any. I would go to the BMW website and there you will be able to come up with the list price of the car you want - I would expect a dealer might take a couple thousand off that price.
  • dtd98dtd98 Posts: 19
    Thank you idoc2. I'm from San Jose, CA. I have not checked with my local BMW dealers yet. Since, I still wait for the next MB C class diesel to debut. I would like to get your impression when you test dove the 3er diesel and what is the fair price that you would pay for. Modern diesel car is one of the criteria that I'm looking for in my next car.
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    Honestly I think you have to test drive the 328 diesel for yourself to decide if the compromise between sportiness and fuel economy is worth it for YOU. I currently own a last generation(2007) 328Xi, I have also test driven the new 328i with X-drive(see my comments above). The diesel is not as silky smooth as my current I-6 328 and not as sporty as either car. But for me the acceleration was adequate and the driving dynamics of the chassis was exactly what you'd expect in any 3er. IMO the huge fuel efficiency gain is worth the trade-off in sportiness of the drive train. On the other hand there are several things about the 3 series I do not like. I hate the run flat tires(which are on my current car), I think the new electronic shifter for the automatic tranny is very non-intuitive and at times confusing. I very much dislike the automatic on/off feature which turns the car off when at a stop light or in heavy traffic, then car restarts with a shudder. For these reasons I have not yet bought a new 328D or 328i. I test drove the new Audi A6 diesel which was fabulous but about $9,000 more. I am in no rush and await an A4 diesel and the MB C series diesel. I suggest yo drive the 328D and see what you think.
  • dtd98dtd98 Posts: 19
    You have several good points, and since you have owned the 3er before, I value your opinion a lot. I have not owned a German car before , since I have been driving Japanese cars for nearly 30 years , I have decided my next car would be a German one. In term of styling, I prefer the C over the 3er. I think A4 is a bit bland even though some people praise for its driving dynamic. I also know people complain about the start/stop function of the 3er. At this point, my criteria is RWD, diesel and $45K out of the door price max. I would wait to see the new C introduction at 2014 Detroit auto show before making any decision. By the way, would you consider the upcoming Mazda 6 diesel?
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    edited October 2013
    I don't know much about the Mazda 6 diesel but I suspect it will be a fairly good car and a better value than a BMW or MB. It will be much less expensive to buy and less to maintain but probably lacks the refinement of the German cars and certainly lacks the cache. I have a close friend who recently bought a Passat TDI for about $26K which he claims gets almost 50mpg on the highway and he is very happy with it. It appears to be a very nice car but I have not yet ridden in it.
  • dtd98dtd98 Posts: 19
    The Passat is a bit bland for me. The current TDI engine is an old tech. You should wait for the new TDI engine which will debut in the next Audi A4. The reason is the performance of the current one is slow for 0-60mph which could be around 9s. You may want it to be in the low 7s .Just because you drive a diesel, it does not mean you have to settle down with a slow car.
  • qaliqali Toronto CanadaPosts: 60
    edited May 27

    I am closing in on a 2013 335i x-drive 4-door or a 2011 335i x-drive 2-door. I have previously owned a 2007 335i RWD and a 2011 328xi 4-door. Question, does the variable sport steering option on the F-30 bring back the steering feel that everyone in this forum is saying is missing from the F-30?

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,854
    edited June 9

    @qali said: I am closing in on a 2013 335i x-drive 4-door or a 2011 335i x-drive 2-door. I have previously owned a 2007 335i RWD and a 2011 328xi 4-door. Question, does the variable sport steering option on the F-30 bring back the steering feel that everyone in this forum is saying is missing from the F-30?

    It is better than the numb steering on the regular F30, but still not as good as an E90. The problem is that most so-called "enthusiasts" do not know the difference between steering effort and steering feel. They think that increased steering effort is enough- but I want to know what is going on at the contact patches. In that respect, the variable sport steering is definitely a step in the right direction, but Munich still has a long way to go; my Mazdaspeed 3 work beater is a more rewarding drive than virtually every F30 I've driven- and this is coming from a guy who has owned BMWs since 1983 and currently has four in the garage.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

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