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BMW 3-Series Ride Quality

sven335sven335 Posts: 2
edited August 2014 in BMW
I have a 2008 335i with sports package. The highways I commute on are poorly maintained. The car will throw me an inch or two into the air if I hit a small bump @65MPH. It also follows groves in the road if I don't hold the wheel tightly. Lastly, undulations in the road (to help water runoff) cause the car to vibrate.

I assume I am not the only one to experience this. Has anyone found a fix (e.g., new tires, suspension upgrade, etc.)?



  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,141
    Welcome to the land of run-flat tires.

    Also, check your inflation pressures. They may be way high (which the clever little sensors don't care about).

    There is a whole discussion of run-flats on here, and tramlining (following grooves in the road) is one of several bad traits. The consensus is that real (get-flat) tires fix the majority of this.

    Good luck.
  • jms13jms13 Posts: 2
    The issue of following grooves in the road is called "tramlining" and it's a function of many low profile/wide tread high performance tires; run flat or not. Run flats have plenty of problems, but it's unfair to blame them as the cause for tramlining. Ask anyone who's ever driven on a set of the old Bridgestone S-03 Pole Positions or original Michelin Pilot Sports and you'll know what I mean. As for jumping over small bumps, I'd first check the inflation and make sure it's in spec. I've got the same car and "small bumps" don't do what you say. But larger bumps do, and this is a function of the run flat tires and their very stiff sidewalls. Something you will have to live with until they wear out--which will be soon. Replace them with non run flats and get a Conti comfort kit for temporary flat repair.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While it may well be true that many performance tires "tram-line", it is also true that RFTs greatly exacerbate the problem.

    Best regards,
  • nkeennkeen SE PennaPosts: 313
    I have an 06 325i with sport package. The RE050 RFT summer tires on the car do tram-line and demand an active approach while driving, and will deliver a good jolt over poorly maintained expansion joints, etc. They give a very lively feel to the drive, give very sharp turn in, are accurate, and grip well. The LM22 winter RFTs I bought do not tram-line significantly; nor do the EL42 all season Bridgestones I have driven on cars with base suspension. The Continental RFTs available on the base car (325/328 - 16") give a slightly softer ride, but to me feel a little vague and less responsive than the comparable EL42s. The LM22s perform well on snow and freezing rain, but with RWD you don't have the ability to pull yourself out of trouble that you have with FWD -- i.e., watch the front end on icy roads with a tall crown and sharp drop off.
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    Hi Sven,

    Think I have seen you on e90post or another BMW forum :-)

    Anyways I have a 2008 335xi Coupe with Sports Package and 18" wheel upgrade that had the Bridgestone Potenzas mounted from the factory.

    Just recently I mounted 17" BMW alloy wheels with Michelin Primacy Alpin PA3 winter RFTs.

    The MIchelins are definitely an improvement over the Potenzas in terns of ride characteristics over rough surfaces even though they are high performance winters. Its not like the Potenzas produce a bad ride on all road surfaces but they can produce a "thump" when hitting a road bump the "wrong" way.

    That said it seems like Michelin just does a MUCH better job of engineering an RFT with much better ride compliance than the competition. In fact BMW thinks so as well since it is shipping Michelin PS/2 RFTs on some 2009 3-series.

    So if I was going to replace the Potenzas for Summer+ use I would buy the Michelin PS/2s in a second.
  • Thank you for your feedback. It's good to know I am not alone in this. I checked my tire pressure and it was up to spec. I revisited the 'small bumps' and determined they were rather large. However, they don't feel that way in my 2004 325i.

    Now I am looking for new tires. I want to stay in my seat, reduce vibration, and minimize tramlining without significantlly compromising performance. After reading the recommendations above and in other threads, I am still not sure what to do. I am reluctant to fork over more than a grand for another set of tires unless it is reasonably sure to fix the problem.

    The most recommended tire appears to be the Michelin Sport PS2 (I am not sure if this is the same as the PS/2 referred to above. I thought the PS2 was a GFT). Has anyone tried this tire on a 2008 335i Sport, and how did this impact the ride? Are there other tires multiple people have used to good effect (i.e., Yokohama AVANT S4)?

    If I replace the RFT's will it impact the oil cooler in the wheel well? What about the tire pressure sensors?

  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 ZP

    They are available for the 18" staggered Style 189 wheels that come with 335xi Sports Package + the 18" wheel upgrade. Looks like this would set you back at least $1,500 installed on your current wheels. Now that is the real price of owning one of these cars.
  • rob34rob34 Posts: 58
    I have a 2009 335i X Drive. I have the all-seasons, run flats of course. The Contis. Maybe I am saying this because of my last car, a 2005 X3 sports package. This car is so much more compliant. I am still in the honeymoon stage but I just love the ride. This car handles so well yet is not rough at all. It's not soft and I wouldn't want it that way. I really think the all seasons help. I have heard bad things about the Bridgestones, even from my sales person. I love my car and that includes the ride quality.
  • nkeennkeen SE PennaPosts: 313
    On the 328i, the Contis give a slightly more compliant ride, but trade a little precision and responsiveness to the Bridgestone EL42s. I like the summer Bridgestone RE050As that come sport suspension but they don't make for an easy drive.
  • This is an easy solution. For all you guys that dont like the rough noisy go cart ride and there must be a bunch of you since there is over 2800 responses to the rft forum complaining about the ride of these cars and love to abuse yourselves, here is a solution: Dont buy the sport suspension!!!!! These cars already are sporty enough! And you will never need the extent to which these cars perform with the sport suspension unless you are on the track and I promise you, from reading in these forums you arent ever on the track. It kills me when guys are asking how good their deals are on the finance forum and all of them say "etc, etc, etc, sport suspension" like it is an automatic option everyone has to order. These cars are sports cars!!! They dont need the additional teeth chattering stiffness! I talk to a lot of guys who had 3's before and after the horrible rft era. They tell me that the ride of the sport suspension on the pre-rft era is equal to the ride of the non-sport WITH the rft's. There is that much difference in the ride of these tires. I had a 3 with a sport susp. pre-rft and it was a rough noisy ride. I plan to purchase as my next car a 3 without the sport then after about 5K miles switch the tires to a normal summer tire. I know it is exhausting. It just seems like BMW tries to make things as hard as possible to like them. Actually, I was even hopeful about the new TL and the Maxima being a competitor enough to consider them but I dont know. If enough of us changed brands BMW would be more "Japanese like" in trying to please us fans more rather than ramming these crummy ideas down our throats!
  • By the way, I forgot to mention my current car is a Mercedes AMG E 63. It is the perfect combination of handling and luxury. The only thing about this car that I havent gotten used to yet is the lack of tossability. I think the weight of the car is close to 4000 lbs. and I miss the tossability of the 3. But it is the ONLY thing I miss with 520hp, 480 torque and the envious stares of other people.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The E90 suspension tuning was already softened by the factory to compensate for the run-flats.

    Don't cripple the dynamics of your 3-series from the get go by ordering the soft suspension. Just put normal tires on it.

    If the BMW is still too stiff for you, then maybe a Buick or Mercedes is a better choice.
  • slcs1slcs1 Posts: 1
    I purchased (2) rear potenza's RFT's in 9/09, and 9K miles later the tires are evenly wore and in need of replacement. I'm aware of the Class Action Suit against BMW and Bridgestone involving the Turanza's RFT's, however, the Potenza's also manufactured by Bridgestone were not included. Although, In my opinion, perhaps they should have been, or at least investigated for possible inclusion. it's not a coincidence that the issues in the Class Action Settlement which identifies excessive noise, irregular wear and needed replacement, which is exactly what I've experienced with the Potenza's. My tire dealership suggested that I contact my BMW service provider regarding the "Bushing". Is this really a tire issue and/or both a tire and suspension issue. This is my first 3 series 2006 330 and I will never purchase again. Since purchasing this CPO in 11/08; my first tire problem occurred in 12/08, with monthly intervals and trips to the BMW dealership for inspection and poor diagnostic. Through a mutual Tire Dealership, proper inspection and diagnostic was obtained and subsequent purchases of RFT's. Now all four, with most recent purchase yesterday (F/R), and a recommendation to replace the rears "AGAIN". Initially, I had to start replacing the original tires due to unusual wear or punctures after less than 6k miles from the original purchase date of the car. I live in California and drive on smooth surfaces. I'm ready to turn the car in. There's more to this than what's been said and done. I think the Class Action suit only touches the surface. Too many of us consumers are dealing with this issue and the inconvenience of having to resourcefully resolve it at our expense financially and emotionally. I'm a 56 yr old conservative female driver, who, obviously has taken her car in to the BMW dealership for service (tire problems)and and sometimes prematurely, and at regular service intervals, as recommended. I'm not a fault for this defect in technology by Bridgestone or BMW. Finally, I'm schedule to take the car in on Thursday, 8/5 as recommended by the service advsior to check the bushings. DOES ANYONE HAS ANY SUGGESTIONS ON MY APPROACH REGARDING THE ISSUE WITH THE RFT'S AND THE BUSHINGS. THE CPO WARRANTY IS STILL GOOD AND THINK THE MFG'S WARRANTY IS TOO, BUT IN CASE IT ISN'T OR NOT COVERED BY THE CPO, I NEED A SOLID APPROACH SO I WON'T HAVE TO INCURR IN ADDITIONAL COST. I FEEL BMW SHOULD REPLACE THE (2) REARS NOT ME AT BEST.
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    Unless you want to devote all your time to what (from my experience) will be a completely fruitless exercise, trade the thing in and buy something that drives and rides properly. I traded my beloved Lexus ES on a BMW 3 series and boy oh boy - watta mistaka to maka, as they say in the classics. To hell with European cars; always thought they were rubbish and now I've proven it. They are for 'badge buyers' only.
    Toyota or Ford for me next time.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    It appears that you're wearing your bias on your sleeve, and said bias has spilled into your post as well. Like it or not, believe it or not, European cars in general and BMWs in particular offer driving dynamics that are occasionally equaled but rarely exceeded by cars produced in other parts of the world. Are European cars for everybody? Nope; and clearly they're not for you, but to make a blanket statement that "they are for badge buyers only" is just silly.
  • bigkevbigkev Posts: 33
    Fair comment - It's my fault.
    Between us my wife and I have had 2 C Class Mercedes, both of which were very uncomfortable and riddled with electrical and computer faults, (13 times in 2 years) a new 2009 Audi A4 which spent more time in the shop than on the road due to steering rack problems (shudder) and continuously stalling and which got traded on the BMW, which I grant is good apart from the ride. Our only other experience was with a Peugeot that we bought as a second car (are they sold in the States? hope not !) 2007 new car, transmission packed up on the way home from the dealers. Gave us another new car. That one spent 15 weeks in the workshop over 9 months period with transmission, computer and oil leak problems. Peugeot took it back finally. I guess I'm too old for adventure now, wondering if it will start and go OK each morning. I just want a comfortable car that goes well, can be repaired by the dealer if necessary and doesn't cost an arm and a leg like the Chev and Fords, Dodges etc that I grew up with. You do have a point about the drivability I admit.
This discussion has been closed.