: 2012 3 series - short review



gary88
08-09-12, 10:00 PM
I drove an F30 335i earlier today at my dealer's Drive For Team USA thing and was very impressed with it.


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/0b7a45be.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/328d1bcf.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/213e6911.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/9083dca1.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/58ad2843.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/da7a3933.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/29961231.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/49921877.jpg


http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/db293e8e.jpg


Overall it was much better than I expected. I've heard nothing but doom and gloom about the electric steering from all the car magazines, but they are right in some regard. In comfort mode the steering is way overboosted and just feels like it shouldn't belong in a BMW. In sport+ mode though things get much better, the weight and level of precision was about equal to my E92, although my E92 still feels that little bit more connected to the road. While you still get great feedback through the wheel, it's not as much as the E92, and it still has that overly-smooth artificial feel to it sometimes. I wish the F30 steering just felt like it does in sport+ mode all the time though since that's a key BMW characteristic.

The N55 is wonderful like always, pulling like a freight train throughout the rev range. Turbo spool is audible under heavier load which is great.

The 8 speed auto is phenomenal, the shifts are nearly as fast as a DCT box. When you really dip into the throttle the exhaust lets out a nice deep burble that resonates throughout the cabin in between upshifts too which is addicting to hear. Shifting manually at lower speeds is much better compared to the E92 auto. This transmission really made the old 6 speed auto in my car feel slow after I got back in it.

Throttle response is good. In comfort mode the throttle mapping toned down so you use less fuel, but in sport+ mode it sharpens up very nicely.

The interior is so much nicer than the E90 when you actually sit in it and let your eyes wander around. It feels more European rather than German if that makes sense. From pictures the iDrive screen looks like it was an afterthought just plopped in the dash, but in person it's much better. What's also nice is how BMW is finally going back to having everything tilted towards the driver. The iDrive controls are in a more natural position for your hand too compared to the e90.

The seats are better than the E9x sport seats. The E9x sport seats are very good but lack support higher up. The F30 seats have bolsters that are slightly thicker and go further up the seat and I noticed they hold you in place a little better.

Handling was very balanced and neutral like it should be.

Oddly enough braking wasn't as good as the E92 IMO, it felt like you needed to press the pedal further than expected rather than getting that nice initial bite like you get with the E92. Maybe BMW heard all the complaints about brake dust on the last generation and chose a different pad that doesn't feel as good but is easier on the wheels.

One thing that slightly bothered me, while not being a big deal, was the placement of the on/off button. On the E9x you can clearly see it right through the steering wheel, lining up perfectly with the curve in the opening of the spoke. On the F30 they placed it lower so the wheel is blocking it, and you have to dip down a little to get a look at it. I'm sure you'll get used to it naturally after getting in/out of the car on a daily basis, but it's still that little attention to detail BMW has always been known for with things like this that they forgot about.

Overall I liked it a lot and am really looking forward to the release of the coupe. The important thing is that it still feels how a 3 series should when you push.

Also they gave everyone free hats :cool:

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/49b81504.jpg

This was my favorite though, fire orange M3 with every factory accessory (including a $4k inconel exhaust)

http://i1005.photobucket.com/albums/af175/gheb882/396e6032.jpg

Night Wolf
08-09-12, 10:33 PM
First I've heard of/seen the F30. That chassis code is a little too close for comfort though...

I was really impressed, tho the front end appears too wide and the body line between grille and hood is annoying. Makes the prior generation look cleaner in that regard, which is still growing on me. Then saw the interior pictures. Now the e46 has even more appeal than before, didn't think that was possible by now.

Sharknose needs to make a return.

Jesda
08-09-12, 10:48 PM
I like the new styling. It comes across as longer and wider and they've finally abandoned those hideous pineapple-chunk tail lights on the e90 sedan.

http://static.traderscity.com/board/userpix56/32560-Canned-Pineapple-Pieces-30oz-1.jpg

After all the things BMW has [sometimes offensively] screwed with, I'm glad they've retained their clean gauges.

Night Wolf
08-09-12, 11:20 PM
Longer and wider isn't really a good thing on a car that already grew one size, IMO, of course.

gary88
08-09-12, 11:41 PM
More importantly though, it's also lighter than the one it replaced.

CadillacLuke24
08-10-12, 12:10 AM
Glad you liked it. Sounds like a fun little car.

Now what you need to do is go test drive an ATS and give us a report back on how Cadillac did. :yup:

ryannel2003
08-10-12, 02:23 AM
I'm eager to do a test drive on the new F30. Maybe when I take my car in for an oil change I'll see if I can get one on the road. I do love the styling inside and out... Looks better than the E90 sedan IMO.

Jesda
08-10-12, 02:31 AM
Longer and wider isn't really a good thing on a car that already grew one size, IMO, of course.

It's the appearance of width and length. Smart design cues give the impression.

brandondeleo
08-10-12, 04:28 AM
I like the new front end...

Playdrv4me
08-10-12, 04:35 AM
I'd bet that if you went from an E46 to the F30, the differences in steering and handling would be much more apparent.

That said, cars get bigger and that's just the way it is. So I have no complaints about increased size. I also agree that overall fit and finish has taken a significant leap forward from the E9x series just from the photos I've seen. The sedan, which used to be fairly hideous, was essentially re-designed to absorb the best cues from the coupe, which is a thing of beauty. All around, I love the new design.

It's too bad they only had the I6 on hand to test, what I'm REALLY curious to see is how the new base model turbo 4 feels like from a first-hand account, and not just the car rags.

Aron9000
08-10-12, 05:50 AM
^ I've driven a turbo-4 F30 around the parking garage. And I can tell you its no BMW inline six in terms of feel or sound. They've done a great job of isolating vibration, but it still isn't as good as their inline six. Plus it sounds like a 4 cylinder, abiet a nice, baritone 4 cylinder, but their inline six sound is a thing of beauty IMO.

Playdrv4me
08-10-12, 08:00 AM
^ I've driven a turbo-4 F30 around the parking garage. And I can tell you its no BMW inline six in terms of feel or sound. They've done a great job of isolating vibration, but it still isn't as good as their inline six. Plus it sounds like a 4 cylinder, abiet a nice, baritone 4 cylinder, but their inline six sound is a thing of beauty IMO.

Interesting. Essentially what I suspected.

Playdrv4me
08-10-12, 08:01 AM
^ I've driven a turbo-4 F30 around the parking garage. And I can tell you its no BMW inline six in terms of feel or sound. They've done a great job of isolating vibration, but it still isn't as good as their inline six. Plus it sounds like a 4 cylinder, abiet a nice, baritone 4 cylinder, but their inline six sound is a thing of beauty IMO.

Interesting. Essentially what I suspected.

Night Wolf
08-10-12, 10:58 AM
I drove an M5 around the cul-de-sac and wasn't impressed with the handling.

Night Wolf
08-10-12, 11:03 AM
On the new BMW note - the redesigned 1-series is horrible. I really like the older design, a lot.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/news/546631/the-new-1-series-is-official--pictures-and-specs-included

http://www.bimmerfest.com/gallery/BMW-F20-1-Series/medium/BMW-F20-1-Series-002.jpg

brandondeleo
08-10-12, 11:57 AM
On the new BMW note - the redesigned 1-series is horrible. I really like the older design, a lot.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/news/546631/the-new-1-series-is-official--pictures-and-specs-included

http://www.bimmerfest.com/gallery/BMW-F20-1-Series/medium/BMW-F20-1-Series-002.jpg
That's... No.

ryannel2003
08-10-12, 12:17 PM
On the new BMW note - the redesigned 1-series is horrible. I really like the older design, a lot.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/news/546631/the-new-1-series-is-official--pictures-and-specs-included

http://www.bimmerfest.com/gallery/BMW-F20-1-Series/medium/BMW-F20-1-Series-002.jpg

It's quite an ugly little thing. The new 3, 5, 6, and 7 are all great looking cars but I feel like BMW dropped the ball on this one.

gdwriter
08-10-12, 05:28 PM
The sedan, which used to be fairly hideous, was essentially re-designed to absorb the best cues from the coupe, which is a thing of beauty. All around, I love the new design.Agreed, although I'm curious as to what's in between the headlights and the grille. My only complaint is the black mirrors and black trim around the windows. It looks chintzy, like a bargain basement Jetta. Body color mirrors and a chrome surround on the body (not the window frames themselves) would look much better.


^ I've driven a turbo-4 F30 around the parking garage. And I can tell you its no BMW inline six in terms of feel or sound. They've done a great job of isolating vibration, but it still isn't as good as their inline six. Plus it sounds like a 4 cylinder, abiet a nice, baritone 4 cylinder, but their inline six sound is a thing of beauty IMO.No amount of tuning can make any four cylinder sound as good or rev as smoothly as a BMW six or any number of V8s. If I were buying one of these, it would have to be the six; it's an essential element of what makes a BMW a BMW.

gdwriter
08-10-12, 05:32 PM
That new 1-Series looks like a Saturn Astra with a twin-kidney grille slapped on it. :coffee: I'll bet my boss is glad she got a 2012 model.

gary88
08-10-12, 05:57 PM
Non-sport models get the chrome window trim. Most people end up either painting/wrapping it or swapping it out for the actual black trim. In general people try to keep BMWs as chrome-free as possible.

http://i.minus.com/iinIRjKGmVG82.jpg

That thing between the headlights and kidneys is just part of the headlight housing that extends all the way to the kidney. They did this specifically because it's difficult for others to copy a design like this, which they noticed happening with previous models.

http://i.minus.com/ibhz2BXBxw6R8W.jpg

ryannel2003
08-10-12, 06:01 PM
My friend wants me to swap my chrome kidneys for some matte black ones. I don't know how I feel about that

96Fleetwood
08-10-12, 06:34 PM
I drove an M5 around the cul-de-sac and wasn't impressed with the handling.

... and what generation M5 was that?

brandondeleo
08-10-12, 06:40 PM
http://i.minus.com/ibhz2BXBxw6R8W.jpg
That's actually my favorite part about the new front end. Love it.

Playdrv4me
08-10-12, 06:54 PM
... and what generation M5 was that?

I think there was a touch of sarcasm there.

gdwriter
08-10-12, 07:18 PM
Non-sport models get the chrome window trim. Most people end up either painting/wrapping it or swapping it out for the actual black trim. In general people try to keep BMWs as chrome-free as possible.

http://i.minus.com/iinIRjKGmVG82.jpg

The looks so much better. I'm certainly not advocating giving the car the '58 Buick treatment, but a minimal and tasteful application of chrome seems fitting for a high-end car.

Night Wolf
08-10-12, 07:52 PM
My friend wants me to swap my chrome kidneys for some matte black ones. I don't know how I feel about that

It works on some trim, some of the models. Example, blacking out the kidneys on an e30 and especially e28 looks like crap. The chrome around the doors/windows looks good blacked on the M models, but otherwise nicely accents the Hofmeister kink, a design element BMW has had since 1961.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hofmeister_kink

Night Wolf
08-10-12, 07:55 PM
... and what generation M5 was that?

e12



No amount of tuning can make any four cylinder sound as good or rev as smoothly as a BMW six or any number of V8s. If I were buying one of these, it would have to be the six; it's an essential element of what makes a BMW a BMW.

:checks pulse: I'm still alive...

Jesda
08-10-12, 08:18 PM
The looks so much better. I'm certainly not advocating giving the car the '58 Buick treatment, but a minimal and tasteful application of chrome seems fitting for a high-end car.

I agree. If the 3-series is going to have any brightwork, that's the place to put it. It's a beautiful greenhouse that deserves to be emphasized.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
08-10-12, 10:01 PM
Generally speaking, I prefer the G Series Infiniti, especially compared to the post E46 3 Series.

orconn
08-11-12, 06:15 PM
I like the looks better than the preceding model, although the new one seems a little swollen in the nose ...maybe it has sinus trouble. The electric steering is a big no-no for a "drivers" car. It's bad enough that when they get so big and heavy they have to have power steering to cope with their heft and bulk, but a three choice selection of pseudo steering feel is a bit beyond the pale!

Playdrv4me
08-11-12, 08:25 PM
I like the looks better than the preceding model, although the new one seems a little swollen in the nose ...maybe it has sinus trouble. The electric steering is a big no-no for a "drivers" car. It's bad enough that when they get so big and heavy they have to have power steering to cope with their heft and bulk, but a three choice selection of pseudo steering feel is a bit beyond the pale!

At least I can give the sinus nose a pass as an homage to some ACTUAL tangible previous BMW trademark styling element (the old shark nose). So while that detail took a little to grow on me, I like it now.

orconn
08-11-12, 08:31 PM
I don't see any resemblance of the "sharknose" of yore in this new BMW.