Last post on Oct 06, 2013 at 7:40 PM
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BMW 3 Series, Future Vehicle, Sedan
#28 of 50 2013 328i xDrive
Nov 05, 2012 (9:55 am)
I currently drive a 2007 328xi with 120K miles on it. I just test drove a 2013 328i Xdrive. Here are my overall impressions.
1) The new car is ever so slightly bigger in the rear seat with slightly more leg room. If you are between 5'8" and 6'2" you will be happier. If you are smaller than 5'8" it wont make a difference and if you are larger 6'2" its still to tight.
2) The electric steering is immediately noticeably lighter especially in a parking lot. At normal driving speeds it has somewhat less feedback than the hydrolic system formally used. Most BMW drivers will be satisfied but hard core enthusiasts or anyone driving the car on a track might be disappointed.
3) The 2.0L turbo inline-4 engine seems modestly more powerful especially at lower RPMs but there is a definite loss of refinement when compared to the old inline-6. I would concur with those who have commented that it clatters at an idle. It is certainly rougher sounding if one accelerates with any gusto.
4) The auto start/stop feature is very annoying and at times dangerous. The default position is "on" each time one uses the car. Disarming it is a simple press of a button but must be done each time one gets in the car. For those who may not know about this once the engine is warm(and a few other conditions are met) each time one comes to a stop for more than a few seconds the engine shuts off. When one releases the brake the engine automatically restarts with a shudder - annoying. Here's an example of a problem: At the end of my test drive I parked the car facing the dealer's building. Because I had stopped, the engine automatically shut off. I had not put the car in park(which by the way uses a very unconventional electronic shifter not a standard PRNDL) but given force of habit with an engine not running I took my foot of the brake to get out of the car - and surprise, surprise with the car still in gear the engine restarted.... Now I can hear the cackles from some of you but eventually my wife or one of my kids who will not be driving my car on an everyday basis is going to have an accident and hopefully not with a pedestrian walking between cars at the mall parking lot! Owners should be able to reprogram their cars so this function is disarmed as a default setting.
4) The 8 speed transmission is very smooth but because the ratios are so closely spaced it is constantly changing gears unless on a highway.
5) Fuel economy(based on EPA sticker and various reviews) is substantially better than the prior car.
6) Run flat tires with no spare are still less desirable than standard tires. Those on the car I drove seemed smoother than what is on my 2007(even when mine were new).
My assessment is that this is a very nice car that trades some refinement and handling prowess for fuel economy while still achieving a modest increase in acceleration. The auto start/stop feature may be a deal breaker for me.
#29 of 50 Re: Do you really think it will weigh less? 
Nov 05, 2012 (11:09 am)
We tried out a 2012 528i. Didn't trip our trigger. Too much wing dip when whipping the wheel back and forth - Much more than the 2013 Lexus ES 350, and a very noticeable lag before downshift, again unlike the Lexus. Then we drive a 2008 528i. Ahh, that's what I expected in a BMW. Even with $12000 off, I will still look for a pre-2011.
#30 of 50 Re: 2013 328i xDrive [idoc2]
Nov 12, 2012 (11:37 pm)
The start/stop feature can be programmed by BMW to remain in the mode it was in as of the last time the car was driven.
In other words, if you have the option disabled and turn the ignition "off", the next time the car is started, the start/stop feature will automatically be in the "off", or disabled, mode.
After spending 2 weeks in a MB diesel in Germany in October that had this feature, I finally became accustomed to it. Still, I prefer the option to disable, which BMW now offers in the USA.
#31 of 50 Re: 2013 328i xDrive [idoc2]
Nov 13, 2012 (3:11 pm)
My new 2013 335i sedan arrived in port last Monday and I picked it up Thursday. it replaces my 2006 330i. So far i love it. I will write (post) a critique in several weeks after I put it through the paces
Nov 25, 2012 (5:01 pm)
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...
#33 of 50 Re: E90 vs. F30 [roadburner]
Nov 25, 2012 (7:37 pm)
" the E90 328i has no temperature gauge of any kind."
My 2010 E93 must be different, as it has an oil temperature gauge.
#34 of 50 Re: E90 vs. F30 [busiris]
Nov 25, 2012 (8:50 pm)
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...
#35 of 50 Re: E90 vs. F30 [roadburner]
Nov 25, 2012 (10:09 pm)
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.
#36 of 50 Re: E90 vs. F30 
Nov 26, 2012 (10:19 am)
I'm partial to Bilstein HDs and Koni FSDs.