Calling a BMW “just a car” is like calling Da Vinci “just a guy”.
I recently received my 2013 328i Xdrive, Msport package. I want to tell my story as well as share some of my pictures as there are way too few Black Msport F30 pics. I will also do a little comparison for those interested.
What I Used to Drive: 2007 328Xi, premium package
What I Drive Now: Awesomeness (see above)
My order was pretty simple. The only upgrade I wanted was the sport auto tranny. Other than that and the Msport, it is stock. But that is fine by me! I love the new front end of the Msport line. I am not a huge fan of the normal F30 front because of the whiskers. I don't think a car should have anything on it called whiskers. This isn’t a kitten, it's a car…. tusks or fangs maybe?! I don't know, BMW give me a call on this one and we can chat. The Msport front end is just mean looking. Like stomp on your toes and laugh mean. The aggressive angles and the loss of the silly fog lights allow this whole section to take on its own personality. How can you not pony up for the Msport package when you factor in the larger wheels and styling? The Msport wheels are definitely the raciest as well. Advice for new F30 prospective owners, do it, Msport. You will love it. The sport tranny option was a no brainer as well. I have lighting fast shifting and it makes driving that much more enjoyable.
Now to my first impressions of the car. I pulled up to my dealer in Ohio and saw it on the lot (arrived a full 2 weeks early too). It was glistening and perfect. What a sight! Upon reviewing all its features and new gadgets, you could not help but wonder how BMW can turn a profit on these things. There is just so much attention to detail and small things they did right. From the location of buttons to the feel of the Msport steering wheel, everything is just right. My favorite new gadget on the F30 is the standard iDrive. It sure feels good to have the computer screen there without paying extra for it. One of the most noticeable things is the feel of the seat. The sport seats have the wing adjustments and you can fine tune them to your body. I like a nice tight feel, like my car is giving me a hug. A big angry German hug. So enough with the fluffy stuff, what about the engine and handling?
I will say the biggest difference between my E90 and the F30 is the steering and the acceleration. The steering as we all know is now electronically controlled. Don't freak out purists, this was done for a great number of reasons and when you really test them out back to back. Its not that bad. It isn’t less responsive or loose like others say. It is simply less resistant. It is still quick and keeps you in control, it just doesn't fight you as you turn. I am personally neutral on this but leaning to the new steering system. My wife loves it (for what that is worth). She says it doesn't make her arms tired like the E90 did. Personal taste on this one. PLus sport mode gives it a much more similar feel to the E90.
The acceleration is what I feel the most difference in. The E90 was a smooth sprinter, the F30 is a quicker sprinter but a little more spastic. You feel the extra torque early and strong. It is refreshing and exhilarating. I love it. Then you feel a little jolt here and there, a little squeeze of a gear change. It is lighting fast but I just think the E90 was a more refined package. Not as quick but more consistent. If I had to pick, I would take the F30 any day, but these are my experiences with the two. I will tell you that getting onto the turnpike makes me giddy and I love blowing by people in their silly 1.8 and 2.0 Audis. Lame sauce right there. I was hesitant because I wasn't sure if I was going to feel the extra power of the F30. You can and it is great.
The sound of the F30 is kinda lame but then again the 328’s of both generations aren’t monsters in this department. I am going to look for a good aftermarket exhaust just so I can get a little of the sound back. The 1k spent on a great exhaust can negate the wimpy sound of the 4 cylinder without getting too much of a drone. I despise nothing more than a crappy car with an even crappier droning exhaust. AKA the Honda civic modders that everyone knows… Friends don't let friends mod Civics. Anyway, this is maybe the only category where the F30 doesn't shine against the E90. O well, can’t win em’ all.
The handling is also improved over the E90. I feel that the shocks are actually a little more forgiving and less tight, BUT it cuts corners just as well. I do feel a little more body roll though, it just doesn't seem to be as tight as the E90. That may be due to the new Xdrive suspension or just a looser design taken on by BMW to appeal to the masses. I have not been to the track to really confirm but the short, sharp angled on-ramps in my area gave me a good test.
Ahhh and the gas mileage. Going green isn’t so lame when it saves you cash. I love the MPGs. I am getting a full 5-7 mpgs better than the E90. I was pulling 23ish on the E90 due to my “lively” driving habits even though 90% of my commute is highway. With the new F30 I am around 30. I am sure I could be higher if I accelerated like a normal person. I will try a test and see how high I can get it on ECO Pro. If I break 40, I am going to make fun of everyone who bought a slow as #$%! Japanese eco car. Why settle? Why can’t you have great MPGs and performance? More turbos, less cylinders, and a great tranny. Boom. It’s like a Prius on nasty German steroids.
I will keep this updated to reflect any new updates but for now, the F30 is a huge win for BMW. BMW has evolved a little and it has concerned some. Those “purists” or nay sayers just need to drive both cars back-to-back and there is no comparison, the F30 is superior in every way. So do yourself a favor and just go drive! Thanks for reading