Originally Posted by DerekS
Many reviewers would disagree with your first statement, including myself. I have owned four different versions of E9X, incl. 335i coupe and sedan.
Having had my F30-335i now for two months, I can honestly say that I miss nothing of the E9X series, especially the unforgiving 1st and 2nd generation RFTs and the heavy steering @ low speeds.
If you had driven a F30-335i M Sport with Adaptive M suspension and Variable Sport Steering and factory M Sport brakes, I doubt you would have made the same comments. This car rides very well in Sport mode, the steering is more direct and quicker in tight turns than the E90-335i. The brakes on my F30-335i are fantastic, very powerful and silent.
As for F30 braking performance with standard brakes, the longer stopping distances you refer to were with cars fitted with all season tires. Other reviews, such as Motor Trend's test of the 335i Sport with summer performance tires reported very impressive brake performance (60-0 in 109 ft.). As most enthusiasts know, the type and brand of tires can make a huge difference in handling and braking !
The E9X Series remain first class cars. The F3X Series has evolved and improved upon its predecessor in many ways; it's not perfect, but what car better combines performance, handling, comfort for four adults, a proper trunk and good fuel economy ? The criticism of the F3X Series sounds all too familiar to one who has heard similar comments about each new generation of 3 Series. When the E36 was succeeded by the E46, many enthusiasts said it was the end of the BMW sport sedan. This was repeated when the E9O was introduced and now history repeats itself.
To answer the OP's question, I would suggest that you drive a two year old E90-335i and right after, drive a F30-335i for at least 30-60 minutes. If you aren't impressed by the F30, save yourself some money and go for a low mileage 2011 E90-335i with factory warranty.
A majority of reviewers have said that the E90 is the better drivers car. You may not want to give credence to them, but even the same MT you refer to for the braking performance, said the same. Car & Driver, Road & Track, Automobile, Motor Trend, Inside Line et al.
You are right, I don't think I drove the Msport with DHC, so can't comment on that particular variant - but those that have, still say the E90 steering feel and braking is better. The steering may be quicker, but its very light - that's across the board (I drove a sport line/pkg car, and drove it in Sport + mode - felt no difference in the numb feel. The MSPort brakes I believe are quiter, but don't improve braking distance. Again, I use the word 'I believe' because I haven't driven one so equipped - just basing it on what I have read right here on this site.
Third, used to be that any variant of the 3er had great brakes - so are we supposed to be satisfied with the fact that bar the staggered set up car, the rest of the lineup exhibits poor braking?
I am not saying it is not a good/great sport sedan - in fact, my first piece of advice to OP was that he should drive both, before I got into this 'which is better' argument. My personal opinion (and shared by most professional reviewers) is that the E90 has the F30 beat in the enthusiasm category. There's enough evidence out there, but then again, its to each his own. What may be sport for me may be too stiff for you...therefore the 'drive it yourself' advice which both of us agree on.