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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > 2012-2019 BMW 3 and 4-Series Forums > General F30 3-Series Sedan / F32 4-Series Coupe Forum > my big 328i M-sport AT review, enjoy!
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      11-02-2012, 08:26 AM   #1
pongo
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my big 328i M-sport AT review, enjoy!

I am not adding photos – there is nothing new that is not already available for you to see, sorry! Also, photos do not do the car justice when you see it in the flesh…

Styling/ Exterior

The F30 definitely has a very imposing presence, and it is easy to see styling inspiration taken from the current 5 (which is no bad thing!) The M sport body kit looks fantastic, especially in the aggressive and muscular front. I was a little scared the black would hide the design, but it actually brought out the best in the car. With the lighter colours I saw, the gaps between the body panels became more visible which annoyed me (especially on the white/silver ones!)

Also, the standard 18 inch M-sport star (forgot the number) wheels are great! I personally prefer the style a little more to the slightly larger 19’s. Interestingly you get a slightly bigger tyre on the 18, which makes them look even more imposing. I have had people ask me whether they were 20’s, they definitely do not look small! And the ride should be a little better.

Oh, and it does look pretty amazing in black. Estoril Blue was a close second for me, they had it at the dealer and I was very, very tempted.


Interior

This is definitely one of the biggest surprises for me, as it is miles ahead of the last generation e90. The quality of the materials is very impressive, and the slight slant of dash towards the driver gives you a very comfortable ‘cockpit’ feel. The seats are comfortable, and the M-sport steering wheel is one of the best I have held. The feel is very plush, and with the negative space and smaller diameter, it definitely makes a great difference.

Compared to the rivals it is a lot simpler then the audi a4, and while the c-class’s interior seems to chiselled out of granite, the 3 series feels more ergonomic. The 3 series definitely feels the most modern and sporty here, while the Mercedes is a bit more ‘old school’ and the audi is an accountant’s dream design.

I was a little sceptical about the AT gearshift, as it looked like something out of a sci-fi film. It definitely is not conventional, but once you get used to it (as with the idrive) you realise that it is very well thought out – and you learn to love it.

Must get option – the HUD, words cannot describe how great it is, get it.

The drive

I guess this is the bit most will scroll down to first

In one word, the N20 engine in the 328 is ‘fantastic’. Yep, there will always those who will look down on it because it is ‘only’ a 2l 4 cylinder, and that has castrated the 3 series, but you cannot argue with the numbers and performance it puts out. The numbers compare very nicely to current audi 3.2/Merc 350 engines - simply phenomenal when you think about this progress of technology


This is definitely still the ultimate driving machine.

I am still breaking in the engine (so there has not been too much banzai overtaking), but I have been very, very impressed.

The pace of the car can be compared to the last 530d. (I haven’t driven the new one), I know they are different beasts, but they are both beasts nevertheless. The 530d may feel faster due to the tsunami of torque, but the 328 will happily keep up acceleration wise. And this is strange, because the engine is really deceptively fast. I often would begin an overtaking manoeuvre at 70mph, and with little effort I saw on the HUD that the car was heading at 85-90…. You need to be a little careful here, probably even more so on the 335…

It may not sound as smooth straight 6, but it still sounds aggressive when driven even moderately hard, and it makes a satisfying rumble. The lovely mix of low torque, and revs mean that you will be smiling even in daily driving. Once you get to your favourite road on a Sunday afternoon, then it becomes something else entirely.


It is definitely sharper in the turns then the c-class, despite both being rwd. Compared to a Quattro a4 3.2 (non s4!) it has a lot more poise, while the audi feels planted to the road – I guess it’s all up to personal preference, as in the UK we don’t have that much snow.

I haven’t driven any cars made from the US of A, as we are fortunate not to have too many on the road here in Europe ☺ But seriously, the Cadillac ATS looks like a Hyundai/transformer suppository… I truly love the states, but please just leave the beer and the cars to the Germans.

I have only been driven in the 335, but I will still make this Rocky comparison. The 335i is like Apollo Creed, it is strong, slick and smooth, and everybody’s favourite. But, the 328 is like Rocky, it is not so refined, it may not be as cultured, but it is still bloody fast. And we will learn to love it. I am sure that we will be moaning about its demise a few years down the line…

Is the 335i worth it? I cannot answer that for you, but for me, here in the UK, I cannot imagine a situation where the 328 would be any less then overkill. Oh, and the fuel economy is bloody good as well – always a bonus. If I were to do a lot of long distance driving I guess would consider a 330d.


Conclusion

I really tried to find some cons about the car to make this review seem at least vaguely balanced. But for this price range, the 328i is a truly stellar, try it, and you will love its blend of power, poise, and design.

Feel free to bombard me with any (non-photo based) questions!
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      11-02-2012, 03:24 PM   #2
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Congratulations on the car.

However--and as much as you don't want to hear this--you must always show pictures of a new car!
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      11-02-2012, 04:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pongo View Post
The M sport body kit looks fantastic, especially in the aggressive and muscular front. I was a little scared the black would hide the design, but it actually brought out the best in the car.

Also, the standard 18 inch M-sport star (forgot the number) wheels are great! I personally prefer the style a little more to the slightly larger 19’s. And the ride should be a little better.

Oh, and it does look pretty amazing in black. Estoril Blue was a close second for me, they had it at the dealer and I was very, very tempted.

and the M-sport steering wheel is one of the best I have held.
Hey pongo,

Yes, I waited rather impatiently for 7 months to own an M-Sport. Absolutely fantastic. I've seen the M-Sport in EB (of course) black & white. Each having their own M-Sport characteristics. I chose EB as my previous car (325i E90) was black. I wanted another colour and EB for me was a no brainer, as you have seen for yourself.

Yes, I'm sure the 18s are great, but the 19s have a look all their own, adding to the muscularity & aggressive look of the car. My 19s ride beautifully @ 37psi, even having the low profile. I doubt there would be much difference in ride quality between the 18s & 19s. By the way, the M-Sport only comes with 19s in Australia. Perfect!

If you can find some very early posts in this forum, you will read how disgusted people were when they saw photos of the M-Sport steering wheel after getting used to the standard F30 wheel. My view was reversed. I thought it was and think it is the very best steering wheel in the BMW range. Brilliant looks and feel.

Welcome aboard & enjoy you car.
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      11-02-2012, 04:32 PM   #4
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Congrats. I REALLY wish the M Sport had been available as soon as the car was released .I had a 328 in my possession for about a week when they were first delivered but as much as I loved it I wished it had a little more aggressive look.The front bumper does wonders !Enjoy it! You can never go wrong with black. Sure its hard to take care of , but nothing looks better when the car is spotless and the sun is just starting to set.... you know what I mean.lol
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      11-02-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
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Congrats on the new ride!
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      11-02-2012, 07:50 PM   #6
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Gratz. I actually like the hood line on my aw msport, makes the face look meatier and rougher and I am a rough rydah
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      11-02-2012, 08:26 PM   #7
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I saw a red F30 at Watkins Glen in June and loved it. Talked my wife into looking at one and she ended up buying it. Congrats...great cars.
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      11-02-2012, 09:54 PM   #8
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Nice post. I too opted for the 18s because of how my M3 on 19s rode. The bigger wheels look cool, but the 18s look just fine on the F30 IMHO.
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      11-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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      11-03-2012, 12:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pongo View Post
But seriously, the Cadillac ATS looks like a Hyundai/transformer suppository…
LMAO!

Now about those pics....
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      11-03-2012, 01:12 PM   #11
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PONGO: very well written review ! Thank you for sharing your impressions !
And thanks too for your Cadillac laugh !
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      11-03-2012, 01:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David328M-Sport View Post

If you can find some very early posts in this forum, you will read how disgusted people were when they saw photos of the M-Sport steering wheel after getting used to the standard F30 wheel. My view was reversed. I thought it was and think it is the very best steering wheel in the BMW range. Brilliant looks and feel.
I have been legally driving for 50 years, although my introductory years were not.
During that span of time, I have had the opportunity to road test many exotic and mundane vehicles, from Alfa Romeo to Rolls Royce, and many in between including a host of Bimmers. Until my recent visit to my BMW dealer's showroom, I had not seen the steering wheel of a F30 M Sport.

Wow, this M Sport wheel truly is a stunningly beautiful piece of design that is also so sensuous to my hands. I was very reluctant to let go of it, it's that good ! My thanks to one very talented designer !!!
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      11-03-2012, 05:50 PM   #13
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congratz, going to order mine soon

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      11-04-2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowghost View Post
Nice post. I too opted for the 18s because of how my M3 on 19s rode. The bigger wheels look cool, but the 18s look just fine on the F30 IMHO.

On my E90 I had a very bad experience the way the 225/40 rides with 2 sets of non-RFT tires. On the F30, they have the same ratio on the 19" (18" are now 225/45)

If I was to get 19" aftermarket wheels like this, I would get 225/45/19 even it costs 3-4% precision.
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