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      09-12-2006, 09:42 PM   #1
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SoFla BMW E92 Event - Overview, Pics and Vids

Ok guys, as you know I managed to fit in the BMW E92 event (available only in Atlanta, Houston and Miami) during my short run to Miami, FL (was in Tampa and Miami all of last week). I had called a few days ago and requested to be placed on the wait list for the 09:00 Sun morning timeslot. I figured that timeslot had the highest probability of attrition especially in partygoing south florida Amusingly, on that note, I too, nearly did not make it as well as I had been out the night before with friends. Managed about 2-3 hours of sleep of what had been a jam-packed week.

Ok on with the report....

The Miami BMW E92 event was sponsored by local area dealers and Comcast. The setup was decidedly smaller than the nationally campaigned BMW Ultimate Driving Experience. Nonetheless, in true BMW manner, the venue was very nicely setup and professionally staffed. Classy. There was ample catering and courteous attention. Can't say the same for some other manufacturers' ride and drive events...

The event/venue centers around these activities:

1) BMW E92 presentation by VP of marketing or something like that. Usual runthrough of features etc.

2) BMW 330i E90 Autocross Session
This was my first destination. We were divided into 2 groups, the first making their way here and the other group heading straight to the e92 site.

Pretty straight forward. 3 passengers to a car plus 1 professional instructor. First lap is the run-through lap where the instructor points out braking points and racing lines. Then the 3 attendees had a go at it for 1 lap each.

Cars were identically equipped. 330i TiAg ZSP, ZPP, Active Steering and Steptronic.

After everyone's had a practice go at the short auto-x style course, each participant was given the opportunity to have 1 timed lap in a friendly competition match. Each run was chaperoned by the professional instructor.

While waiting for their turns, attendees were entertained by various stories and a proper seating position demo by the professional instructors present. They were also very helpful in answering various questions about professional driving and of the cars themselves. Overall, they were knowledgeable, entertaining and supportive of safe enthusiastic driving.

3) BMW 335i Autocross/Comparo Drive

The main event! The BMW 335i/Infiniti G35 shootout!

Again, pretty straightforward. Attendees are 'given the opportunity' to compare the 2 cars together in the various performance benchmarks/bases.

Basically, each attendees get 2 runs in each car, the Infiniti G35 being offered first and then the 335i immediately after. The course is relatively short with an initial WOT run up and various turns/braking and a slalom run. You are assigned an instructor who follows you in the 2 cars for your 4 laps. They are there as 'unbiased experts' to offer points for comparison and pretty much kept to themselves.

Cars were identically equipped: TiAg/Black/Alu 335i E92s with ZSP, ZPP, Step and Paddle Shifters.

4) BMW Street Drive

Similar in concept to the Susan G Komen drives i.e. you take a car out on to a prescribed course (about 20 miles) on your own time/pace. This is unchaperoned. The cars on offer were a 550i, 650i cabrio, 330i ZSP, Z4 3.0Si Coupe, X5, X3 and a 750Li. I decided to skip this part due to tight time schedule. One must complete all autocross runs prior to doing the street drive.

5) BMW 335i Hot Lap

We were advised to do this last. They were very admant about not allowing hot lap runs before the BMW street drive. Something about not wanting pumped-up attendees to have a go at the cars on public street or something like that . Basically, its a fast run in a 335i with a professional race driver at the helm. The hot lap took place in the perimeter road circling the Bank Atlantic Center complex. It was pretty much a public area that had been closed off. This was very entertaining

Video of Hotlap!!



Listen out for the N54 at full song. Pardon the expletives Enjoy!!



Observations

1) The active steering in the 330i ZSP feels disconcerting at first and at low speeds but when you're hauling the mail through the tight auto-x style course, you really don't think about it much. I wasn't able to test the active steer's self-correction capabilities (active steers dials in a small degree of counter steer at the limit and when required).

2) The bi-turbo N54 engine is an outright gem!!! Power delivery is mostly linear (not quite), there is a noticeable kick in the higher RPM band. No turbo lag observed. Matches extremely well with the Step.

3) As throaty as the G35 exhaust is, the 335i is louder at WOT, believe it or not. Off the line, the 335i sounds G35-esque but opens up to a nice creamy high-pitched sound that only a straight six can afford you.

4) The N54 engine definitely pulls the 335i harder and faster than the VQ engined G35. I was at WOT longer in the G35 than the 335i before reaching the first right-hander.

5) The 335i kills the G35 in steering feel. Overall, the 335i feels to be a higher quality piece than the G35, its definitely more refined and absorbs road noise.bumps better.

6) The paddle shifters on the left and right are redundant! Basically you upshift by pressing down the top part of the paddle and downshift with the bottom part of the paddle. Its not, as suspected, upshift on the left and downshift on the right. I believe its similar to Porches tiptronic and Alpina's version of paddle shifters. In any case, the new 6-speed step is a great match to the N54 engine.

7) Rear seating is ample in the 335i, much better than the G35 and ingress/egress is better in the taller e92 body.

8) The infamous amber on the front fender is purely reflective, some thought that the amber strip lights up as the required sidemarkers. The sidemarker LED bulb is in the extreme tip/corner of the headlight assembly.


P.S. To the SoFla members, sorry for not being able to attend the 18:00 meet at location, I had a full schedule for the day. I did not meet an e90post member at the event but did have a lively discussion with an enthusiastic bimmerfest member. Overall a fun event and worth the early a.m. drive out to Sunrise. (BAC is adjacent to Sawgrass Mills).
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      09-12-2006, 09:44 PM   #2
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First set of pics....shows tent, parking, 'street experience' cars. Only VA registered car on the lot...representing DC metro

Yes, I know! My car needs a good washing....
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      09-12-2006, 09:47 PM   #3
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2nd set of pics...a closer look at the E92 335i. Notice the new clown nose and LED style side marker lights. Definitely loving this car...
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      09-12-2006, 09:51 PM   #4
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Pics of the 330i ZSP autocross...
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      09-12-2006, 09:53 PM   #5
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Final set of pics...the E92 vs G35 autox style event....
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      09-12-2006, 11:56 PM   #6
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Nice!
I was there all day saturday from 9am (rain about 3 times). I was thinking of going and sunday, but rather sleep some more! A great event for a possible e92 buyer. But to be honest, the street drive & the hot lap was the most fun!
What was your time, I managed 22.0

BTW: The next event in Ft. Lauderdale will be in Feb. 07 for the launch of the X5.
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      09-13-2006, 12:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SiR
Nice!
I was there all day saturday from 9am (rain about 3 times). I was thinking of going and sunday, but rather sleep some more! A great event for a possible e92 buyer. But to be honest, the street drive & the hot lap was the most fun!
What was your time, I managed 22.0

BTW: The next event in Ft. Lauderdale will be in Feb. 07 for the launch of the X5.
You should've joined me on Sun morning as well The weather was hot and dry that morning. I had heard that things got interesting on Saturday with the weather and overall energy of eager participants. For the most part, the instructors commented on how much more mellow the Sun morning crowd was

I do agree that more laps would've been great. As a bonus they did allow extra laps in the e92 after everything was wrapped up. It seems like there were quite the number of no-shows. Victims of a wild and crazy weekend, I suppose

To be honest, the best my groggy and sleep deprived ass could do was low 23s. There were a couple of mid 22s in my group. The instructor mentioned about someone hitting mid 20s in Sat's group....

So there will be an X5 ride and drive event as well. Is that national as in BMW NA's or local dealer sponsored?? I might be in town for that as well....
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      09-13-2006, 08:30 AM   #8
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Bah! Rev it Up was so much better!

Must. Resist. 335.
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      09-13-2006, 08:41 AM   #9
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      09-13-2006, 09:13 AM   #10
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Both the 335i and the G35 look great, IMO. Plus, I'd love to thrash someone else's 330i so I could know the limits of my own car. That must have been a blast. Thanks for the photos.
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      09-13-2006, 09:47 AM   #11
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BK, Sam: It was fun....not as fun as the full fledged BMW Ultimate Driving Experience ride and drive events though. I gambled correctly on the Sun a.m. slot, not only did I get to go on the auto-x (a lot of no shows) but we were offered free bonus laps in the 335i. That car sure is an eye opener and sounds great. Did you guys catch the video I captured (original post)? You can hear the engine note from the in-car footage. I always thought the G35 sounded beastly but the 335i trumps the G in WOT off the line...
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      09-13-2006, 10:36 AM   #12
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That video is incredible. Car sounds amazing, seems fast as hell. That guy is a very good driver too... Sooo fast.. Damn. Damn..

Wish I could have been in the car for that spin...

Great video..
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      09-13-2006, 10:39 AM   #13
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glad to see you guys had a great time driving the mini-beast!
your photos looks great Donny! thanks for sharing, a side by side comparo witht the G35 vs 335i, the G35 does look alot dated and heavier, these folks must be really shaking their knees now with the release of the e92!
No more should an e90 bow each time a g35 pass by, it will be the other way around now!

thks btw for getting me that BMW coffee mug, that was thougthful, just bring it with you the next time we meet
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      09-13-2006, 10:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh49
That video is incredible. Car sounds amazing, seems fast as hell. That guy is a very good driver too... Sooo fast.. Damn. Damn..

Wish I could have been in the car for that spin...

Great video..
Hey thanks for the comments...I was a little bit disoriented. They made me wear a helmet and I was deaf and sweating for most parts. And I was a tad isolated from the experience as I was busy capturing video to share with you guys . But you're right though...the highlight of the footage was the engine note...sounds awesome at WOT. After the drives/ride, somehow my N52-engined 325i feel inadequate/pedestrian.....
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      09-13-2006, 10:44 AM   #15
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.... we're working in coffee mugs for next meet's giveaways?. Would like to touch base on you with that. I got your PMs and saw the thread but a little lost on direction. Please fill me in when you get the chance.

Actually, the G35 and 335i are apples and oranges. Even BMW concedes that, they're for different markets. The only reason they set the G35 for the comparo is that's the best their marketing people could come up with for comparison....interesting.
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      09-13-2006, 01:16 PM   #16
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After watching your video, that was the same driver doing the hot laps as well. Incredible. I was just waiting for a poor soul to accidently walk in the path of the 335i near-brushing the curbs at over 110mph.

Yea, someone earlier on saturday did 20.5. That must have been some crazy skill with the moist asphalt that day.

A side note about the street drive, while taking the 750iL onto I-75 (in very heavy rain), there was a Jeep Liberty that lost control and spun-out to the median grass. Fortunatly no one was hurt.
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      09-21-2006, 04:52 PM   #17
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Awesome. I am looking forward to it tomorrow morning in Houston.
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      09-22-2006, 02:12 PM   #18
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Wow. my first impression of th new E92 is

Handling
Exhaust & Engine :rocks:
Brakes

Drive it as hard as you can : Priceless
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