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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > 325i-Heavy Steering ???



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      05-29-2005, 04:59 PM   #1
onesixeight
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325i-Heavy Steering ???

Hi Everyone!

I just picked up a 325i w/ Sports & Premium last night and I noticed a very heavy steering feel compared to all the other E90's I've driven (325i non-sport, 330i non-sport and 330i manual Sport). I would say it's about as heavy as my '00 X5 4.4 and an X3 3.0 that I drive on a regular basis.

Does anyone else with a 325i Sport notice the very heavy steering feel? I'm used to a very heavy steering, but since I bought this car for my younger sister, she's not diggin' the heavy steering.

BTW, my car came with the Pirelli run-flats and not the Bridgestones. Comparing the Bridgestone and Pirelli run-flats, I think the Bridgestones have the upper hand on grip and ride quality.

-Chris
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      05-29-2005, 05:09 PM   #2
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Sports steering wheel and sports tires would make the steering heavier


The steering wheel has a smaller diameter and the wheels are wider
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      05-30-2005, 05:35 AM   #3
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onesixeight, I also wonder why the E90 has such a heavy and uncomfortable steering. The electromechanical steering of some Audis and Volvos, among many others, is a delight of lightness when parking and hardens progresively as speed increases with very good precision. I think BMW has no excuse for producing nowadays such an uncomfortable device.
Im placing my order for a 325i Touring but with the Active Steering option, which I hope, will make things easier.
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      05-30-2005, 06:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGB
onesixeight, I also wonder why the E90 has such a heavy and uncomfortable steering. The electromechanical steering of some Audis and Volvos, among many others, is a delight of lightness when parking and hardens progresively as speed increases with very good precision. I think BMW has no excuse for producing nowadays such an uncomfortable device.
Im placing my order for a 325i Touring but with the Active Steering option, which I hope, will make things easier.

BMW could make the steering as light as a feather, no problem. But that takes away road feel. Being a car biased towards the enthousiast driver, slightly heavier steering with more road feel is better suited. The Audis and Volvos with lighter steering (and front wheel power btw. for whos torque-steer the manufacuterers HAVE to compensate with more power assist) simply have more assist on the steering but are also a lot less fun to drive.

If the steering is too heavy for you try the bigger non-sports steering wheel. Or smaller (less wide) tires. If that doesnt help, the car is simply not for you. But certainly for me....
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      05-30-2005, 12:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGB
onesixeight, I also wonder why the E90 has such a heavy and uncomfortable steering.
It is precisely the steering which makes me love these cars so much. If you want light steering, check out a Lexus or Mercedes, or even a Buick. Those brands are for show and comfort.

Not for driving.
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      05-30-2005, 05:20 PM   #6
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get use to it and dont complain. thats just how BMW's are!!!!
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      05-31-2005, 05:11 AM   #7
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With new technology it is quite easy to provide adequate parking assistance and firm precise steering at speed.
I quote from the sporty M6: " In developing the BMW M6 High-Performance Coupe, the engineers at BMW M GmbH have given particular attention to the steering system crucial to agile and safe motoring. Via special control maps, Servotronic steering management controls the degree of power assistance as a function of road and engine speed. This solves the basic conflict of interest between high power assistance for comfortable parking and low assistance in the interest of superior driving dynamics at high speeds."
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      05-31-2005, 08:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGB
With new technology it is quite easy to provide adequate parking assistance and firm precise steering at speed.
I quote from the sporty M6: " In developing the BMW M6 High-Performance Coupe, the engineers at BMW M GmbH have given particular attention to the steering system crucial to agile and safe motoring. Via special control maps, Servotronic steering management controls the degree of power assistance as a function of road and engine speed. This solves the basic conflict of interest between high power assistance for comfortable parking and low assistance in the interest of superior driving dynamics at high speeds."
Err, I guess youve got a point there. So it could have a lighter steering at low speeds and still have enough feel at higher. Somehow my guess is though the steering of the M6 will, despite Servotronic, be even heavier at parking speed than that of the 325.
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      05-31-2005, 08:03 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply guys!

I can understand the argument many are making about being a sporty car...but the problem is I drove many other E90's and the car I got is really, really heavy! I have a long history in motorsport and I currently own a Formula 3000 that I race every weekend, so I know a sporty steering setup when I feel one. My company car is a E60 530i Sport with active steering and to me, that car feels too light and has actually loosened up over time...

I was just wondering if any other 325i owners noticed the excessively heavy steering rack...I'm not expecting it to be Cadillac or Lexus light...but I think something might be wrong. I'll be testing another 325i sport tomorrow to see.
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      05-31-2005, 08:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGB
onesixeight, I also wonder why the E90 has such a heavy and uncomfortable steering. The electromechanical steering of some Audis and Volvos, among many others, is a delight of lightness when parking and hardens progresively as speed increases with very good precision. I think BMW has no excuse for producing nowadays such an uncomfortable device.
Im placing my order for a 325i Touring but with the Active Steering option, which I hope, will make things easier.
RGB,

I have a 530i with Active and I think you will like it. I find it very twitchy at the limit, but I love the go cart feel. It really makes parking in tight spaces and jeting around town a breeze.

On this 325i I got for my sister, I opted for the regular steering rack becuase she's had some close calls with the active rack when driving my 530i. I'd even go as far to say the active rack in my 530 is one of the lightest I've felt of any car I've driven, yet still very precise.

BMW has made great strides in balancing good feel and reasonable steering effort. I still think my old E36 M3 had some of the best feel steering wise. I had one of the first generation X5's without Servotronic and I have a new X5 4.8 with Servotronic. Servotronic retains much of the feel without making low speed turning a chore.

It's easy to write off heavy steering effort as a the sporty nature of a car, but drive any of the recent super exotic cars such as the Enzo. Ferrari over the last 15 years has been able to reduce steering effort and retain all of the sporty steering feel.

In closing, a heavy steering rack doesn't necessarily mean a sportier rack.
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      07-22-2005, 04:48 PM   #11
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I was wondering if the E90 came with servotronic as standard, given that it isn't available as an option, and then I discovered this thread...

Servotronic is a reasonably low cost option (~ 150) on the E60 and it makes a huge difference. I'm surprised it's not available on the E90.

The test drive that I had was in an 325i with active steering and I really liked it, didn't feel weird, just nice. That said I didn't order that option on my 330i, starting to wonder if I should have!

Not a major issue, just would have been nice to have.
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      07-22-2005, 05:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS
I was wondering if the E90 came with servotronic as standard, given that it isn't available as an option, and then I discovered this thread...

Servotronic is a reasonably low cost option (~ 150) on the E60 and it makes a huge difference. I'm surprised it's not available on the E90.

The test drive that I had was in an 325i with active steering and I really liked it, didn't feel weird, just nice. That said I didn't order that option on my 330i, starting to wonder if I should have!

Not a major issue, just would have been nice to have.
Hi Phil...

Nice to see this thread come alive after being dead for a few weeks...

Servotronic steering assist is only available on cars with Active Steering (AFS). After 550 miles on the car, it seems to be getting a little lighter and more natural feeling.

If I were to do it all over again, I would order active. I also drive a 530i with AFS and it's a lot of fun and feels like a go-cart. Something to consider if you haven't closed your order yet.

-Chris
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      07-22-2005, 05:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onesixeight
Hi Phil...

Nice to see this thread come alive after being dead for a few weeks...

Servotronic steering assist is only available on cars with Active Steering (AFS). After 550 miles on the car, it seems to be getting a little lighter and more natural feeling.

If I were to do it all over again, I would order active. I also drive a 530i with AFS and it's a lot of fun and feels like a go-cart. Something to consider if you haven't closed your order yet.

-Chris
Thanks Chris,

It's too late for me to make changes - if my car isn't already built it will be starting production next week - due to pick it up in the 2nd week of August.

Not a big deal - I'm more looking forward to my first six cylinder petrol. My last two cars were 530ds and the six cylinder diesels were fantastic, but I just couldn't get over the smoothness of the 325i on the test drive.

I'll soon get used to the steering, but as you say, if I were to to do it all over again, I think I would go with the active.

Cheers,
Phil.
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      07-22-2005, 08:19 PM   #14
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I think you can become used to most anything. The funnest car I have ever owned was my first BMW, a 72 2002 and it had what would be considered heavy steering today - no power steering and a 13 Momo steering wheel. When I got my first BMW with power steering, I thought it was way too light but got used to it and I like the feel of my current 328i and I liked the E90 that I test drove.
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      07-22-2005, 09:25 PM   #15
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Just my 2 cents

I bought my e90 with Active Steering. I drove it on the autobahns and european twisties and believe me it as much fun as the regular steering. For me, after a hard day at work I am not looking to excercise muscles to get the car into parking. Believe me its totally worth getting active steering. I have read some posts saying that with active steering they were not sure how much to turn while driving. I think those who did not try active steering and those who didnt get it on their cars, are trying to convince others with this stupid theory. I drove the car on the curves at crazy speeds and I totally knew how much to turn. Get the the active steering and you wont regret it.
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      07-22-2005, 09:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ag
I bought my e90 with Active Steering. I drove it on the autobahns and european twisties and believe me it as much fun as the regular steering. For me, after a hard day at work I am not looking to excercise muscles to get the car into parking. Believe me its totally worth getting active steering. I have read some posts saying that with active steering they were not sure how much to turn while driving. I think those who did not try active steering and those who didnt get it on their cars, are trying to convince others with this stupid theory. I drove the car on the curves at crazy speeds and I totally knew how much to turn. Get the the active steering and you wont regret it.
Most of the negative reviews of active steering are from the first units in the E60 5-series.

The new 3 with active steering is much improved over the E60's active steering unit. I have an E60 530i with AFS and sometimes it can be very nervous when braking hard over bad pavement. Steering response can also be very unpredictable if you're coming hard into a corner and AFS decides to increase assist when deaccelerating into a corner. The E90 AFS system is much more neutral and predictable at the limit. I'd have no hesitation recommending AFS to a someone putting together their order.
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      07-23-2005, 03:15 AM   #17
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What I didn't like when reading about active steering is how it is used as part of DSC to stabilize the car by correcting steering for you. For example, it would automatically correct for oversteer by counter steering. I thought that was just too much intervention for my taste. I would like to have full control over steering in such situations.
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      07-23-2005, 05:38 AM   #18
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I just picked up my e90 325i with sport pkg. Yes, it is heavy but I like it. Only the part that I do not like is how it won't return to neutral position at slow speed. It is a great car and I love it but there is definitely a room for improvement. Enjoy your drive everyone.
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      09-12-2005, 08:29 AM   #19
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Personally, anyone that thinks the steering is too heavy for anything needs to grow a pair.
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      09-12-2005, 10:18 AM   #20
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the steering on the 3 is pretty heavy (much heavier than my Z, but also give much better road feel)

recommended pressures of the front tires is only 29 PSI, so if your dealer does things right you've probably got 29 psi up front, if you bump that up to 32-34 psi you'll have lighter steering
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      09-12-2005, 06:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
recommended pressures of the front tires is only 29 PSI, so if your dealer does things right you've probably got 29 psi up front, if you bump that up to 32-34 psi you'll have lighter steering
That's the only thing my dealer did not do. They left the tyre pressures high from the factory.

I dropped them down and I believe I have a well weighted wheel.
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      09-12-2005, 07:15 PM   #22
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I drove a 330i without active steering and a 325i with active steering and I didn't feel any difference.
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