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      12-22-2012, 11:15 AM   #130
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Drives: Acura TSX, 2010, 6MT
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Originally Posted by BradF View Post
I think the F30 is very much worth owning, but the steering feel (or lack thereof) is a dramatic departure for BMW. After my E46, I thought the E90 was fugly but at least it drove like a BMW -- so I ended up with one (actually two).

I just cant say the same about the F30. I love the styling, the interior is MUCH better (yes, even the screen) and the N20/8-speed drivetrain is sublime; in many ways I do think of the F30 as an E90 with some of the kinks worked out (gas mileage on an E90 is abysmal)....but I don't think I can convince myself that it's worth owning because the "Ultimate Driving Machine" experience has been very watered down (yes - the F30 I drove was loaded, so I tried everything I could to like the way it handled).

My question: Porsche just made the same transition to electric steering to gain MPG and the automotive press is singing praises about how the feeling is still there...if Porsche can do it, why can't BMW?
This sums up my views. IMO, the F30 is a phenomenal overall package as a daily driver/family car, but the numb steering and more isolated feel remove it from the "Ultimate Driving Machine" category. One F30 I tested was a Sport Line 328i with 6MT, and the other was a 2013 328i M Sport with x-Drive, both of which I drove in sport mode. Fix the steering, and I'd want one. As it stands, I'll stick with my TSX, which actually has better steering, and has provided a nice respite from European "reliability."

Many manufacturers seem to be climbing the EPS learning curve, but I'm nonetheless stumped as to why, of all companies, BMW didn't get it right on the definitive sport sedan. Even Honda and Ford have done it better IMO, which is truly surprising, especially with respect to Ford. (At least Honda has years of experience with EPS, going back to the NSX and S2000.) Try a Focus ST, for example, which doesn't offer loads of feedback, but at least has strong on center tracking for a more "locked in" feel overall.

I think BMW will respond to the criticisms, and seriously revamp the EPS to deliver more feedback, and a more traditional BMW feel. As I recall, they did this with the E90 after the first year model's steering was criticized for being too light.