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      10-05-2012, 03:38 AM   #1
toneus
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Variable Damper Control (VDC)

Currently awaiting my order confirmation, which gives me too much time to ponder on the options I made, one of which was VDC. I'd read and watched many reviews with most suggesting that VDC was a "must have" option.

In reading another post on UK Orders it appears only about 6% actually order this, which somewhat detracts from this being a must-have.

Anybody any thoughts about this? I think in the US it is called Dynamic Damper Control.....
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      10-05-2012, 04:03 AM   #2
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I have a M sport 35d with VDC. My last car was a X5 M sport 40d. I loved the X5 but the ride could be very firm. I also wanted something a bit smaller.The VDC is really good. Gives me the best of both worlds. Comfort around town and great handling when required in sport mode. I'm really pleased with it.

I also got 40.5 mpg on a run the other day when I was being sensible. Fantastic.
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      10-05-2012, 04:11 AM   #3
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I think cost might be a factor. I plan a keeping mine for awhile and in such a case I think it's a great investment. You can adjust your drive for town, then go a side road and have fun, go through a village with cobblestone streets (Europe), then get on the autobahn. Yes I highly recommend it.
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      10-05-2012, 04:58 AM   #4
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Ignore the reviews that say it's a "must have". They test one car for an hour or two that has it and conclude it's a "must have". No options are "must haves" *, least of all VDC. A lot of people in the US have VDC and seem to spend most of their time driving round in Sport because Normal is too floaty.

If you can, test drive a non-VDC car and a VDC and make your own decision but do not do what the reviewers lazily do and assume that a non-VDC car is in any way the same as Normal mode on a VDC car.

* except xenons!
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      10-05-2012, 05:38 AM   #5
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Agree with sfax that few if any options are really must haves -- except the xenons! I do really like the VDC myself. I typically drive with the chassis in sport and the transmission in normal, but there are situations when I switch. Fun winding roads will often bring me to Sport+. I use normal when taking the dogs and it really seems to make a difference regarding how much they get bounced around (one is quite old, so that's an advantage). I've not driven an X3 without this feature on rough, unpaved roads, but this one with it is extraordinarily comfortable and controllable on such surfaces. Far exceeds my experiences with other vehicles.
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      10-05-2012, 05:39 AM   #6
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Toneus. I had to settle my spec at very short notice and didn't tick the VDC option and then agonized over the decision until the car arrived. It's on standard SE suspension (UK) with run flats and I'm really happy with the quality of the ride and it's ability to go round corners quickly. Save the money!
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      10-05-2012, 05:49 AM   #7
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I should say in mitigation that VDC might be totally amazing because I haven't driven an X3 with VDC. It just annoys me when reviewers use words like "must have" for an option on a car that they haven't even bothered to test without the option. Also, BMW supply the cars with certain options so that the reviews help to sell those options - free marketing.

A steering wheel. Now that's a must have.
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      10-05-2012, 06:04 AM   #8
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If VDC had settings "Comfort" - "Normal" - "Sport" I'd say it's a must-have. Since compared to the standard dampers "Normal" seems to be a little softer, and "Sport" a little stiffer, there might be situations where you'd be more happy with the standard dampers which give you a nice linear feeling. But you can certainly feel the benefits of VDC "Normal" compared to the standard dampers when going over potholes and such.
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      10-05-2012, 06:10 AM   #9
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Actually its 6.6% ...

I haven't been able to compare the VDC to Standard or Sport suspension options in a side by side comparison, but I can say that I love the drive of my X3 with VDC. I drive my 35D very positively and have never found a need to switch the suspension into "Sport Mode". The car is a dream over pot holes, speed humps, country tracks and motorway with regular or positive driving alike. Its a very smooth car ... of course, it's possible that its just as nice without VDC!

After the event, my dealer was telling me about a simulator they have in Germany to show the difference between the different options. It's a platform you stand on and it shows you the sensation of various road conditions with the 3 suspension options from recorded sessions over various conditions. He noted that the difference was quite considerable.

To be clear, VDC is not comparable to Sport or Standard suspension choices ... it's completely different.

A friend of mine who has an Evoque, they have my sympathies, swears by the MagneRide suspension and they did a side by side on the Evoque. I don't think VDC is advanced as MagneRide, but its a similar idea.

I imagine that like many things you would not miss it if you hadn't got used to it, at the end of the day a car is just a car, but if you can afford it and you want the best your BMW can be, it probably wouldn't hurt to have it.

Will your car drive without it ... sure, will your ride be smoother with it ... probably.

There are a number of premium options that people don't go for and it surprises me, but then I guess at the end of the day it comes down to money.

The only options I regret wasting any time or energy over over were 6NR and Internet, both are utterly useless.

... I have a horrible feeling that I lost my cubby hole (Extended Storage Option) because of 6NR ... if that't case it's a double travesty! ... That said it might have been because of the HUD ... in which case I guess it's ok ...

On the other hand, the TV option has exceeded my wildest expectations.

Top View is fantastic and makes all the difference parking.

The HUD is not essential either, but I love having it ... especially for Sat Nav so you don't have to take your eyes off the road.

As for VDC, I am really happy with the drive and just love driving the car.

Looking at the purchase spread, I realise I am not a typical buyer, so I am not sure how helpful my opinions are.

I guess if you have it you are either one of the "Elite" ... or maybe just a mug.

Either way, its a great car.
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      10-05-2012, 06:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsey View Post
The only options I regret wasting any time or energy over over were 6NR and Internet, both are utterly useless.
Totally agree on the internet with iDrive wheel as a cursor - like Etch-A-Sketch!

6NR is useful for me as I can put on Thomas The Tank Engine videos that I have stored on my iPhone (for example!) and you shouldn't write it off yet IMHO as it could get better when they introduce new apps. There is already new stuff on analysing your driving style etc. It could become really useful - who knows

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsey View Post
I guess if you have it you are either one of the "Elite" ... or maybe just a mug.
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      10-05-2012, 06:55 AM   #11
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I'm with sfax here, and don't feel it's a 'must have' at all. I've got sports suspension and 19" wheels and the ride seems fine to me; maybe I'm easy to please but I feel it strikes an excellent compromise between ride comfort and handling.

The other thing to remember here is that we're talking about a relatively heavy 4x4 and you don't tend to drive these things in quite the same was as something like a hot hatch. I've also got an M3 coupe with EDC and I'd say that it's a 'must have' in that type of car, but the X3 is totally different and I don't feel as if I'm missing out. Obviously if VDC was free I wouldn't turn it down, but I don't believe it offers enough for the considerable cost.

Each to their own I guess....
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      10-05-2012, 07:23 AM   #12
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I have a 2.0 D MSport and VDC in the UK. I drove a test car without it but when it came to order mine I couldnt decide which suspension to order so I chose VDC. So glad I did, I couldnt believe how smooth the ride was when I first drove it and I love having the option to change the stiffness to suit the roads. Order it and enjoy the ride !
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      10-05-2012, 07:57 AM   #13
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I have a 30d SE without VDC. Should I have order it with VDC?- I don't know.
Due to the X3 success my dealer only had a 20d without VDC for me to test drive. I didn't want to make a 1,000 punt on something the dealer couldn't show me. Maybe I should have tried another dealer to find a X3 with VDC.

BMW might sell more cars with VDC if they could enable their dealers to have a demo capablility. Or if it improves the x3's ride so much- make it a standard feature (they will probably do this on model run out in 5 years).

Anyway- regular suspension seems fine to me. Can anyone loan me a X3 with VDC for a day so I can compare.
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      10-05-2012, 08:27 AM   #14
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Every now and again there is talk of doing a "Meet" ...

Maybe we should do one ... Then we could get all the 20/30/35d the Standard/Sport/VDC etc side by side and have a look see.

Oh yes, while I am on option, I also forgot ... Adaptive Headlights are fantastic on country lanes! I never thought they would make that much difference, but they really do round the corners.
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      10-05-2012, 10:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsey View Post
Every now and again there is talk of doing a "Meet" ...

Maybe we should do one ... Then we could get all the 20/30/35d the Standard/Sport/VDC etc side by side and have a look see.

Oh yes, while I am on option, I also forgot ... Adaptive Headlights are fantastic on country lanes! I never thought they would make that much difference, but they really do round the corners.
It's a great idea but i would come away desperate to trade in my 20d for a 30d or a 35d!
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      10-05-2012, 11:09 AM   #16
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Thanks for the responses, some food for thought here. Best way would be to try it, but as others have found the demonstrators at the dealers are of a mixed bag. My test drive was in a 20d M Sport without VDC, and it did drive pretty well, but with nothing to compare it to, can only go on recommendations!
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      10-05-2012, 11:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax View Post
It's a great idea but i would come away desperate to trade in my 20d for a 30d or a 35d!
How do we get from "Great Idea" to actually doing it ...

... of course, we missed summer now! D'oh

/me smiles ... I can't believe there are only 300 odd 35Ds ... it is so cool ... only getting about 27mpg though!
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      10-05-2012, 11:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsey View Post
only getting about 27mpg though!
Good!

Could happen in the spring of 2013.

Or perhaps a snowy meet up with our winter shoes on????
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      10-05-2012, 01:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneus
Thanks for the responses, some food for thought here. Best way would be to try it, but as others have found the demonstrators at the dealers are of a mixed bag. My test drive was in a 20d M Sport without VDC, and it did drive pretty well, but with nothing to compare it to, can only go on recommendations!
If it drove nicely and you enjoyed it, there's no NEED to go out and find a VDC equipped car.
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      10-05-2012, 02:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juddholland View Post
If it drove nicely and you enjoyed it, there's no NEED to go out and find a VDC equipped car.
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      10-05-2012, 02:35 PM   #21
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I test drove both when I was looking. While both DHP and non-DHP X3s provide an excellent and stable ride, for me, the DHP was just a little bit better. My wife likes the ride in 'comfort' and I like to run 'sport' with the chassis only setting. It is fun to be able to change the car's response depending on your driving style, the road conditions and how much 'feedback' you want. The DHP also gives you variable sport steering, which stiffens up the steering in sport and sport+.

The final decision is, of course, up to the purchaser. I looked at budget, use, expectations and long-term service and reliability. Ride quality is always a consideration and I felt that DHP was one of those options that 'just made sense' to add to the car. I'm very glad we have it, but the X3 has a stunning ride feel without it, too. I don't know what the option price is in the UK, but for $1400 here in the US, it was an easy decision to make.
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      10-05-2012, 03:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfax
Could happen in the spring of 2013.

Or perhaps a snowy meet up with our winter shoes on????
I do like playing in the snow!
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