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      07-30-2014, 07:37 AM   #1
Tjalle
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Steering precision

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I am spoiled - having- on and off - driven SAAB 9000 for the past 33 years.

I, finally, got to drive a DEMO at ANA in Trollhattan today. A 30D M with 19" wheels.

Everything was fine - except for steering precision. Not near my MY-97 9000 Turbo Jubilee with only 260.000 km on the odometer- 18" wheels.

The vehicle I have orderd is a 35i M with 20" wheels and Dynamic Damper Control.

Still, I am worried that it will not be as good as my current 9000.

What is your experience?

Note: I have very high demands on steering precision.
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      07-30-2014, 08:24 AM   #2
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With a BMW, when you steer right, the vehicle goes left... so you're outta luck, sorry.
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      07-30-2014, 10:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjalle
I am spoiled - having- on and off - driven SAAB 9000 for the past 33 years.

I, finally, got to drive a DEMO at ANA in Trollhattan today. A 30D M with 19" wheels.

Everything was fine - except for steering precision. Not near my MY-97 9000 Turbo Jubilee with only 260.000 km on the odometer- 18" wheels.

The vehicle I have orderd is a 35i M with 20" wheels and Dynamic Damper Control.

Still, I am worried that it will not be as good as my current 9000.

What is your experience?

Note: I have very high demands on steering precision.
EPS + run flats. Manage your expectations.
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      07-30-2014, 10:34 AM   #4
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Yocal: That could have been interesting, but if I moved the steering wheel 5 mm (1/5") clockwise nothing happened, why the same movement on my 9000 would have resulted in a slight veer to the right.

I know that BMW historically has had up to 7 degrees caster for improved "Autobahn stability", but I thought that they had learned more since.
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      07-30-2014, 10:41 AM   #5
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cSurf: I don`t buy that:
-run flats could be a comfort issue - not performance.
-EPS is programmable - if the 20" and DDC does not solve the problem, I will challenge BMW.

Are you saying, that you also have that problem - whatever model you are driving?
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      07-30-2014, 04:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjalle
cSurf: I don`t buy that:
-run flats could be a comfort issue - not performance.
-EPS is programmable - if the 20" and DDC does not solve the problem, I will challenge BMW.

Are you saying, that you also have that problem - whatever model you are driving?
EPS was borne out of compromise- hydraulic systems are heavier and create more parasitic drag (reducing MPG) compared to EPS. Reducing weight and drag are the best ways to improve mileage (and meet CAFE requirements), but they're also the most expensive when balanced against safety regulations and customer desire for high level so in-car technology.

To your challenge, EPS software is constrained by the sophistication of the corresponding hardware. Improved response, feedback and on-center feel will require evolutionary hardware (sensors, etc.)- there's no panacea via upgraded algorithm (or, I would guess, any institutional desire to spend resources making marginal improvements to the existing software). For context, M GmbH just deployed BMW's best EPS system in the F80/2 and M GmbH actively advertises the fact that it shares none of its software and little of its hardware with the rest of the series (F25 included). I have no doubt that the EPS systems deployed on future volume models will improve, I just wouldn't hold your breath any seeing any marginal improvements for this one (particularly given the short life cycle of the F25/6). If I had to guess, the next gen X3 will share hardware with the LCI 3 series, which may borrow some of its tech from the F80/2.

Run flats- like EPS- are an exercise in weight reduction aimed at helping BMW meet emissions targets. Spare wheel/tires were low hanging fruit in the quest to lower weight (as it was being added elsewhere in the car). Again RFTs- despite perceived advantages- are a compromise (for those who are performance-minded). Dampening response (aka comfort) and the transmission of cornering forces (aka steering feel) are worse than they would be otherwise be if the car were designed with normal tires. The sub-optimal steering response of RFT is one of the reasons why M cars still come with non-RFT, while also forgoing a spare (for the BMW mobility kit).

Again, EPS and RFT are (at the moment) a necessary compromise to meet CAFFE requirements- not improvements to vehicle dynamics. If you want an uncompromised experience, you'll need to spend a bit more (or wait a few years for better tech). Having unreasonable expectations of the steering feel on entry-level SAV with first-generation EPS and RFT is almost certain to leave you disappointed.
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      07-30-2014, 04:50 PM   #7
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To answer your last question, I've owned an E92 M3, E90 335i and my wife is on her second X3 xDrive35i M Sport.
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      07-31-2014, 02:00 AM   #8
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cSurf: Thanks for valuable INFO. I buy most of that, but:
-we are not talking first generation EPS, and even when I quit SAAB in 2005, we had test cars with EPS AND good steering precision.
-even run flats are "old" technology - at least not first generation. And we are talking 20" Pirelli performance tires - not shitty all seasons. Weight reduction is one reason but my understanding is that run flats was forced upon the rest of the world by people in the US being scared of a flat tire in hostile territory. In Sweden only BMW is pushing for run flats.

I will get my X4 within a week or two - then truth will be revealed.

Your wifes X3:
-ever driven it?
-tires?
-steering precision?
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      07-31-2014, 03:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjalle View Post
I am spoiled - having- on and off - driven SAAB 9000 for the past 33 years.

I, finally, got to drive a DEMO at ANA in Trollhattan today. A 30D M with 19" wheels.

Everything was fine - except for steering precision. Not near my MY-97 9000 Turbo Jubilee with only 260.000 km on the odometer- 18" wheels.

The vehicle I have orderd is a 35i M with 20" wheels and Dynamic Damper Control.

Still, I am worried that it will not be as good as my current 9000.

What is your experience?

Note: I have very high demands on steering precision.
Hi Tjalle,

well that is the great Electric Steering, and I really believe it, it s a great system. Have you had the same feeling driving in sport and sport+ modes? your feeling should be more pronounced in comfort and Eco modes.

I test drove last week a x4 30d with Msport, Dynamic Dampers and 20". Compared to my actual X3 35i Msport Dynamic Dampers and 19", I found out the steering to be a little bit more heavier than on my X3, which is probably due to size of the wheels. But then I mainly tested the X4 only in sport mode
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      07-31-2014, 07:48 AM   #10
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SANK CH: Unfortunately it is not a "feeling" - the car is "dead" around center= straigth ahead. Mind you - not very much - I am very sensitive. Same on all modes - which should anyway not have an impact on steering - at least since the vehicle was not equipped with DDC.

If the 30d had "heavier steering", that is a good sign. I hope for the best.

Have you seen my car lately? The dealer insists it is on its way to Sweden.
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      07-31-2014, 06:21 PM   #11
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No i did not went back to the bmw dealer next to my office, so i did not saw your car there

I know that on my x3 the steering is very very light. I mean front are 245 back wheels 275, on the highway you feel almost nothing. Very comfortable. I remember i had a day a mini cooper (the x3 had service at bmw dealer) and even with the tiny wheels i had the impression that i had to fight with the steering wheel to keep the car going straight!!!! I thought that day, that is what they all talks about feeling the road.
I think i better like comfort

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      07-31-2014, 08:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjalle View Post
cSurf: Thanks for valuable INFO. I buy most of that, but:
-we are not talking first generation EPS, and even when I quit SAAB in 2005, we had test cars with EPS AND good steering precision.
-even run flats are "old" technology - at least not first generation. And we are talking 20" Pirelli performance tires - not shitty all seasons. Weight reduction is one reason but my understanding is that run flats was forced upon the rest of the world by people in the US being scared of a flat tire in hostile territory. In Sweden only BMW is pushing for run flats.

I will get my X4 within a week or two - then truth will be revealed.

Your wifes X3:
-ever driven it?
-tires?
-steering precision?
We always run dedicated summer/winter tires. On the X3, we're currently running the OEM staggered 19" 622Ms with Continental ContiSportContact 3 SSRs. Don't get me wrong- for a car in this class, at this price, it's the best I've driven (I haven't driven the Macaan, so that may change).

That said, and while I've never driven a SAAB (or been under the impression that FWD SAABs had particularly communicative steering), the EPS on the F25 has far less 'steering feel' than any of my other RWD BMW's E9x (335i PE and M3 w/ competition package) and E46 (325i).

And yes, this EPS system is definitively first generation... sure, there were bench/mule iterations, but the F25 was one of (and depending on where you are in the world, THE) first use[s] of EPS in a production BMW. I wasn't referring to the RFTs, which are considerably improved in generations 3-4.

The 310Ms are great... but even if you put a $5000 set of BBS FIs w/ Pilot Cup tires on, you can't overcome the inherent communication issues with the existing EPS system. As an analogy, you could have the best sound system in the world, but if you're depending on AM radio transmission for content... simply turning up the volume doesn't improve the quality.

Again, I'm not trying to disparage your purchase- but I would caution you to keep an open mind about the whole package/have reasonable exceptions in light of the compromises BMW had to make.
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      07-31-2014, 08:39 PM   #13
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You're far too knowledgeable about this stuff, cSurf. Are you in the auto industry or something?
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      08-01-2014, 12:55 AM   #14
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cSurf: Again, thanks for INFO.

I am not talking SAAB:s in general (especially not those developed during the GM:era) - I am talking SAAB 9000, where we did everything right - at least regarding steering and handling. Ordinary people felt they were better drivers, and not-so ordinary people were happy .

Most people, and most auto engineers think/claim, that vehicle development is a process of optimization - it is not - it is a process of doing the not-so-bad compromises.

The overall handling was fully acceptable on the X4 I drove - the on-center steering was not.

I would be surprised if Porsche has screwed up on-center feel on the Macan - reports from testdrives indicates they have not.

I hope for the best with my tires and the DDC.

I will let you know.
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      08-03-2014, 05:23 PM   #15
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The Macan is sloppy and a interest losing investment as I have experienced first hand.

Went from a 14 Sq5 to Macan to an ordered X4 and I am telling you the X4 is more fun overall for everyday driving in everyway..

The Small things that Porsche did to make it cheap enough destroyed my ability to enjoy it..

I am going to post a full run down of what they did wrong. I have already on another BMW forum but I will be posting it and more on this forum as well

Craig
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      08-04-2014, 12:07 AM   #16
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Theatermax: the sooner the better
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