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2019+ BMW 3 AND 4-SERIES FORUMS (G2x Generation) General G20 Sedan / G22 Coupe / G26 Gran Coupe Discussions Why doesn't BMW put a quicker steering ratio in the 3 Series?

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      08-22-2019, 04:23 PM   #1
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Why doesn't BMW put a quicker steering ratio in the 3 Series?

The 330i has a 14.1:1 steering ratio while the 330i xDrive has a 14.9:1 steering ratio. Contrast that with the Giulia, for example, whose steering ratio is 11.8:1. It seems like a quicker steering ratio would be an easy way to make the feel more nimble and light and therefore be more fun to drive. So, why don't they give it a faster ratio? What would the downsides be?

I only bring this up because i drove my friend's Impreza sport wagon last night (it has a 13:1 ratio), and it was surprisingly super fun and nimble to toss around in day to day driving. Obviously the 330i is a much better all around vehicle but I was left feeling a bit envious of the easy going and playful nature of the wagon - almost like a point and shoot with your pinky at low speeds, go cart type of feeling. I think a lot of it has to do with the ratio because the wheel itself wasn't super light either - similar to F30 lightness.

Last edited by alpinewhite3; 08-22-2019 at 04:31 PM..
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      08-22-2019, 05:04 PM   #2
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Might have something to do with being tuned to drive the fast long roads of the Autobahn. Faster lower ratio steering makes the car much twitchier. It wouldn't cost the car manufacturer anything to do since it's just a gear change. The car is tuned like this to suit the widest variety of drivers. You can always get the variable sport steering which has a higher ratio on center but a faster lower ratio off center.
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      08-22-2019, 05:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upsidedownfunnel View Post
Might have something to do with being tuned to drive the fast long roads of the Autobahn. Faster lower ratio steering makes the car much twitchier. It wouldn't cost the car manufacturer anything to do since it's just a gear change. The car is tuned like this to suit the widest variety of drivers. You can always get the variable sport steering which has a higher ratio on center but a faster lower ratio off center.
Thank you, that makes sense. I did drive the Impreza up to 80 mph and it was super wobbly/twitchy. I chalked it up to the chassis but it may be steering ratio. How is the Giulia at high speeds? Shouldn't it also be very twitchy then ?

EDIT: After doing some research seems like the Giulia has sort of an on-center dead spot at high speeds that allows for some leeway in steering inputs.
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      08-23-2019, 03:08 AM   #4
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I currently drive a Stelvio with the same quick rack as the Giulia, and even on wide 20s it can get a bit nervous at speed.

In the US, The 3 Series seems to be marketed very differently - you only get the performance models. Over here in Europe, they're mostly the ones with ~150hp diesels - basically mile munches for sales reps. The 330i and above are pretty rare. Although, the 330e is now a big seller due to company car tax. I've just ordered one where my default would have been a 320d.
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      08-23-2019, 05:58 AM   #5
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Anyone notice on the G20 to at highway speeds or anything about 80km really the steering wheel becomes almost rock hard and requires a lot of force, I love that and wish it was like that at lower speeds,
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      08-23-2019, 06:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jebk View Post
I currently drive a Stelvio with the same quick rack as the Giulia, and even on wide 20s it can get a bit nervous at speed.

In the US, The 3 Series seems to be marketed very differently - you only get the performance models. Over here in Europe, they're mostly the ones with ~150hp diesels - basically mile munches for sales reps. The 330i and above are pretty rare. Although, the 330e is now a big seller due to company car tax. I've just ordered one where my default would have been a 320d.
So that's the reason! I was already astonished by seeing so many M340i here on the forums while everyone at the Dutch forums are talking about the 320i and maybe a 330i. But surely no M340i; haven't seen a single one on the road nor at the dealership.
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      08-23-2019, 07:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Eagle Creek View Post
So that's the reason! I was already astonished by seeing so many M340i here on the forums while everyone at the Dutch forums are talking about the 320i and maybe a 330i. But surely no M340i; haven't seen a single one on the road nor at the dealership.
Pretty standard for all European marques in the US. Smallest BMW they can buy is a 230i (or maybe an X1 28i, but that's splitting hairs). Most common thing I see on the roads here is 114i, maybe 116d and F30 318d.

But then American cars are weird. It amuses me every time I rent over there. They see a baby and try to up-sell you into a van. It's like no, I got to the airport in a golf fine, I'm sure I can manage in a Camry. They think you're from the moon.
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      08-23-2019, 09:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jebk View Post
In the US, The 3 Series seems to be marketed very differently - you only get the performance models. Over here in Europe, they're mostly the ones with ~150hp diesels - basically mile munches for sales reps. The 330i and above are pretty rare. Although, the 330e is now a big seller due to company car tax. I've just ordered one where my default would have been a 320d.
I wish we had the 320d in the states. Whenever I'm in Europe, I always end up in a 320d rental. Drives just as well, and I get 50+ mpg with a range of over 600 miles. It doesn't feel that slow either. It would sell so well here.
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      08-23-2019, 09:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinewhite3 View Post
I wish we had the 320d in the states.

...

It would sell so well here.
BMW brought the F30 320d to the US market (though it was designated 328d here instead), and nobody bought it.
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      08-23-2019, 11:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinewhite3 View Post
The 330i has a 14.1:1 steering ratio while the 330i xDrive has a 14.9:1 steering ratio. Contrast that with the Giulia, for example, whose steering ratio is 11.8:1. It seems like a quicker steering ratio would be an easy way to make the feel more nimble and light and therefore be more fun to drive. So, why don't they give it a faster ratio? What would the downsides be?

I only bring this up because i drove my friend's Impreza sport wagon last night (it has a 13:1 ratio), and it was surprisingly super fun and nimble to toss around in day to day driving. Obviously the 330i is a much better all around vehicle but I was left feeling a bit envious of the easy going and playful nature of the wagon - almost like a point and shoot with your pinky at low speeds, go cart type of feeling. I think a lot of it has to do with the ratio because the wheel itself wasn't super light either - similar to F30 lightness.
Probably worth adding that BMW and other volume luxury brands tune the steering based on the most common driving style which is one hand on the top of the wheel.

Bmw pretty much explicitly stated that in a C+D article on the 3 series development. Steering optimized for 2 hands on either side (where the driver has the most leverage on the wheel) feels very heavy and is harder to be accurate when the driver has just one hand on the top where there is significantly less leverage
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      08-23-2019, 12:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jebk View Post
I currently drive a Stelvio with the same quick rack as the Giulia, and even on wide 20s it can get a bit nervous at speed.

In the US, The 3 Series seems to be marketed very differently - you only get the performance models. Over here in Europe, they're mostly the ones with ~150hp diesels - basically mile munches for sales reps. The 330i and above are pretty rare. Although, the 330e is now a big seller due to company car tax. I've just ordered one where my default would have been a 320d.
One thing to remember though, is the Stelvio has a higher center of gravity, and is a physically bigger vehicle. I remember Jeremy Clarkson mentioned this in the Grand Tour, saying the quick steering does wonders for the Giulia QF sedan, but doesn't work well on the heavier and higher Stelvio SUV.

I've driven the Giulia Ti Sport, and I find the quick steering to make a really engaging driving experience, as well as making the vehicle feel more nimble when driving. I didn't find it to be a problem on the highway, although I only took it up to 75mph.
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      08-23-2019, 01:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuastein55 View Post
One thing to remember though, is the Stelvio has a higher center of gravity, and is a physically bigger vehicle. I remember Jeremy Clarkson mentioned this in the Grand Tour, saying the quick steering does wonders for the Giulia QF sedan, but doesn't work well on the heavier and higher Stelvio SUV.

I've driven the Giulia Ti Sport, and I find the quick steering to make a really engaging driving experience, as well as making the vehicle feel more nimble when driving. I didn't find it to be a problem on the highway, although I only took it up to 75mph.
I've driven multiple giulias (petrol and diesel) as well and they do the same thing. It handles fantastically if your driving it hard, but you have to drive it the whole time (if that makes sense).

It's a great car (as is the stelvio) but it's not built to be a mile muncher the 3 series is setup to be.
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      08-24-2019, 01:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xlover View Post
Probably worth adding that BMW and other volume luxury brands tune the steering based on the most common driving style which is one hand on the top of the wheel.

Bmw pretty much explicitly stated that in a C+D article on the 3 series development. Steering optimized for 2 hands on either side (where the driver has the most leverage on the wheel) feels very heavy and is harder to be accurate when the driver has just one hand on the top where there is significantly less leverage
Yup, raise your hand if you died a little inside when a BMW engineer proudly said they optimized steering for people who drive one-handed on the autobahn.
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      08-24-2019, 09:34 AM   #14
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Don't know what the ratio was but my previous F30 seemed to have a much sharper steering than the new G20. To the point that if I felt a sneeze coming on I locked my elbows into my ribs.
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      08-24-2019, 12:41 PM   #15
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While of course a faster steering ratio like the Giulia would be nice, I find the G20's steering ratio to also be very good. I'd rather they work on steering feel.

My friend bought an ATS-V the other day, and just wow, that steering rack is amazingly communicative, it feels like that of an old M3 but still of course retains a nice heft and ratio.

The funny thing is, I did some research, and its actually a ZF made EPS system, one that BMW used in the F30 (not sure if its still used, but probably is), the big difference being that Cadillac figured out how to tune it perfectly. BMW should honestly poach some of their engineers, they do some amazing chassis and steering work!
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      08-24-2019, 02:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumble View Post
Don't know what the ratio was but my previous F30 seemed to have a much sharper steering than the new G20. To the point that if I felt a sneeze coming on I locked my elbows into my ribs.
Anyone know the F30's ratio ?

EDIT: The 2012 328i' had a ratio of 15.1:1 so G20 should feel much quicker.
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      08-24-2019, 04:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortexiphan View Post
BMW brought the F30 320d to the US market (though it was designated 328d here instead), and nobody bought it.
Own a 328d and it’s agreat car. Good torque and fantastic gas mileage. I wish they kept the 335d. BMW discontinued it before I could snag one.
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      08-24-2019, 06:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weiner0123 View Post
Anyone notice on the G20 to at highway speeds or anything about 80km really the steering wheel becomes almost rock hard and requires a lot of force, I love that and wish it was like that at lower speeds,
I noticed that the first time I took my car on a long spirited drive on A-roads. The steering heaviness increases significantly after 70-80km/h. It's still not heavy enough to be tiring, but it's definitely much heavier than in city on lower speed. I would say it's pretty much spot on.

And about the steering rack ratio, or "quickness"... Coming from a car that had quicker and more direct steering in the middle position, I can only appreciate the relaxed center steering of the G20. While F30 felt loose and disconnected in the middle, G20 is also slower around the center but manages to feel tight, precise and direct. This slight lightness in the middle allows you to feel relaxed at the wheel at high speeds, especially on european highways where 150km/h and above is a cruising speed that can be driven for hours.
My last car was more direct and quicker in the middle and this made it tiring at high-speed autobahn driving.

Last edited by Calamari; 08-25-2019 at 05:41 PM..
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      08-25-2019, 12:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortexiphan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinewhite3 View Post
I wish we had the 320d in the states.

...

It would sell so well here.
BMW brought the F30 320d to the US market (though it was designated 328d here instead), and nobody bought it.
Saw one last week. And yes, they didn't sell at all. Diesel has a bad stigma in the US, is expensive as premium 91/93 unleaded gas and for some it means refueling at truck stops when on road trips.

Remember, we don't get taxed here based on displacement/carbon emissions and compared to most of Europe, gasoline is still very cheap here. We have no incentive whatsoever to put up with what most perceive to be as tractor engines.

In Europe people get taxed up the ting yang and punished the larger the motor is and whether it drinks lots of petrol and emits higher emissions. This is one of the reasons why diesels are still very popular in most of those countries as they are taxed less than gasoline counterparts not to mention lower running costs.

Sadly, people here in the US still doesn't realize how good they have it when it comes to cars vs the rest of the world. Cheap cars, cheap gas and more choice.
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      08-25-2019, 12:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wineguy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortexiphan View Post
BMW brought the F30 320d to the US market (though it was designated 328d here instead), and nobody bought it.
Own a 328d and it’s agreat car. Good torque and fantastic gas mileage. I wish they kept the 335d. BMW discontinued it before I could snag one.
At one of point in time I was tempted by the 335d E90 but they had many reliability issues that turned me off completely from considering one. Also hard to get at the time on the second hand market.
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      08-25-2019, 04:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 530iDriver View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cortexiphan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinewhite3 View Post
I wish we had the 320d in the states.

...

It would sell so well here.
BMW brought the F30 320d to the US market (though it was designated 328d here instead), and nobody bought it.
Saw one last week. And yes, they didn't sell at all. Diesel has a bad stigma in the US, is expensive as premium 91/93 unleaded gas and for some it means refueling at truck stops when on road trips.
You even call 91 premium? In the Netherlands you can't buy anything lower than 95. 98 is considered premium and in Germany they also sell 100..
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      08-25-2019, 05:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Creek View Post
You even call 91 premium? In the Netherlands you cN buy anything lower than 95. 98 is considered premium and in Germany they also sell 100..
Octane ratings are calculated differently in the US vs EU. US 91 is equivalent to EU 97.
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