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2019+ BMW 3 AND 4-SERIES FORUMS (G2x Generation) General G20 Sedan / G22 Coupe / G26 Gran Coupe Discussions M340i steering feels overly heavy

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      12-27-2019, 04:02 PM   #1
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M340i steering feels overly heavy

Does anybody feel like the heavy steering feel in Sport is artificially too heavy? I know it's a "BMW thing" but it's definitely taking a bit of time to get used to. I drive in Sport Individual (everything set to Sport with the exception of steering and dampening set to comfort). However, I keep changing the steering back to Sport as it has the sensation of being tighter handling, but I don't think it actually is...it honestly just feels heavier just for the sake of being heavy. Steering feel in Sport Individual (Comfort) seems to be just as precise but just lighter NOT any more loose which is a good thing.

Not sure if this is a question, comment, observation, etc but I would love to hear everyone's opinions on the steering feel (I'm thinking only on the M340i since the other models have a different steering rack if I'm not mistaken).
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      12-27-2019, 04:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Does anybody feel like the heavy steering feel in Sport is artificially too heavy? I know it's a "BMW thing" but it's definitely taking a bit of time to get used to. I drive in Sport Individual (everything set to Sport with the exception of steering and dampening set to comfort). However, I keep changing the steering back to Sport as it has the sensation of being tighter handling, but I don't think it actually is...it honestly just feels heavier just for the sake of being heavy. Steering feel in Sport Individual (Comfort) seems to be just as precise but just lighter NOT any more loose which is a good thing.

Not sure if this is a question, comment, observation, etc but I would love to hear everyone's opinions on the steering feel (I'm thinking only on the M340i since the other models have a different steering rack if I'm not mistaken).

I agree with everything you said. The steering is artificially heavy in sport+. I think BMW has confused precise to mean heavy.

That being said, I don't mind it. I like a bit of heft to the steering, but I do wish that was in conjunction with more precision and road feel.
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      12-27-2019, 04:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtwo3 View Post
That being said, I don't mind it. I like a bit of heft to the steering, but I do wish that was in conjunction with more precision and road feel.
As I see it with EPS, the steering has a specific 'precision' due to the engineering tolerances, software adjustments are simply changing the 'stiffness' of its function. Difficult to see how more heft, due to allowing more 'damping' of the system can give added feedback.

I prefer the Comfort steering setting in my BMW, (not light in the F11), it feels more natural with more feedback than the Sport setting.
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      12-27-2019, 04:33 PM   #4
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Exactly I like a little heft as well especially coming from Audi (too light even in Dynamic), but this almost seems gimmicky heavy (like old sport car hydraulic steering without the actual precision and road feel).
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      12-27-2019, 04:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
As I see it with EPS, the steering has a specific 'precision' due to the engineering tolerances, software adjustments are simply changing the 'stiffness' of its function. Difficult to see how more heft, due to allowing more 'damping' of the system can give added feedback.

I prefer the Comfort steering setting in my BMW, (not light in the F11), it feels more natural with more feedback than the Sport setting.
Agreed. I feel like the comfort setting seems more natural (I wish it was just called Natural lol. Comfort makes it sound like the steering is going to be sloppy which it's not).
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      12-27-2019, 04:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Agreed. I feel like the comfort setting seems more natural (I wish it was just called Natural lol. Comfort makes it sound like the steering is going to be sloppy which it's not).
In fact in my car the lighter setting is actually associated with the 'Normal' mode, before BMW moved to the Comfort/Sport naming.

I find the 'Normal' steering setting in my car, is more sensitive and requires smaller, more precise inputs. I've driven some recent BMW models where the Comfort steering is very light, not natural at all, over assisted. In those examples, Sport feels more precise and controlled.

Yet to try the M340i, will be interesting to see how it feels to my senses.
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      12-27-2019, 05:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
In fact in my car the lighter setting is actually associated with the 'Normal' mode, before BMW moved to the Comfort/Sport naming.

I find the 'Normal' steering setting in my car, is more sensitive and requires smaller, more precise inputs. I've driven some recent BMW models where the Comfort steering is very light, not natural at all, over assisted. In those examples, Sport feels more precise and controlled.

Yet to try the M340i, will be interesting to see how it feels to my senses.
Very interesting. I feel like all modes have that over assisted feel, but comfort feels more normal vs sport. Maybe I just need to get used to it I don't know.

If it actually felt heavy and precise that would be a great thing but to me it just feels like resistance for no reason.
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      12-27-2019, 05:16 PM   #8
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Depends on the model. With modern BMW EPAS, especially in M cars, it seems to be that comfort steering tends to feel the most realistic/normal, while Sport/+ tend to be artificially heavy, but in other models like a stripper 3er or X3 loaner sometimes sport is better as comfort can feel too dull.
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      12-27-2019, 05:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuastein55 View Post
Depends on the model. With modern BMW EPAS, especially in M cars, it seems to be that comfort steering tends to feel the most realistic/normal, while Sport/+ tend to be artificially heavy, but in other models like a stripper 3er or X3 loaner sometimes sport is better as comfort can feel too dull.
So where does the "M Performance" models like the M340i fall in this? Not having owned a BMW before it's hard to know what's "normal".
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      12-27-2019, 05:53 PM   #10
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I honestly can't really answer that question for you, especially since I haven't owned an M-Performance vehicle, but only a full on M, but I would think they are similar.

I'm a steering snob so my definition of normal can't really apply to any modern BMW as my normal is hydraulic steering with road feel, but no BMW really offers either of those things. Since you haven't owned a BMW before electric steering, your normal and mine are likely very different.

I have only had 2 modern EPAS BMW's, a 540i which I really disliked, it was incredibly boring and the steering was awful no matter mode it was in, and an M2. Honestly the 5 series was the reason I left BMW for the first time in 20 years, my CLS honestly has better steering feel than my M2, of course nothing compared to my son's X3 which has hydraulic.

Anyways, in the M2 I prefer comfort steering. That is because it adds a bit of assist without being too much, and feels quicker and more precise than sport, which has increased effort and in my opinion feels slower in responsiveness/its ratio. Comfort steering gives it a more nimble feel that I would expect of a small wheelbase sports coupe despite the name suggesting otherwise. That is my "normal" but like I said, I still prefer my CLS's steering, or even that of a Mazda. Now I don't own an M340i, but I would expect that the steering rack acts in the same way regarding steering modes.

That probably didn't answer your question, but hopefully you found a mode that works for you!
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      12-27-2019, 06:29 PM   #11
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I wish BMW offered an option for the old Hydraulic Steering like an individual option. If it was a reasonable price I would buy it. BMW should link it with the Cooling and High Performance Package option for enthusiasts make enthusiast's happy BMW come on.
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      12-27-2019, 06:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuastein55 View Post
I honestly can't really answer that question for you, especially since I haven't owned an M-Performance vehicle, but only a full on M, but I would think they are similar.

I'm a steering snob so my definition of normal can't really apply to any modern BMW as my normal is hydraulic steering with road feel, but no BMW really offers either of those things. Since you haven't owned a BMW before electric steering, your normal and mine are likely very different.

I have only had 2 modern EPAS BMW's, a 540i which I really disliked, it was incredibly boring and the steering was awful no matter mode it was in, and an M2. Honestly the 5 series was the reason I left BMW for the first time in 20 years, my CLS honestly has better steering feel than my M2, of course nothing compared to my son's X3 which has hydraulic.

Anyways, in the M2 I prefer comfort steering. That is because it adds a bit of assist without being too much, and feels quicker and more precise than sport, which has increased effort and in my opinion feels slower in responsiveness/its ratio. Comfort steering gives it a more nimble feel that I would expect of a small wheelbase sports coupe despite the name suggesting otherwise. That is my "normal" but like I said, I still prefer my CLS's steering, or even that of a Mazda. Now I don't own an M340i, but I would expect that the steering rack acts in the same way regarding steering modes.

That probably didn't answer your question, but hopefully you found a mode that works for you!
Very much sums up my opinion as well. Comfort feels as natural as a power electric assisted rack can feel...nimble if you will. Sport just makes the car feel heavy and clumsy. Maybe this will change as I get used to it (much like when I bought my first Audi and I couldn't believe how loose and disconnected it felt...but I eventually got used to it, to the point of it feeling natural).
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      12-27-2019, 07:36 PM   #13
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I agree that the sport steering feels a little too heavy at low speeds around town. But it feels great when you are taking fast corners. Still doesn't have the feel of a hydraulic steering of course.
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      12-27-2019, 09:58 PM   #14
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My observation in the M340.

Of the 8 cars my wife (not a car person) and I have owned in the past 11 years (S4, 335, several various Jeeps, Durango RT..) - the M340 is the first car she said she feels like she needs to keep both hands on the wheel. She drives in comfort all the time. I live in Sport+.

I like this feel. This is what you go for in a sporty drive. Have you ever driven a race car on a track? I drove Formula cars and you literally have to fight the wheel when you take a hand off the shift for a split second.

Artificial or not, BMW is onto something with the G20.
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      12-27-2019, 11:59 PM   #15
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I agree with the OP. It’s the same in the 330i. I drive in Sport individual with steering set to comfort. Sport feels artificially heavy.
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      12-28-2019, 07:29 AM   #16
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It's heavy yes, perhaps unnaturally so, but it feels a lot more confidence-inspiring (best way I can describe it) than the steering in my F30 340i.

I have to say I like the M340i steering, especially in Sport+. But even comfort feels great.
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      12-28-2019, 08:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBJ View Post
It's heavy yes, perhaps unnaturally so, but it feels a lot more confidence-inspiring (best way I can describe it) than the steering in my F30 340i.
Honestly true, I still dislike BMW steering, but it is much better than the F-series steering that was absolutely terrible.
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      12-28-2019, 08:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW11 View Post
I wish BMW offered an option for the old Hydraulic Steering like an individual option. If it was a reasonable price I would buy it. BMW should link it with the Cooling and High Performance Package option for enthusiasts make enthusiast's happy BMW come on.
Wishful thinking I'm afraid. HPAS is history, even if a few enthusiasts say they'd pay for it.
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      12-28-2019, 09:03 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
So where does the "M Performance" models like the M340i fall in this? Not having owned a BMW before it's hard to know what's "normal".
Opinion to what is normal, or what users want, is very subjective.

My E91 330d basic hydraulic steering was very heavy. Too heavy to be honest, at low speeds. Servotronic hydraulic steering, of the period, reduced that weighting at slow speeds, and firmed up at speed. Some models didn't have that same heft due to how they were set up, weight, engine, options, etc.

Some of that still applies today with EPS, not all models have the same steering weight or heft. For example, we would expect the M340i to have 'weightier' steering than say something like a base 330i.

My current BMW (with EPS) has more steering weight than many other BMW models I've driven, some are very light in setup. Target users and/or segment does have an influence as well.
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      12-28-2019, 05:39 PM   #20
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Agree with OP. I have a base 330i and think the comfort steering feels much more natural. The only time i prefer the sport mode is at speeds above 80mph. The sport feels less darty and easier to control at high speeds. Otherwise i find the sport to be artificially heavy-just heavy for the sake of being heavy. I think the comfort was fine tuned for the 14.1 ratio. The sport steering just adds weight/resistance but feels awkward. The heavy feeling does feel great for those few seconds when you are going around a bend and you feel that nice resistance but just weird in day to day driving.

And for those who have never driven a BMW with hydraulic steering- G20's EPS system while much improved and pretty good- is not even in the same league as the old setup. That setup had true weighty steering with perfect balance. It used to fight with me to get back to center. But i guess that's why BMW got rid of it. Too many complaints.

Last edited by alpinewhite3; 12-28-2019 at 05:50 PM..
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      12-28-2019, 06:38 PM   #21
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Unfortunately it is beyond wishful thinking that any manufacturer will go back to hydraulic steering.

The assistance systems that most people desire nowadays (driving, parking, lane departure assist etc) all depend on having an electric steering setup.
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      12-30-2019, 08:04 AM   #22
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After a few more days of driving, one positive of the heavier steering is that it seems to keep the car tracking straighter especially when driving on the highway. In comfort it seems like I'm always having to make micro corrections to keep it from wandering. I'm still very up in the air as to which mode I like better...I wish there was a mid level setting.
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