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2019+ BMW 3 AND 4-SERIES FORUMS (G2x Generation) General G20 Sedan / G22 Coupe / G26 Gran Coupe Discussions Comparison: 320d v 330i / Passive v Adaptive / ESC v M Sport Diff

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      06-28-2020, 05:45 AM   #23
WhiteJames
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Mexico Build:

From June 2020 build onwards, all G20 3 series destined for Australia will be built in Mexico. I have managed to glean a few other points re: Mexico build for the BMW 330i M Sport:

1. Mexico Factory is a new advanced and state of the art factory.
2. There is a cluster of factories in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Mercedes, GM and Nissan have factories in this area. Vehicle components manufacturers also have factories nearby to supply BMW with parts.
3. Up to half the Mexican employees in the BMW factory have prior experience from working in other auto factories.
4. The average age of the worker in the BMW factory is Germany is about mid-forties. In Mexico it about mid-twenties.
5. There is no engine factory in the Mexican plant. I’m guessing that the 330i motor is shipped in from either the USA or Germany?
6. There is a railway line from San Luis Potosi directly to the Pacific Ocean Mexican port of Lazaro Cadenas, where the vehicles are loaded onto the car carrier ship.
7. Mexico plant only builds the 3 series vehicle.
8. BMW Germany has been building the G20 for about 20 months. Mexico has been building the G20 for about 12 months. Mexico has had plenty of time to adapt.


Cheers

WJ
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      09-20-2020, 06:23 AM   #24
WhiteJames
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Owner Review

This thread may transform from a comparison review to a BMW 330i M-Sport Plus owner review in the near future!
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      09-28-2020, 06:31 AM   #25
WhiteJames
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OWNER REVIEW

BMW 330i M-Sport Plus Package


The BMW 330i M-Sport was optioned with the two most important options in my opinion:

1. Lumber Support
2. M-Sport Plus Package – M-Sport mechanical limited slip differential (LSD) + M-Sport coloured seat belts + rear boot lip spoiler.

Please note:

The Australian spec G20 BMW 330i comes with a litany of standard equipment that is optional in other markets. M-Sport package, leather seats, 19 wheels, adaptive dampers, mid-spec stereo system, and a host of technical and safety gear is standard. This includes radar cruise control, HUD, lane-keeping, blind spot warning, keyless entry to name a few. BMW 5-year basic free service package was added. BMW dealer fitted aftermarket tint was included as part of the BMW package.


Origin of BMW:

At time of order, BMW informed me that my BMW 330i M-Sport Plus would be made in Mexico. This was due to a post 1 June 2020 build date. Upon collection of the BMW 330i, I was surprised to see the vehicle was actually made in Germany.


Initial Drive Impressions:

This my first impression of the BMW 330i M Sport Plus Package drive experience during gentle run-in-phase.


Low Speed Ride Comfort:

At very low city speeds: 10kph – 40kph the ride is a little too firm and at times brittle. Blame the M Sport spec suspension and 19-inch diameter wheels on run-flat tyres. This relates to the secondary-ride small-bump ride comfort. At times, the BMW 330i on adaptive dampers feels like a nuggetty Body-Builder strutting over sunken man-hole covers, ruts, divots and roadway irregularities. There’s little in terms of suspension flexibility or compliance at very low traffic-jam speeds. Like the dampers are locked into place.

Ideally, it would be great to have an additional Comfort + setting on the BMW for inner-city Sydney CBD driving to aid ride comfort. I understand that the new Golf 8 has incremental adaptive damper settings. The incremental range allows the driver to scroll further beyond the standard factory Comfort setting, going even softer. It’s not a major issue. It may become taxing on the ride comfort if you primarily drive below 40kph in inner-city Sydney CBD areas. Ironically: Once you’re on the move and driving above 50kph, the ride comfort with the M-Sport adaptive dampers improves dramatically. Out on the open highway the ride comfort further improves. The faster you drive, the better the ride becomes.
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      09-28-2020, 06:34 AM   #26
WhiteJames
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Longer-Wheel Base:

The longer wheelbase of the G20 BMW 330i makes for a great GT - Grand Tourer. Coming from a Volkswagen Golf 7 GTI with a shorter wheelbase, the BMW is much less darty with no nervousness at speed. The shorter and softer Golf 7 GTI lends itself to being thrown around like a rag-doll. The GTI chassis had greater adjustability on the throttle and brake.

The longer wheelbase of the BMW 330i on M-Sport suspension tune is not as adjustable on the throttle & brake, due to the vehicle being tied down to a greater degree. This provides for a more relaxing drive, with less driver effort and less nervousness out on the freeway. It leaves the driver much more refreshed after a longer freeway drive. True Sports/Luxury motoring.

The firmer M-Sport suspension tune on adaptive dampers has reduced body roll, pitch and dive. Determining the grip levels on the BMW is not as clear cut. The firmer M Sport suspension reduces the threshold from grip to slip. The reduced body roll, pitch and dive telegraphs less information as to when the limit of adhesion is approaching. Cornering happens faster with greater intensity on the firmer M-Sport tune. In this respect, the softer regular non-M-Sport suspension may provide greater feedback out on the open public roadway, especially at slower speeds.

The G20 BMW 330i on M-Sport suspension tune excels out on the open roadway where cornering speeds are higher. The greater chassis composure of the M-Sport tune provides a direct and secure feeling around long winding corners at higher freeway speeds. Overall the grip level is on the 330i is high. In this respect, the BMW 330i is a more focussed and direct driverís vehicle.


M-Sport Stabiliser Bars Ė Sway Bars:

Upgraded, larger diameter and heavier stabiliser/sway bars are a double-edged sword in terms of positive and negative attributes of a vehicle. This relates to the comfort/handling balance conundrum.

Cons

The BMW 3 series M- Sport front sway bar is firm & heavy relative to the softer front spring rates. At times the front sway-bar may overwhelm the front springs with heave when one-wheel bumps are struck mid corner with the outside front wheel loaded. The driver can feel the transverse lateral force of the sway-bar twisting & flexing across the front end of the vehicle. When the outside front wheel is really loaded up at greater speed, you not only feel the loss of independence of the front end, but you can see the front sway-bar pushing the inside front unloaded front mud-guard down limiting the chassis body roll.

The loss of independence in the front end is not a pleasant feeling for the driver when striking one-wheel bumps mid-corner. The stiffer sway-bar overwhelms the softer front springs, trading off independence for a flat cornering stance. The longitudinal heaving forces are not violent enough to through the BMW off-line mid-corner. It does upset the natural flow of the chassis when impacting one-wheel bumps with the loaded outside tyre. This issue may relate to owners who drive out in the country on rougher B-grade country roadways.

BMW may have alternatively gone for a stiffer front spring rate and smaller, lighter more flexible front sway bar. This would make the ride firmer all of the time, but added some independence when striking mid-corner bumps.

Or better still: BMW may have ditched the versatile front strut suspension for a double-wishbone front end akin to the larger brother 5 series. The BMW 5 series has a great reputation for striking that balance between ride comfort/handling balance. Double-Wishbone suspension does a better job of consistently keeping the tyre in contact with the roadway. It provides for more consistent negative camber, reducing tyre scrub as the chassis leans from side to side. A double-wishbone front end may have allowed BMW to have a smaller & lighter front sway-bar, allowing for greater independence for the front end of the 3 series.

Pros

Large sway-bars work best on smooth roadways. The heavy M Sport front sway bar endows the 3 series with a fantastic direct, sharp and consistent tracking through corners. This makes it easy for the driver to place and hold the 330i online around corners. The front-end tracking when steering the BMW around corners is heading towards race-car direct in many regards. A real highlight of the BMW ownership experience. So long as the roadway is smooth.

Unlike my previous Golf 7 GTI, there is no need to continually stab or re-adjust the steering wheel angle around corners of the BMW. The BMW faithfully follows the driverís inputs through the entire corner. The driver input requires much less effort in the BMW, making driving the BMW 330i M Sport Plus less taxing and something to savour.


Rear Suspension:

The multi-link rear end of the BMW M-Sport works seamlessly relative to the rear-end spring and sway bar rates, bearing in mind that I have not carry any large or heavy loads in the rear. Thereís loads of grip from more advanced multi-link rear suspension when mated to the wider rear tyres. The rear suspension tune in concert with the staggered wider rear tyres makes the rear-end feel tight as a drum when cornering. Thereís a feeling of the trademark BMW 3 series 50/50 weight distribution when cornering with greater force at higher freeway speeds. Another highlight of owning and driving a BMW 3 series M-Sport.


Following Updates:

The ownership experience is in its early days. An update on the chassis tune will be provided much later on when an opportunity arises to dig a bit deeper into the G20 3 series chassis. Perhaps sometime after run-in-phase.

In the interim, the next update in the near future may discuss my thoughts on the interior, driverís seat and seating position adjustment, BMW dealer fitted window tint, BMW driver technology and the 8-speed ZF auto transmission.
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      10-26-2020, 05:46 AM   #27
WhiteJames
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BMW owner update - Gearbox

Gearbox:

The 8-speed auto gearbox in the G20 BMW 3 series is an off-the-shelf unit supplied by German company ZF. The ZF gear factory has been around since the days of the Zeppelins. I’d partly agree with the journalistic reviews on the BMW 330i 8-speed auto. At times the gearshifts feel similar to a Direct Shift Twin-Clutch (DSG) gearbox. Reasonably fast and smooth when carrying a bit of speed on the highway. It is worth noting that the BMW 8-speed auto is never as fast nor as direct as a DSG gearbox for sporty driving. Blame for the torque converter for this.

In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of owning Volkswagens with both DSG and manual transmissions. The BMW 8-speed torque converter auto never looses that slightly slow feeling that torque converter slush-boxes exhibit. The BMW auto is like stirring a pot of honey when compared to a lightning- fast direct DSG auto gear changes This limits the driver’s desire to wind out the motor through the gears. It creates a feeling that the torque converter is taxing some of the engine’s power to a degree as it connects the engine power source to the rear driveline.

There’s no doubt that the BMW has a fantastic auto gearbox. The ZF auto does not beg you to wind out the motor as was the case with the DSG in the previous Volkswagen/Audi Group products I’ve driven. It takes a little bit away from that overall sportiness of the vehicle. Then again, that may not be BMW’s brief or target market for the sports-luxury designed 330i saloon. One thing I do not miss is the jerkiness of the DSG at very low car parking speeds. The BMW 330i auto is much nicer to drive when it comes time to find a car park. Especially when the car park is in a hilly area.

The BMW auto has difficulty rev-matching on down-shifts in lower gears in slow day-to-day driving. The 330i does not have the DSG’s ability to disengage both clutches to allow for proper rev-matching in the lower gears. This may be partly due to the BMW’s closely stacked gear ratios from 1st – 4th gear. The Volkswagen/Audi Group products tend to have very long 2nd gear ratios which would help with rev-matching on downshifts in lower gears. Downshifting creates a bit of jerkiness in the BMW when pulling up at stop signs and intersections on regular about town drives. Longer-term, I have some concern that the jerkiness when slowing down in normal suburban driving may impact on the longevity of the BMW 330i’s gearbox.

The ZF 8-speed auto gearbox is not as compact as the earlier generation ZF 6-speed auto. This may explain why the transmission tunnel of the G20 3 series BMW is quite wide. This in turn limits the driver’s front foot-well room. I’m finding that when my right foot is on the brake and left foot on the foot rest, my feet tend to have a V-position with heels close together. It’s not a big issue, but something worth noting. Especially if you have very large feet. It is also worth noting that I’m still in run-in-phase using Comfort mode. I’m also using the steering wheel paddles for manual gear changes when traffic permits. I will need to reserve my opinion on Sport mode for much later on in my ownership experience.

Cheers

WJ
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      11-17-2020, 04:02 AM   #28
WhiteJames
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BMW Owner Update - Seats

Seating Position:

It’s great that BMW allows the driver to drop the seat very low. It lowers the centre of gravity. It makes the BMW 3 series sedan feel like a sports car with the practicality of a four-door sedan. A real highlight of owning a BMW 3 series. Initially, I was lamenting not having the adjustable centre console that is offered in the Volkswagen vehicles. After some ongoing seat adjustments over time, my BMW seat is low enough to comfortably rest my left elbow on the centre console on longer drives.

A lower driver’s seat coupled with a wide transmission tunnel and relatively high centre console creates a feeling of a very snug cockpit in the sedan. I feel like a fighter pilot at times when sitting in the BMW. If offers a sense of occasion every time I hop into the vehicle. The range of seat adjustability fantastic. BMW provides for a wide range of fore/aft and height adjustability. The seat base also tilts upwards if you desire. The adjustable side seat bolsters offer plenty of support when set for their widest.

Seats:

The standard black M sport 3 series leather is tough but durable. The front seats feel like they are tapered in at the rear, creating a slightly offset seating position for the driver and front passenger. I’ve been told that this may be for added side impact safety. It creates a buffer between the B-pillar and driver. It may also be a factor of the wide transmission tunnel. This may limit a driver’s ability to become completely comfortable in the new G20 series BMW.

The top part of the M Sport leather seat, the seat-back, is sufficiently supportive for my needs. The side bolsters hug you when pushing on around corners. The lower part of the M Sport leather seat - the seat-bench - feels more like a standard seat. Like something that you’d find in a garden variety Toyota Camry. It feels to be a little narrow.

There appears to be a mismatch between the seat top and seat bottom. It’s great that the seat-bench extends forward to make the seat longer in addition to titling upwards for more support. The tilt function really slots your butt into the seat. Coming from a Golf 7 GTI with sporty hot-hatch seats, I’d prefer greater leg thigh side support and bolstering on the lower seat-bench. This would match the sporty nature & bolstering of the upper seat-back. It would also provide more support in faster corners. On the other hand, the snug cockpit, wide transmission tunnel and thick centre console does help provide support the driver during cornering.

If the harder core standard M3 seats were offered as an option on the 330i M Sport at a reasonable cost? I would seriously consider spending a bit more for the M3 seats. This would be on the proviso that the lower seat bench is wider with greater side bolstering, allowing the driver to sink deeper into the seat. This option is not available in Australia for the 330i. With the standard 330i M Sport leather seats, you tend to sit on them, rather than in them re: lower seat bench. The standard M Sport seats appear to be designed to cater for all tastes and body types keeping in mind the Sports/Luxury theme of the BMW 3 series.

Lumber Support:

The Lumber Support option is a must in my opinion. It’s a cost option on the 330i M Sport. This is despite all 330i sedan in Australia having the M Sport adjustable electric leather seats as standard equipment. The lumper support helps find that ultimate seating position. It also allows for adjustability between slow city driving and faster highway driving or smooth roads versus rougher country B-grade roadways. It greatly improves the adjustability and may even add to resale value or saleability come trade in time. Lumber support is highly recommended, especially in concert with the M Sport suspension tune and 19-inch wheel/tyre combination.

Wind Noise:

Wind noise suppression with the standard windows is very good. The only time I noticed any wind noise is when travelling above 100 kph with extremely gusty winds that are subject to weather wind warnings re: extreme gusts of wind. The wind was so strong on one day, it actually buffeted the entire vehicle within the highway lane. In this case, you may notice some wind noise. But it’s a seldom occurrence. Ironically, lane-keep set to high sensitively does not seem to intervene in higher speed - high wind buffeting situations. In most circumstances, the standard glass is sufficiently quiet. Overall, the BMW cabin is a nice quiet place to be.

Ownership Experience to Date:

The BMW 330i M Sport Plus grows on you over time. I’m really warming to this vehicle further into the ownership experience. This particularly includes driving in auto in traffic. The BMW 3 series is nicely executed vehicle. More than the sum of its parts.

Running on the M Sport package, 19” wheel and tyre package with adaptive dampers:

Comfort setting on the adaptive suspension on the BMW 3 series. Secondary ride - low speed compression suspension damping at lower speeds feels like somewhere between Normal and Sport in my previous Golf 7 GTI. The Golf 7 GTI was much softer in suspension tune compared to the G20 BMW 3 series M Sport at lower speeds under 60kph. The larger bump - primary ride compression damping of the BMW M Sport adaptive dampers is fantastic. Really well judged by BMW for big hit pot-hole comfort considering the stiffer run-flat tyre side walls. You do need to be carrying a bit a speed to activate the primary damping response.

Cheers

WJ
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      04-07-2022, 07:13 AM   #29
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Come back WhiteJames!
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