Money for nothing

Money for nothing

Author
Discussion

MikeM6

5,115 posts

105 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
I've had much of the current range of BMWs as courtesy cars (sometimes for many months), including 2, 3 and 4 series. They are all exceptionally expensive and less well resolved from the drivers seat. Ergonomics are a huge step back with iDrive 8 and the lack of controller, but moreso the lack of any connection to the driving. They are effective, but simply not interesting to drive in a way that even a 316i used to be. Take out any semblance of fun from a BMW, and you are left with an expensive and (long term) unreliable appliance.

Stick with the 340i, it's all downhill after that.

rottenegg

592 posts

66 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
Yeah I agree. Times are a changing, and have indeed actually changed for the worse, imo.

It used to be that buying a car was a happy and uplifting life event. Second biggest investment after your home. After signing on the dotted line, you'd turn up to the dealer on collection day, your car was waiting in the showroom under an unveiling cover, a bottle of bubbly and some flowers for the missus, hands shook, keys handed over and off you drive into the sunset feeling all tingly in the gentleman area.

Now, it's sign here, bring it back in 3 years. Your car is parked over there in the corner. Bye mate.

Anyway, nostalgia aside......I bought my 2016 330d with 38K on it outright a couple of years ago and love it to bits. Test drove a couple of G20s with a view of moving the F30 on whilst it still had some value, but nope, not enough of an 'upgrade' to lure me away from my beloved. Plus the sticker price is disproportionately a lot higher for minimal gain.

The G80 is out of the question as it's just too bland and generic for my tastes. F30/31 is the last of the handsome 3 series imo.

Likewise, BMW are pestering me to try a new car but nah, you can keep your current offerings chaps. The 2021 420d I had on loan whilst mine was in for service was awful. Crashy suspension on stupid 20" wheels, persistent rattling from behind my right shoulder, strange infotainment screens that are nowhere near as good as Audi's and the engine had a weird all or nothing power delivery. No thanks. The F30's N57 has a lovely, creamy endless surge by comparison.

RE: Birds custard suspension, worth noting Evolve have recently released some Bilstein dampers tuned for UK roads for the F3x model range. £660 for a set, which is far more reasonable than Birds and ACS setups. By all accounts they work really well with stock M sport springs and Eibach Pro.


Edited by rottenegg on Friday 21st June 20:58

Staterunner

Original Poster:

18 posts

66 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
butch_ said:
How is the Birds suspension? Would you recommend it?

I'm in a similar situation, 340i with the analog dashboard smile
Hi Butch. It's soooo good; like witchcraft on the right road.

I actually thought the passive MSport set up the car came with wasn't bad at all (I prefer passive to active for several reasons). But I'd thrashed it so badly that it was nearing end of life anyway. Birds' setup, which is their in-house tweaked Eibach/Bilstein hardware, is perfect for me. I do so many miles on fast rolling b roads, that that was my priority. But it's totally plush and comfortable in town also. 100% recommend.

Just dug out my invoice from a few months ago. Was about £1200 inc vat, but I also had the Quaiff diff done - so price may be slightly up for just suspension. You can buy the setup and they'll send if you're too far away, and someone local can fit. If you can stretch to the diff, that's been the single biggest change of all my mini-mods (move to good tyres, chip, suspension, diff). Now never see a traction light come on, and don't feel my life is about to end at any minute on slimy roads.

rottenegg

592 posts

66 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
Staterunner said:
butch_ said:
How is the Birds suspension? Would you recommend it?

I'm in a similar situation, 340i with the analog dashboard smile
Hi Butch. It's soooo good; like witchcraft on the right road.

I actually thought the passive MSport set up the car came with wasn't bad at all (I prefer passive to active for several reasons). But I'd thrashed it so badly that it was nearing end of life anyway. Birds' setup, which is their in-house tweaked Eibach/Bilstein hardware, is perfect for me. I do so many miles on fast rolling b roads, that that was my priority. But it's totally plush and comfortable in town also. 100% recommend.

Just dug out my invoice from a few months ago. Was about £1200 inc vat, but I also had the Quaiff diff done - so price may be slightly up for just suspension. You can buy the setup and they'll send if you're too far away, and someone local can fit. If you can stretch to the diff, that's been the single biggest change of all my mini-mods (move to good tyres, chip, suspension, diff). Now never see a traction light come on, and don't feel my life is about to end at any minute on slimy roads.
Is the Bird's setup smoother than the stock M Sport setup on the usual shoddy UK roads?

Likewise, I don't find the standard M Sport suspension to be too bad at all, but if there are improvements to be had, I'm game.

I'm torn between the Evolve UK tuned Bilstein dampers and the Birds setup. The issue is I can't lower the car as the bumper catches on things as it is with the standard ride height, so would only be worse if lowered.

Staterunner

Original Poster:

18 posts

66 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
rottenegg said:
Yeah I agree. Times are a changing, and have indeed actually changed for the worse, imo.

It used to be that buying a car was a happy and uplifting life event. Second biggest investment after your home. After signing on the dotted line, you'd turn up to the dealer on collection day, your car was waiting in the showroom under an unveiling cover, a bottle of bubbly and some flowers for the missus, hands shook, keys handed over and off you drive into the sunset feeling all tingly in the gentleman area.

Now, it's sign here, bring it back in 3 years. Your car is parked over there in the corner. Bye mate.

Anyway, nostalgia aside......I bought my 2016 330d with 38K on it outright a couple of years ago and love it to bits. Test drove a couple of G20s with a view of moving the F30 on whilst it still had some value, but nope, not enough of an 'upgrade' to lure me away from my beloved. Plus the sticker price is disproportionately a lot higher for minimal gain.

The G80 is out of the question as it's just too bland and generic for my tastes. F30/31 is the last of the handsome 3 series imo.

Likewise, BMW are pestering me to try a new car but nah, you can keep your current offerings chaps. The 2021 420d I had on loan whilst mine was in for service was awful. Crashy suspension on stupid 20" wheels, persistent rattling from behind my right shoulder, strange infotainment screens that are nowhere near as good as Audi's and the engine had a weird all or nothing power delivery. No thanks. The F30's N57 has a lovely, creamy endless surge by comparison.

RE: Birds custard suspension, worth noting Evolve have recently released some Bilstein dampers tuned for UK roads for the F3x model range. £660 for a set, which is far more reasonable than Birds and ACS setups. By all accounts they work really well with stock M sport springs and Eibach Pro.


Edited by rottenegg on Friday 21st June 20:58
Agree with all that. Yes, suspension is a bit specific to personal use. Can't argue with the points about the Birds price premium and softness over similar components elsewhere. And there are certain days (or on certain roundabouts) where I'd like a stiffer set up. But I do the same 50 or 100 mile journeys whenever I get in the car, and Birds setup is (nearly) perfect for my driving. I'm probably alone in this view on PH, but I really don't like M cars, and am not looking for that feel. I mean, fun. But not for 10,000+ miles a year.

Staterunner

Original Poster:

18 posts

66 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
rottenegg said:
Is the Bird's setup smoother than the stock M Sport setup on the usual shoddy UK roads?

Likewise, I don't find the standard M Sport suspension to be too bad at all, but if there are improvements to be had, I'm game.

I'm torn between the Evolve UK tuned Bilstein dampers and the Birds setup. The issue is I can't lower the car as the bumper catches on things as it is with the standard ride height, so would only be worse if lowered.
It's certainly no worse at all over potholes. I'd say slightly better, but it's so long since my BMW setup was new that I can't recall. I'm on 18inch wheels and michelin ps5s, so that takes away quite a lot of the jarring.

Birds set up doesn't drop other than the tiniest amount (guessing half a cm), but looks the same to me. Only if you have the standard f30 setup or the xdrive would there be a big drop. As you are m sport, there's no real difference. Don't know which exact Bilsteins Evolve are using, but they do loads of this work - so just tell them what you want and they'll advise. One of the reasons I went with Birds was that I just got bored of researching. Birds' marketing is like - 'look, we've been doing this for years, for these cars, being thrashed around English roads - this is the best we can do for fast road driving'. I quite liked that.

rottenegg

592 posts

66 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
Staterunner said:
rottenegg said:
Is the Bird's setup smoother than the stock M Sport setup on the usual shoddy UK roads?

Likewise, I don't find the standard M Sport suspension to be too bad at all, but if there are improvements to be had, I'm game.

I'm torn between the Evolve UK tuned Bilstein dampers and the Birds setup. The issue is I can't lower the car as the bumper catches on things as it is with the standard ride height, so would only be worse if lowered.
It's certainly no worse at all over potholes. I'd say slightly better, but it's so long since my BMW setup was new that I can't recall. I'm on 18inch wheels and michelin ps5s, so that takes away quite a lot of the jarring.

Birds set up doesn't drop other than the tiniest amount (guessing half a cm), but looks the same to me. Only if you have the standard f30 setup or the xdrive would there be a big drop. As you are m sport, there's no real difference. Don't know which exact Bilsteins Evolve are using, but they do loads of this work - so just tell them what you want and they'll advise. One of the reasons I went with Birds was that I just got bored of researching. Birds' marketing is like - 'look, we've been doing this for years, for these cars, being thrashed around English roads - this is the best we can do for fast road driving'. I quite liked that.
Thanks for that. Birds have a long standing reputation for ironing out the niggles that ship with standard BMWs, so they definitely inspire confidence.

As you say though, suspension is super subjective. Ride quality, handling, steering feel and brake pedal feel are the hardest things to get right, and there isn't enough data from real world users to make an informed decision. To a lot of people, simply lowering the car with stiffer, flatter cornering is enough of an improvement to call it job done, but I like to delve deeper into those daily potholes, adverse cambers, utility company patchworks, coarse tarmac noise, run flat vs non run flat etc etc blah blah.

I do 25K a year, so I have to tread carefully with suspension. Stock M sport is acceptable on the roads I use, albeit a tad floaty when pushing on, so I wouldn't want to worsen the day to day usability.

And therein lies the rub. What if we were to replace all of the bushings, wheel bearings, drop links, top mounts, dampers etc with fresh OEM replacements, vs an aftermarket kit, would the OEM overhaul restore the car to how it was when new, or does the aftermarket kit disguise worn out chassis components?

Birds use the B6/B8 monotube Bilsteins with dialled back high speed compression damping. Evolve use the B4 dampers with similar tuning, so it's a tough call. Twin tube generally lasts longer than Monotube but I've not heard of anyone reporting short lifespans with the Birds kit.

Sorry, that's way too deep for a Friday night biggrin I think I'll just get over myself and get the Birds purchased. Good to hear the ride height drop is minimal!





MitchT

16,037 posts

212 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
I agree with the OP. It's why I'm taking my time finding the "perfect" F32 440i - because I'll want to drag as many years use out of it as possible, so I'm looking for low mileage and perfect, or near-perfect, spec. I can't imagine, by the time that car needs replacing, that I'll be able to find anything anywhere near as attractive. The new ones are bigger, heavier, a whole lot less elegant to look at and packed with silly stuff like the daft "plank" touchscreen instead of proper instruments and physical controls for the ICE and HVAC.

BUT... the majority of people are in an endless cycle of leasing and are more bothered about having the latest stuff, so that's who BMW will cater for. We're in the minority.

rottenegg

592 posts

66 months

Friday 21st June
quotequote all
MitchT said:
I agree with the OP. It's why I'm taking my time finding the "perfect" F32 440i - because I'll want to drag as many years use out of it as possible, so I'm looking for low mileage and perfect, or near-perfect, spec. I can't imagine, by the time that car needs replacing, that I'll be able to find anything anywhere near as attractive. The new ones are bigger, heavier, a whole lot less elegant to look at and packed with silly stuff like the daft "plank" touchscreen instead of proper instruments and physical controls for the ICE and HVAC.

BUT... the majority of people are in an endless cycle of leasing and are more bothered about having the latest stuff, so that's who BMW will cater for. We're in the minority.
100%,

The F3x platform is the sweet spot imo. Enough of an tangible improvement in terms of body shell stiffness (always a great handling aid) and tech over the E9x, but still plenty of scope for improvement and modernising via DIY mods as it's not so new as to fall into the trap of being un-upgradeable due to cloud based subscriptions, and ultra locked down ECUs.

Plus the B58 is an epic engine, the likes of which we won't see again due to 4 cylinder hybrids and or full on EVs.

I'm all for progress, so long as it's in the right direction, and for me personally, the direction BMW are heading in is so far removed from the glory days of the E46 M3, E39 M5, 335Ds etc.....I just can't see myself ever upgrading to the current stuff. We can be accused of living in the past with 50 shades of rose tinted glasses, but I think everyone can agree the current homogenised jelly mould, box ticking cars are utterly dull to look at and own.


Staterunner

Original Poster:

18 posts

66 months

Saturday 22nd June
quotequote all
rottenegg said:
Thanks for that. Birds have a long standing reputation for ironing out the niggles that ship with standard BMWs, so they definitely inspire confidence.

As you say though, suspension is super subjective. Ride quality, handling, steering feel and brake pedal feel are the hardest things to get right, and there isn't enough data from real world users to make an informed decision. To a lot of people, simply lowering the car with stiffer, flatter cornering is enough of an improvement to call it job done, but I like to delve deeper into those daily potholes, adverse cambers, utility company patchworks, coarse tarmac noise, run flat vs non run flat etc etc blah blah.

I do 25K a year, so I have to tread carefully with suspension. Stock M sport is acceptable on the roads I use, albeit a tad floaty when pushing on, so I wouldn't want to worsen the day to day usability.

And therein lies the rub. What if we were to replace all of the bushings, wheel bearings, drop links, top mounts, dampers etc with fresh OEM replacements, vs an aftermarket kit, would the OEM overhaul restore the car to how it was when new, or does the aftermarket kit disguise worn out chassis components?

Birds use the B6/B8 monotube Bilsteins with dialled back high speed compression damping. Evolve use the B4 dampers with similar tuning, so it's a tough call. Twin tube generally lasts longer than Monotube but I've not heard of anyone reporting short lifespans with the Birds kit.

Sorry, that's way too deep for a Friday night biggrin I think I'll just get over myself and get the Birds purchased. Good to hear the ride height drop is minimal!
I confess I haven't spent any time thinking about the peripheral bits and bobs. One more observation: that 'float' with the stock suspension on an undulating fast road is much, much less noticeable with Birds, and probably would be better with the Evolve version too.