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      10-05-2008, 02:25 PM   #1
Kobaiyashi
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Sport Steering Unnerving?

Hey All,

Before I begin, please note that I did a but couldn't find anything relevant.

I just got back from a nice little road trip where I drove over 900 miles in the new M. The car was certainly amazing.

Nonetheless, I've noticed a few things that I wish were a bit different, the most distressing being that I really didn't like the feeling of the sporty steering at high speeds. More specifically, while I enjoy the fact that the steering gets heavier, I can't help but think that the car feels far more unstable at high speeds when taking long curves. The best way I can describe it is that the car feels more "twitchy," as if not firmly planted on the road. I always end up backing off for fear that I'll start to drift, spin out, etc. on the highway.

It's important to note that as soon as I modified the M settings so that the steering was set at normal, the car felt much more planted and I was confident to take the same corner at a much, much higher speed with little problem (+/- 15mph).

Some details that may help. The unstable-nes begins to kick in at around 75mph on a curve where you have to turn the wheel to the 1:30 or 2:00 o'clock position.

So, my question for you, what is going on? A few options that I've come up with.

1. You're taking the turn too fast.
2. Something is broken.
3. This is you're first RWD car. Sport steering increases feel. The car is stable but you are feeling the wheels more and thus are just getting scared.

Thanks for reading and any help!

Peter

Last edited by Kobaiyashi; 10-06-2008 at 12:37 AM.
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      10-05-2008, 02:48 PM   #2
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a) Check your tire pressures, adjust as needed for higher speeds.

b) The increased feedback is great, feel the car, feel the limits. It shouldn't feel more unstable.
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      10-05-2008, 03:05 PM   #3
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Your settings for M-mode probably include the shocks set to stiff. This may be your problem. Make sure when you program M-mode that you leave the shocks in standard or dynamic or whatever mode it's called. Just don't use the firm setting.

Your tire pressures may be off as well.

You're not using the term "your" correctly.
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      10-05-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
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You're not using the term "your" correctly.
You're correct, thanks. I've corrected the post.
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      10-05-2008, 03:46 PM   #5
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I'm heading in for the 1200 mile service so I'll have the service center check the tire pressure (though iDrive does indicates everything is fine).

My guess would be that it has nothing to do with the EDC settings as I can easily take the same curve at a higher speed with EDC set to "sport" so long as the steering is set to "normal."
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      10-05-2008, 07:51 PM   #6
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You're probably running into the same thing Road & Track did.

"The Servotronic power steering has dual modes — Tour and Sport — selectable through the standard iDrive system. In Sport, the steering is heavier and more precise, while Tour is lighter. In either mode, the steering assist decreases as speed rises. Somewhere around 70 mph, there is a change in effort. It's subtle, but it makes slalom difficult because that's about the same speed the car runs."

http://www.roadandtrack.com/article....&page_number=2
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      10-05-2008, 08:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nullspace View Post
You're probably running into the same thing Road & Track did.

"The Servotronic power steering has dual modes Tour and Sport selectable through the standard iDrive system. In Sport, the steering is heavier and more precise, while Tour is lighter. In either mode, the steering assist decreases as speed rises. Somewhere around 70 mph, there is a change in effort. It's subtle, but it makes slalom difficult because that's about the same speed the car runs."

http://www.roadandtrack.com/article....&page_number=2
Thanks so much, very helpful answer! To finish the quote from Road & Track...

"Thus in the middle of our slalom pass, the steering effort changed and I found myself inadvertently running over cones. We're talking inches of difference here. On a racetrack, the M3 will hit its apexes easily, but on the street, owners should be wary of clipping curbs."

I'll keep that in mind next time and see if I that changes things.
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      10-05-2008, 09:17 PM   #8
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Side note and I hope you take this as constructive. If this is indeed your first RWD car and you are coming from a Corolla, I would advise that you see if your local BMW club or SCCA chapter have drivers training events and or autocross events. The M3 is generally a forgiving car. But the e9x has fairly neutral handling characteristics, which means the car will generally do what you make it. That can be fun for the experienced driver, but not so much fun if a less experienced driver uses abrubt throttle or steering inputs and does things like lifting in mid corner.
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      10-05-2008, 11:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronin13 View Post
Side note and I hope you take this as constructive. If this is indeed your first RWD car and you are coming from a Corolla, I would advise that you see if your local BMW club or SCCA chapter have drivers training events and or autocross events. The M3 is generally a forgiving car. But the e9x has fairly neutral handling characteristics, which means the car will generally do what you make it. That can be fun for the experienced driver, but not so much fun if a less experienced driver uses abrubt throttle or steering inputs and does things like lifting in mid corner.
+1, definitely sign up for a BMW CCA high performance driver's school. It's worth every penny to learn the limits of your car in a safe environment.

Done a bunch of track days in my M3 and never noticed the steering switchover issue mentioned in the magazine article. Interesting.
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      10-06-2008, 12:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronin13 View Post
Side note and I hope you take this as constructive. If this is indeed your first RWD car and you are coming from a Corolla, I would advise that you see if your local BMW club or SCCA chapter have drivers training events and or autocross events. The M3 is generally a forgiving car. But the e9x has fairly neutral handling characteristics, which means the car will generally do what you make it. That can be fun for the experienced driver, but not so much fun if a less experienced driver uses abrubt throttle or steering inputs and does things like lifting in mid corner.
Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely planning on taking such a class before I hit the track, but right now just focusing on getting used to the manual transmission. Don't worry, I'm taking it relatively easy in the mean time.

While we are on this tangent, any books regarding shifting or track techniques/theory that you can recommend in the mean time? I'm pretty eager to continue with the learning process so that I can make the most of the M!
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      10-06-2008, 05:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kobaiyashi View Post
Thanks so much, very helpful answer! To finish the quote from Road & Track...

"Thus in the middle of our slalom pass, the steering effort changed and I found myself inadvertently running over cones. We're talking inches of difference here. On a racetrack, the M3 will hit its apexes easily, but on the street, owners should be wary of clipping curbs."

I'll keep that in mind next time and see if I that changes things.
No, people won't clip curbs if they know how to drive, i.e., eyes up and looking ahead to wear you want to go. No matter what you fear, or any journalist thinks, if you drive it properly (look to where you want to go) your hands will follow, and so will the car. Trust me, you will get used to it and realize you won't hit the wall. The idiots at Road and Trash probably were looking at the cone in front of them rather than the opening two cones ahead. Listen to Skierman, its the most accurate post you will get: any performance driving school will allow you to better appreciate your car and understand what you are feeling, which will lead to you having more fun

One more thing, the less you read Road and Trash, the smarter you will be
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      10-06-2008, 05:25 PM   #12
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The OP may also be noticing some tramlining if he is not used to the wider and grippier tires on the M3 (not sure what the OP drove previously).
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      10-06-2008, 05:29 PM   #13
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The OP may also be noticing some tramlining if he is not used to the wider and grippier tires on the M3 (not sure what the OP drove previously).
Good point; that with the fact it is a rear wheel drive with a very good rear diff, something the OP may also not be used to.
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      10-07-2008, 11:14 PM   #14
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thanks for the advice guys.
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