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      06-07-2009, 07:59 PM   #1
750_ooomph
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Why do BMWs handle better than the other European competitors?

Why do they say that BMWs are "real driver's cars"? I am not a big fan of Audis or Mercs but don't they handle as good as BMWs? Mercedes can get money from Daimler and Audi can get money from VW. Why can't they develop their cars to handle better than BMW?And do BMWs still handle good even if they don't have sport suspensions ?
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      06-07-2009, 08:11 PM   #2
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It's a matter of tuning the ride towards comfort or handling.

Even if BMWs generally handle better than the other EU brands, they generally ride less comfortably as well.
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      06-07-2009, 08:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer Loyalist View Post
It's a matter of tuning the ride towards comfort or handling.

Even if BMWs generally handle better than the other EU brands, they generally ride less comfortably as well.
Exactly. Also BMWs have much more responsive steering feel that engages the driver.

In general it is years of engineering a car to stay true to a core philosophy of making a great car for a driver that yields the BMWs we have today.*
*with some exceptions
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      06-07-2009, 09:13 PM   #4
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A big part of the BMW's drive superiority is their almost fanatical adherence to a 50/50 weight distribution (front/rear). Also, part of BMW's philosophy is that the fun of driving ... "The Ultimate Driving Machine" ... trumps the need for an absolutely quite cabin or the cushiest ride. Want those things? Get a Lexus. This is all very well explained by David Kiley in his 2003 book, "Driven".
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      06-07-2009, 09:27 PM   #5
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Front suspension = Mac struts typically produce better steering feel than a double wishbone type set up. The latter though offers better control of wheel geometry during compression. The latest M3 front suspension is sort of a Mac strut design with an additional support arm. Then past that the geometry of the front suspension system contributes as well.

Good tire choices also help.
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      06-07-2009, 09:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by advocado View Post
A big part of the BMW's drive superiority is their almost fanatical adherence to a 50/50 weight distribution (front/rear). Also, part of BMW's philosophy is that the fun of driving ... "The Ultimate Driving Machine" ... trumps the need for an absolutely quite cabin or the cushiest ride. Want those things? Get a Lexus. This is all very well explained by David Kiley in his 2003 book, "Driven".
I don't think 50-50 has much to do with it. Strong counterexample is the 997S, it has very good steering feel and no where close to 50-50. It is a factor that helps the overall vehicle performance and probably contributes to steering feel, it just is not the "big part".
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      06-07-2009, 11:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
I don't think 50-50 has much to do with it. Strong counterexample is the 997S, it has very good steering feel and no where close to 50-50. It is a factor that helps the overall vehicle performance and probably contributes to steering feel, it just is not the "big part".
Weight distribution has a lot to do with it. It completely changes the way a car feels on the road depending on where a large portion of it is. The 50-50 gives it minimal understeer while not making it as spin happy as a 997. It is just an easy car to get in to and drive hard even if you're an amateur.
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      06-10-2009, 05:21 AM   #8
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There's always a trade-off between comfort and handling, as others have already said. BMW places a little more emphasis on handling and "sportiness" while Audi and Mercedes have shifted towards comfort and "luxury". Audi and Mercedes could produce cars with characteristics similar to BMW, but it's just not what their customer base desires, hence not in their interest to do.
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      06-10-2009, 08:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hanmaas View Post
There's always a trade-off between comfort and handling, as others have already said. BMW places a little more emphasis on handling and "sportiness" while Audi and Mercedes have shifted towards comfort and "luxury". Audi and Mercedes could produce cars with characteristics similar to BMW, but it's just not what their customer base desires, hence not in their interest to do.
Thats spot on. It's easier as a business to develop on different strengths rather than try to compete with other companies head on. Each of these companies have the know how to build great handling cars but their target market determines what they come out with. Some cater to sport, some focus on luxury, economy and the list goes.....
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      06-11-2009, 12:28 AM   #10
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BMW does a good job of adding some sporty feel to all their street cars but doesn't make anything as sporty as the Mid-engine AWD Audi R8.

I think an R8 will probably out perform any street car BMW sells today.
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      06-11-2009, 06:51 AM   #11
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BMW's have that "feel".

Porsche has that "feel".

An old VW bug has that "feel".

My MCS has that "feel".



Each, IMO, have characteristics that make them unique.

My old 320i had a "feel" that I have not felt in a BMW since. This is my personal preference however. More raw and simple. My 528e would squat down on the highway and just purr like a kitten. Best road trip car I have ever had.

The steering in every Porsche I have driven is second to none, IMO.

Dream garage: DD-CL65. Sunday morning car- 993 TT X50. Road tripper-Cayenne Turbo. And a wallet full of gas cards.

Seems to be a German theme...............

Last edited by gonzo; 06-11-2009 at 07:34 AM.
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      06-11-2009, 01:25 PM   #12
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I've driven most European cars and the only difference in "handling" I could tell was the seats.

It has to start with the seats. You can have 1.05g of cornering grip but if the seats don't hug you, you will never WANT to go above .5g for fear of turning into a ripe plum.

This is why I love my 3 sport seats. They hug me and make me part of the car.
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      06-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #13
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You can't get both in one car. It's always a compromise. So get a comfortable uber sedan for the autobahn and a true sports car for the twisties.

The BMW 3 series is positioned somewhere in-between.
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      06-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #14
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Simple, but true. If I can't get a good fit I don't like to push a car. I like to be really low to the floor with the wheel really close to me. I am 6'2" also.
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      06-11-2009, 03:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silversprint View Post
BMW does a good job of adding some sporty feel to all their street cars but doesn't make anything as sporty as the Mid-engine AWD Audi R8.

I think an R8 will probably out perform any street car BMW sells today.
Define "Perform". The M Coupe is just about as sporty as they come.
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      06-11-2009, 05:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silversprint View Post
BMW does a good job of adding some sporty feel to all their street cars but doesn't make anything as sporty as the Mid-engine AWD Audi R8.

I think an R8 will probably out perform any street car BMW sells today.
Of course the R8 will out perform any stock BMW, they don't offer anything that competes with it.
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      06-11-2009, 05:14 PM   #17
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I think it partly has also to do with the region where BMWs come from. Taken from wikipedia:

The northern third of the country lies in the North European Plain, with flat terrain crossed by northward-flowing watercourses (Elbe, Ems, Weser, Oder). Wetlands and marshy conditions are found close to the Dutch border and along the Frisian coast. Sandy Mecklenburg in the northeast has many glacier-formed lakes dating to the last glacial period.

Moving south, central Germany features rough and somewhat patternless hilly and mountainous countryside, some of it formed by ancient volcanic activity. The Rhine valley cuts through the western part of this region. The central uplands continue east and north as far as the Saale and merge with the Ore Mountains on the border with the Czech Republic. Upland regions include the Eifel, Hunsrück and Palatine Forest west of the Rhine, the Taunus hills north of Frankfurt, the Vogelsberg massif, the Rhön, and the Thüringer Wald. South of Berlin, the east-central part of the country is more like the low northern areas, with sandy soil and river wetlands such as the Spreewald region.

Southern Germany's landforms are defined by various linear hill and mountain ranges like the two adjacent ranges of the Swabian and Franconian Alb (reaches approximately from the source of the Danube in the southwest of Baden-Württemberg, south of Stuttgart, across Swabia into Central Franconia and to the valley of the river Main) and the Bavarian Forest along the border between Bavaria and the Czech Republic. The Alps on the southern border are the highest mountains, but relatively little Alpine terrain lies within Germany (in southeastern Swabia and Upper Bavaria) compared to Switzerland and Austria. The Black Forest, on the southwestern border with France, separates the Rhine from the headwaters of the Danube on its eastern slopes.


Notice the description of Southern Germany, and this map- http://www.mapsorama.com/maps/europe...hland_topo.jpg, especially how the topography changes from green (flat) in the north to brown (not flat) in the south
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      06-11-2009, 05:38 PM   #18
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Eh?

MB and Porsche from Stuttgart
BMW from Munich
Audi from Ingolstadt

All southern Germany.

What are you implying with this geography?
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      06-11-2009, 07:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontegoblueE92 View Post
Weight distribution has a lot to do with it. It completely changes the way a car feels on the road depending on where a large portion of it is. The 50-50 gives it minimal understeer while not making it as spin happy as a 997. It is just an easy car to get in to and drive hard even if you're an amateur.
I still disagree. 50-50 does have some benefits but it by far NOT the most important factor. Again the 997S is a strong counter example. It has absolutely wonderful handling and even is forgiving once physics takes over and that heavy tail begins to move around. A rear weight biased car does get handicapped and it takes design "work arounds", mainly in the suspension design, to overcome this inherent limitation. But it CAN be worked around and it is. Really fast and the best handling cars (race cars, F1, etc., not road cars) also tend to have a rear weight bias. Another counter example is Ferrari. Many of their cars have a fairly large rear weight bias. The F430 is 57R/43F. You surely don't hear much complaining about the handling, either below, at or above limit with that car. BMW loves to advertise 50-50 as the key thing but it simply isn't. This is more a marketing short cut to the very good engineering and specification BMW does do. Yes 50-50 contributes but it is not THE most important factor. Suspension design, spring and damping rates and tires are far more important.

BTW, tires are more important in being neutral on the under/over steer specturm than 50-50. This is one reason P cars tend have such staggered wheel and tire widths. A full 60mm (about 2.5") of difference on the 2009 997S.
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      06-11-2009, 08:20 PM   #20
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Easy they're all aimed towards different crowds:

Audi=technology+AWD+Safe
Mercedes=Luxury++Design
Bmw=Fun to drive+status symol

Bmw has the worst interior while Audi have the best
Now Bmw is turning into a money machine and I can't blame them for following the wave.
Gone are the days of razor sharp handling and peaky engines. They still do a lot better than a lot of other makes but it is changing.
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Its because a lot of BMW owners are housewives or business professionals and know little about cars other than BMW's are a status symbol in their own circles so that have to have one. But exotic car owners know cars, that's why they are willing to spend for a killer car and they know something different when they see one.
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      06-11-2009, 11:36 PM   #21
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Bmw has the worst interior while Audi have the best
I really don't see whats so great about Audi's interiors.

And to say that BMW has the worst interior is an overstatement, IMO.
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      06-11-2009, 11:40 PM   #22
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Honestly, I'm very disappointed with the handling and the lack of lsd on these over weight 3 series
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