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Are there any mods that improve steering feel?

Jan 26, 2021
17
12
Grand Rapids, MI
Hi all,

I just picked up a 2018 silver metallic stealth performance model 3 on 18" wheels with all season tires about a week ago. I'm planning to use it as a sporty daily driver, though it's possible I might dabble in autocross if I have time (I've autocrossed several times before and had fun, but I've been too busy to get into it heavily). My other car is a 2008 BMW 335xi e90 (sedan) with full bolt on engine mods and a coilover suspension. The acceleration in the model 3 is incredible and huge upgrade over the BMW (0-60 around 4 seconds when it was running right with race gas). I'm starting to explore modifications (planning new wheels with summer tires for sure, and more likely than not a coilover suspension). I haven't had much opportunity to explore the model 3's handling (due to weather and traffic), but one thing that is pretty obvious is the steering feel is not at the level of the BMW. The BMW gives quite a bit of info regarding the road surface and level of grip through the wheel which inspires quite a bit of confidence. I still love driving the Tesla, but was wondering if there are any modifications that make much of a difference for steering feel.
 
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NXN-P3D

Member
Jul 30, 2020
89
140
California
Coilovers, tires, the lower control arm brushings specified earlier. Also, make sure you play with the steering settings in the menu - they all have a bit different response.
 

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,876
2,201
Silicon Valley, CA
I have the front lower control arm bushings, front and rear upper control arms, coilovers and, and 20" for my daily P4S tires.

Take off the 18" rims and put on some proper 19-20" with stiff sidewalls. I love the stock P4S, its amazing for a street tire.

The lower control arm bushings will communicate every bit of that bump steer, so be sure you really want all that feel before you install them. They are incredibly direct and communicative, but not harsh at all. No discernable NVH increase.
 

Zcd1

Member
Sep 2, 2018
715
812
Walloon Lake, MI / LaQuinta, CA
Hi all,

I just picked up a 2018 silver metallic stealth performance model 3 on 18" wheels with all season tires about a week ago. I...was wondering if there are any modifications that make much of a difference for steering feel.

Wait - a heavy car on 18” tires chosen by the mfr. primarily for their low rolling resistance doesn’t offer much steering feel?!?!? Stop the presses!!!!

Start with better tires - Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, for instance - THEN see how you feel about the steering.

That said, few EPS systems offer feel comparable to the hydraulic PS on your BMW.
 

Dolemite

is my name
Sep 19, 2019
1,173
1,409
Left Coast
MPP LCABs & FUCAs

E90 douche at my local service center swears by the Model 3s steering feel - and says his was the last of the E90s with a hydraulic rack. Dunno much about E90s but do know that BMW is no longer the same company that made it into what it is today.

upload_2021-1-26_23-30-31.png


disgusting
 
Jan 26, 2021
17
12
Grand Rapids, MI
Wait - a heavy car on 18” tires chosen by the mfr. primarily for their low rolling resistance doesn’t offer much steering feel?!?!? Stop the presses!!!!

Start with better tires - Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, for instance - THEN see how you feel about the steering.

That said, few EPS systems offer feel comparable to the hydraulic PS on your BMW.

Yes, I do plan to switch to PS4S tires once it warms up and expect this to improve the feel. FYI, I am comparing the stock grand touring tires to my BMW on 225/45/17 winter tires, so I would guess the contribution of the tires to steering feel is pretty equivalent.
 
Jan 26, 2021
17
12
Grand Rapids, MI
MPP LCABs & FUCAs

E90 douche at my local service center swears by the Model 3s steering feel - and says his was the last of the E90s with a hydraulic rack. Dunno much about E90s but do know that BMW is no longer the same company that made it into what it is today.

View attachment 631043

disgusting

The Model 3 may be pretty good as far as electric power steering goes, but it doesn't seem to communicate as much as my E90 (I still have it and am driving it on bad weather days). I haven't driven many other cars with electric power steering, but it seems Porsche is the only manufacturer I see consistently lauded for steering feel in reviews. Thanks for the additional recommendation on the FUCA, I'll look into it.

Agree on the direction of BMW. The E90 was the last generation of BMW I was interested in, hence the switch to the model 3.
 

MountainPass

Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,428
2,808
Toronto, Canada
The E90 specifically had super heavy and direct steering. When I was working in a BMW indy shop we often had people ask if there was something wrong with the car because the steering is so heavy! Porsche has been working some magic with EPS for a while now and it is mind-boggling to compare it with other EPS cars which feel like a shopping cart.
 
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MasterC17

Active Member
Dec 3, 2015
1,136
1,859
USA
I owned every generation of 3-Series from E30 to F30, including many M's. Steering feel in BMW's was always really good - until the F30. The F30 was honestly a pretty terrible car in every regard. The F80 M3 was actually really good, although not terribly inspiring. The E90 steering feel, M or non-M, is pretty good, and was hydraulic.

Unfortunately, I will never own another BMW. Maintenance costs and unnecessary complexity just keep getting worse, and the new generation designs are utterly awful. BMW has truly lost their way. I will not be surprised if they are out of business in the next 15 years, along with a handful of legacy automakers.

Volkswagen, in my opinion, is the biggest contender to Tesla at this time, and will be moving forward. Part of me still wants to buy a GT4 or GT3 Porsche.

To answer your question - definitely start with tires. Then the MPP FCAB's. MPP Sports Coilovers are an excellent option, though the Comfort's are great too depending on your use case.
 

Dolemite

is my name
Sep 19, 2019
1,173
1,409
Left Coast
How is it illegal for a Jeep to have its tires sticking out beyond its fenders a little bit, but it's perfectly OK to put this monstrosity in your car? How does one even find the wheel? Especially when drunk.

I owned every generation of 3-Series from E30 to F30, including many M's. Steering feel in BMW's was always really good - until the F30. The F30 was honestly a pretty terrible car in every regard. The F80 M3 was actually really good, although not terribly inspiring. The E90 steering feel, M or non-M, is pretty good, and was hydraulic.

Unfortunately, I will never own another BMW. Maintenance costs and unnecessary complexity just keep getting worse, and the new generation designs are utterly awful. BMW has truly lost their way. I will not be surprised if they are out of business in the next 15 years, along with a handful of legacy automakers.

Volkswagen, in my opinion, is the biggest contender to Tesla at this time, and will be moving forward. Part of me still wants to buy a GT4 or GT3 Porsche.

To answer your question - definitely start with tires. Then the MPP FCAB's. MPP Sports Coilovers are an excellent option, though the Comfort's are great too depending on your use case.
The new M3 is longer than my dad's old E39. It's ridiculous. They've completely forgotten the people who built the brand's image in the first place, choosing instead to focus on the 90-pound suburbanite mother you see sawing away at the steering wheel in an attempt to execute a 50-point turn in the Kroger parking lot.

Until last year, BMWs had been in my family for decades, starting with my grandpop's 1600. I used to secretly take out my dad's 5 Series before I even had a license - it's the car that got me into cars to begin with. It just felt completely different from all the other crap I'd driven at that age. Now that they're whoring out the brand for all its worth, I'm finding more interest in cars like the Golf R & Civic Type R. This rumored upcoming mid-engined Elantra N is also quite intriguing/hilarious... and of course the Tesla which I didn't even consider as an option until I drove one.

BMW you can GFY for all I care. Oh and some recent advertising lulz in case anyone missed it:

BMW Pushes Weirdly Hostile Marketing Campaign to Say You're Dumb for Thinking the iX Is Ugly
 
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