There's a proud tradition of "purists" lamenting things like water cooling, EPS, forced induction, four wheel drive, safety standards, weight, and so on. To a man, they are almost all insufferable. And not least because they often can't afford the cars in question anyway. For example, people with LinkedIn profiles that read "automotive journalist," but whose last names aren't Clarkson, May, or Hammond.
I don't happen to care how the 228i's steering is assisted (electrically), or how air gets into its combustion chambers. To me, whether air lets itself in, or is helped along by a little pinwheel is of scarce consequence.
All I care about is the fact that when I got into a 228i M Sport this weekend and turned the wheel, I was met with about as much resistance as you'd find in a GM product - and not a cool one like the Corvette. More like an Impala, or a Cruze.
For a company that only builds one thing (The Ultimate Driving Machine), I think this is a problem. Steering with heft conveys to the driver that driving is a serious matter to be met with serious machinery. Overboosted steering tells you that you can go ahead and text, or do your makeup, or eat an Egg McMuffin - because driving is just another dopey thing that you do in the course of your day, and its no big deal and let not get too excited about it.
And so, while I appreciate BMW's graciousness in permitting me to sling a beautiful new 228i around an autocross course this weekend, I surely wish the steering was a bit heavier.
At this point, someone in the front of the class is going to raise their hand and remind me that a simple button press will make the steering heavier. The trouble is that when an upwardly mobile young professional goes to test drive a 228i M Sport and starts maneuvering out of the parking lot, she's going to be unpleasantly surprised by the default steering setting. And that first turn of the wheel is what sells a car.
So, BMW. On M Sport models, make the default steering setting heavier. That's all I ask.