Originally Posted by AP
How long is a piece of string?!
Many variations of wheel sizes and suspensions (passive and active)
I think it best to try yourself , would probably be difficult to describe in words and what one person describes as soft might be firm to another.
My thinking as well.
Definitely different according to specification.
I used to think my E39 540i wagon had a superb balance of ride and handling on M-tech suspension and 17" wheels. Some F10/11 models I tried just didn't match it. My current specification on the F11 535i has Adaptive Drive and 18" run-flats. Deliberately went for this package as the best option for the 'road feel' I was after. This matches and exceeds the way the E39 coped on poor road surfaces, both for ride and handling.
Definitely towards firm, in the mid range setting, but that is how I like it, refined and with the ability to soften or stiffen the ride modes. Suits me fine, but others have commented that even in the sport setting running with my specification, they say it is too soft.
I've chosen to run 17" winter wheels to keep the refined ride during the winter months, which it does, even with cold run-flat tires.
So yes, you need to try examples, note the exact specification, wheel size, etc., so that you can specify, to get the ride/handling balance you find best.
Whether 3 or 5-series you still need to apply the same logic, as there are still the variations. But typically the 5-series will be slightly more refined and 'grown up'.