The answer to your question, what car was I driving before, is Honda Civic
LX 2dr coupe, which had an ultra smooth power steering.
Now I can rest assured knowing that I do indeed have power steering. Thanx.
And by ultra smooth you must mean ultra light. This kind of overboosted
power steering causes one to have little feedback from the car and little
feel for the car's handling. You turn the wheel a little, and you can't
really tell the car's reaction.
One of the great things about most BMWs is that these cars react immediately
to every little steering input. For someone who enjoys driving, this is a
good thing. For someone who is not used to such lower levels of power
steering, it may take some time getting used to.
Or the OP might want to find a 2000 model year US E46 3 series. Apparently
in response to the "steering's too heavy" critics of the '99 model, BMW then
overboosted the steering assist. After some real criticism from BMW
aficionados, they went back in 2001 or '02 to the fine balanced steering I
have on my '99.
No need to "check" - you have power steering.
Most people who are BMW enthusiasts and like a car that handles consider
heavily boosted power steering (found in US and Japanese cars) a sin..
so BMW caters to the driving enthusiast. "active" is something else
entirely - it's a variable ratio power steering system that changes the
steering ratio in relation to speed. Different ball of wax.
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