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      04-03-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
TheObviousChild
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Denver Area - F30 - xDrive vs RWD & winter tires

Moved to the Denver area from the East coast a year ago and brought along my 2010 328i that I've been leasing. This December my lease is up and it's time for something new. I've been debating though weather to go with the xDrive that would be more stable during the snowy season although I'd be increasing the weight of the car, or stick with RWD and use the $2,000 to get winter tires & rims for seasonal use. I won't be taking this thing up into the mountains during the winter as I have the wife's X3 for that.

Any opinions on the matter? Is a few months of snow worth giving up RWD the rest of the year?
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      04-03-2012, 11:32 AM   #2
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Ive driven quite a bit in snowy weather and Ive always felt dedicated snow tires were a better investment than AWD.

The reasons include
1.) AWD with summer or low tread all season tires is sketchy, usually worse than snow tires.
2.) AWD usually costs a good bit more, and hits your fuel economy for the life of the vehicle.
3.) AWD is more expensive to maintain, sometimes absurdly like in a Jeep I had that cost $800 every 8k miles to keep its 3 differentials lubricated.
4.) AWD helps you go, but does not help you stop. Watch some youtube vids of cars crashing in the snow. Most of them are crashing due to loss of control caused by braking. Very few to none of them are crashing because they cant move forward. A lot of that is panic and poor driving technique. Dedicated snow tires actually help you stop better. AWD does help you turn better when on the gas though.
5.) You can buy cheap heavy rims for your snow tires for cheap, the heavier rims actually help the tires bite into the snow better.
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      04-03-2012, 02:41 PM   #3
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When I was growing up no one had AWD. The winters were much worse in the midwest than they are now and we all got around fine on snow tires. I have always noticed how much heavier BMW AWD cars feel than RWD. It's not bad, it's just different. I don't think in most BMWs it really adds all that much to the maintenace costs according my service department.
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      04-03-2012, 02:57 PM   #4
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I prefer snow tires over awd. My blizzacks felt like my car was on rails. It was that good that I'd just go out for drives during our northeast blizzards last year.
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      04-03-2012, 03:05 PM   #5
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I think in years gone by I would have sad AWD for sure, but I've since changed my mind. In winter, I would go RWD + winter tires every time (regardless of snow btw).

If you need AWD because you rely on your car to get you through here snow (and assuming snow is a fact of life where you live), then you should probably have a 4x4 for that.

This has been debated before btw: http://www.f30post.com/forums/showth...t=Winter+tires

Enjoy!
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      04-03-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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AWD on summer tyres won't help you stop or turn when it's snowy. RWD on winter tyres will.

AWD is mostly useful for getting going; I've no idea whether AWD on summer tyres is less likely to get stuck than RWD on winter tyres but getting stuck is less likely to kill you or your family than not being able to stop!

I'd definitely go for the winter tyres.
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      04-03-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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If the choice is between an xDrive model with all season tires or RWD with dedicated snow tires, I would definitely go for RWD with snow tires. As others have said, AWD does nothing to help you stop better, so regardless of what vehicle you're talking about, snow tires make it safer to drive on snow and ice. If you get some good snow tires (I'd suggest Blizzaks), it really is a lot more traction than all season tires.

If you have the option of getting xDrive and dedicated snow tires, the choice might be a little more complicated. Personally, I still prefer the RWD option. I have snow tires for my E36 323is and I've never been in a situation where I felt like I really needed/wanted AWD. To me, being able to accelerate faster the 2% of the time when there's actually snow on the roads is not worth the higher initial cost, slightly worse gas mileage, and slightly less balanced handling. In my opinion, for someone living in the Denver area, the only time AWD is really compelling is if you're going into the mountains a lot or you have a steep driveway that you might not be able to get up with 2WD.
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      04-03-2012, 04:55 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the replies.

I'm leaning to RWD and a dedicated set of winter tires. I really would hate to give up the balance and weight for something I may need only a handful of days.

Now I just want my new ride already!!!
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      04-04-2012, 08:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERCSUk153
AWD + Winters > RWD + Winters > AWD + No Winters > RWD + No Winters.

If your tires are riding on top of the snow due to a lack of sipes it won't matter what if you have RWD or AWD. Once you have the proper tires than AWD is > than RWD in wintery conditions.
+1

Don't know why there's so much discussion in this thread comparing AWD with summers to RWD with snows... Summers are for ........summer. All seasons and AWD, it depends on the tire. I have all season, low profile conti's on my c300 and it's an animal in the snow with 4matic. lesser tires can't do the same.

Short of really good all seasons, even AWD needs a good winter tire or even better winter wheel and tire setup, and that will always trump RWD in the snow.

That said, it's a balancing act, up to the OP to decide how much confidence they NEED to have in the snow and how often it will matter....
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      04-04-2012, 08:50 AM   #10
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Also, an AWD sedan with good snow tires can be just as good, sometimes better, than an SUV. You lose ground clearance of course, but it has to be a massive amount of snow for that to matter. I've had no trouble with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes sport sedans (and an S5 for that matter) in a foot of snow with AWD & snows.
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      04-29-2012, 07:12 AM   #11
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So do people just swap the tires or get a winter set of tires and rims? Do you take your car to a tire place or swamp them yourself. I live in N. VA and this year could of survived with the summer tires but two years ago I would've been stuck. I really want a 328i sport.
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      05-04-2012, 05:10 PM   #12
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Seems the thing to do around here is just spring for the second set of rims and keep the tires on them so you can swap them yourself without having to get them balanced, etc.

Since I lease and swap cars every three years, I'm hoping that nothing drastically changes with the rim/bolt configuration so I can get a nice set of rims and keep them over the course of my next several 3's.
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      05-05-2012, 01:14 AM   #13
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I had a 04 325i RWD, a 06 330i RWD, and a 09 328i AWD before. The response of the 328i AWD is horrible compared to the 325i and 330i RWD. I can't live with that and finally got a 12 328i RWD.
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      05-20-2012, 06:00 PM   #14
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Generally I would say all season or summer tires on AWD is not as good as a good set of winter tires on RWD. I personally want snow tires on AWD as I have a steep driveway and am a skier. Since you don't plan to drive in the mountains and Denver doesn't get a lot of snow I would recommend the winter tires on the RWD. Would recommend winter tires on your other car if you drive in the mountains in winter much. Denver can get some big snows so you might have to drive thru that at times. I have Nokian Hakkiplittas R (spelling) and love them. In my V70R AWD I have driven up my steep driveway pushing 10-12 inches of snow with no slipping. The Hakk's will last twice as long as the Blizzak's since they become all season after 40% wear. (or at least that was the case when I had them). Also suggest separate wheels if you can afford as then you can wait for the snow to hit. This way you might not have to put them on if its a low snow year or at least get another month or two on your summer tires. If you have two sets you can also go to a high performance tire for summer. I consider all season as a sorry compromise.
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      01-02-2013, 02:55 PM   #15
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I live in Denver...and have for 40 years. I'm an avid skier.....and am on my second RWD 3 series in 10 years. It does fine in the mountains....with WINTER Tires. I've avoided the AWD mostly because of its added complexity (reliability?)...but also because of its added weight and lesser handling performance in summer.

Second if you are an alpine skier ... the roads to the ski areas are very well maintained in winter. But you will still need winter tires for those sudden and heavier snow storms you may encounter going to and from.

With RWD and Winters, know your limits, and try not to do anything crazy....like attacking 2 foot of 'heavy' untracked snow on a lonely road. You could, first of all, get high centered. (you probably already know the difference between our light...and heavy (more moisture) snow).

I agree with the above poster...All Season tires add nothing to a RWD car in winter ...and may even detract a bit from its traction performance in summer.

I've had very good performance on Dunlop Winter Sports....and friends have good luck with Bridgestone Blizzaks.

Finally...AWD. It will have a bit better start from go traction....and 'might' (I don't know for sure) help you a bit more in deep snow, where RWD's might get stuck. But again...the AWD can get high centered as easily as the RWD.

Last edited by Rover; 01-02-2013 at 03:09 PM.
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      01-02-2013, 06:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rover View Post
I live in Denver...and have for 40 years. I'm an avid skier.....and am on my second RWD 3 series in 10 years. It does fine in the mountains....with WINTER Tires. I've avoided the AWD mostly because of its added complexity (reliability?)...but also because of its added weight and lesser handling performance in summer.

Second if you are an alpine skier ... the roads to the ski areas are very well maintained in winter. But you will still need winter tires for those sudden and heavier snow storms you may encounter going to and from.

With RWD and Winters, know your limits, and try not to do anything crazy....like attacking 2 foot of 'heavy' untracked snow on a lonely road. You could, first of all, get high centered. (you probably already know the difference between our light...and heavy (more moisture) snow).

I agree with the above poster...All Season tires add nothing to a RWD car in winter ...and may even detract a bit from its traction performance in summer.

I've had very good performance on Dunlop Winter Sports....and friends have good luck with Bridgestone Blizzaks.

Finally...AWD. It will have a bit better start from go traction....and 'might' (I don't know for sure) help you a bit more in deep snow, where RWD's might get stuck. But again...the AWD can get high centered as easily as the RWD.

Thanks for the response! Almost wish I'd seen it a few months ago. I ended up getting a 335 with X-Drive AND a set of winter wheels/tires. I've questioned it a bit, but seeing as the roads to my neighborhood still have snow/ice on them from the Christmas Eve storm, I guess I'm glad I went with the AWD. It will also be nice when I trade it in as it seems hardly anybody around here wants a RWD car. I didn't get jack upon turning in my 2010 RWD 328.
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      01-02-2013, 11:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheObviousChild
Thanks all for the replies.

I'm leaning to RWD and a dedicated set of winter tires. I really would hate to give up the balance and weight for something I may need only a handful of days.

Now I just want my new ride already!!!
And suspension options too!
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      01-03-2013, 11:34 AM   #18
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FWIW, we drove from Dallas to Keystone the day after Christmas. RWD 328i with all-season Pirelli Cinturato P7 tires. The worst was the sheet of ice covering Wichita Falls for ~20 miles. 20 mph max, and still had some slippage. I-70 was no problem, nor was getting around Keystone. Later, we spent some time with a friend in Aurora. Her inclined, ice/snow covered street caused the traction control to do a little work getting the car started but wasn't any cause for concern. Finally, the plowed/salted/sanded/left-alone snow/slush/ice covered highways in New Mexico and the Texas panhandle weren't an issue either, although the car did move around a bit.

For an all-season, the Cinturato seemed quite winter-oriented to me.
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