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BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > 2012-2019 BMW 3 and 4-Series Forums > General F30 Sedan / F32 Coupe / F36 Gran Coupe Forum > Got a foot of snow, so I took all my cars out for some fun!
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      01-06-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
ouengineer
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Got a foot of snow, so I took all my cars out for some fun!

Since it dumped a foot of snow overnight, I thought I'd test all my cars out to see how they fared (except the 240sx...).

2008 Honda Element AWD with oversize All Terrain M+S tires (General Grabber AT2 225/75/16):
This is the vehicle I currently drive in the snow. It was also the worst. While it seemed impossible to get it stuck with the massive tread, the ABS really kicked in early compared to the other cars and it struggled much more than the others to stop on any downhill. Also, though it took a lot before the traction control would kick in, understeer was extremely bad which made the car not very fun to try and sling around. This was to be expected somewhat, as the AWD kicks in a lot like a limited slip does; only when the front wheels start to slip. However, it also made the car more unpredictable in a slide as well as near impossible to get the back end around properly on a hard corner.

2013 Jeep Patriot 4wd with winter tires (Artic Claw 215/60/17):
My wife's car and the safest of the bunch. ABS kicked in later than the other cars when stopping on a downhill. It accelerated a little better than the element and about the same as the 335. The back end would come around fine on a corner and accelerate well out of it, provided it was slow enough that traction control didn't kick in (very slow). The traction control is very agressive. No drifting to be done without turning it off.

2015 BMW 335i x-drive with OEM A/S tires (Continental ContiProContact 225/40/18):
First off, what a blast this car is to drive in any conditions! But deep snow was especially fun! The braking on a downhill was somewhere in between the Element and the Jeep. It was surprisingly good for the A/S tire it has on it. Likely due to a much more advanced ABS system than the Element has. It had no issue accelerating very quickly anywhere I took it and just plowed right through the deep snow without issue. The funnest part was sliding it around in the really deep areas untouched by cars. The back end always came around perfectly and predictably with very minimal traction control interference. Since it was all fresh, soft powder the low ride height just plowed through without trouble. Of course, there is tons of it now stuck in the lower part of the bumper and the sides of the wheels, but worth it.

Overall impressions:

A bit disappointed in the lack of grip from the A/T tires vs the OEM Conti A/S on my BMW. I suspect a lot of this was maybe due to differences in the vehicles though.

Having never driven a car with winter tires before, I had expected a little better results. However, they were noticeably, albeit not significantly, better and definitely worth it as my wife has to be able to make it to the hospital in any conditions at any time and it is much safer for driving in the mountains to ski.

The BMW and its OEM tires beat all expectations. Accelerating and braking in the snow were fantastic and the car was just so much more fun due to its willingness to oversteer nicely around corners. Might have to take it out more often in bad weather (it's so clean right now though I'm hesitant to get it dirty if I don't have to).
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      01-06-2017, 02:39 PM   #2
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Glad you had fun and safely at that! Thanks for the comparison too.

We only got a measly 2" here (SE PA) so I had to find a parking lot on my way into work. For some odd reason, I cannot seem to get this damn grin off my face after playing in the lot for about 10-15 minutes That was a blast this morning but the snow/salt buildup is horrible, especially right behind the wheels. It MUST be cleaned this weekend, haha

I found the A/S tires to be more "fun" in the snow versus a winter tire so I'm holding onto the OEMs this winter. They didn't lack the grip like I thought but of course overall, they just suck, especially in the handling department.
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      01-06-2017, 02:54 PM   #3
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The understeer with the Patriot is (obviously) because it's a FWD car converted to AWD/4WD, and has a LOT of weight up front.

The AT tires on the Element are a lot like the tires you see on SUV's that have left the road in snow/ice - sipes on snow tires rule (actually, sipes on any tire generally give better snow/ice traction.)
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      01-06-2017, 04:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
The understeer with the Patriot is (obviously) because it's a FWD car converted to AWD/4WD, and has a LOT of weight up front.

The AT tires on the Element are a lot like the tires you see on SUV's that have left the road in snow/ice - sipes on snow tires rule (actually, sipes on any tire generally give better snow/ice traction.)
Yeah, I pretty much expected the understeer from both of those cars. At least the Patriot can lock into 4wd though vs the Element.

Overall the AT tires performed as expected. I knew they wouldn't be nearly as good as winter tires or even well-designed all seasons. I wasn't disappointed in them at all until I drove the BMW. I was more surprised that the Conti's performed as well as they did.

Looking at tire rack reviews for both tires though, neither have good ratings for snow/ice. However I was content with their performance. Which means I should also be happy upgrading to a non-runflat UHP A/S (all of which have much better reviews in every performance category from snow, wet or dry than the OEM Conti's)
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      01-06-2017, 06:27 PM   #5
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Thank you for sharing but i was hoping for pictures or video
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      01-06-2017, 08:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike@x-ph.com View Post
Thank you for sharing but i was hoping for pictures or video

Haha, good point. I can see how that would be quite disappointing. I didn't even think about taking any pics until after. Good thing I didn't video though, might have done something stupid then...
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      01-06-2017, 08:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ouengineer View Post
Haha, good point. I can see how that would be quite disappointing. I didn't even think about taking any pics until after. Good thing I didn't video though, might have done something stupid then...
LOL
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      01-08-2017, 08:11 AM   #8
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I have rwd and ws80 setup. we got 6in yesterday and I noticed I get more traction lights up than my ex AWD cars with all season. my ws80 has 2000 miles on them.
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      01-08-2017, 10:25 AM   #9
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I'm actually disappointed with my 435xdrive with fresh snows. It was flawless until I got home and drove down my very steep driveway and slipped badly (you either hit the house, fall off a small cliff or land in a creek) This is my first car without hill descent since we've owned this house (15 years) and I've never gone down it anything but perfectly straight and sure. I guess my 5 will be my snow/ice car from now on since it has the "duck button"
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      01-08-2017, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollandog View Post
[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/ZDegC3D.jpg[/IMG]

I have rwd and ws80 setup. we got 6in yesterday and I noticed I get more traction lights up than my ex AWD cars with all season. my ws80 has 2000 miles on them.
Great pic
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      01-08-2017, 11:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrickem View Post
I'm actually disappointed with my 435xdrive with fresh snows. It was flawless until I got home and drove down my very steep driveway and slipped badly (you either hit the house, fall off a small cliff or land in a creek) This is my first car without hill descent since we've owned this house (15 years) and I've never gone down it anything but perfectly straight and sure. I guess my 5 will be my snow/ice car from now on since it has the "duck button"
are you with stock all season?
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      01-08-2017, 01:22 PM   #12
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In my family, we own both, AWD and RWD vehicles driven all year round. Tires are the key, great winter tires trump the drivetrain on any given day. Given same tires, of course AWD is "better", but again, tires are the key.

Two photos from last week, ski hill and some freezing rain/ice accumulation, "interesting" drive home that evening.

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      01-08-2017, 01:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollandog View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrickem View Post
I'm actually disappointed with my 435xdrive with fresh snows. It was flawless until I got home and drove down my very steep driveway and slipped badly (you either hit the house, fall off a small cliff or land in a creek) This is my first car without hill descent since we've owned this house (15 years) and I've never gone down it anything but perfectly straight and sure. I guess my 5 will be my snow/ice car from now on since it has the "duck button"
are you with stock all season?
Sorry, I knew what I was thinking when I typed "fresh snows" meaning "New this season snow tires" (Michelin x-ice, which I also have on my 5) but I'm probably the only one who understands my mind sometimes.

I want blame my slip solely to lack of the hill descent feature because I've never gone up or down in any of my other cars anything but perfectly straight.
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