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      07-09-2012, 04:01 PM   #23
boltjames
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36toF30 View Post
I would argue that xDrive doesn't really give you more safety margin. It does nothing to help you stop better, whereas snow tires make a huge difference for that.
+1.

In serious snow and ice, we all drive conservatively and more cautiously, the speed and the maneuverability are practically non-issues. It's the stopping that is the crux of the matter and no AWD helps you there. Here's a guide to winter traction from my experience with all the technologies and tires being questioned here:

Snow Tires + AWD = The best solution.

Snow tires + RWD = 90% of that.

All Seasons + AWD = 70% of that.

All Seasons + RWD = 40% of that.

XDrive is just savvy marketing for lazy Americans who don't want to have to be inconvenienced having their tires changed each year. It's a nice concept on paper; doesn't work in the real world. It's all about the tires. Save the $3000 on XDrive, get $1000 worth of snow tires, spend the $200 to have them swapped 2x a year, done. Better traction, better safety, saves you money.

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      07-09-2012, 04:17 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjames View Post
+1.

In serious snow and ice, we all drive conservatively and more cautiously, the speed and the maneuverability are practically non-issues. It's the stopping that is the crux of the matter and no AWD helps you there. Here's a guide to winter traction from my experience with all the technologies and tires being questioned here:

Snow Tires + AWD = The best solution.

Snow tires + RWD = 90% of that.

All Seasons + AWD = 70% of that.

All Seasons + RWD = 40% of that.

XDrive is just savvy marketing for lazy Americans who don't want to have to be inconvenienced having their tires changed each year. It's a nice concept on paper; doesn't work in the real world. It's all about the tires. Save the $3000 on XDrive, get $1000 worth of snow tires, spend the $200 to have them swapped 2x a year, done. Better traction, better safety, saves you money.

BJ
+1 agreed. Ore save even more money and change them out yourself. takes 20minutes mine are always laying around handy.
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      07-09-2012, 05:16 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by jtuds View Post
....So between December and March, you might have 10 days where the snow is actually a problem on the road. The majority of days the roads are clear because the snow is off to the side.
X-drive is good to have even when there's absolutely no snow on the road during the frozen months. Between Nov - March there could be unexpected ice around any corner in the road that you might not visually see. You know the kind I'm talking about. Black Ice. Sometimes it's only 6 inches wide and blends in with the cracks in the road. The kind where your car slides first and then your brain notices it second. X-drive is less likely to make your car slide than RWD while accelerating around that corner. For me, an extra $2000 is a cheap insurance policy during my long five winter months, where my car can slide at any given time.
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      07-09-2012, 05:34 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by E36toF30 View Post
I would argue that xDrive doesn't really give you more safety margin. It does nothing to help you stop better, whereas snow tires make a huge difference for that.
Completely agree that AWD does not help with braking in snow and ice at all, which is a mistake many inexperienced drivers make. You will find it much improved in accelerating off the line, especially on inclines.
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      07-09-2012, 05:37 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by boltjames View Post
Whoa, very different situation up there in Alaska. I don't even begin to challenge what you have to deal with up there. But I've been to Germany many times and what he's got is no worse than my New Jersey/New England experience which says that snow tires are far more important than XDrive.

Different for you up there where you need all the skid protection and traction you can get.
BJ
I've never been to Germany, so can't speak to driving conditions there. But if it is comparable to NY/NJ area, I would agree that AWD might not be worth the expense.
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      07-09-2012, 05:42 PM   #28
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To me xDrive is worth it. I've driven all wheel drive cars for years and would always prefer 4 wheels moving the car to two. It's all in what you prefer.
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      07-09-2012, 06:01 PM   #29
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For the Chicago days when the snow is falling heavily fast and furious, and my driveway; my company's parking lot; my friends apartment; grocery stores parking lot have not been plowed, I know I will not be stuck with AWD regardless of tires.

I've been stuck in those situations with FWD and/or RWD a few times, regardless of tires so I always buy AWD now.

It's like buying insurance as most of the time you think you're wasting money, but its in those few unfortunate moments that you glad you got them.
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      07-09-2012, 06:36 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by crazydennamugg View Post
All I am in a bind... I am ordering a new 2012 BMW 328 but do not know if I should go with the RWD or the XDrive. Is the XDrive, AWD system really worth it. Granted I will be living in Germany for the next few years. Please help with this matter. I need to let them know by the 15th of this month (July)..Thanks everyone
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I too am in the Chicago area. The flat lands.

Current 135i with Conti DWS all season tires, all year long.
2006 A4 2.0T quattro Bridgestone RE960 all season tires, all year long.
2003 325i sport with Pirelli P Zero all season tires, all year long.
2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse 3.0 V6 FWD with Goodyear RSA all season tires, all year long.
Not going back any further, but all those cars had all seasons as well.

Number of times actually stuck in snow, for the above mentioned? 0
Bad braking experience with compacted snow, extreme cold, ABS, and all seasons? 1 (325i)

The best in the winter was the A4.
2nd best Mits Eclipse.
3rd best is my 135i.
4th best was the 325i, and I think it was due to the Pirelli's not being so great in the snow.

BMW RWD or Xdrive?
The quickest 3's have had AWD.
The best overall handlers and performers are RWD.

Best on snow, especially on hilly terrain?
I'll go with Xdrive.

Since you asked which one?
RWD!

Lots of uncleared snowy roads with hilly terrain for much of the winter?
If you're daring and not affeared - RWD!

A bit scared and unsure?
Audi A4.
Ok, Xdrive as runner up.
Whaaaa....?
YUP!

Now, get out there and order your RWD 3, and get some snow shoes for the winter!

Last edited by RPM90; 07-09-2012 at 06:55 PM..
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      07-09-2012, 11:27 PM   #31
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I live in mixed weather Des Moines, IA. I had a rear wheel drive 2007 328i. First winter all seasons only had one instance of limited traction going up a hill. Next year got Blizzaks never any issues and they extended the life of the all seasons. Currently have 2011 X3 3.5i and miss the rear wheel drive car so I ordered 2013 328i rear wheel drive sport package with all seasons. Will get snows in November.
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      07-10-2012, 12:50 AM   #32
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I would get RWD, but I go skiing about 15 times a year and mainly in powder days, I feel like xDrive with snows is a tank, better than any SUV I have had.
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      07-10-2012, 08:25 PM   #33
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I had an E46 RWD MT and now have an E91 AWD. The E46 DSC was incredibly annoying in rain and snow. The slightest slipperiness powering up a hill and the whole car would shudder while its brain would cut engine power and the brakes try to decide which wheel to clamp down. By contrast, the AWD is incredibly fun in dry, wet or snow. The control is amazing.

My daily commute includes a winding 1/8-mile sweeping uphill curve left changing to 1/8-mile uphill curve right, through some woodsy parkland. I really enjoy feeling each of the individual wheels bite as needed as I power up the hill, dry or wet. The car just tracks like it's on a rail powering up a curvy hill. Of course, 6MT makes it even more fun.

There are sadly few AWD MT sport sedans built anymore. Thanks BMW.
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      07-10-2012, 09:10 PM   #34
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I think that for 95% of people during everyday driving x-drive is an added benefit. For most people who live in places with winter weather "the disadvantages of awd" are outweighed by the advantages when the bad whether hits.
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      07-10-2012, 09:41 PM   #35
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Loved it for snowy conditions

And I have owned an xDrive e92 and now an e93 with the same set of snow tires.
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      07-12-2012, 12:19 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boltjames View Post
+1.

In serious snow and ice, we all drive conservatively and more cautiously, the speed and the maneuverability are practically non-issues. It's the stopping that is the crux of the matter and no AWD helps you there. Here's a guide to winter traction from my experience with all the technologies and tires being questioned here:

Snow Tires + AWD = The best solution.

Snow tires + RWD = 90% of that.

All Seasons + AWD = 70% of that.

All Seasons + RWD = 40% of that.

XDrive is just savvy marketing for lazy Americans who don't want to have to be inconvenienced having their tires changed each year. It's a nice concept on paper; doesn't work in the real world. It's all about the tires. Save the $3000 on XDrive, get $1000 worth of snow tires, spend the $200 to have them swapped 2x a year, done. Better traction, better safety, saves you money.

BJ
Lazy Americans? How about super busy Americans that work 50-60 hours a week and the inconvenience is having to leave work to get tires swapped. And a place like OH where the weather is unpredictable, you could get a snow storm in October before you've had a chance to get them swapped, or in late April when it's been clear for two months and you've already taken them off because snow tires tear up on bare pavement and that $1000 quickly turns into $2000 if you wear out the first set.

And the MSRP for xDrive is $2000 on the 3 series, and even less if you know how to haggle for a car, so the price difference once you've bought snow tires and pay to have them swapped is negligible, just to say your car handles slightly better when you...get on the highway or take a right on red .

The way some people talk here, you'd think their commute to work was on a drag strip.

Last edited by THizzle7XU; 07-12-2012 at 12:26 AM..
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      07-12-2012, 02:13 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THizzle7XU View Post
Lazy Americans? How about super busy Americans that work 50-60 hours a week and the inconvenience is having to leave work to get tires swapped. And a place like OH where the weather is unpredictable, you could get a snow storm in October before you've had a chance to get them swapped, or in late April when it's been clear for two months and you've already taken them off because snow tires tear up on bare pavement and that $1000 quickly turns into $2000 if you wear out the first set.

And the MSRP for xDrive is $2000 on the 3 series, and even less if you know how to haggle for a car, so the price difference once you've bought snow tires and pay to have them swapped is negligible, just to say your car handles slightly better when you...get on the highway or take a right on red .

The way some people talk here, you'd think their commute to work was on a drag strip.
GREAT POST.... i love how Europeans tell us we are lazy. Try being lazy stuck in ice and snow trying to push your car out of a tough snowy spot. far from lazy... its downright dangerous.
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      07-12-2012, 02:57 PM   #38
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AWD? Not in a BMW. RWD is BMW's essence. It's all about fun and character!
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      07-12-2012, 03:36 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36toF30 View Post
I haven't had problems with it, but then again I don't go up into the mountains that much or live in a particularly hilly area. If you will be driving up snow/ice covered hills often in the winter, or have a steep driveway for instance, those are cases where xDrive is more useful I think. RWD + snow tires could still work fine though, depending on how extreme the circumstances are. Obviously, the best (and most expensive) option would be xDrive + snow tires. That's probably overkill for what most people need though.
I'm on my 8th year of driving RWD 3-series sedans in Colorado. I ski about 12 times per year, and not once had an issue with my car and good snow tires.

Clearance is an issue, but it will be with any 3-series unless you have an X3.

I did, however, have a loaner 328Xi sedan one day in the snow, and without a doubt, that car had less cornering and braking ability on the ice than my RWD with snow tires. It was borderline scary when coming from my car.

Personally, I'd rather be able to turn and stop faster in my RWD/Snow-tire car than have the false confidence that many people have in their AWD/All-season tire cars!
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      07-12-2012, 03:46 PM   #40
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$2000 for X Drive, and $1000 back when you trade it in! so $1000 is your total cost to have it, and it helps acceleration in all situations!

If you come to a stop on ice or certain types of snow, RWD with snow tires can still get you stuck, AWD is a much better option. Also it looks like the new BMW AWD systems are only adding around 150 pounds to the car, so if we just took our lazy american asses to the gym we could shed some of the drivers weight to offset that

I always remind my wife AWD does not help her when stopping and she understands that, but she does feel safer in knowing she has a lot less risk of getting stuck. I will always put winter wheels and snow tires on all my cars, if they have RWD or AWD, doesn't matter. And if you get your tires at certain places like discount tire, they change them for free whenever you want (or go to a place like NTB and get it done for $20, not $200 a year)
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      07-12-2012, 03:57 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mako View Post
... she does feel safer in knowing she has a lot less risk of getting stuck. ...
Many AWD owners FEEL like they are safer, but unless they put on snows, they are LESS safe than us snow-tire users.

Turning and stopping is highly underrated.
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      07-12-2012, 04:32 PM   #42
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If you are just trying to stop your car, tires is all that matters, AWD will not help, this is agreed upon.

But "safer" with AWD does matter when you are trying to accelerate off ice or snow, especially on on/off ramps during rush hour, this happened several times to me in my C63, you are stopped on a ramp going up hill in traffic, you got unlucky and your rear tires are on ice, you try to go and just slide backwards (possibly into another car) or off to the left into another car! AWD could have prevented that by having other tires grip and get you going straight. This is an instance where all season tires with AWD could get you out of a jam better than snow tires on RWD!

Like I said in my previous post we will always use the combo of Snow tires and AWD so the all season tire vs snow tire debate does not apply with my decision to buy AWD or not.
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      07-12-2012, 10:28 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mako View Post

Like I said in my previous post we will always use the combo of Snow tires and AWD so the all season tire vs snow tire debate does not apply with my decision to buy AWD or not.
+1
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      07-13-2012, 02:53 AM   #44
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Yes Mako, I agree 100% with your scenario. Accelerating around a circular on-ramp and unexpectedly hitting a skinny patch of black ice will likely put a RWD car in the ditch. A AWD car has a better chance of finding tires with grip and surviving the ordeal. It doesn't matter what kind of tires you have.

The way some of these people write, it makes me wonder if they've ever driven on ice before.
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