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      04-18-2017, 10:05 PM   #1
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Rwd Vs. Xdrive

Why would people consider one over the other? What benefits (performance or whatnot) does RWD have over AWD and vice versa? When you shopped for your car, was finding a RWD vs AWD a big buying driver?

Thanks!
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      04-18-2017, 10:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zentan View Post
Why would people consider one over the other? What benefits (performance or whatnot) does RWD have over AWD and vice versa? When you shopped for your car, was finding a RWD vs AWD a big buying driver?

Thanks!
I originally bought an x-drive 535i... then bought an RWD 335....'

Between the two i love my RWD alot more!

I drove through a recent snow storm though Pennsylvania and NY with RWD and summer tires and i could control the car much better then x-drive!!!

Also, RWD allows more fishtailing if your into that stuff!! Also feels better in my opinion and lighter in the front ... maybe thats just me ?

Also much easier to find suspension parts for RWD since no complex leveling sensors and shit for xdrive
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      04-18-2017, 10:15 PM   #3
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Here we go again.
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      04-18-2017, 10:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izaazk View Post
I originally bought an x-drive 535i... then bought an RWD 335....'

Between the two i love my RWD alot more!

I drove through a recent snow storm though Pennsylvania and NY with RWD and summer tires and i could control the car much better then x-drive!!!

Also, RWD allows more fishtailing if your into that stuff!! Also feels better in my opinion and lighter in the front ... maybe thats just me ?

Also much easier to find suspension parts for RWD since no complex leveling sensors and shit for xdrive
describe how deep the snow was with your SUMMER TIRES that you made it thru a storm so well, was the temps over 40 degrees?
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      04-18-2017, 11:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by izaazk View Post
I drove through a recent snow storm though Pennsylvania and NY with RWD and summer tires and i could control the car much better then x-drive!!!
Summer or all season ?
Was it just starting to snow and road was wet only ?

From experience I find this scenario hard to believe (and actually dangerous advice to give) if there was any snow accumulation on the road. With my RWD, I can't even get out of the driveway, can't turn, can't get any traction at all. Car is simply useless and cannot be driven with high performance summer tires on the snow. No issue anywhere else with good winter tires at all for me.
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      04-19-2017, 12:14 AM   #6
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lol i have a feeling he was being sarcastic with the summer tires in a snow storm; because it just can't be true lol
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      04-19-2017, 12:42 AM   #7
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Sunny Southern California. Went RWD for the fun factor. Already owned a AWD S4.
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      04-19-2017, 07:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW11 View Post
lol i have a feeling he was being sarcastic with the summer tires in a snow storm; because it just can't be true lol
That's what I thought initially too, but then checked the signature, 335i indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zentan View Post
Why would people consider one over the other? What benefits (performance or whatnot) does RWD have over AWD and vice versa? When you shopped for your car, was finding a RWD vs AWD a big buying driver?
Forgot to reply to this, though there are "oh-so-many" threads on this topic out there. Both are great, depending on what you need and like. In my opinion, RWD comes with several stock suspension setup configurations that feel more what I think BMW should feel like on the road. They are also lighter, somewhat addictive to take corners in and were traditionally what BMW built their reputation on. No M cars until current generation M5 perhaps came with AWD and I think that says something too.

Again, both are great, matter of choice, just trying to explain my logic here.
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      04-19-2017, 08:24 AM   #9
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Here we go again.
They say existence is cyclic.. this is an example of
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      04-19-2017, 08:42 AM   #10
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Here's my very fresh opinion.. I own a 2014 MSport 6MT RWD 328i.. Right now I have a loaner (Car is getting inspection, etc.) that is a 430i gran coupe xDrive (Auto). I'm not sure if it's apples to oranges being that it's a gran coupe and mine is the sedan, but I like my car about 600 times better.

So since you live in NY, I'll talk about snow a bit:

I live in Philly so we get snow (Some years a lot, some years not much at all), and no RWD, FWD, or otherwise car I ever had has ever been an issue with good all season tires on it. Every car post 2012 has federally mandated Yaw control (ESC), Traction Control, so control / safety regardless of driver skill is equal across the board technically because of this.. Most people unbelievably have no idea that ESC exists or has been made mandatory. But it works. Either way RWD is great in the snow, and better than FWD while going uphill, contrary to what old myth spreaders will tell you. Think about it, where does the weight of the car go when it points up? Toward the rear axle.. Where does it go even under light acceleration? Toward the rear axle.. Those people spread myths that made their appearance in the 80's/90's when most new RWD cars had open differentials, a front biased weight distribution, crappy bias ply tires, or a camaro with 255 SUMMER tires and TERRIBLE weight distribution, the list goes on. Also the auto makers were trying to sell you a cheaper made product for the same price! It costs less to make FWD.
Anyway, a modern RWD car is 100% different from an old one. It's like comparing an AWD pickup truck to an AWD supercar on a race track. Just because they have the same drivetrain layout doesn't make them even remotely the same. A modern 3 series with RWD is nowhere even remotely similar to a 1970 Buick. They will also perform totally differently in the snow thanks the electronics, 50/50 weight distribution (in some cases even 51%+ on the rear), tires that are 20 times better with today's technology, traction control, E-Diff, etc.
So to those who still think that FWD or AWD is a requirement for any snow, consider this:
My opinion is that RWD will be no noticeably different from FWD in the snow these days. 9% extra weight on the wheels only under 0 acceleration and on level ground is not really that much of an advantage. It goes away as soon as you hit the gas or stop on an hill. With 1 or 2 people in the back seat the RWD will probably have more weight on the drive wheels than does a FWD. This compounds when going uphill where weight lifts OFF the front and even more so under acceleration. Also having equal weight distribution means better BRAKING and CORNERING in ALL conditions, including snow. As for AWD, why penalize yourself when the vast majority of your driving will just be dragging extra weight and complexity, drag, modified steering geometry, harder springs, higher ride height and center of gravity, etc. for nothing? Also if you are keeping the car for a few years past warranty, the RWD one should be undoubtedly more reliable. WAY less stuff to go wrong. Better gas mileage too.



That aside, here are my observations about the 2 cars I'm driving THIS WEEK..

The 430i xDrive is / feels WAY heavier than my car. Undoubtedly is understeers more, and isn't nearly as nimble. It's slow off the line due to the automatic transmission. I can't stand the terrible lag you get from a standing start on this car! That being said it still handles great, is plenty fast enough once you're already moving, and the grip isn't all that much different to me compared to my RWD, even when pushed. The big rear tires on my car make up for the 2 less driving wheels it seems.

My car is wayyyyyy lighter on the steering.. Wayyy more pleasing to drive, corners with way less effort (It doesn't feel like it's fighting against the turn the way the AWD one does. It just wants to turn neutrally, and does even better when you're on the gas), and has a way better ride quality. Less nose weight allows them to put softer springs up front while maintaining the same or better handling. Not sure if the 2014 has a softer suspension in general though, but comparing my car to this new one, my car rides better over bumps and still doesn't lean in any corners.
The manual transmission on my car allows for no such off-the-line lag. None at all. You can be out of the hole in no time with a nicely timed quick but smooth clutch release. The manual is a way better experience.. If you don't know how to drive it then LEARN. It's something that once you learn you won't ever go back to auto as long as they make em.

In the snow, just get Continental DWS tires or a winter set if you live on or near any bad hills, even that might not be needed as today's snow biased all seasons (such as the Conti DWS) are pretty damn good in the snow. And put it on DTC mode so it doesn't bog down the engine and you're golden.

In a nutshell here's my vote:
Try to find a Manual trans RWD car, and you will not regret it one bit. It's worth the extra legwork (since they ram the heavy AWD ones down our throat in the north. More profits for the dealer on the sale AND service if they sell more xDrive's.. Just sayin.) And if you get one like this, you don't need to be in a hurry to buy a new one. Keep the paid off one for a while, because again, it will be much more reliable in the long run!

I've even had the service guys tell me that my cars like mine are the best ones, especially for long term ownership. Simple, manual, RWD. (I even think the Manual is lighter than the auto by a bit.)

Last edited by Altima; 04-19-2017 at 10:45 AM..
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      04-19-2017, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altima View Post
Here's my very fresh opinion.. I own a 2014 MSport 6MT RWD 328i.. Right now I have a loaner (Car is getting inspection, etc.) that is a 430i gran coupe xDrive (Auto). I'm not sure if it's apples to oranges being that it's a gran coupe and mine is the sedan, but I like my car about 600 times better.

So since you live in NY, I'll talk about snow a bit:

I live in Philly so we get snow (Some years a lot, some years not much at all), and no RWD, FWD, or otherwise car I ever had has ever been an issue with good all season tires on it. Every car post 2012 has federally mandated Yaw control (ESC), Traction Control, so control / safety regardless of driver skill is equal across the board technically because of this.. Most people unbelievably have no idea that ESC exists or has been made mandatory. But it works. Either way RWD is great in the snow, and better than FWD while going uphill, contrary to what old myth spreaders will tell you. Think about it, where does the weight of the car go when it points up? Toward the rear axle.. Where does it go even under light acceleration? Toward the rear axle.. Those people spread myths that made their appearance in the 80's/90's when most new RWD cars had open differentials, a front biased weight distribution, crappy bias ply tires, or a camaro with 255 SUMMER tires and TERRIBLE weight distribution, the list goes on. Also the auto makers were trying to sell you a cheaper made product for the same price! It costs less to make FWD.
Anyway, a modern RWD car is 100% different from an old one. It's like comparing an AWD pickup truck to an AWD supercar on a race track. Just because they have the same drivetrain layout doesn't make them even remotely the same. A modern 3 series with RWD is nowhere even remotely similar to a 1970 Buick. They will also perform totally differently in the snow thanks the electronics, 50/50 weight distribution (in some cases even 51%+ on the rear), tires that are 20 times better with today's technology, traction control, E-Diff, etc.
So to those who still think that FWD or AWD is a requirement for any snow, consider this:
My opinion is that RWD will be no noticeably different from FWD in the snow these days. 9% extra weight on the wheels only under 0 acceleration and on level ground is not really that much of an advantage. It goes away as soon as you hit the gas or stop on an hill. With 1 or 2 people in the back seat the RWD will probably have more weight on the drive wheels than does a FWD. This compounds when going uphill where weight lifts OFF the front and even more so under acceleration. Also having equal weight distribution means better BRAKING and CORNERING in ALL conditions, including snow. As for AWD, why penalize yourself when the vast majority of your driving will just be dragging extra weight and complexity, drag, modified steering geometry, harder springs, higher ride height and center of gravity, etc. for nothing? Also if you are keeping the car for a few years past warranty, the RWD one should be undoubtedly more reliable. WAY less stuff to go wrong. Better gas mileage too.



That aside, here are my observations about the 2 cars I'm driving THIS WEEK..

The 430i xDrive is / feels WAY heavier than my car. Undoubtedly is understeers more, and isn't nearly as nimble. It's slow off the line due to the automatic transmission. I can't stand the terrible lag you get from a standing start on this car! That being said it still handles great, is plenty fast enough once you're already moving, and the grip isn't all that much different to me compared to my RWD, even when pushed. The big rear tires on my car make up for the 2 less driving wheels it seems.

My car is wayyyyyy lighter on the steering.. Wayyy more pleasing to drive, corners with way less effort (It doesn't feel like it's fighting against the turn the way the AWD one does. It just wants to turn neutrally, and does even better when you're on the gas), and has a way better ride quality. Less nose weight allows them to put softer springs up front while maintaining the same or better handling. Not sure if the 2014 has a softer suspension in general though, but comparing my car to this new one, my car rides better over bumps and still doesn't lean in any corners.
The manual transmission on my car allows for no such off-the-line lag. None at all. You can be out of the hole in no time with a nicely timed quick but smooth clutch release. The manual is a way better experience.. If you don't know how to drive it then LEARN. It's something that once you learn you won't ever go back to auto as long as they make em.

In the snow, just get Continental DWS tires or a winter set if you live on or near any bad hills, even that might not be needed as today's snow biased all seasons (such as the Conti DWS) are pretty damn good in the snow. And put it on DTC mode so it doesn't bog down the engine and you're golden.

In a nutshell here's my vote:
Try to find a Manual trans RWD car, and you will not regret it one bit. It's worth the extra legwork (since they ram the heavy AWD ones down our throat in the north. More profits for the dealer on the sale AND service if they sell more xDrive's.. Just sayin.) And if you get one like this, you don't need to be in a hurry to buy a new one. Keep the paid off one for a while, because again, it will be much more reliable in the long run!

I've even had the service guys tell me that my cars like mine are the best ones, especially for long term ownership. Simple, manual, RWD. (I even think the Manual is lighter than the auto by a bit.)
Well said! Rwd just feels better overall to me. I live in the Nrtheast and co-workers sometimes ask why I have a rwd car. I ask "why do you have awd?" The answer is always "for the snow". Well, how often are you really driving in snow? Maybe 10 days per year during a bad winter? Hours after a storm, the roads are plowed. So you'll spend ~$2,000 for an awd system but then bark at spending ~$700 on a set of winter tires that are useful through the entire winter season.

I will say that even with snows, when driving through a snow storm, rwd takes a little more attention to drive safely. Even though awd might be "easier" to drive in such conditions, it gives a false sense of security and people become too lax.

Now this does not take into account high hp cars (M5, E63, RS6, R8, etc) that benefit from awd in order to put all that power to the ground.
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      04-19-2017, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zentan View Post
Why would people consider one over the other? What benefits (performance or whatnot) does RWD have over AWD and vice versa? When you shopped for your car, was finding a RWD vs AWD a big buying driver?

Thanks!
You won't be able to find RWD in northeast except the M. AWD is all they stock here in the dealerships unless you order your car.
Tires are overrated. After all AWD is the winter/snow holy grail. Not sure how people survived before the magic was invented.
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      04-19-2017, 12:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollandog View Post
You won't be able to find RWD in northeast except the M. AWD is all they stock here in the dealerships unless you order your car.
Tires are overrated. After all AWD is the winter/snow holy grail. Not sure how people survived before the magic was invented.
Partially true. I had to look for my car for over a year before I got it...RWD and 6MT
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      04-19-2017, 01:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollandog View Post
You won't be able to find RWD in northeast except the M. AWD is all they stock here in the dealerships unless you order your car.
Tires are overrated. After all AWD is the winter/snow holy grail. Not sure how people survived before the magic was invented.
It was called Snow Tires. They even had studs before the state governments banned them. Never drove a 4X4 till I got drafted. Today only 4X4's I own are trucks. The pickup has off road tires & is the snow day vehicle the few days of the year we actually get snow.

Yes summer tires will kill you in the snow if you start facing down hill. Otherwise the are perfectly safe because you can't move.

In a mild climate location the only advantage a 4X4 has is off the line traction so if are planning on drag racing the car get a X version.
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      04-19-2017, 01:55 PM   #15
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Having driven in snow in RWD, FWD, and AWD, I prefer AWD. But I also live near the Great Lakes and we have snow on the roads almost every day from November to April, and my driveway is quite steep. I totally disagree that you can climb hills in RWD in packed snow, unless we are talking a mild grade. Also, nothing beats AWD from a standstill on wet roads.
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      04-19-2017, 02:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollandog View Post
You won't be able to find RWD in northeast except the M. AWD is all they stock here in the dealerships unless you order your car.
And this is major issue for any undecided buyer. Most people do not get to drive both, back to back. Same day, same roads, in exact same (or similar) configuration during their test drive. Those that have the opportunity would be hard pressed to argue this post.
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      04-19-2017, 02:02 PM   #17
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I live in the midwest and we get some pretty huge temp changes. Some winters are bad but most are mild. I owned an awd e90 328 thinking it'll be better in the snow but changed to rwd on every car after that. I didn't find much of a difference between all and rear wheel in mild to medium (~2-3") snow traction, but I was on all seasons. I generally change out the summer tires around late November. The only times I had problems getting traction was on ice or deep snow but I would imagine everyone will share the same issues.
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      04-19-2017, 02:03 PM   #18
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In general,
X-drive..
you are gaining overall general traction
at the expense of greater weight & greater drivetrain-loss
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      04-19-2017, 02:51 PM   #19
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Here we go again is right, but since the topic seems to be popular again I will comment.

I prefer RWD.

Yes it is a major buying decision for me. I will not purchase a daily driver that is AWD when RWD is available. I live in a snowier than average area of the great lakes and cannot give up the simplicity, lightweight and fun to drive of RWD for a system I almost never use. Winter tires are more important for control and stopping and I have no hills to deal with, so there is no question for me. I have had dedicated snow wheels and tires on every car I have ever owned for 25 years.

For others who don't value the driving dynamics as much, need to deal with snowy hills/mountains regularly, want to try to get away without snow tires for winter driving (not a good idea), or have monster HP and like to drag race, perhaps they make a different decision. But I certainly don't want to pay more for a more complicated system the I hardly use and negatively effects the driving dynamics.

I order or search for my cars and never settle for whatever is for sale nearby. It is too important of an item to spend 10s of thousands of dollars to then compromise because you might have to spend a little more effort to order or go south or west to get the car you really want. Decide what you want, then go find it.
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      04-19-2017, 03:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altima View Post
Here's my very fresh opinion.. I own a 2014 MSport 6MT RWD 328i.. Right now I have a loaner (Car is getting inspection, etc.) that is a 430i gran coupe xDrive (Auto). I'm not sure if it's apples to oranges being that it's a gran coupe and mine is the sedan, but I like my car about 600 times better.

So since you live in NY, I'll talk about snow a bit:

I live in Philly so we get snow (Some years a lot, some years not much at all), and no RWD, FWD, or otherwise car I ever had has ever been an issue with good all season tires on it. Every car post 2012 has federally mandated Yaw control (ESC), Traction Control, so control / safety regardless of driver skill is equal across the board technically because of this.. Most people unbelievably have no idea that ESC exists or has been made mandatory. But it works. Either way RWD is great in the snow, and better than FWD while going uphill, contrary to what old myth spreaders will tell you. Think about it, where does the weight of the car go when it points up? Toward the rear axle.. Where does it go even under light acceleration? Toward the rear axle.. Those people spread myths that made their appearance in the 80's/90's when most new RWD cars had open differentials, a front biased weight distribution, crappy bias ply tires, or a camaro with 255 SUMMER tires and TERRIBLE weight distribution, the list goes on. Also the auto makers were trying to sell you a cheaper made product for the same price! It costs less to make FWD.
Anyway, a modern RWD car is 100% different from an old one. It's like comparing an AWD pickup truck to an AWD supercar on a race track. Just because they have the same drivetrain layout doesn't make them even remotely the same. A modern 3 series with RWD is nowhere even remotely similar to a 1970 Buick. They will also perform totally differently in the snow thanks the electronics, 50/50 weight distribution (in some cases even 51%+ on the rear), tires that are 20 times better with today's technology, traction control, E-Diff, etc.
So to those who still think that FWD or AWD is a requirement for any snow, consider this:
My opinion is that RWD will be no noticeably different from FWD in the snow these days. 9% extra weight on the wheels only under 0 acceleration and on level ground is not really that much of an advantage. It goes away as soon as you hit the gas or stop on an hill. With 1 or 2 people in the back seat the RWD will probably have more weight on the drive wheels than does a FWD. This compounds when going uphill where weight lifts OFF the front and even more so under acceleration. Also having equal weight distribution means better BRAKING and CORNERING in ALL conditions, including snow. As for AWD, why penalize yourself when the vast majority of your driving will just be dragging extra weight and complexity, drag, modified steering geometry, harder springs, higher ride height and center of gravity, etc. for nothing? Also if you are keeping the car for a few years past warranty, the RWD one should be undoubtedly more reliable. WAY less stuff to go wrong. Better gas mileage too.



That aside, here are my observations about the 2 cars I'm driving THIS WEEK..

The 430i xDrive is / feels WAY heavier than my car. Undoubtedly is understeers more, and isn't nearly as nimble. It's slow off the line due to the automatic transmission. I can't stand the terrible lag you get from a standing start on this car! That being said it still handles great, is plenty fast enough once you're already moving, and the grip isn't all that much different to me compared to my RWD, even when pushed. The big rear tires on my car make up for the 2 less driving wheels it seems.

My car is wayyyyyy lighter on the steering.. Wayyy more pleasing to drive, corners with way less effort (It doesn't feel like it's fighting against the turn the way the AWD one does. It just wants to turn neutrally, and does even better when you're on the gas), and has a way better ride quality. Less nose weight allows them to put softer springs up front while maintaining the same or better handling. Not sure if the 2014 has a softer suspension in general though, but comparing my car to this new one, my car rides better over bumps and still doesn't lean in any corners.
The manual transmission on my car allows for no such off-the-line lag. None at all. You can be out of the hole in no time with a nicely timed quick but smooth clutch release. The manual is a way better experience.. If you don't know how to drive it then LEARN. It's something that once you learn you won't ever go back to auto as long as they make em.

In the snow, just get Continental DWS tires or a winter set if you live on or near any bad hills, even that might not be needed as today's snow biased all seasons (such as the Conti DWS) are pretty damn good in the snow. And put it on DTC mode so it doesn't bog down the engine and you're golden.

In a nutshell here's my vote:
Try to find a Manual trans RWD car, and you will not regret it one bit. It's worth the extra legwork (since they ram the heavy AWD ones down our throat in the north. More profits for the dealer on the sale AND service if they sell more xDrive's.. Just sayin.) And if you get one like this, you don't need to be in a hurry to buy a new one. Keep the paid off one for a while, because again, it will be much more reliable in the long run!

I've even had the service guys tell me that my cars like mine are the best ones, especially for long term ownership. Simple, manual, RWD. (I even think the Manual is lighter than the auto by a bit.)
Excellent. Learned a lot from this post. Thank you!
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      04-19-2017, 04:06 PM   #21
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I wouldn't brother with x-drive where you live as winter isn't that hard. Just don't cheap out on snow tires. X-drive is useful when you have to deal with snow many days a year. In my case I went with x-drive as I have to park on the street in narrow space fill with snow. So I'm saving time and also my back by shoveling much less.
You know you need x-drive when you find your car like this many time during winter
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      04-19-2017, 04:14 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by mr_kay View Post
Partially true. I had to look for my car for over a year before I got it...RWD and 6MT
Why didn't you just order to your spec? wait time is 6-8weeks.
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