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Old 03-09-2011, 09:43 AM
kwilkins kwilkins is offline
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Location: New Jersey
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Mein Auto: Lexus GS430
What does xdrive sacrifice?

Iím close to placing an order for a GT 550i and am debating between RWD and xdrive. I live in New Jersey and would like the xdrive for our winters but am also considering the option of RWD and getting a set of winter tires.

Iím interested to know if xdrive models give up anything to RWD models in ďnon-winterĒ driving.

In every day driving would the xdrive be better, worse, or the same, with respect to:

Handling and cornering?
Comfort, handling bumps, general ride quality?
Road noise?

Please let me know your thoughts on the tradeoffs between xdrive and RWD.


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Old 03-09-2011, 01:38 PM
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Capobranco Capobranco is offline
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Location: Potomac, Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Mein Auto: M2, X5
This is an interesting question and perhaps those with X drive will have a different perspective.

From my perspective - the 550i GT equipped with sport suspension, dynamic handling and 20 inch wheels and summer performance tires is an engaging ride that is luxurious but also fun to drive. Most of my cars in my past have been sports or GT cars and I was cross shopping my GT with the Panamera. The sports orientation of my car does not lessen the utility or luxury quotient, but it did mitigate the Porsche's sporting advantage. I would prefer to run with my present setup and switch to snows for the winter. This past winter I took my chances and did not make the switch, and I was actually able to negotiate a few inches of accumulation - but I definitely do not recommend doing what I did. Next season I am equipping my GT with four 20 inch snows which were available for about $1500. My understanding is that even if you have X Drive, it is still desirable to make the switch to snows.

Big BMW + Big Twin Turbo + Sport Package + Rear Wheel Drive = Svanil Fun IMO
I am sure X Drivers can make an equally compelling case.
..BMWCCA...10th BMW
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:03 AM
magnumforc magnumforc is offline
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Location: Carlsbad, CA
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Mein Auto: 2011 535i GT
Biggest value to Xdrive, in my opinion, is the ability to travel just about anywhere, anytime, without worry about weather conditions or changing tires. Since the vehicle comes with all-season tires, it meets the criteria for travel without snow tires or chains on most if not all roads. Most of the time, here in California, they allow "4 wheel drive or chains" until it gets really bad and then they go to chains required no matter what you have, so it would be 4 wheel drive with chains. Thus we can drive to the mountains and enjoy the snow and not worry about the roads being closed in either direction about 90 percent of the time. I suppose if it gets bad enough that we would require chains, we would be holed up for a night somewhere...or stuck in the luxury of the GT...almost as good as most hotels!

As for handling, I see no difference, other than the occasional minute correction when a wheel is slipping. We have both RWD and Xdrive GT's so the personalities of both cars are a bit different. Interestingly enough, the Xdrive will burn the rear tires on heavy acceleration, something that surprised me. It's only a quick burn as the torque is switched to other wheels but the chirp is noticeable in any case.

I don't see any difference in acceleration or road handling per se, other than as noted above. Cornering, in fact, may be slightly better in the Xdrive as it grips regardless of road surface. Of course, you are aware that switching modes from "normal" to "sport" and "sport+" on the fly is a big advantage on bad roads as evidenced on a recent trip. When the road was pretty damaged from truck traffic and we had nowhere else to go, we switched to "normal" and the ride was smooth and the bumps literally disappeared. Then back to "sport" after we passed that stretch of road. Be aware, of course, NOT to change from "normal" to "sport or sport +" when in heavy traffic as that increases throttle sensitivity, and you could end up lunging forward if your foot is on the throttle! (Discovered that myself with no ill consequences...thought something was wrong with the car!)

Road noise is non-existent in eithe vehicle. After all, it's a 7 series platform under a 5 GT. Close the windows and the sunroof and it's like there is no outside. The only road noise may be the tires depending on your choice. We have the Goodyear LS-2 Run Flats and they are quiet.

Best of luck choosing your new GT. One fabulous ride. We get all sorts of compliments, lots of "What is that?' from people. And, we are SO glad we didn't get the X6.

And, you may ask, why have two? Because, like Lay's Potato Chips, you just can't stop at one! Black and White, like a Scottie and a Westie!
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