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  #1  
Old 04-09-2005, 04:53 PM
sojer18 sojer18 is offline
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Question Winter Driving with RWD

Hi, newbie here. Just placed an order for my first BMW and I'm totally pumped!!! I got the E90 330i, Saphire, Nat.Leather w/Pop wd trim, Prem.Pack, NAV w/Sirius. As I live in CT and, we can have some harsh winter weather, I have a few friends who strongly recommended I wait for the xi in Sept. After checking out a few sites, I felt comfortable getting the RWD but, I'd love to know what seasoned owners experiences have been. Can I get by with the all season tires or, will I definitely need snows?

Thanks for any info and I'm sooooo looking forward to my "upgrade".. ..currently driving a '97 VW Golf..
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2005, 05:18 PM
tacomantt tacomantt is offline
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I live in upstate NY where the snow seems to never end. Having 30 years of driving under my belt, you better believe that I am waiting for the 330xi to come out. RWD and snow don't mix (even w/ snow tires), and yes I HAD to drive with them back in the sixties and seventies. I hated every mile. Then. when FWD cars kinda took over the market they were a God send for snow driving.

Anyway, I refuse to drive a car up here that isnot AWD and that makes my options pretty slim. 330xi or bust.
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  #3  
Old 04-09-2005, 05:37 PM
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Spiderm0n Spiderm0n is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
RWD and snow don't mix (even w/ snow tires), and yes I HAD to drive with them back in the sixties and seventies. I hated every mile. Then. when FWD cars kinda took over the market they were a God send for snow driving.

Anyway, I refuse to drive a car up here that isnot AWD and that makes my options pretty slim. 330xi or bust.
There are a lot of people on this board who swear by RWD + snow tires. Personally, I went with the 330xi, but I have only heard good things on this board about RWD bimmers with dedicated snows....

tacomantt, yes you should buy a winter wheel/tire setup.
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  #4  
Old 04-09-2005, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderm0n
There are a lot of people on this board who swear by RWD + snow tires. Personally, I went with the 330xi, but I have only heard good things on this board about RWD bimmers with dedicated snows...
I wrote something about it in another post. I liked my 528iT with Blizzak WS-50s better in the snow than my 330xi with Semperit snows. The 528 was a much more predictable car in the bad stuff - the only problem was a little less ground clearance vis the 330. My 0.02.
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  #5  
Old 04-09-2005, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
RWD and snow don't mix (even w/ snow tires)
Hogwash.
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  #6  
Old 04-09-2005, 05:49 PM
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It's not as bad as you think.... Winter was my fear when I got my 97 318 (no TCS) especially since I live in Toronto Canada and my all seasons are fairly worn... But I've never crashed my car in any weather.... I've had some "fun" driving, but I never felt it was prohibitive... If you know how to control the car in an oversteer and you dont have a leadfoot, it should be ok... Finess is the key... as longs as all acceleration, turning etc are done really gradually, your car will remain in control. Also, tripple your braking distance.. Since the E90s will some with an army of computer controled stability systems, you should have less problems then me.. Having snow tires definately helps.. but I never crashed my car into anything on my worn all seasons on snow/ice.

I find that the real catch for RWD cars is actually not in the snow... Its in the wet roads and gravel that'll really get you if you're not comfortable controling oversteer... You see, you're already aware that RWD cars are dangerous in the snow... So, when you see snow or ice on the road, you will be carful and be prapared for any slippage... If you're taking a corner in the rain at speeds you really shoudnt be at and your rear tires let go, your car will try to swap ends really quickly... My TCSless 318 did this on many occations (sometimes deliberately.... ) and at times, I get a lot more out of shape then I ever did in the snow... But, again, since the E90 practically has a super computer monitering every move, it should be ok...

I personally would stay away from AWD if I'm getting a BMW.. There is nothing like steering feed back from a RWD BMW undiluted by torque steer. For me, getting AWD defeats the purpose of getting a BMW. But, that's just MHO....

J
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  #7  
Old 04-09-2005, 06:00 PM
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stewthebassman stewthebassman is offline
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This was my first winter in a RWD since the 70s, and I was a little worried about it...100 mile round trip daily commute, city, highway, country. Kinda wish I'd have bought an XI now. Winter was fun at the beginning, takin goff the DSC and drifting (with great snows, BTW), but by January I was getting sick of waiting for traction to come and get me going.

Gonna get my '98 Jimmy back in road shape and use that next winter on the BAD days. Otherwise, 350 days of the year I'm having a blast in my 325!

Good luck in your new ride, sounds like a blast!!
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2005, 06:10 PM
tacomantt tacomantt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaz
Hogwash.
I beg to differ. I'm sorry that my 30 years of winter driving don't meet your standards. But, please donot call my opinion hogwash because it doesnt conform to yours.

Last edited by tacomantt; 04-09-2005 at 07:40 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2005, 06:39 PM
oldefarms oldefarms is offline
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E 90 330 I

Quote:
Originally Posted by sojer18
Hi, newbie here. Just placed an order for my first BMW and I'm totally pumped!!! I got the E90 330i, Saphire, Nat.Leather w/Pop wd trim, Prem.Pack, NAV w/Sirius. As I live in CT and, we can have some harsh winter weather, I have a few friends who strongly recommended I wait for the xi in Sept. After checking out a few sites, I felt comfortable getting the RWD but, I'd love to know what seasoned owners experiences have been. Can I get by with the all season tires or, will I definitely need snows?

Thanks for any info and I'm sooooo looking forward to my "upgrade".. ..currently driving a '97 VW Golf..

Enjoy the car..I am a white knuckle driver so I opted for the 325 XI..
I strongly suggest 4 snow tires..Nokian Hakapalitas are great !
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  #10  
Old 04-09-2005, 06:39 PM
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Nick325xiT 5spd Nick325xiT 5spd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
I beg to differ. I'm sorry that my 30 years of winter driving don't meet your standards. But, please donot call my opinion hogwash because it doesnt conform to yours.

Based upon your response, you may have driven in only 8" of snow once in your life - where I come from that is just a morning dusting.
Your blanket generalization is absolute bull****. Is that better?

If you want to specify DEEP snow, then I won't disagree with you. Much. However, what you wrote in your original post is hogwash, bull****, or whatever else you'd care to label it.
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  #11  
Old 04-09-2005, 06:51 PM
tacomantt tacomantt is offline
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I thought the fest was an enjoyable curtious place. Seems I found ANOTHER unfriendly board.

I hope the best to you all, but I am off to post in more moderated place.
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  #12  
Old 04-09-2005, 06:56 PM
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Nick325xiT 5spd Nick325xiT 5spd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
I thought the fest was an enjoyable curtious place. Seems I found ANOTHER unfriendly board.

I hope the best to you all, but I am off to post in more moderated place.
[img]images/smilies/wave.gif[/img]
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  #13  
Old 04-09-2005, 07:05 PM
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hmr hmr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
...RWD and snow don't mix (even w/ snow tires)...
Perhaps, HOWEVER, combine those parts and add BMW's traction control+ (DSC), then winter driving in a modern BMW are not a problem.
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  #14  
Old 04-09-2005, 07:12 PM
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hmr hmr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
I thought the fest was an enjoyable curtious place. Seems I found ANOTHER unfriendly board.

I hope the best to you all, but I am off to post in more moderated place.
Nah, don't be silly (and so sensitive). What's that saying? Opinions are as common as a$$holes. It's all good!
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  #15  
Old 04-09-2005, 07:22 PM
tacomantt tacomantt is offline
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Sorry.

Sorry Nick325xiT, Plaz. (I didnt eat much today and was typing first thoughts).
I now have the power of McDonalds in my stomach and I hope you accept my apology.


All I am (was) trying to say is the AWD does make a difference over RWD. With cars made in the 70's (and 80's) RWD was the worst. I remember putting bricks and weight in the trunks to even the load.

With todays traction and stability control, better tires and BMW's 50/50 split, I'd admit, a RWD does handle better than my earlier blanket comparision, but I think an AWD bimmer is the best of both worlds for driving enjoyment and winter slip'n' and slid'in. I hope that makes more sense.


Nick325xiT, it looks like you have a Xi. Any thoughts or comments on winter driving?

Last edited by tacomantt; 04-09-2005 at 07:37 PM.
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  #16  
Old 04-09-2005, 07:37 PM
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JG JG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sojer18
Hi, newbie here. Just placed an order for my first BMW and I'm totally pumped!!! I got the E90 330i, Saphire, Nat.Leather w/Pop wd trim, Prem.Pack, NAV w/Sirius. As I live in CT and, we can have some harsh winter weather, I have a few friends who strongly recommended I wait for the xi in Sept. After checking out a few sites, I felt comfortable getting the RWD but, I'd love to know what seasoned owners experiences have been. Can I get by with the all season tires or, will I definitely need snows?

Thanks for any info and I'm sooooo looking forward to my "upgrade".. ..currently driving a '97 VW Golf..
I have an X3 and a 525i. The 5 did OK in winter with a very cautious approach - and the odd white knuckle drive. I also had a Golf a while back.

The Golf would get you further than E46 or earlier versions - 'if' they both had the same types of tires.

With my X3 - it's a no-brainer. This thing goes anywhere regardless of the snow depth or conditions (We're talking Canada eh!)

I would agree with other posters that the E90 has a lot of advanced systems that will be a large improvement over past 3 models. A good set of snows with your E90 should get you through 90% of winter conditions (you made an excellent choice). Take the other 10% days off and relax at home.

Also the Xi (xDrive) version of the E90 will be much further advanced than the old X technology. I had an XiT wagon for a few months 2 years ago - and it was 'relatively' sweet to drive in winter - but not even in the same stratosphere as my X3 and the newer xDrive system.

Good luck..............I am planning to trade the 5 for a E90 M3 next year, and love everything I have seen about this car.
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Last edited by JG; 04-09-2005 at 07:40 PM.
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  #17  
Old 04-09-2005, 07:38 PM
sojer18 sojer18 is offline
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Thanks to everyone for the input, I really appreciate it! I suppose my decision ultimately came down to an overwhelming desire to drive the 330i over the summer and not wait for the fall. As I said, I did get a bit more comfortable and, after reading the posts above, I'm pretty confident that common sense, good snow tires and the advances in Tech and BMW engineering will enable me to get where I'm goin' with little worries.

I can't wait to get my E90!! Btw, it should be completed by April 12th so, I'm hoping for early/mid May for delivery.....just back from Vacation May 6th and, I can't think of a better way to ease back in to the "everyday".....
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  #18  
Old 04-09-2005, 07:57 PM
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I agree with you.


I have 30 years of NE driving and snows tires are fine.

Last edited by peakpro; 04-09-2005 at 08:01 PM.
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  #19  
Old 04-10-2005, 08:18 AM
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Moderato Moderato is offline
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I'm in CT and I did just fine with Wintersport M3's 225/45/17 all around. The DSC works great for keeping you on the road, and if you have to go up a snowy hill press it once for DTC, just keep in mind that DTC will give you more straight ahead traction, but you will lose the over/understeer protection of DSC. If you have really steep hills that are not plowed and a lot of snow you will do better with the (xi) though. I think it depends on what you want out of the car. If you want the RWD for the rest of the year, then you have to go with the i, if you could care less about that then get the xi.
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  #20  
Old 04-10-2005, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
Sorry.

Sorry Nick325xiT, Plaz. (I didnt eat much today and was typing first thoughts).
I now have the power of McDonalds in my stomach and I hope you accept my apology.


All I am (was) trying to say is the AWD does make a difference over RWD. With cars made in the 70's (and 80's) RWD was the worst. I remember putting bricks and weight in the trunks to even the load.

With todays traction and stability control, better tires and BMW's 50/50 split, I'd admit, a RWD does handle better than my earlier blanket comparision, but I think an AWD bimmer is the best of both worlds for driving enjoyment and winter slip'n' and slid'in. I hope that makes more sense.


Nick325xiT, it looks like you have a Xi. Any thoughts or comments on winter driving?
Whatever, man... you're entitled to your opinion. No need to change it for a silly BBS.

If you're happy with the inherent compromises that come along with the xi to enable you to drive in a foot of snow a couple times a year, more power to you. I'm not.

Basically, when there's so much on the ground that there's a really significant difference between an xi and an i in the mobility department, I'm not going to be driving anyway, since at that point ground clearance becomes a real issue. Especially since my car is slightly lowered, as I really appreciate the feel of as low a center of gravity as possible.

I do not dispute that a snow-tire-equipped AWD vehicle will do much better than the equivalent snow-tire-equipped RWD in equivalent snowy conditions... especially when there are steep hills involved.

What I really don't get, though, is people who buy an AWD vehicle for snow purposes, then run all-season tires. I think there's VERY little advantage to that extreme compromise... especially in the stopping department. My opinion is reinforced with every highway drive in the snow as my snow-tire-equipped 330i passes the tons of A/S-shoed AWD SUVs in the ditches.

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  #21  
Old 04-10-2005, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sojer18
Hi, newbie here. Just placed an order for my first BMW and I'm totally pumped!!! I got the E90 330i, Saphire, Nat.Leather w/Pop wd trim, Prem.Pack, NAV w/Sirius. As I live in CT and, we can have some harsh winter weather, I have a few friends who strongly recommended I wait for the xi in Sept. After checking out a few sites, I felt comfortable getting the RWD but, I'd love to know what seasoned owners experiences have been. Can I get by with the all season tires or, will I definitely need snows?

Thanks for any info and I'm sooooo looking forward to my "upgrade".. ..currently driving a '97 VW Golf..
Hey, I grew up in Norwalk, what a surprise! Live north of there now.

I'd recommend the two wheel drive model, the xi's have too much ground clearance, a less tight turning circle and too much added weight for my tastes.

My 323i is a blast to drive in the snow, in fact, I often turn off the traction control ( I grew up on rear drive V8-engined detroit cars, so to me, no big deal).

I also run snows on separate steel wheels, i've also recently replaced the all season conti's with Kumho summer performance tires.

The Bimmer's nearly ideal weight distribution makes it a fine handling car in snow, imo. Pay no attention to some of the guys here who attempt to drive in snow with summer tires.

Get the rear drive!!!

Ed
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  #22  
Old 04-10-2005, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaz
Hogwash.
Yes, thank you. It's all about traction - put crappy all seasons on an Xi, and you're better off with a rear drive BMW with Blizzaks.

My girlfriend's WRX doesn't stop for **** in the snow, we might get snow tires for it.
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  #23  
Old 04-10-2005, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacomantt
Sorry.

Sorry Nick325xiT, Plaz. (I didnt eat much today and was typing first thoughts).
I now have the power of McDonalds in my stomach and I hope you accept my apology.


All I am (was) trying to say is the AWD does make a difference over RWD. With cars made in the 70's (and 80's) RWD was the worst. I remember putting bricks and weight in the trunks to even the load.

With todays traction and stability control, better tires and BMW's 50/50 split, I'd admit, a RWD does handle better than my earlier blanket comparision, but I think an AWD bimmer is the best of both worlds for driving enjoyment and winter slip'n' and slid'in. I hope that makes more sense.


Nick325xiT, it looks like you have a Xi. Any thoughts or comments on winter driving?
For hilly areas or places that get a lot of snow where the extra ground clearance is needed, I agree with you. A good AWD system is better, even on A/S tires (although snows would be better still). FWIW, the E46 non-xDrive system supposedly wasn't as good as systems like ATTES-A or 4matic. Oh, and Nick got rid of his wagon for an M3.
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  #24  
Old 04-10-2005, 12:37 PM
joema joema is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaz
...I do not dispute that a snow-tire-equipped AWD vehicle will do much better than the equivalent snow-tire-equipped RWD in equivalent snowy conditions...
Car & Driver tested AWD vs 2WD and the relative difference of new technology winter tires. In general they found winter tires made a bigger difference than AWD.

http://tinyurl.com/h8fz

The old view that RWD is bad in winter stems from the old days before traction control and before new technology winter tires were developed. As the above C&D test shows things are very different nowadays.

AWD with winter tires is generally (but not always) better than 2WD with winter tires. The AWD system adds weight and contributes nothing to braking, so in narrow conditions 2WD can be better. See above C&D test for details.

However that's NOT what people generally compare -- they usually choose between AWD with all season tires vs 2WD with winter tires. Given that comparison 2WD with winter tires is often better than AWD with all season tires, simply because new technology winter tires and traction control have improved so much in recent years.
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  #25  
Old 04-10-2005, 03:11 PM
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Bart001 Bart001 is offline
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I too have wrestled with this issue. I drove my E36 for 7 years in Washington DC area weather, swapping out to winter tires. I then drove it for 3 years in Boston area weather.

Then I got a 2004 X3. But I'm not thrilled with the X3 and very likely will have a new car by next winter, hopefully a 550i.


What it comes down to for me is that AWD is really nice to have a few days every year. It's not even close to the 10% a prior poster offered. This year, with 90" of snow in the Boston area, it was probably 4-5 days. I say this is part because when its snowing during commuting hours I have the luxury of working from home and waiting out the weather, leaving early from work, and/or working from a different office that is only 10 miles from my house. (Commuting on the Mass. Pike, Route 128, etc., is so bad during bad winter weather that it doesnt even make sense to go out in it, and turn a 45 minute commute into a 3 hour commute, whether or not my AWD can get me thru the snowy roads.)

If I was in a profession where I absolutely HAD to be able to get somewhere no matter what the weather, or if I had a relative in poor health, or some kind of pressing issue where I needed to guarantee the ability to get out onto bad roads before they are cleared, I would go with AWD again. Absent that, I'm really OK with RWD in Boston winters.
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