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  #1  
Old 09-26-2014, 10:14 PM
Legalian Legalian is offline
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Winter set up or just good all season on 2011 328i xdrive

I live in the Washington DC area. We tend not to get a lot of snow, but I do have to drive through the mountains to get to Pittsburgh and North Ohio. But this is probably just maybe half a dozen times in the winter.

I currently have the the original Conti Procontact run flats. I hear RFT's aren't the best in the winter and I also feel every bump in them. Should I leave these on and get a winter wheel and tire set up, or should I just get a good all season tire. I hear good things about the Conti Extreme Contact DWS non run flats. If I go all season what would be the best for getting through the winter.

I have gone through some posts about winter tires but they tend to be people in heavy snow areas. Thought I would ask for us people not in the West or South but not quite in the north.

Thanks

Oh I have 17" wheels on there now but was thinking of getting 18" wheels as well if I go with new all season tires.
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2014, 11:48 PM
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rdkind62 rdkind62 is online now
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This all boils down to personal preference. Some prefer dedicated summer and winter sets (that is what I have now on a RWD). Others say that since you have AWD there is no need for a dedicated set of winter tires. One thing to keep in mind is that by running All Season tires you are not getting the best performance out of either the summer part or the winter part because it is a compromise. I would say decide what your preference is between dedicated or all season and then begin your search there. Also, non runflats are generally going to give you a softer ride in either case.
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2014, 12:01 AM
cegledi cegledi is offline
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I think rdkind is spot on. However, because you have all season tires and xDrive you are mixing the best of both worlds. I live in Europe now (still have a house in NOVA) and they barely know what all season tires are around here. The options are summer tires and winter tires so they pay for the ability to enjoy your drive in the summer to how it was meant to be driven and then control your car in the winter the way you should be able to.

I might become one of those people and just pony up the extra dough having two sets of rims/tires. Just my opinion.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:29 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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I use winters on my xDrive, which is now on it's second set. I'm on the road before the plows a lot. A/S tires don't cut it in building snow, and they have zero value on glare ice (true winter tires aren't great on ice either, but at least they don't suck). I tried AWD and A/S for a while on my 4mo Passat, tried winter tires one year, then never looked back.

Depends if you can wait for the plows. If you can, then a lot of people do well on A/S. If you need to go when you need to go, snow tires may be the better choice.
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  #5  
Old 09-27-2014, 04:05 AM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legalian View Post
...I hear RFT's aren't the best in the winter and I also feel every bump in them...
I hate it when I see statements like this. There are great RFT snow tires out there; as good as any go-flat performance snow tire. It's not RFT's that are the problem, it's the fact that they're not winter tires.

If you like to stop and steer on snow/ice in addition to accelerating, get snow tires. Simple as that.

Do you know what the "industry" standard for "all-season" tires is? 25% of the tread area must be open, and there must be openings to the side. That's it; nothing about rubber compounds, self-clearing tread patterns, sipes, etc. It's not really performance-based at all.
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:04 AM
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3284me 3284me is offline
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81,000 miles and no issues in the winter time with all seasons and awd.
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  #7  
Old 09-27-2014, 05:39 AM
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Bob Shiftright Bob Shiftright is offline
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I have sets of mounted winter tires for the BMW, my old beater Volvo and my daughter's Honda. Not my wife's car -- she worked for the gov't and they would shut down until just about every snowflake had been removed from the roads.

We probably don't get much more snow here at the Jersey Shore than the DC area. When I worked in DC a few (many) years ago, they had already pioneered the concept of solar-powered snow removal. The city to be seemed incapable of plowing snow. If I still lived there, I'd probably buy a set just for local use.

I got into the snow tire habit when I was commuting to Chicago and needed to catch a 6:10 AM flight. Traction is a lot more pleasant than 4 wheel drifts at least at 4-5AM.

(My BMW's winter tires are runflat Dunlops, BTW.)
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  #8  
Old 09-27-2014, 09:54 AM
Legalian Legalian is offline
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All good points. To Floydarogers, when I said RFT's aren't great in the winter, I meant non winter RFT's. I realize they now make dedicated winter RFT's. I also agree that this city shuts down with over 2 inches of snow. I actually take the metro to work and don't drive on a daily basis. Mostly errands and fun short drives on the weekends. It's really just the trips to see family farther north in the winter that raise the concern.

Seems the most popular winter tires seem to be Blizzaks, Alpins, and Sottezeros.
If I stay with all season any other recommendations besides the Conti ExtremeContact DWS?

I'm just driving around town. Lots of traffic here with lots of potholes. I'm not pushing my car to the extent of its abilities. Just want a fun, safe, comfortable ride. Appreciate all the advice.
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  #9  
Old 09-27-2014, 11:20 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legalian View Post
Seems the most popular winter tires seem to be Blizzaks, Alpins, and Sottezeros.
If I stay with all season any other recommendations besides the Conti ExtremeContact DWS?
Lots of people love the DWS. I run them as my 9-months-of-the-year tire and I'm on my second set (the tire insurance would only replace kind-in-kind after I bubbled two on a huge pothole).

That being said, I'm not really a fan of them. I would be on something else right now except for the above mentioned insurance requirement.

They're noisy and they're not really that good in more than an inch or two of snow. On ice, they're useless. I got caught out 2 years ago in a quick moving storm a week before I had my Blizzak WS winter tires mounted. Crawling at a light, tried to stop on some glare ice while going slower than a walk (so, 1 - 2 mph). Locked all 4 wheels as soon as I touched the brakes, and they didn't start rolling again until I had slid better than 2 car lengths and found some wet pavement.
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2014, 03:26 PM
WannabeX5 WannabeX5 is offline
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^What he said in regards to the DWS. I don't understand the rave on this forum for that tire. From all my experiences it is mushy and doesn't perform that well for 'ultra high performance' nor does it really work in the winter. So either people have really low standards for tires or they have never tried a BMW on a set of snows or summers.

Here is my suggestion if your serious about tires and don't mind spending a tiny bit extra. I know DC has a bit of an off and on type winter. Beautiful and warm some days, feet of snow others.

For summer, ditch your Continental ContiProDeath pieces of crap. That tire isn't even sold in Europe as it doesn't meet their tire standards. Loud, noisey, handle like crap, and it is ugly. Get yourself a dedicated set of summer tires. Nokian Z-Line, Pirelli, Continental ContiSportContact (really good tire) or something a long those lines. Hell, you could even do an america style all season if you want to go that route. Michelin Pilot Sport AS3 is a good option. Just do NOT run it in the winter. They turn rock solid.
Nokian Z-Line

Continental ContiSportContact 5 SSR

Pirelli Cintarro P7

Michelin Pilot Sport AS3


But for winter, get yourself a set of 16" wheels from an E90, and get a tire like the Nokian WRG3. We run this tire on our X5. Handles phenomenally in the winter as it is winter rated and has the extreme weather snowflake symbol on the side, and does surprisingly well when the weather warms up on those brief nice days in DC. It is designed to be a 'european all weather' tire. It actually has standards to meet to be suitable for winter such as compounds and siping etc. So it is a fantastic winter tire that doesn't get affected as much by warm weather. That way you can use it for climbing up into the mountains to go skiing or if the weather gets nasty. Really cool tire. There are actually a LOT of tires like this sold in Europe (where they have standards) that we don't get here. Winter rated rubber that actually IS appropriate for all seasons. Discount tire can now get them if you ask, otherwise check out tirebyweb.com



BTW this is the junk you have on your car currently. Just look at the way it is designed compared to what I listed above.
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Last edited by WannabeX5; 09-27-2014 at 03:29 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-27-2014, 04:40 PM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is offline
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Go with the all seasons. You're not driving enough in winter conditions to warrant the expense of winer tires.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2014, 06:15 PM
Legalian Legalian is offline
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Well the divergence in opinions is amazing. WannabeX5 thanks for the schooling on the tires. I'll look into it. But I have to say, I could care less what my tires actually look like. Comfort of ride and ability to stay on the road are high on the list. Can't say I even notice road noise much since I always have the radio/ipod on. I currently have a set of 17" wheels and wanted to put all seasons on 18" wheels. Definitely don't think I want to buy another set of 16" wheels despite them being better in snow. But I guess I'll look at some other tires. Interesting to see the rave reviews of the DWS's and the fervent haters of them. I definitely have to worry about pot holes around here so don't want to blow out a tire. Although in 23 years of driving I've only had one flat tire.
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  #13  
Old 09-27-2014, 06:31 PM
WannabeX5 WannabeX5 is offline
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My main point with looks is that you can learn a lot about a tire from its' design. The siping, tread blocks, material, directional tread etc. There are even these tiny little bumps in certain tires that add a very small weight to the tire to offset noise and make it quieter. Tire technology is incredibly immense when you look at it from a very micro level.

I think if you are planning on getting A/S tires for 18s then you should just buy a dedicated winter tire, or even a winter rated tire like the WRG3 for your 17s. They will perform much more effectively than the Continentals you have currently in not just snowy conditions, but cold and wet conditions where that different rubber design remains plyable and won't freeze.

Look into an alpine style winter tire. Not quite as intense as a Nordic style tire such as the Blizzak WS70 but will provide you with increased performance in the situations I listed above. Michelin Alpine PA4, Blizzak LM60 or Pirelli Sottozero 3 are all fantastic examples.
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  #14  
Old 09-27-2014, 06:53 PM
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galahad05 galahad05 is offline
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Ha, I have actually had two of the three winter performance tires Wannabe mentioned.
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  #15  
Old 09-27-2014, 07:12 PM
AA717driver AA717driver is offline
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My $.02... First winter with my xdrive 328 wagon with all season Conti's. Indiana had a crappy winter with lots of snow. The tires worked really well. I've had summer/winter combos before, usually with Blizzaks on Lexus sedans which worked really well.

I took a wait and see with the 328. I now have no intention of switching. Until the Conti's wear down, I'm going to stick with them.

Disclaimer--I mashed down the snow in my driveway with my RX300 with A/T Yoko's and the county failed to build the usual three foot snow berm in front of my driveway with their 6-by snow plow... So, the Bimmer had it relatively easy. But the traction was great with the all seasons.

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  #16  
Old 09-27-2014, 09:53 PM
jiveturky1 jiveturky1 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legalian View Post
Seems the most popular winter tires seem to be Blizzaks, Alpins, and Sottezeros.
If I stay with all season any other recommendations besides the Conti ExtremeContact DWS?

I'm getting a set of Michelin Pilot Sport AS3 mounted on Monday. You might want to look into those.

I have an xi and drove many winters in Chicago and Milwaukee without snow tires. The plowing was usually good enough and the AWD made up the difference. That doesn't address your issue of unplowed mountains though. If that's a big part of your driving life, I hope you invest in a set of winter wheels. Better to be safe.

On my wife's FWD car, it's one set of wheels with all seasons, and a separate set of steel wheels with snow tires.

-T
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  #17  
Old 09-27-2014, 10:11 PM
wilt wilt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legalian View Post
Thought I would ask for us people not in the West or South but not quite in the north.
Just had to dispel the apparent stereotype about living 'in the West' vs. Washington DC...
  • Folks in Oregon and Washinton State both would tell you their weather conditions not that dissimilar from what you experience.
  • Although I live close to the ocean, in being in the SF Bay area, tens of thousands of us drive 4-5 hours to the East to get to the Olympics quality slopes of Squaw Valley and the many other alpine skiing resorts that surround Lake Tahoe.
  • Don't forget about the folks living in Reno NV are 'in the west' and are quite accustomed to dealing with snow, and they drive a short distance east to the Sierra ski areas or to Mt. Rose to ski.
  • Utah and Colorado are both quite reknown snowy areas with famous ski resorts, and are most certainly located 'in the West'!


Last edited by wilt; 09-27-2014 at 10:15 PM.
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  #18  
Old 09-28-2014, 05:11 AM
roadkillrob roadkillrob is offline
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All season tires where something invented for convenience since people didn't like the extra cost/work inconvenience of changing their tires. Basically all season tires are just marginal in all scenarios (except maybe cool wet weather). Full summer tires perform better in all cases in warm weather and full snows are infinitely better in cold and snow - there is really no comparison, a RWD with snows will out perform an XI on all seasons no problem - the XI doesn't make up for the poor traction of an all season tire.

That being said, in DC you are probably fine with the all seasons as you don't see snow like we do here in the north east, but the rubber compound is make for cold weather and traction is a lot better even on bare dry cold pavement, where an all season will get quite hard in the cold and loose traction.
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  #19  
Old 09-28-2014, 05:59 AM
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bwillia bwillia is offline
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I had a 328xi here in Colorado and I can tell you from experience that they weren't good enough in the winter. I purchased a dedicated set of ContiWinterContacts on wheels and that made a night and day difference in the snow and ice performance of the car.
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  #20  
Old 09-28-2014, 06:19 AM
Wongway Wongway is online now
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People seem to like being willfully ignorant when it comes to tires. Frankly don't understand the BS reasoning of 'extra cost' regarding their BMW either. You paid for a BMW, so take care of it and take care of your own life, if not the others on the road with you.

Xdrive means jack when it comes to stopping. Its even in the name, "all wheel drive"
Your traction is purely based on whether that rubber stays compliant enough to maintain grip. When that temperature drops, you're putting your life in the hands of frozen rubber. How many all season tires do you see have all those cuts (siping) built into the tread blocks to help evacuate more snow so the tire can find grip? (siping is all over that pic of the Nokian WRG3)
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  #21  
Old 09-28-2014, 07:33 AM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AA717driver View Post
My $.02... First winter with my xdrive 328 wagon with all season Conti's. Indiana had a crappy winter with lots of snow. The tires worked really well. ...

I took a wait and see with the 328. I now have no intention of switching. Until the Conti's wear down, I'm going to stick with them. ...
I think that's a reasonable approach; I did the same on my '01 330xi with the OEM Contis. Later put on Michelin Pilot Sport when they were too worn to be of use in the snow - that was a very good tire. After they wore out, killer tire was Michelin xIce.

We will probably run the Conti SSR that came on my wife's 328d xDrive this winter.

But, big caveat: you've got to be prepared to stay home if the no-seasons aren't adequate for the existing conditions. And that includes staying safe from crazies that don't know how to drive in the snow, abandoning their cars in the middle of the roads, steep hills too dangerous to come down safely (note DOWN, not UP), etc.

Sorry, OP, all us west coasters have chimed in, too.
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  #22  
Old 09-28-2014, 08:52 AM
Tom K. Tom K. is offline
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I'm about 10 miles north of the White House and did the summer~winter thing for a number of years on my RWD E46 328i. With the miniscule amount of snow we normally get (last winter was the exception), I switched over to A/S tires years ago with few problems. While I did not drive the Conti DWS in much snow, I felt the performance - other than a slight "mushy" feel on initial turn in - was superior to the OEM summer RFTs on my ZSP 128i, and the ones on my wife's Ford Fusion are working very well, including in light snow.

Two RFT A/S tires you might investigate are the new Bridgestone Drive Guard and (for better wet/dry performance) their A/S Potenza 960. The only reason I haven't replaced the RFT Bridgestone EL 42 tires which came on my 328i wagon is that they are still only half worn at 30,000 miles, but a set of 960s will probably be mounted next year. Note - I am not recommending the EL42 as they are marginal in the wet and overpriced, but they do ride decently and wear like iron.

Also, I see no advantage (other than looks) to scrapping your 17' wheels for a larger size.

Tom
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:15 PM
Legalian Legalian is offline
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Ok so I have decided on some 18" Ultra Knight wheels and going to go with All Seasons. If it gets to bad I'll replace the conti's on my factory 17' wheels.
http://www.ultrawheel.com/ultra-whee...7&cat=1140&s=0

Now that I'm not looking for winter tires. What are people's best recommendation for A/s tires. Above I have seen people mention Michelin Pilot Sport, Nokian WRg3, Bridgestone Driveguard and Bridgestone Potenza 960.

Any further thoughts. You guys have been super helpful in directing me so far.
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  #24  
Old 09-28-2014, 10:34 PM
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rdkind62 rdkind62 is online now
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  #25  
Old Yesterday, 04:06 AM
ramblinman ramblinman is offline
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I have lived most of my life in DC, but I went to college in Pittsburgh. In between you have a pretty snowy belt. All seasons are fine in the DC area, since mostly what you will get is packed snow and ice. You can get very deep snows in DC, rarely 2 feet or more. At that depth your biggest problem won't be the tires, but limited ground clearance for your BMW. The snow will clog the undercarriage and you'll lose traction as the snow lifts the car off the ground. Only a big SUV will get through that kind of depth. On hard packed snow and ice, you are better off with all season tires, because the tread will grip the small irregularities on the surface better than the open tread blocks on what used to be called snow tires. In loose snow, the reverse is true.

Pittsburgh and the areas to the east of it will regularly get deeper snow. If you have a half a dozen trips in the winter to W/PA, I would get winter tires.

Do not get 18"' wheels. You run a greater risk of wheel damage from hitting a pothole, since you will have less sidewall between the rim and the road. You want a smaller contact patch where possible so that you have more weight on the patch to give you better grip on slippery roads.

I have a sport suspension with 18" summer tires. I have had to replace both front tires and true one wheel due to pothole damage in the spring/summer. I switch to cheap 17" wheels and winter tires for the winter. If the rim gets damaged, I'll just buy a new wheel. I have an older set of Blizzak LM-22s. They are noisy, but they grip well in bad weather. The stock wheels and tires are not drivable in snow and ice. They have very little grip. The winter tires do not grip that well on dry pavement. I can feel the back end slide a bit sometimes, if I accelerate quickly from a standing stop into a turn. Although the summer tires lose grip in colder weather, they seem to do better than the winter tires even in colder weather, at least for the way I drive.
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