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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 05-19-2013, 08:47 AM
BMW Obsession BMW Obsession is offline
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To xDrive Or Not To xDrive. That Is The Question.

I have been looking at getting a 2011 or 2012 535i M Sport with xDrive because of the winter conditions here (I live in Nebraska). The problem with that is it's hard to find very many of these available in the whole US, and also the price is usually higher than what I want to pay.

If I take xDrive out of the equation, there are many more to choose from and also the price is right about what I'd like to pay or less.

Have any of you had experience with both xDrive and two-wheel drive in winter conditions? Will the car get around just fine without xDrive or am I going to need it?

Of course winter tires would be an option, but I don't really want to deal with that at all.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2013, 09:59 AM
solstice solstice is offline
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If you want to feel confident in winter conditions you wiil want winter tires on the RWD. If you don't want to deal with the change I would recommend X-drive even if I'd still recommend winters for stopping power and tire/rim/ride protection on snowy and icy roads.
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2013, 10:04 AM
newsomblair newsomblair is offline
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To xDrive Or Not To xDrive. That Is The Question.

The x-drive critical and handles extremely well in bad conditions...both snow and rain. This is my first car with AWD and winter driving is no longer the terror-inducing experience of my previous RWD car. I would never go back.


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  #4  
Old 05-19-2013, 10:07 AM
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BickUW89 BickUW89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solstice View Post
If you want to feel confident in winter conditions you wiil want winter tires on the RWD. If you don't want to deal with the change I would recommend X-drive even if I'd still recommend winters for stopping power and tire/rim/ride protection on snowy and icy roads.
+1. We have an F10 Xdrive and an E60 RWD. I will always choose the Xdrive when it's snowing, but my E60 RWD is very competent when fitted with dedicated winter tires. I'm running Pirelli SotoZeros, and have been really impressed with them the last two winters
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  #5  
Old 05-19-2013, 10:16 AM
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jimpal jimpal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW Obsession View Post
. . . Have any of you had experience with both xDrive and two-wheel drive in winter conditions? Will the car get around just fine without xDrive or am I going to need it? . . .
Go with xDrive. I live in Minneapolis. I've had a RWD 530i and currently an AWD 535xi here. Since I drive mostly in the well-plowed city, I usually don't have to contend with deep snow so I don't put winters on. The xDrive is truly superior when you are driving up an icy hill which has a bit of snow. No fishtailing or other fuss; the car just trudges on up the hill with its all season tires.
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  #6  
Old 05-19-2013, 10:34 AM
Crzy'boutBimmer Crzy'boutBimmer is offline
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I don't think you know what xDrive really adds to the vehicle - I have done extensive reading in that matter.

Xdrive won't help you stop better or sooner. It will help you go from a stop if you're in slush, ice, snow. It will help you corner better in slipery conditions without fishtailing. It will help you up or down slippery slopes better. For all the rest (including maintaining sport handling and performance in winters), you need winter tires.

People will say that rwd+winters will get the job done, they either have other suvs or awds for ice/snow, or are used to rwd in snow (you need certain skills to straighten a fishtailing) or they dont mind 'settling'with their choice even when dropping big amount of $$.

I, for one, dont qualify for above.
Ask me more if you want, I'll be glad to help. The choice is yours at the end, I am just helping you understand your options.

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Last edited by Crzy'boutBimmer; 05-19-2013 at 10:37 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-19-2013, 10:55 AM
jason60050 jason60050 is offline
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Not...I'm in northwest Chicago suburbs and I do fine with the stock set up of wheels and Goodyear tires. Just my 2 cents. People that have xdrive say u need it and people without xdrive say u don't.
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  #8  
Old 05-19-2013, 01:45 PM
dbs600 dbs600 is offline
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To xDrive Or Not To xDrive. That Is The Question.

I'd like a definitive answer on whether or not xDrive increases the turning radius on either the F10 or F01/02...
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2013, 02:37 PM
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hufington hufington is offline
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I have RWD in NJ and I will be installing a set of dedicated winter tires when it is November. It is still better than XDrive with OEM all season tires. (Although it is not as good as an XDrive with winter tires).
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2013, 02:46 PM
Kar Don Kar Don is offline
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To xDrive Or Not To xDrive. That Is The Question.

Xdrive with all seasons. Yes snows stop better on ice and snow, but for the 98% of the time you're on wet or dry plowed roads in the winter all seasons stop better.


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  #11  
Old 05-19-2013, 04:53 PM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kar Don View Post
Xdrive with all seasons. Yes snows stop better on ice and snow, but for the 98% of the time you're on wet or dry plowed roads in the winter all seasons stop better.


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For all those unexpected foul weather events and there are many of them here in New England, having a X-drive means you will never get caught with your winter tires in the garage when you need them. Snow tires also does nothing for rain and hydroplaning.

Last edited by The X Men; 05-19-2013 at 04:54 PM.
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2013, 05:54 PM
ifnd323 ifnd323 is offline
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XDrive is the only realistic way to put all of the 550's power on the ground, especially in wet or icy conditions. With xDrive the car feels velcroed to the road.
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2013, 09:27 PM
ImolaRedM ImolaRedM is offline
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Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
...Snow tires also does nothing for rain and hydroplaning.
AWD also does nothing for hydroplaning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaplaning) beyond adding extra weight. Tire choice and tread depth will play bigger roles here.

Having grown up in New England and now living in the Pacific North West where mountain passes mean you must carry snow chains even with AWD, I can say there is a huge amount of truth to having the right tire. AWD with summer or all season tires will not match snow tires in cold weather performance.

The rubber compound in winter/snow tires will work better even when the pavement is bare but the temperature drops. Some people may find keeping an extra set of tires and rims to be a PITA but it will extend the life of your warm weather tires and it will save your low profile rims and tires from damage due to winter road conditions (salt and pot holes). Having a set of winter shoes might also make fitting chains an easier task if you live in an area that requires them.

I'm contemplating getting an AWD F10 but it would be a no brainer for me to get a RWD again if I lived in a relatively flat part of the country with well plowed streets. Living on a hill that is 600' elevation at the top and 25' elevation at the bottom, in a part of the country that regularly gets black ice, snow and lots of rain while regularly driving up to 4200' base elevation to ski in the Cascade Mountains has me considering an xDrive. Regardless of what I end up with, I'll still get a set of winter shoes.
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2013, 10:04 PM
schnell525 schnell525 is offline
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My input...I get 120+" of snow on average so my advice is xdrive.

Xdrive is helpful in the rain as well--so it's not just snow/ice only. You should be able to pull from the Great Lakes region for xdrive cars. In areas around the Great Lakes, especially snow-belt areas xdrives are stocked exclusively. RWD's are not stocked. Same with Audi, same with Mercedes.

I run with snow tires as well. It all depends on your driving needs. You get all kinds of weather. It's not going to hurt you--maybe a bit more gas but we really don't hear many problems with the system. After having several BMW's with xdrive, I would not go without it in my area. If I lived in Florida, I'd still get it.
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  #15  
Old 05-20-2013, 04:16 AM
richschneid richschneid is offline
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I have driven RWD V8 Bimmers since 1992. I always used four dedicated winter tires. I was always able to get around but it was frequently difficult. In 2010 when the first xDrive V8 5 series came out I got the first one available. I still use four dedicated winter tires with the xDrive.

There is absolutely no comparison with RWD, especially in snow on a hill. Stopping and turning is not improved in snow with AWD, that requires dedicated winter tires. In Pittsburgh, I find that all season tires are dangerous in the snow. I live on a hill in town near a curve. Every time it snows people crash into the parked cars across the street from my house as they try to negotiate the turn coming down the hill.

If you have the choice and have to drive in snow then xDrive with 4 dedicated winter tires is the only way to go. You won't be sorry.

I have two sets of wheels, 18" wheels with snow tires for the winter, and 19" wheels with dedicated summer tires for the summer. That way I don't have to have the tires remounted and balanced twice a year. The expense is minimal because the tires last twice as long because they are only used for half a year.
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  #16  
Old 05-20-2013, 05:27 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImolaRedM View Post
AWD also does nothing for hydroplaning.


The rubber compound in winter/snow tires will work better even when the pavement is bare but the temperature drops.
Guess what, if the two rear wheels are hydroplaning and fronts are not, AWD can save your life.

The winter rubber compound turns to marshmallow after 40 degrees F.
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  #17  
Old 05-20-2013, 06:57 AM
JKH01 JKH01 is offline
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I happen to live in Nebraska and have a 2012 550 xdrive. No problems at all last winter. My garage is located in downtown Lincoln off an alley that never get's plowed. My previous RWD would be a pain when we got our usual 3-4 inches over the half inch of ice. Like I said no problem with the AWD. I would recommend it living where we do.
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  #18  
Old 05-20-2013, 07:45 AM
ImolaRedM ImolaRedM is offline
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Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
Guess what, if the two rear wheels are hydroplaning and fronts are not...
In a RWD car - you loose forward momentum because your drive wheels are no longer in contact with the pavement. Because hydroplaning is caused by the tires not being able to move water out of the way quickly enough the reduction of speed due to loss of momentum will ultimately allow the tires to catch up again. The front wheels still give you directional control. The result would be a wakeup call to slow down.

In a AWD car - depending on the nature of the center differential or (ABS/traction control) you may still maintain forward momentum and directional control. Warning that you're driving too fast for conditions will be dependent on the vehicle.

However, the front wheels are generally clearing out some of the water for the trailing rear wheels but many cars have a front bias for weight giving the front wheels an advantage.

Look, I get the advantages of AWD but hydroplaning is not one of them unless you're talking about wet road traction (such as trying to go up a hill in wet roads with an FWD). Of all the cars I have owned over the last 20 years, my full time AWD Land Rover Discovery II was more prone to hydroplaning than my other AWD (BMW X5, Toyota Sienna) or RWD (BMW E34, E39, E36/7, or E60) cars. The Land Rover has AWD with traction control and is the heaviest of the bunch but also has oversized tires that are not good at quickly clearing water from the road.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:56 AM
dbs600 dbs600 is offline
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Anyone ever go from non-xDrive to xDrive or from xDrive to non-xDrive on the same model?

I have a 750Li xDrive and the turning radius is terrible. Also have a 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500 (pre-4 Matic) and it can turn on a dime.

Wondering if xDrive increases turning radius, and if so, I'd never get it again (we have two SUV's for the snow)...
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:47 AM
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MoldCAD MoldCAD is online now
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Originally Posted by dbs600 View Post
Wondering if xDrive increases turning radius, and if so, I'd never get it again (we have two SUV's for the snow)...
If by "increasing turning radius" you mean understeering (as opposed to the by-design turning radius specification), then yes - in low speed and extremely slippery conditions (deep snow), xDrive is under-steering and you cannot do much about it (like you can with throttle control on an RWD BMW).

I have recently had to completely change my driving style when replacing my E46 330i with the 528xi, but then I am not after extremely sporty (or silly) drifting as much as I am now after safety and comfort. So - if you are close to 50-60 years old - go xDrive
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  #21  
Old 05-20-2013, 08:48 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Originally Posted by ImolaRedM View Post
In a RWD car - you loose forward momentum because your drive wheels are no longer in contact with the pavement. In a AWD car - depending on the nature of the center differential or (ABS/traction control) you may still maintain forward momentum and directional control. Warning that you're driving too fast for conditions will be dependent on the vehicle.

However, the front wheels are generally clearing out some of the water for the trailing rear wheels but many cars have a front bias for weight giving the front wheels an advantage.
You are just talking about accelaration while hydroplaing. I am talking about the whole driving experience in heavy rain. If all other factors are the same, there is no question that AWD perform much better in heavy rain.
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  #22  
Old 05-20-2013, 10:18 AM
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badblack550xi badblack550xi is offline
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i took the x drive over the RWD because i like to drive in snow =D
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  #23  
Old 05-20-2013, 10:28 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Another added bouns for the X-drive is that you get hydraulic steering instead of electric.
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  #24  
Old 05-20-2013, 11:44 AM
dbs600 dbs600 is offline
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Originally Posted by MoldCAD View Post
If by "increasing turning radius" you mean understeering (as opposed to the by-design turning radius specification).
No, I'm referring to the ability to make a 'narrow' u-turn.

The smaller the turning radius, the better...
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  #25  
Old 05-20-2013, 12:38 PM
Kar Don Kar Don is offline
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Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
Another added bouns for the X-drive is that you get hydraulic steering instead of electric.
Don't see the benefit of the hydraulic steering. Feel is the same... lousy.

I do agree with your additional points of why snow tires aren't all they are cracked up to be. I had a terrible experience with Michelin Pilot Alpin's with hugely increased stopping distances on wet non frozen pavement. For that reason alone I would avoid winter tires. I did later get a set of Dunlop winter sport M3s and was a little more pleased with them, but still my opinion is the same. If the conditions are so bad that you can't get around in the snow on all seasons, you probably shouldn't be driving on the road in the first place... and if you are it shouldn't be in an F10.
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Last edited by Kar Don; 05-20-2013 at 12:39 PM.
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