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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 05-29-2005, 02:34 AM
BEEMERBOY BEEMERBOY is offline
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NON AWD in snow?

I have a '06 330i on order. I previously owned a '99 323 and it sucked big time in the snow. The BMW saleman assured me I would be fine with just snowtires and that I DID NOT need to wait for the XI to be released. Has anyone had problems in the snow with snow tires?
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2005, 02:56 AM
Broken1 Broken1 is offline
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I don't live in a place that it snows, but I can tell you...a rear wheel drive car in the snow...won't be very good at all. Rather wait for the XI - you never know when you might need your car in a snow emergency, and when it doesn't work...

REAR WHEEL DRIVE AND SNOW DO NOT GO!
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  #3  
Old 05-29-2005, 04:53 AM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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  #4  
Old 05-29-2005, 05:29 AM
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Nick325xiT 5spd Nick325xiT 5spd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broken1
I don't live in a place that it snows, but I can tell you...a rear wheel drive car in the snow...won't be very good at all. Rather wait for the XI - you never know when you might need your car in a snow emergency, and when it doesn't work...

REAR WHEEL DRIVE AND SNOW DO NOT GO!
Snow tires makes it work just fine.


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  #5  
Old 05-29-2005, 06:41 AM
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stewthebassman stewthebassman is offline
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Hey Beemerboy,
With all due respect to Nick, who has experienced both forms of traction in a BMW, it depends.

An AWD will be awesome in snow because you have all four wheels working for you instead of having back wheels pushing everything. RWD (or FWD) works fine to a point. I don't know how Salt Lake winters get so maybe it won't be an issue for you.

But when I bought my 325 last May, my salesman assured me RWD was just fine, because I was trying to decide whether to pick up the xi option (my wife had said I should). The first part of the winter was fine, while there was still some ashphalt showing. But as winter dragged on, and snowstorm after snowstorm piled on, the more my RWD became ineffective. It took longer and longer to get started after stopping at red lights or in traffic. My back end was slipping and the car was squiggling back and forth while the car gained momentum. If I didn't disable the DSC the car would just slow down while it tried to straighten up, and then cars behind me would risk hitting me. That whole dance got too tiring for me (check my last couple of posts and you'll see where this went).

This is all with very high quality dealer-installed snow tires.

The one day my wife lent me her X5 I was in hog heaven in the snow.

Anyway, sorry, but my vote is no. If your winters are significant and your mileage is high on a daily basis, there is no choice but the xi.

I will look at the E90 only when the xi becomes available.

Last edited by stewthebassman; 05-29-2005 at 06:43 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-29-2005, 06:43 AM
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Wolf359 Wolf359 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick325xiT 5spd
Snow tires makes it work just fine.
I agree. Of course, the sport package removes some ground clearance but that was never an issue for me. Ice is more problematic but it is so for any car, you just have to be careful with it and disable traction-control if you can't get out of a spot where you parked (Not to be forgotton, it has to be re-enabled afterwards...!). In such a case, swinging back and forth by alternating from reverse to 1st gear can generally get the car out of a low traction position.
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  #7  
Old 05-29-2005, 06:45 AM
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stewthebassman stewthebassman is offline
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The positives of RWD in winter are that once you're under way there is no difference, and the DSC is brilliant at speed. And it can be fun playing rally driver some of the time, RWD is the most fun to drive most of the time.
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  #8  
Old 05-29-2005, 07:06 AM
mikepinkerton mikepinkerton is offline
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How expensive are run-flat, 18", snow tires? Prolly most of the way to an X3 right there

Seriously though, if normal runflats are about $1k (that's what someone here said), special ones for snow would be a mortgage payment.
-Mike
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  #9  
Old 05-29-2005, 07:42 AM
commander_crash commander_crash is offline
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If you do go with just getting snow tires - keep in mind that you do have to take them off and put on regular tires at the end of the winter. And have a place to store them.
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  #10  
Old 05-29-2005, 08:07 AM
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stewthebassman stewthebassman is offline
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In regards to the last two posts...if you can't afford to buy and maintain a BMW, don't do it!
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  #11  
Old 05-29-2005, 08:34 AM
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michelito michelito is offline
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stewthebassman: what brand of snow tires were you running last winter?
I have to say that there's a big difference between different brands/models of snow tires... on my 323i I had Nokian NRW which were great and never left me stranded... when it came time to put snows on my 325ci, I was a bit late in the season and the dealer gave me a great deal on Pirelli 210 Snowsports which are awful: it took me 1h30 to get back home in the first big storm in january, and that's for a 8km run between downtown Montreal and Outremont: I just couldn't get up Atwater/Côte-des-Neiges!!!!
All these years I had been swearing at "dumb" people who go out in storms with all-season tires and get stuck on the hills, and here I was blocking everyone with these tires
I almost ordered Hakkapelita's 4 on the spot...
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  #12  
Old 05-29-2005, 08:42 AM
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Blax Blax is offline
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One thing I always hate hearing is that front wheel drives are better in snow and that BMWs are worse.

The science behind the front wheel drive theory, is that since all the weight of a front wheel drive car is over the front tires, the wheels are pushed harder into the road and hence more traction. Fair enough.

With a 3 series having the same weight on both the front and the back, it does not matter if it was front or rear wheel drive when it came to snow. They would both have the same traction.

Having got that off my chest (ahhhhh) I actually have had for the last 2 winters both a 325xi and a 325i Sport with winter tires (LM-22s). The differences are that most of the time the sport act like a gocart and the xi acts like a 5 series. What I mean by this is that the sport is much less sedate and MUCH more fun. In winter, as we can all expect, the xi definitely does better in snow and ice on the days when we have those conditions, but the rest of the time the sport wins. The snow tires are pretty amazing, but in deeper snow there are bad moments. Also important to consider is that the xi definitely does not look as bad-ass as the regular sport. The extra height and the wheels make it look more sedate. I think this has changed with the e90, but my e46 xi was 2 inches higher than my e46i.

I don't think any of us know yet the cost for winter tires with the run flats for the upcoming winter season, but I don't think they are going to be cheap.

My suggestion to you would be to decide how many snow or ice days (before they clean up the roads with salt etc) you have. Here in Philly the number is about 5, so it's not really worth getting the xi. But where you live I assume there are more snow days and I'd be with you if you decided on the xi. I was checking out the 5 series x wagon the other day thinking it looked pretty sweet. Good luck!

(also, I always love it when Nick posts those photos...those wheels are awesome. Nick what are they again?)
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  #13  
Old 05-29-2005, 08:56 AM
mikepinkerton mikepinkerton is offline
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Just because I can afford a bmw doesn't mean I want to pay an extra $2k to drive it in the snow. I don't see how "you must not be able to afford it" is an answer at all. *boggles*

If you've got so much extra money you're willing to throw away, i've got this pretty bridge to sell you. I'll even throw in regular paintings and snow tires.

-Mike
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  #14  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:00 AM
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Mr. The Edge Mr. The Edge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepinkerton
How expensive are run-flat, 18", snow tires? Prolly most of the way to an X3 right there

Seriously though, if normal runflats are about $1k (that's what someone here said), special ones for snow would be a mortgage payment.
-Mike
but who would be dumb enough to buy 18" snow tires, much less 18" runflat snow tires?

Just get 17" snow tires and wheels.
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  #15  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:03 AM
icedragon icedragon is offline
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If you really want to feel safe in the winter, get both the xi and snow tires
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  #16  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:09 AM
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stewthebassman stewthebassman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelito
stewthebassman: what brand of snow tires were you running last winter?
I have to say that there's a big difference between different brands/models of snow tires... on my 323i I had Nokian NRW which were great and never left me stranded... when it came time to put snows on my 325ci, I was a bit late in the season and the dealer gave me a great deal on Pirelli 210 Snowsports which are awful: it took me 1h30 to get back home in the first big storm in january, and that's for a 8km run between downtown Montreal and Outremont: I just couldn't get up Atwater/Côte-des-Neiges!!!!
All these years I had been swearing at "dumb" people who go out in storms with all-season tires and get stuck on the hills, and here I was blocking everyone with these tires
I almost ordered Hakkapelita's 4 on the spot...

I think those were the tires I bought, and they wre no deal let me tell you. I chose that particular type because I had read on tirerack that they were good on the highway too. Lots and lots of my ride is on the 40, and much of the winter it is clear, so i just couldn't bring myself to run squishy winters on the highway 90 percent of the time...winter tires diminish the feel badly enough...

At the Hippodrome drive event 2 weeks ago I was chatting with a city guy driving an X5 4.4. He said he bought it a couple of years ago after having the EXACT SAME PROBLEM as you in the same place in his 3 series!!! LOL, don't you love our town in winter?

On my '94 Saan 900 and 2000 9-3 I believe I had installed some variant of Nokians, they were very good (although the torque steer wasn't).

I think for my drive going AWD with Blizzaks or Nokians will be the only solution. I'll get an impact wrench and when the weather turns bad I'll change from All Seasons to squishy winters the night before a storm...and then back when the streets are clear!!!???

Last edited by stewthebassman; 05-29-2005 at 09:21 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #17  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:11 AM
piratelife piratelife is offline
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I live in Chicago and have driven two winter's with all seasons on the car. I have the sport package and I have had little trouble. The only problem is stopping, it take longer to stop. I will throw some snow's on this year and see what the difference is, but you should be fine. It also depends on your comfort level with snow. Someone from the South that has not driven in the snow a lot would probably want the AWD. Someone who has driven in the snow might be ok with RWD. No offense to those from the South or anywhere else for that matter. I like RWD, but if the winter season lasted much longer I would opt for AWD. One more note, the past two winters have not been that bad and the raod crews do a great job IMO. Happy hunting.
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  #18  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:19 AM
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stewthebassman stewthebassman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepinkerton
Just because I can afford a bmw doesn't mean I want to pay an extra $2k to drive it in the snow. I don't see how "you must not be able to afford it" is an answer at all. *boggles*

If you've got so much extra money you're willing to throw away, i've got this pretty bridge to sell you. I'll even throw in regular paintings and snow tires.

-Mike

You don't have to pay all the extra money to drive it in the snow...just leave it in the garage and take the bus, that's cheaper. Seriously, BMW gives you run flats, so suck it up and buy their technology. I have an X5 that requires big expensive snow tires. If I want to mount them on seperate rims I have to buy $3500 worth of new alloy wheels, 'cause they don't make steel wheels for X5s. If I don't buy snow tires the X5 slips all over the place in winter and the DSC is firing all the time. Now I have to go change my brake pads every week because I'm saving on tires. That's the price of Bimmer technology. It's a well known fact that Bimmers aren't cheap to run.

I didn't want all the extra cost on a second BMW. So itraded my 325 in for a Subaru, I don't have all that extra money to throw away either.


By the way piratelife, welcome aboard matey, to a great forum!

Last edited by stewthebassman; 05-29-2005 at 09:23 AM.
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  #19  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:33 AM
KingLemmiwinks KingLemmiwinks is offline
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Steep inclines

Another important point are inclines/hills if they are steep enough a RWD with snows will not go were as an AWD with allseasons will go.
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  #20  
Old 05-29-2005, 09:35 AM
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stewthebassman stewthebassman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepinkerton
If you've got so much extra money you're willing to throw away, i've got this pretty bridge to sell you. I'll even throw in regular paintings and snow tires.

-Mike

Us Canadians don't get American Historical Reference Clichés, which bridge and paintings are you referring to?
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  #21  
Old 05-29-2005, 10:02 AM
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Jim H Jim H is offline
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I have a 325i w/sport package, and in the winter I have Blizzak LM-22s in the standard 225/45-17 size. I'll put my car up against my wife's X5 with all seasons on it any day, with the exception of DEEP snow, which is simply a ground clearance issue. Otherwise, it handles great, and I can get anywhere I want to. If I lived in an area with even more snow than we get here, I'd probably opt for tires like the Blizzak WS-50s, which are even better in snow than my LM-22s, although I'd lose the dry pavement performance. Obviously, your choices with runflats will be more limited.

In short, RWD is just fine in snow with the proper tires.

Note: When you switch tires, make sure you note which ones were on which corner so as to put them back on the correct locations next time. Also, store them on their sides, stacked, not standing up or they'll get flat spots. Also, do not stack them on concrete b/c it saps moisture--it's better to place a small sheet of plywood underneath. I wrap my tires in plastic bags as well for protection, and I also give them a good cleaning (wheels and tires) before storage.
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  #22  
Old 05-29-2005, 11:00 AM
Metallic Metallic is offline
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The only difference for me is AWD models are much easier to get moving at first place, RWD models often have a hard time to move. But once you are in motion, RWD with snow tires is just fine. Just my own experience.
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  #23  
Old 05-29-2005, 12:02 PM
Gator6 Gator6 is offline
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Maybe I'm special

I drive a 1996 BMW 328iC year-round with (sad to say) 15" rims and Pirelli P6000s (summer performance) tires on them. This car has no DSC.

I have lived in Germany through one winter, and I've made it through 4 Michigan winters without much of a problem. I've gotten stuck once or twice trying to make it into my drive way (probably in 6-12" of snow) but nothing I couldn't self-recover out of with a little revs and a little steering. Otherwise it's been pretty smooth sailing. OK, maybe a little sliding but never lost control - maybe I just know how to drive for conditions.

I've debated buying snow skins and never get around to it. I want to replace the 96 with a new 330i SP. I've debated waiting for the X but I know I won't be able to get that with SP.

As for Mr Mikepinkerton - you don't have to buy 18" snow skins.

But I guess I don't know the answer to this - if you do get snow tires do you have to buy run flats for this car? I'm willing to risk traveling without a spare for 2-3 months.
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  #24  
Old 05-29-2005, 12:56 PM
DuckofPrey DuckofPrey is offline
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It really depends on how comfortable you are at controling a car at the edge of traction, and most importantly, how good your city is at clearing snow. I live in Toronto, and we get a LOT of snow. Natually, city of Toronto is really good at clearing snow as soon as it comes down. My car is a 97 318 (no traction control) and I have a set of mostly worn all seasons, but still I never lost control in any weather. (well, never lost complete control would be more accurate... ) I got stuck once, mostly because a snow plow boxed me in and there were times when my passengers went when I had to countersteer. But, my car is still scratchless.

However, it must be emphasized that driving my car in deep snow is a hairy business. I can do it mostly because Toronto is really good at clearing snow. If I were in a city that was less efficient, I would need a AWD vehicle. I can the risk and drive a RWD car, but, just like everything else, my luck will eventually run out...

Nonetheless, I'm still reluctant to buy a AWD BMW. Yes I know how car-like the BMW SUVs (sorry, SAVs ) are, but there is no subsititude to the steering feel of a RWD set up. Buying a AWD BMW, IMHO, defeats the purpose of spending the money for the Ultimate Driving Machine. My choice would be to get a AWD winter beater.

Just me 0.02

J
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  #25  
Old 05-29-2005, 04:12 PM
equ equ is offline
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Having been a ski bum for a month in SLC, I'd say it depends.

Drive both, see if you notice sth you don't like about the xi's. I personally hated how they turned and their suspension setup. If you don't notice/care about this, then problem solved - though you may become a more 'in tune' driver with time and regret but then you can always change. It's nearly impossible to make an xi feel like an i/ci with mods. An i/ci can be a good but not great car in the snow, great braking and handling with the right tires. I recommend this set up to almost everyone in the NE. It can handle anything but going up a steep incline with deep snow.

However, if you're one of those wanting to go up Cottonwood Canyon on a dumping day, you're not going to make it with i/ci. Get an audi or a subaru.
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