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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I just bought a 320i 2012 (no X-Drive) yesterday. I have been driving a Honda Accord V6 1999 for the last many years. For sure, it was a huge shift for me in terms of driving when i switched to BMW e.g. RWD vs FWD, V6 Vs V4. However, i am extremely annoyed as well as scared with regards to how BMW handles on snow/ice roads. Incidentally yesterday there was this snowstorm here pouring around 1 - 5 cms of snow and slush. 320i slips in corners even at 5 km/hr, it doesn't reverse in the parking area as the tires start slipping, if i do get it out the parallel parking it dooesn't move forward as the rear tires keep slipping/skidding, it slips on snowy roads from behind if you push the throttle a little from a standing position. Please note i am family person who drives like a normal driver with kids in the back.
Honestly, speaking i am scared to death now driving an almost brand new BMW which is TOTALLY uncontrollable. Especially if its my wife who would be driving it with kids in the back. With all the gizmos on the car i expected the car to drive decently however honestly speaking it's so terrible that i am doubting my decision of buying the car just on the second day. Compared to my old Accord, which could get out of the parking lot even if it has snow soft and hard on all four sides. I can park it on the snow in all angles. Just over the Boxing day there was a heavy snowstorm with at least 45 cm of snow ( a record in many years) and i was easily able to drive(no racing, just slow family driving) the accord and park in areas where there was atleast 10 - 20 cm of snow with more falling. And this accord has no traction control or stuff.

The 320i comes with Dunlop Sport M3 Run Flat(new) tires while the accord had Goodyear Nordics( in their 3 year at the moment)

I write in this forum to get expert advice and guidance from all you Bimmer enthusiasts on how can i EVEN drive the 320i in snow/ice soft/hard which is the case for at least 6 months(remember i live in eastern Canada with 6 months winter at least). Should i change tires, switch on traction, switch on manual etc etc. Any advice will be highly appreciated

regards,

Goof
 

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Two points:

1) A rear wheel drive car with all season tires will not handle nearly as well as a FWD car like the Accord in poor conditions. You have already found this out.

2) Installing winter tires will make a huge difference. There are many threads here on this. A good source is Tire Rack but I am not sure if they do business in Canada.

In the meantime go easy on the throttle and it helps to turn off the traction control in poor conditions. Just press the DTC button. Remember to turn it back on when you hit a dry road. It will come back on automatically the next time you start the car.

Edit: I checked on the tires you mentioned and both are winter tires. I think you need to get used to a RWD car in these conditions or you should have bought the xDrive AWD version. Go to a large empty parking lot and play around with your car to learn how to control it in bad weather conditions.
 

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Yoyo Mama
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You switched to RWD from FWD - that's why you're noticing the difference. Even with BMW's 50/50 weight distribution, RWD is just plain horrible in the snow as compared to your old FWD Honda. Get some snow tires and you will see marked improvement.
 

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GasCompression
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Hello All,

I just bought a 320i 2012 (no X-Drive) yesterday. ... However, i am extremely annoyed as well as scared with regards to how BMW handles on snow/ice roads. Incidentally yesterday there was this snowstorm here pouring around 1 - 5 cms of snow and slush. 320i slips in corners even at 5 km/hr, it doesn't reverse in the parking area as the tires start slipping, if i do get it out the parallel parking it dooesn't move forward as the rear tires keep slipping/skidding, it slips on snowy roads from behind if you push the throttle a little from a standing position. Please note i am family person who drives like a normal driver with kids in the back.
Honestly, speaking i am scared to death now driving an almost brand new BMW which is TOTALLY uncontrollable. Especially if its my wife who would be driving it with kids in the back. With all the gizmos on the car i expected the car to drive decently however honestly speaking it's so terrible that i am doubting my decision of buying the car just on the second day. Compared to my old Accord, which could get out of the parking lot even if it has snow soft and hard on all four sides. ...
The 320i comes with Dunlop Sport M3 Run Flat(new) tires while the accord had Goodyear Nordics( in their 3 year at the moment)

regards,

Goof
RWD is completely different from FWD! :yikes: You must learn to drive the RWD, for example you must learn to steer into the turn as the vehicle starts to slide around a corner. I learned on RWD and the transition to FWD is easier. It is scary because you and your Wife are not used to it but in a couple of weeks it will become second nature.

Two points:

...In the meantime go easy on the throttle and it helps to turn off the traction control in poor conditions. Just press the DTC button. ...
... Go to a large empty parking lot and play around with your car to learn how to control it in bad weather conditions.
I will agree with Michael, go practice in an empty parking lot! :thumbup: I taught all my kids in an empty lot on thier first snowfall with a licence. Once you get over your fear, the other 9 months a year, you will really like the car!
 

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it could be that the tires you have are just not as good for deep snow... maybe just not broken in yet...
i know others around here that don't have that big of a problem with their rwd bmws in the winter, but it takes getting used to when coming from a fwd or awd car.
 

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Freedom isn't free!!
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Did you read my post? His car already has winter tires as did his Accord.
Yes. Notice I posted before your edit.

OP, I am confused. Are you saying the 320i came with Dunlop Sport M3 tires as standard equipment? I did some checking on the BMW Canada website and couldn't find any definitive info. That would seem odd to me. Realizing of course things are different in Canada, BMWs normally come with either all season tires or summer performance tires. It seems unlikely to me that BMW would sell a car with winter tires as standard equipment. That would mean the buyer pretty much would be forced to purchase their own non-winter tires. It is much more likely BMW would sell the car with all season tires that have at least the theoretical ability to be used all year long and leave the choice of whether to buy winter tires up to the buyer.

The tire behavior you describe does not seem to jibe with that of a good quality winter tire and of the few reviews I saw for the Dunlop Sport M3 they get very good marks.

Are you sure the tires are M3/winter tires and not another, all season, version of Dunlop Sport tires?
 

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Flying monkey herder
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one point, the goodyear nordic looks like its a studdable ice & snow tire whereas the M3 is a performance winter.

the latter trades off snow and ice traction for dry road handling.
 

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I have these tires on my car right now.

They are pretty good, but If I was in his location I would select a less sporting tire.

A few weeks ago in 4" of snow on my driveway, right at the peak my car slid back right into a boulder due to ice under the snow. I was less than thrilled.
Yes. Notice I posted before your edit.

OP, I am confused. Are you saying the 320i came with Dunlop Sport M3 tires as standard equipment? I did some checking on the BMW Canada website and couldn't find any definitive info. That would seem odd to me. Realizing of course things are different in Canada, BMWs normally come with either all season tires or summer performance tires. It seems unlikely to me that BMW would sell a car with winter tires as standard equipment. That would mean the buyer pretty much would be forced to purchase their own non-winter tires. It is much more likely BMW would sell the car with all season tires that have at least the theoretical ability to be used all year long and leave the choice of whether to buy winter tires up to the buyer.

The tire behavior you describe does not seem to jibe with that of a good quality winter tire and of the few reviews I saw for the Dunlop Sport M3 they get very good marks.

Are you sure the tires are M3/winter tires and not another, all season, version of Dunlop Sport tires?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone for the input.

So far i gathered the following feedback:

1. Get used to RWD. It will not be as good as FWD in snowy conditions but the experience doesn't need to be as bad as now. This is the most difficult one to swallow considering brand and car's value.
2. Practise in open areas to get a hold of how to manouvre the 320i in various conditions. Is there any online resource or book that one could use as a quick reference for tips/tricks e.g. as one of you mentioned do this when turning etc etc ?
3. Dunlop sport tires might not be the best option considering Eastern Canada's winter condition. A less performance winter tire should be better suited to predominant snow/slush/ice conditions. Any advice here e.g. Good Year Nordic, Mich X-ice or Continental etc ?

Lastly, what about Traction control ? Not sure if i misread in the handbook but it was recommended to activate DTC in snowy conditions. If you could give me some advice also on DSC and DTC especially when parking in/taking out the car from parking lots filled with soft/hard snow and ice.

Thanks again for all your advice. Looking forward to more input.

regards,

Ghufran
 

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OP, don't get too upset. I know how my wife got upset just some weeks ago when she wanted me to come and pick her up in our FWD car, she was totally freaked that car was actually sliding around a bit in a fresh 1" of snow (2.5 cm). Well, I told her (after emergency passed) and will tell you this: there was NO way for me to play on a parking lot in that car on Dunlop Wintersport tires AND any of the nannies ON - you can't spin it out of control. I HAD to switch ALL nannies off in order to get it in a full spin and play with it. Granted, it is a very different frustration when you want a car out of control and it won't do it versus wanting a car in total control and straight line and it is not doing it.

No disrespect to OP, but I bet this is one of the posts somebody will print and slap it on somebody's desk at BMWNA when arguing that there is no need to certify RWD anymore, all cars can and should be AWD.
 

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Thanks everyone for the input.

So far i gathered the following feedback:

1. Get used to RWD. It will not be as good as FWD in snowy conditions but the experience doesn't need to be as bad as now. This is the most difficult one to swallow considering brand and car's value.
2. Practise in open areas to get a hold of how to manouvre the 320i in various conditions. Is there any online resource or book that one could use as a quick reference for tips/tricks e.g. as one of you mentioned do this when turning etc etc ?
3. Dunlop sport tires might not be the best option considering Eastern Canada's winter condition. A less performance winter tire should be better suited to predominant snow/slush/ice conditions. Any advice here e.g. Good Year Nordic, Mich X-ice or Continental etc ?

Lastly, what about Traction control ? Not sure if i misread in the handbook but it was recommended to activate DTC in snowy conditions. If you could give me some advice also on DSC and DTC especially when parking in/taking out the car from parking lots filled with soft/hard snow and ice.

Thanks again for all your advice. Looking forward to more input.

regards,

Ghufran
I have been doing #2 every winter for over 15 years now. Find a big empty obstacle-free parking lot near your house and have fun for an hour on a night when it has snowed a bit. I just get a feel for how the car feels with the tires in slippery conditions. I actually do this more than once a winter with each car. I don't know of any book/article about how to do this.

#3 depends a lot on where you drive most. If you drive mostly in town, you can keep the ones you have as they will do fine once you get used to rwd especially if you have another car(i.e. an suv) you can use for days when you need to drive on unplowed roads. If you drive a lot outside of the city, i would lean more towards a snow/ice tire because the roads in the surrounding areas dont always get back to asphalt once the snow is plowed.

One thing is that because there is no spare tire, if you limit yourself to runflats, they will tend to be performance oriented.

Go to a dedicated tire shop. You might pay a bit more for your tires but they will give you better advice.
 

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Lastly, what about Traction control ? Not sure if i misread in the handbook but it was recommended to activate DTC in snowy conditions. If you could give me some advice also on DSC and DTC especially when parking in/taking out the car from parking lots filled with soft/hard snow and ice.

Thanks again for all your advice. Looking forward to more input.

regards,

Ghufran
Dynamic Traction Control usage can be kind of confusing. When it is fully "on" it will try to completely eliminate any wheel spin at all. By turning it to the first "level" of "off" it will allow a limited amount of wheel spin, which is sometimes needed in snowy and icy conditions to get the car moving.

So, the default condition is that it is fully on and works to completely eliminate wheel spin. Pushing the button to take its control down one notch will cause it to allow a limited amount of wheel spin to help get the car moving.

DTC is a part of the Dynamic Stability Control system. In addition to the DTC element, DSC encompasses the entire stability control system which includes the yaw sensors, speed sensor, steering angle sensors, etc. that work to keep the car from spinning out of control when an extreme maneuver is executed. DSC mitigates the laws of physics, but it does not eliminate them.
 

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Slightly OT, but since we haven't gotten the 320i just yet, can you comment on the motor -- drivability, smoothness, sound?

Hello All,

I just bought a 320i 2012 (no X-Drive) yesterday.
 

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Dynamic Traction Control usage can be kind of confusing. When it is fully "on" it will try to completely eliminate any wheel spin at all. By turning it to the first "level" of "off" it will allow a limited amount of wheel spin, which is sometimes needed in snowy and icy conditions to get the car moving.

So, the default condition is that it is fully on and works to completely eliminate wheel spin. Pushing the button to take its control down one notch will cause it to allow a limited amount of wheel spin to help get the car moving.

DTC is a part of the Dynamic Stability Control system. In addition to the DTC element, DSC encompasses the entire stability control system which includes the yaw sensors, speed sensor, steering angle sensors, etc. that work to keep the car from spinning out of control when an extreme maneuver is executed. DSC mitigates the laws of physics, but it does not eliminate them.
Exactly. My CA told me exactly this when I bought my 328i. A little wheelspin can help in snowy conditions. Full DTC means having to really feather the throttle (or clutch in a MT) to get anywhere in these situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
@Mark: Pardon my understanding, but are you suggesting in the post that with all DTC and DSC etc etc ON the car would not go out of control so i just need to trust it will be fine if the car slips a little when driving OR did you mean the oppositte ?
@tturedraider: what is meant by switching DTC off one-notch. In the 320i i have, it only switches ON or OFF when i push the DSC Off button once.

Does the drive mode like Sport, Eco, Comfort mode have any impact when in such slippery situations ?

I think i am getting a feel of at least how the car drives. I still really need to feel how the car behaves when parked in a snowed parking lot with some ice underneath. How to properly reverse from the parking sport and shift into drive mode. I am struggling with this aspect as the wheels tend to spin and the car stays where its standing. I am trying a new technique, not sure if its corerct. Just change the gear to drive or reverse mode and don't push the throttle what so ever. let the car move back or forward on its own in slow mode just to get the tires rolling... let's see how this works out

Goof
 

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BMW stopped offering an optional LSD in the 3-Series after the E36. Nowadays, the only way to get an LSD is to buy an ///M car. :thumbdwn:
 
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