Hi Guys, this is my first winter driving my 328Xi. I live in Toronto so we get fair bit snow here. I wanted to know if I should install winter tires or ok to drive my all season tires since the Xi is AWD. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Advice is to get rid of the all-season and get a set of summer tires on stock rims and winter on aftermarket alloys. I did several years in a '95 M3 with that formula. You'll love the handling in the summer and the traction in the winter. Just have to deal with poor handling on the nice winter days. Eventually I grew up and got a summer car and winter SUV, so I can still have fun on nice winter days.
It depends on what your driving needs are. If you're out early and before the plows, you should get winter tires, xDrive or not. If you can wait until the roads have been plowed and treated, you can stay with the all-season tires.
xDrive helps you get going and to maneuver. It does nothing for your ability to stop. That's where tire selection comes into play.
Case in point: Back a few years ago, I was driving my 335xi in October when we had an unexpected bout of freezing rain. As I don't typically put my winter tires on until late November, I was running on new Continental DWS all-season tires with about 500 miles on them. That's about as good as all-seasons are going to get. I was in traffic at an intersection when the light changed to red. I was moving at about 3mph or so, stepped on the brake, and found that I was on glare ice. I slid for about 15 feet at a slow walk, unable to get any stopping traction, or even enough traction to trigger the ABS. As I entered the intersection, my front tires found some pavement and I finally stopped. Longest 3 seconds of my life.
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