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Ultimate AWD Sports Sedans

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  • I have been on this thread and posted before regarding AWD, and still am unsure which way I am going to go. Regardless, my ? is this. I have heard from 2 different 3 series RWD owners that the RWD sucks in icy/bad weather (I live in NYC area), so if I go BMW, I am going xi. I test drove a CLK350 RWD in the rain and didn't feel confident in its traction. Can anyone enlighten me as to the MB 4matic system? Is it dramatically better than the RWD version regarding traction etc? In poor weather, I am a smart, conservative driver. Tnx. Keith
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    This discussion migrates from forum to forum...

    Here's the bottom line. We're not talking about the track, We're not talking about glass-smooth autobahns with nice sweeping s-curves, and we're not talking about how full your testosterone tank is.

    What we're talking about here is nasty wet puddles, more than 2" of snow with some ice beneath perhaps, gravel and sand on the road in a curve and more unstable conditions...basically challenging REAL-LIFE road conditions that would put ANY car into a perilous situation, anywhere.

    I don't care how far out you can swing your rear end in a decreasing radius curve and still recover when the conditions are perfect.

    With AWD at it's current technological level and the ever-developing advances being made, there is NO QUESTION that AWD is safer. Period. End of discussion. This is not a discussion of whether it can be flogged harder, it is a question of whether it saves lives. And with the 335xi with 300 hp, it can definitely be driven plenty hard with gobs of fun. This is only one example of many vehicles with lots of oomph, and many others are much more powerful.

    For all you RWD motor-heads, my final comment will be when I drive my AWD to your final resting place and place the wreath on your casket.

    I sincerely hope this never happens to any of us. Use common sense when you drive, and look out for the other guy, even on the track.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "For all you RWD motor-heads, my final comment will be when I drive my AWD to your final resting place and place the wreath on your casket."

    That kind of rhetoric doesn't help further your arguments or anybody else's for that matter. Like it or not, your all-season shod "xi" model will actually be less safe in snow, rain, sleet and ice (or any combination thereof) than a RWD "i" model with a good set of winter tires mounted. Don't believe me? No problem. There have now been at least two different studies done since 2000 that have taken two otherwise identical cars, one with RWD and the other with AWD, and compared them back-to-back (IIRC, the first test used two Mercedes E-Class cars, and the other used two Chrysler 300Cs), and in both cases, the RWD car with winter rubber was able to brake and turn better than the AWD car with all-season rubber.

    If you really want to walk your talk, you need to opt for winter rubber on your "xi", otherwise it might just be you that has the problems out there on the roads when the snow flies.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    I have been on this thread and posted before regarding AWD, and still am unsure which way I am going to go. Regardless, my ? is this. I have heard from 2 different 3 series RWD owners that the RWD sucks in icy/bad weather (I live in NYC area), so if I go BMW, I am going xi. I test drove a CLK350 RWD in the rain and didn't feel confident in its traction.

    What you need are snow tires! If you try and scrape by with all seasons you won't have the grip in the ice and snow and snow tires themselves vary by quite a lot. I've driven a lot of RWD cars and as long as they have good snow tires you will be fine!
    Oh and I drive a Subaru WRX and I still run snow tires on it. If I didn't I wouldn't go very far. You mostly get slush down in NYC. If you lived up much further Mass, NH, VT, Upper New York State. You'd need snow tires.
    AWD is great in my Subie, but no way would I get an AWD BMW, too much compromise compared to performance. I drove a Miata with Nokian snow tires in the winter and that's a very light RWD car and it went better than most SUV's!
    Tires make the difference in the snow. Yes if you see a LOT of hills with Snow and Ice then you need better snow tires, but AWD does not enhance the performance of a BMW.
    Rain is different and again correctable with good tires but summer tires with good rain handling ability. Forget the cheap crap tires they sell you with the car. Runflats are awful anyway.
    If you really feel you need a decent AWD system then it's Audi or Subaru. Big $$$$$ for the Audi Quattro system and a Subie is very reasonable.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    There have now been at least two different studies done since 2000 that have taken two otherwise identical cars, one with RWD and the other with AWD, and compared them back-to-back.

    If you really want to walk your talk, you need to opt for winter rubber on your "xi", otherwise it might just be you that has the problems out there on the roads when the snow flies.

    Shipo, I highly respect your knowledge and direction. The xi option is just one way to get better traction and tires are the most important because that's where it all happens. AWD will do no good with crappy rubber...and some AS tires are real junk. IOW, AWD is NOT a panaceas.

    As I've pointed out ad-nauseam, AWD tech will keep improving to the point where the benefit in performance without detracting from chassis balance/steering feel will be a given. We're a long way from that at this point in time.

    Regards,
    OW
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I have heard from 2 different 3 series RWD owners that the RWD sucks in icy/bad weather (I live in NYC area), so if I go BMW, I am going xi.

    NYC? Baby. :P

    I'm originally from NW Pennsylvania, with an average of 100-120" of annaul snowfall. If I were to move back to that area and was interested in the 328i, I would buy a RWD model and at the same time, before I even had a chance to think about it, buy a set of winter wheels and snow tires.

    The 328xi costs $1,900 more than the 328i. It weighs 242 lbs more, which is a lot for a car with only 200 ft. lbs. of torque. And the best AWD systems out there have an additional 3-5% loss in drivetrain efficiency, due to the additional moving parts.

    Would a 328xi fitted with snow tires give you better winter weather performance than a 328i with the same snow tires. Absolutely (at least in theory). But, at the point that the AWD would be a benefit, you might find that a low ground clearance sedan isn't exactly an high ground clearance SUV capable of plowing through 12 inches of unplowed snow, no matter what the drive system. If I really thought I needed a winter vehicle first and foremeost, I'd consider an X3 before either a 328ior ix.

    I have no ax to grind either way, as I don't own a 3 series, or any BMW for that matter. (But I have test driven several models extensively). I am just offering you my personal perspecitive and opinion, which you can take or leave. I believe that a 328i with snow tires will get you through the winter with 85%+ of the effectiveness as a 328xi with snow tires. And 130%+ of the effectiveness as a 328xi with all seasons (i.e. snow tires are worth 2x the drive train). Further, I believe that a 328i will get you 5-10% better gas mileage over the life of the car and be more fun to drive - more responsive, nimble, etc. - 80-90% of the time the weather conditions and road surfaces are favorable.

    So take all of those percentages and associated costs and do your own analysis. Or adjust my percentages, if you think they are wrong. But I would personally come out in favor of a 328i, with that extra set of winter wheels and tires. At least partly because my assumption is that anyone getting a 3-series over an A4 or C-class cares about handling and performance 22.5% more than buyers of those other brands. If the C-class is your thing, 4-matic is less of an added incumbrance because you are already starting a notch down in driving dynamics from a 3 series.

    And, contrary to what some suggest, I don't think you need your testosterone on overdrive to be able to tell the handling, fuel efficiency and performance difference in a 200 ft-lb 328i vs. ix with a less efficient drivetrain and an extra 240 lbs to lug around, day in and day out.

    There you have it. From somebody that doesn't own one or the other and feel the need to defend their own purchase decision.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    If your problem is stopping and turning in bad weather conditions, you're going too fast for the conditions in the first place, and heaven help the unfortunate soul in front of you, even with your snow tires.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    You're missing the point. I'm not worried about stopping due to my excessive speed as I do in fact drive for the conditions. That said, stopping and maneuvering capabilities in winter weather are very important when some other unfortunate soul is driving a vehicle beyond its limits. Try as one might, you cannot always predict what the other guy is going to do, or what Mother Nature is going to throw your way in the form of falling tree limbs and such, (very common occurrences around here). When the unexpected happens (and in winter time it is a matter of when NOT if) winter tires and an agile suspension may very well be the only thing between a close call and disaster.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    It must be just me but the handling performance difference is very slight and favors the xi over the i non-SP and the feel is not disappointing to any extent between the two, imo. Different but not disappointing. So, this is ONLY my opinion and not destined to change any perspectives. I can see myself in a 335i next year...it doesn't have to be the xi.

    I will give you a comparison with comparable weight cars. I owned a Lincoln LS RWD.

    If I compare the LS and the 330xi, the weight was approximately the same. The LS handles extremely well for a large car and had gobs more room than the 3. The weight of the LS is 3,772, the 330xi is 3,627. Both have 50/50 weight dist. front/back. The xi handling is 150% better than the LS.

    The 330xi handling is 110% of the 330/335i non-SP, IMO, after driving all 3. If I wanted better handling, the SP would be ticked on a RWD 335i.

    The xi vs 330/335i in wet conditions has better traction in my experience which is adequate but very limited in comparing the 2 drive trains.

    As for best snow experience, 90% are the tires with ANY power configuration. The xi with snows should be at the top of traction performance for sedans.

    That's it from my side of the axe...FIRE AT WILL!

    Regards,
    OW
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "The 330xi handling is 110% of the 330/335i non-SP..."

    I'm thinking that you've got that one backwards. On dry roads my bet would be that the 330i non-SP would exhibit about 105% of the handling of the "xi". Swap them for wet conditions. Overall I call it an advantage to the RWD models as wet roads are not an every day (or even every other day) occurrence.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • mnrep2mnrep2 Posts: 200
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=3280&page_number- - =10

    This link is borrowed from another poster, but provides somw interesting fodder to the discussion of AWD Vs. RWD, No? :)

    Basically, the AWD variant was quicker than the RWD based car in both the dry and wet.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    I respect your opinion...it feels the opposite to me. BTW, the 528i I drove for a day during service was about 90% of the 330xi as well, IMO. Loads of room and the I drive wasn't that bad to me.

    Regards,
    OW
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    This really is not an AWD vs RWD discussion. It's about AWD sports sedans. Given that fact, that specific debate is moot...

    Here's one discussion that is more appropriate: FWD, AWD, RWD and the Luxury Performance Sedans.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    It's the same case with the 335xi. I wonder how the difference in AWD systems compare between the G and the 3 relating to all around performance and capability.

    I did not like the G sedan previously but the new body style is much more appealing.

    Regards,
    OW
  • mnrep2mnrep2 Posts: 200
    Back in 2005 the G35x offered the best implentation of AWD in this class (imho). The body style and interior were not my first choice, but I am planning on keeping the car because it is a blast to drive, handles incredibly well in snow, and still gives a predominantly RWD feel in every day driving. :) The interior is fine by me and the body style has grown on me as well...
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    There is a new candidate out there for Ultimate AWD Sedan.

    The FQ-360 goes from a stop to 60 miles an hour in 3.9 seconds — faster than a Porsche GT3. And it’s not a one-dimensional drag racer. In a racetrack performance evaluation at the Bedford Autodrome by the British car magazine Evo (no relation), an FQ-340, which is a rung down the power ladder from the FQ-360, set a lap time just 0.35 second slower than the Ferrari F430. Not bad for a four-cylinder sedan.

    HOW MUCH? Not for sale in the United States; base price in Britain is £34,641, about $70,000. (A less powerful American-spec version, the 2006 Evo MR, was $36,924.)

    WHAT MAKES IT RUN? Two-liter turbocharged in-line 4 (366 horsepower, 363 pound-feet of torque); six-speed manual transmission.

    IS IT FAST? Yes, even compared with a Ferrari F430 or Lamborghini Gallardo.

    I don't know about the rest but if you can't have fun in this thing, your over the top!

    Regards,
    OW
  • HOW MUCH?

    WHAT MAKES IT RUN?

    IS IT FAST?

    Nice review, but you forgot a question:

    WHO WOULD BUY IT?

    These boy racer cars can have all of the performace in the the world, but if they look like they were designed with a 16 year old pubescent boy as the target market, what's the point? What even semi-professional adult wants to have to wear a bag over their head driving a car that looks like the Evo? Or the WRX?

    And most pubescent 16 year old boys (or girls) don't have $70k, or even $35k burning a hole in their pocket. So, really, who does buy these things? Britney Spears? K-Fed?
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    These boy racer cars can have all of the performance in the the world, but if they look like they were designed with a 16 year old pubescent boy as the target market, what's the point? What even semi-professional adult wants to have to wear a bag over their head driving a car that looks like the EVO? Or the WRX?

    Well since I am in my second childhood, Me for example. :D
    I don't care for a big wing unless it actually does something but the wing on the EVO X is pretty reasonable. The STi is a wagon and has a small overhang. I've seen bigger on Minivans!
    I enjoy my car, I'm not intimidated by the PC opinions of others who are not paying for my car.
    If YOU are paying for my car. Only then do you have any say in what I drive.
    But if you wear a bag over your head while driving you could easily get nominated for a Darwin Award! :P
    Subaru screwed up with the new Rex, i know as I currently own an old one and no way would I buy the fugly new one. The new STi looks possible if I want to throw an extra $10K at it. My wife isn't very keen on me doing that.
    My real gripe about some cars is that you really can't use the speed anymore, too many cops all day and night, speed trap cameras everywhere. So for me getting a performance car is pretty useless. I'd rather buy a shifter kart and race that at the track. Much cheaper, and very quick.
    But the new EVO looks sharp and yet not Boi racerish and the new STi is a friggin Station wagon! :surprise: :shades:
    So unless you mean the old EVO/STi models which are only available as leftover I don't see your point.
    But at $35K+ I think that's reaching into BMW territory.
    The STi and the EVO with their AWD systems will spank a new BMW xi.
    The Nurburgring times are significantly faster on the new car EVO and STi compared to the xi and the new cars look sharp not Boi racer.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    Just like the GT3, these cars are really for the track. Who would buy a GT3?

    Anyone with the cash and the need for speed...it's the same for this new Lancer, which is right up there in nose-bleed territory. After 300 HP, it's all about hormones!

    I find no value in identifying stereotypes with the cars they drive...it's not productive at all. I could go on all day about my personal views on the looks of cars and then judge the purchasers. Why bother? It really doesn't matter.

    I didn't buy my BMW for the bling factor. You are NOT what you drive.

    Actually, I prefer the "sleeper" look while I go about my business from point to point. No wings or $5,000 wheeels for me.

    If a skilled driver decides to attend a track event with this new Evo, I am sure the "looks" of the car or what some people might "call" them won't matter at the end of the day.

    Regards,
    OW
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    WHO WOULD BUY IT?

    Funny, I had the same reaction to the Nissan GT-R that somebody posted pictures of in one of the other forums. I've been critical of Cadillac looking like they stole designers from Mattel Toys, but Nissan doesn't do much better with an exterior style that looks like several members of the committee were blind.

    As for attempting to defend the WRX and EVO as not looking "Boi" racer, I think that speaks for itself.

    Congrats on the Red Sox making it to the Big Show. ;)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    After 300 HP, it's all about hormones!

    Oh, no, you too are a boi racer from the Fast and Furious Friday night fraternity??

    Seriously, I try to avoid judging people by the car they drive - although my neigbors mother in law has tested me on that by managing to get a new Mercedes every three years and having the bumpers, fenders, doors and other body parts dinged up before the temporary tags expire. Guess it's not the type of car she drives, but rather how she drives that has me judging her. And steering clear.

    That said, the "in-your-face" styling of some cars is something that simply doesn't appeal to me aesthetically. Maybe all those exagerated wings, hood scoops, air dams, etc. on the WRX/EVO look good to some, but they just look silly to me, hormones aside.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Like it or not, your all-season shod "xi" model will actually be less safe in snow, rain, sleet and ice (or any combination thereof) than a RWD "i" model with a good set of winter tires mounted.

    That argument is weak.

    I can beat up a pro wrestler if he's blind folded and has both arms tied behind his back. So?

    Put the same tires on both. Of course the AWD will lose if it's handicapped like that.

    Plus, I've owned snow tires, the problem is they're never on when you need them, and they're on a lot of times when you don't.

    Last winter I had the snow tires on for roughly 90 days. I think there was snow on the ground about 6 days. The other 84 days, I made a major compromise in dry grip.

    In fact, overall I'd conclude over that 90 day period the vehicle was less safe overall.

    Our last true blizzard came in March, by then the snow tires would have been off.

    Unless you have a pit crew to mount/dismount your snow tires DAILY depending upon the weather, you're making a compromise, plain and simple.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "That argument is weak."

    Sorry, not buying. Many folks operate under the assumption that if they have AWD they don't need winter tires. My bet is that the number of folks who put winter rubber on their AWD cars is a tiny, tiny fraction of the AWD population out there.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    You HAVE to put snows on the RWD car in snow...most assuredly if you tick the SP box. The AWD is good with AS. Been there, done that.

    Regards,
    OW
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "You HAVE to put snows on the RWD car in snow...most assuredly if you tick the SP box. The AWD is good with AS. Been there, done that."

    Now that BMW is offering a summer rubber option on the "xi" models, the same rule applies. Only an idiot would drive a summer tire shod "xi" in the winter time. That said, I've seen plenty of Audi Quattros with nice wide summer rubber (I assume) off in the ditch around here, usually with a ski rack on the top and New York plates on the bumper. :P

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    Agreed...summer tires do not work in the snow on any wheel drive! :)

    Regards,
    OW
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the number of folks who put winter rubber on their AWD cars is a tiny, tiny fraction of the AWD population out there

    Same for FWD and RWD.

    I'd take that bet. I think you're wrong simply because people that buy AWD tend to live in the snow belt, so they're actually more likely to want snow tires.

    Back to my real-world example, AWD or not, doesn't matter, when there isn't snow on the ground the snow tires sacrifice grip, and even in winter around here that is most of the time.

    AWD may cost more and use more gas, but it makes no such compromise (less dry grip when in use, like snows). You always have more traction.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'm afraid we're going to have to part company on this one as I absolutely think you've been sold by the AWD hype in the market these days. Catch'ya later on a different topic. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I separate the two issues.

    One is AWD. It helps traction pretty much always. If you think that makes owners overconfident, that's a driver issue, not an issue with AWD.

    Tires are a different topic entirely. I tried snows. They were great on snow, incredible really. Squirmy as heck on dry pavement, though. Given my climate doesn't have clear season changes, and snowfall is sporadic, the snow tire "solution" just isn't practical here in DC.

    YMMV.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Last winter I had the snow tires on for roughly 90 days. I think there was snow on the ground about 6 days. The other 84 days, I made a major compromise in dry grip.

    Good grief, so you are advocating paying $2k more, having a less fuel efficient, 200+ lb heavier AWD system for 359 days so that you have somewhat better snow traction with all season tires on 6 days?

    In my hometown with 100+ inches a year, people drove for a half century with RWD as the only choice and life didn't come to an end. I agree with you, it makes little sense for you to put snow tires on your car. But, if I were faced with the prospect of a whopping 6 days of snow a year, the LAST thing I would do would be get an AWD 3-series. California gets more than that many days of fire a year.
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