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BMW 3-Series - AWD or RWD?

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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,527
    Wheels that big also affect acceleration and braking. Most people don't realize that.

    MODERATOR

  • I agree about what a waste of money these huge wheels and tires are. There are so many silly people getting worse performance with these monster setups. They must be compensating for something. :) :)
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,363
    That's the "Super Size It" mentality. That's why they make Hummers. I understand a lot of weathly Saudis have these bling-factor trucks. Do they have Mickey D's over there also?

    I guess they don't care about braking and fuel mileage!

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    In the same vein as others get sick over even the thought of AWD, those "Bling Things" they pass off as wheels over 18" are rediculous to me.

    After talking with TC Kline of TC Kline Racing I replaced the 225/50-16 tires on my Club Sport with 205/55-16 rubber. When TC used to race the E36/5 he found that the car was faster on the smaller tires.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,363
    It makes great physical sense due to decreased friction. Everything is about balance in the long run.

    It reminds me of my 1/4 mile track days where most serious competitors stripped everything except the driver seat out of the car. The front tires resembled bicycle tires.

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    It makes great physical sense due to decreased friction. Everything is about balance in the long run.

    If you put sticky DOT race tires on a ti and you don't increase the roll stiffness there is a very good chance that you will roll the car in any sort of slalom style cornering, especially if the car has a sunroof. I haven't noticed any down side to fitting the smaller tires. I still have more lateral grip than I can use. I may need to return to the stock size when I eventually stick a stroker motor in the thing, but right now I'm good.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    My point is that added cost of the 2 extra drive wheels was worth it in my value proposition.

    And that's all that matters. There is no universal "right" answer to what amounts to a subjective value/preference decision. :)
  • I concur with the suggestion that a prudent and thorough evaluation of the pros and cons should be made relative to everything from AWD, Sport Packages, transmission selection.

    In the last two weeks, I've taken both of my cars in for their winter "check ups". while at the BMW dealer lounge, I spoke with a gentleman who had sprung for a new BMW M5 last year, now that he had put his last kid through college. He paid $90,000 for a car without so much as a test drive. Now he is cursing the SMG transmission which has had to be repaired and or reprogrammed three times in less than 8,000 miles. He had never driven anything but a manual transmission before, but assumed that BMW's SMG transmission, the only one offered at the time he bought, would be fine. He hates it and, when he saw my 2003 M5 keys being handed back to me, offered to trade me even up. I thought he was joking, but he insisted he wasn't. I declined.

    Then, not 5 days later, I'm in for the same service on my 911TT and essentially, the same thing happens. Guy who bought a 911TT Tiptronic is in the service lounge sees my car being brought in to the bay area and starts complaining about the tiptronic transmission that he ostensibly bought so his wife could drive it. I said that that I thought it was a noble thing to do, wanting to be polite. He responded, "like hell" - they were in the process of getting a divorce and was going to have to sell the car. Claimed that the car wasn't the cause of their problems, but it didn't help that he didn't like driving an automatic and she never drove it, period.

    As I was joking with the service manager about the guy's predicament, he mentioned that "a lot" of the buyers of the 911 Turbo Tiptronics complain about them after the purchase. Many buy based upon reading a one liner review that says "faster than a manual" and don't even go out for a test drive. Granted, not easy to do, but still a prerequisite, IMO, for buying a $135k car with a transmission you have never experienced. He said a nearly equal number buy the AWD "4" versions of 911's without test driving both and then complain that the "4" doesn't feel as nimble or quick as the RWD "2" they previously drove.

    In todays marketplace, there is a BMW 3 series for just about aeverybody. Coupe, sedan, convertible. RWD, AWD. 328 or 335. Sport or standard suspension. Manual or steptronic. It really shouldn't be hard to find the one that is right for you, as long as you are willing to do your homework.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,363
    Great story...and wise advice as usual. Perhaps that is why some houses and cars go on the market that do not seem to make any sense. You can't "cram" your way through life with little awareness and acting on pure emotion. Unless you are a Presidential candidate....

    Thanks and regards,
    OW
  • as i said before, tenths of a second either way, when it comes down to testing times on rwd & awd!

    as for the rain, no comparing the two, advantage big on awd. :P

    i own a rwd car, and trust me much more cautious in it when roads are wet.

    better yet, next time it rains take an awd bimmer for a test run so you will understand the advantage of awd.

    as usual in the rain, safe & fun driving gentleman.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,363
    UJ,

    I agree on the added traction in the rain with my xi. My rwd Lincoln LS was much more dicey in the wet. The Michelin AS tires were not any help.

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    better yet, next time it rains take an awd bimmer for a test run so you will understand the advantage of awd.

    I drive my wife's BMW X3 truck every now and then, and while it handles OK, it is a somewhat less than entertaining drive. Like the xi sedans, the DSC fitted to the X3 is designed to step in early and save the clueless/inept from their ham-handed control inputs. Some people may want or need that safety net, but I'll pass. I will admit that I have a soft spot for the E30 325ix -especially for off-road or winter rallies- but that car was designed at a time when BMW assumed that their customers possessed at least a modicum of driving skills. I have never had a problem driving a RWD briskly car in the rain on the street or on the track, and I simply cannot understand why any competent driver would consider buying an AWD BMW if wet pavement is the most treacherous driving condition they will encounter. If I wanted an AWD performance car I'd be checking out the EVO X, WRX STi, RS4, and C4- depending on my needs and budget.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,363
    I have never had a problem driving a RWD briskly car in the rain on the street or on the track, and I simply cannot understand why any competent driver would consider buying an AWD BMW if wet pavement is the most treacherous driving condition they will encounter.

    It's the black ice that'll get you and in the snow, it's really a blast with AWD. Most drivers couldn't even keep up, let alone keep straight vs. trained track drivers, so AWD will help add overall traffic safety, IMO. Not many drivers plan to/have attended a CCA or similar driving program even once, let alone the multiple courses it would take to hone their skills in emergency maneuvers. Perhaps the US licensing program should add these level of driving courses/ class time before they hand out driver's licenses. It's more an ID system than the fact you know how to handle a particular vehicle.

    It's a different sport feel/result, it's true, and I understand AWD will never replace RWD sportiness. It's just a different level of performance with the 335xi. It's a great all weather commuter ELLPS, not a pure sport performance sedan. That would have an "M" on it for BMW. The 335xi is no WRC car and wasn't intended to be.

    Agree on your choices for performance alternatives completely. In fact, EvoX looks real good (if they loose the wing).

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    It's the black ice that'll get you and in the snow

    Black ice gets everybody. If the coefficient of friction is zero, it doesn't matter how many driven wheels you have. As for the snow, AWD does provide an advantage, but not to the extent that I would give up any of my RWD cars. North Central KY just doesn't get enough bad winter weather- and if/when we do I can just drive the Wrangler or my wife's X3. And anyway, as I mentioned in another topic, I'm more worried about the brain dead morons sharing the road with me. If one of them takes out the Wrangler or the X3 it's no big deal, but I think I'd maim or kill anyone who damaged my Club Sport.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • howdy,

    1) evo goes from 0 to 60 in 4.4 sec. fast, but to ugly for my taste.
    2) wrx not as fast, but still ugly.
    3) rs4 not much bang for my buck.( $69.000 for a 0 to 60 in 4.8 sec.)
    4) c4, out of my league.

    imho the 335xi is, very entertaining to drive. and with a few modifications ( say under $3000.) will have no problems competing with the likes of the above. ( except c4 )

    what i like most about the 335xi ( besides being able to put down power.) is that its an ALL WEATHER-PLEASER and m3 fast, for an everyday drive sport sedan.

    oh yea, i agree everyone should take a skip barber driving class, i did more then once, and found it expensive and well worth it!

    so for me there is still no doubt, that the 335xi has a big edge when driving in the rain then the 335i or any other rwd sedan. and as far as the dry road drives, i will be either behind, right there, and yes even in front of the 335i rwd. :shades:

    again, as usual for me,

    safe & fun driving everyone!
  • ow, i feel you under estimate the level, of the stock 335xi's sport performance ability. but maybe your right ( i don't beleive so.)
    but in the case i couln't change your mind, maybe the boys at ac schnitzer or dinan might be able to explain the xi's ability more clearly then me.

    Regards,
    UJ
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    O.K., it's time for me to dust off my old math skills and come up with a formula that everyone can use for deciding between i and xi. Here it is my first cut:

    X = (A * B) - (1-A) * C where

    A = % of time you will be driving in inclement weather
    B = Your percentage estimate of the improvement of AWD traction over RWD traction in inclement weather
    C = Your percentage estimate of the advantage of RWD over AWD in dry/good weather driving enjoyment
    If X > 0 (or 100%), get the "x"; if x

    For me:

    A = 15%
    B = 150% - note, I am giving a 50% advantage to AWD in the inclement weather
    C = 125% - note, I am "only" penalizing AWD half as much on dry pavement as its advantage above.

    X = (15% *150%) - ((100% -15%) * 125%)
    X = 22.5% - 106.25%
    X = -83.75% or -0.8375: Get the RWD.

    I have not added factors like fuel efficiency or the "peace of mind" that some would claim AWD provides even in good weather, if inclement weather is on the way or a possibility, etc. You can add the other factors and modify the formula.

    But, what it does appear to me from reading the posts of others, is that "A" with the exception of some who live north of the border in Canada, is not that big of a number. And those that favor AWD either have a very big estimate of "B" or a very small estimate of "C", or both. Even when I stretch my own evaluations to giving AWD a 2 to 1 advantage over RWD in the inclement weather advantage vs. dry weather disadvantage, I come up with a number far below 0.

    P.S. Some x proponents have even suggested that "C" is 100% or less. (i.e. AWD has an advantage over RWD even in dry weather / good conditions). I can't accept that, in a BMW 3 series, adding 200+ lbs, disrupting the nearly perfect 50/50 weight balance, and limiting the suspension stiffness is an advantage in dry weather. But that's why the formula is different for everybody.

    Post your own numbers.
  • just curious of your opinion, on how the boys at infiniti where able to get C to be the other way around?
    also how can we say, the same will not be true with the 335?

    safe & fun diving!
    uj
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I haven't driven the Infiniti Gx, but I wasn't that impressed with the 2004 G35 6-speed I drove back in 2004. So it would be my position that they are not starting from the same level of balance, steering and driving dynamics as the 3 series, such that the addition of AWD weight and other effects isn't as relativly penalizing.

    And remember, while there is certainly some objectivity to "B" and "C" there is also a significant amount of subjectivity to it. In the car that I am most familiar with, the 911 C4S felt heavier, less nimble and a bit slower off the line to me, having put 17k miles on my 911C2S. But I've heard others describe the C4S as feeling more "planted". How much one values "nimble" and "quick" over "planted" is highly subjective. And that's why your B and C may be much different than mine. Neither is right or wrong, just different.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,363
    Habitat1, this is a great way of analyzing the differences. I never looked at it in that way or in quite that detail. You formula is a real good tool. I agree the weighting will be quite different to all. When I ran my numbers I was just negative.

    As I am on record, the planted feeling in the 330 xi is very apparent to me vs. the 330i but of course the light feel of the steering in the latter was the gets the nod for nimbleness over the AWD version. Just my take.

    Thanks for the insight, as always.

    Regards,
    OW
  • hello h1,

    to me it seems like gentlemen like yourself, think there is some kind of BIG significance between the xi & the i.

    i just don't see it that way!

    you see weight,( infiniti did not ) nimble, as some kind of SIGNIFICANT sedan that is so much more superior then awd.

    i don't think so!

    i believe if someone lives in arizona, who is a using a 335 xi for a daily driver, is not losing any SIGNIFICANT fun or substancial benifet then the I.

    like i posted before, tenths of a second difference either way!

    yes, i too also drive a fasst rwd sports car, but to say my 335xi is a lot slower or less fun then a rwd is to me, just not true.

    i know the difference between the two.

    as usual for me,

    fast, safe & fun driving fellers!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    to me it seems like gentlemen like yourself, think there is some kind of BIG(sic) significance between the xi & the i.
    i just don't see it that way!


    Well, you really should take the time to read that R&T article that you linked to earlier; here's a reprise of some relevant comments from that story:

    "When was the last time a BMW not only didn't finish in the top two points-wise, but didn't capture our hearts and require us to call it a "scalpel" or "the sportiest of the bunch?" Turning a rear-drive car into an all-wheel-driver can have that effect." (emphasis added)

    "Handling is normally a BMW forte. But even with an xDrive awd system biased for rear-drive fun (which can steplessly transfer torque 100 percent to the front or rear axle, depending on wheel slip), this was the most un-BMW-like 3 Series we can remember driving." (emphasis added)

    "Drop throttle did little to squelch understeer, and possibly more than any other car in the test the BMW needed corners taken in a slow-in, fast-out manner."

    believe if someone lives in arizona(sic), who is a(sic) using a 335 xi for a daily driver, is not losing any SIGNIFICANT fun or substancial(sic) benifet(sic) then the(sic) I.

    Anyone who lives in Arizona and actually believes that they NEED AWD should not be allowed to obtain a drivers license.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,244
    "Anyone who lives in Arizona and actually believes that they NEED AWD should not be allowed to obtain a drivers license."

    Yeah, you'd think, but I exist in Arizona and I doubt that you'd believe what goes on around here. About 5% of the people are native or have lived here since they were in high school & the rest are imports, all from a variety of places in the north and/or east with their own driving "styles." Gotta love it.

    At least they want to be here, which is a plus. I, on the other hand. . .
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Anyone who lives in Arizona and actually believes that they NEED AWD should not be allowed to obtain a drivers license.

    Ever been to Flagstaff in the winter? :surprise Phoenix is a different story.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    Ever been to Flagstaff in the winter?

    I've been to Arizona three times, and each visit was an unmitigated disaster. My comment was aimed at those drivers who only have to contend with wet pavement.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • 1) i assume you believe there is a big difference.

    2) maybe even the tooth fairy & santa claus.

    3) hope you where a really good boy, because what you wont find under your tree is a big difference 335i.(no such toy.)

    ho ho ho!
    and just the way santa would want it,
    safe & fun driving!
    UJ
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    1) i assume you believe there is a big difference.

    It's not just me; most enthusiast magazines(have you ever actually READ that R&T article?) as well as virtually all of my fellow CCA instructors share that belief. But then, what do we know?

    2) maybe even the tooth fairy & santa claus.

    I believe that's your department.

    ) hope you where(sic) a really good boy, because what you wont(sic) find under your tree is a big difference(sic) 335i.(no such toy.)

    Just how many BMWs have you driven? Can I assume that you have driven RWD and AWD models back to back? On wet pavement? On dry pavement? As for me, after eight BMWs and @1500 miles behind the wheel of a couple of 335i variants, I wouldn't want to find ANY current 3 Series under my tree- with the possible exception of an M3 sedan. I would much prefer a 1st generation M car.
    Look, it's clear that you are infatuated with your first BMW, and that's great. The fact that your "baby" wouldn't be the first choice of most other drivers on this board doesn't invalidate your decision- a 335xi obviously matches your needs and abilities to a "T". However, if you hope to persuade the rest of us that your BMW is the latest and greatest 3 Series you will have to produce some clear and convincing evidence that can substantiate your contentions. Until then, with all due respect, I consider our discussion closed.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • not getting it i see.

    opinions are different also where i live and drive. (daily & track)

    imo for a daily driver out of the 2 the xi wins.

    at the track, like i posted a few times, tenths of a second difference.

    if you don't beleive me, please ask the same question to your instructors, and then please post what they said.

    safe & fun driving!
    UJ
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,357
    For the last time , when you can produce facts -not your feelings or opinions- I'll continue the discussion until then, I'm done.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    not getting it i see.

    With all due respect, Joe, you are the one that's not getting it.

    As I clearly stated, there is a lot of subjectivity on the difference in driving feel between lighter, RWD and heavier AWD. But it's hard to dispute the fact that a RWD 911 GT3 significantly beats a considerably more powerful 911 Turbo (additional 65 hp and 200+ ft lbs of torque) around Nurburgring. The difference between the equally engined 911 C2S and C4S is even greater.

    My Porsche dealer sells Audis. Yet he would claim the lighter weight BMW M3 is a far superior, more fun to drive track car than the heavier, very "planted" Audi S4. He also discouraged me from spending another $5,700 to go from a C2S to a C4S for a "slower, less nimble" car. "No doubt, better in the rain - but is that what you are getting a 911 for?" If you want to speak with him first hand, call Hunt Valley Porsche and ask for the sales manager.

    The fact that you don't believe there is much of a difference going from RWD to AWD suggest that you made the right decision for you. To a lot of people, however, myself included, an extra 200 lbs of weight is a big deal. Exspecially when it comes along with lower drive train efficiency and fuel economy.

    Lastly, consider this. BMW goes through hell and back, putting carbon roofs and yanking out the toys on the M3 CSL just to save 100 lbs over the standard M3. Do you honestly ever think you would see an M3x, let alone an M3 CSLx?? The day you see either of those, is the day the BMW engineers will have made it good enough that they could claim the performance advantages offset the disadvantages. Or merely have caved in to the AWD marketing hype. But for both of our sakes, I hope it's the former.
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