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BMW 3-Series - AWD or RWD?

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  • I wish some BMW buyers WOULD buy Buicks; maybe Munich would once again focus on their core enthusiast audience.

    Interesting proposition- BMW could cause something like this to happen by dropping AWD, making the sport suspension standard, and dropping the AT in favor of only a MT or SMG /DSG.

    I wonder what that would do to BMW's business model, and competitiveness in the marketplace.

    If, for example, BMW did drop AWD, then my guess is people who want that would buy an AWD Audi or Infiniti, maybe Lexus, before they would consider a RWD BMW.

    Bruce
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    If, for example, BMW did drop AWD, then my guess is people who want that would buy an AWD Audi or Infiniti, maybe Lexus, before they would consider a RWD BMW.

    Exactly. They are ADDING all wheel drive to more and more models. No worries about that ever happening. ;)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    In this market, they would commit business suicide by not offering AWD. The handwriting is on the wall in this segment. For the upper segments such as the 550 and 750 it an interesting proposition. My guess is all mainstream manufacturers will be offering AWD across their entire product line.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    KDS, agree 100%. The trend will not be the opposite.

    Although a huge problem for others, I see nothing wrong with AWD. I can do wonders with this car and not in the least bothered by the different steering feel. I have no problem with RWD and I have been driving 3,500-3,800 lb. RWD/FWD cars for the last 20 years now but this car is unbelievably better compared to the past premium US brands. Yes, the CTS is finally a contender but I can't look at the thing! I should have tried an E46 a few years back but I never would have opted for the E36 since it was too small for me. My favorite past BMW is the 635i but the 2003 M5 still a beautiful machine to me. So, as you can see, the bloated 3'er fits my weight class!

    Regards,
    OW
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    I've been away from the forums for a few weeks as I felt I needed a life after dark, which is around 4:15 PM here in the Northeast. Speaking of which, we've had three snowstorms within a week. In all, over 20" of snow.

    We have a '95 318ti RWD (I think you call it an E46?) and a 2007 335 xi (E90?). We had both cars pulled way forward in a 75' driveway to allow for the plow guy. Well, the plow guy hadn't appeared by morning, so we decided to move the cars out of the way. The 318ti was "fronted in" and the 335xi was backed in (like it makes any difference!).

    I shoveled my way to the 335xi door, climbed in and drove out like it was mid-summer. (This was over 10" of unplowed snow.) I have 225 45R17 all-season tires on all corners. It really was no problem. No slippage, no DSC warning.

    Then I tried my wife's 318ti. Even with the "dry" spot where my car was, the RWD 318ti slipped and spun (with Toyo snows at all 4 corners) like a wild-car. I had to rock it and rev it high between R and 2nd to eventually get it out, not without risk to person and property.

    I have been repeatedly amazed by the handling and power on tap of the 335xi. When I put the hammer down, it reminds me of driving my first motorcycle and realizing that I better hang on tight lest the vehicle take offf on it's own.

    As long as I'm in the Northeast, I doubt I'll ever go back to RWD, not when I can get the power, handling and worry-free driving in any conditions.

    Having said that, I'd like to give my wife the 335xi, and get the M3 for myself next year. Maybe they'll deliver the M3 with AWD (GASP!!!!). I would love it, but I'm not sure how AWD would handle 414 hp.

    AWD rocks!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    First off, your 1995 318i is an E36. ;)

    As for your rendition of how hard it was to move your 318i, hmmm, it doesn't even remotely jive with how my winter tire shod RWD 530i was to move up our driveway (and by up I mean up a 9% grade), even with snow up over the doorsills. No spinning of wheel, no fishtailing of the rear of the car, no nuthin. Could it be that your Toyos are a bit worn out?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    Having said that, I'd like to give my wife the 335xi, and get the M3 for myself next year. Maybe they'll deliver the M3 with AWD (GASP!!!!). I would love it, but I'm not sure how AWD would handle 414 hp.

    You are set up perfectly for an M3! You would need to forget about it in the winter and become a 335xi family!

    414 HP is a no-brainer for AWD...check out the Porsche Turbo or the new Nissan GT-R. Loads of HP all buttoned down by AWD traction.

    Perhaps the new 2009 X-6 is the harbinger of that M3 AWD dream...

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,271
    hmmm, it doesn't even remotely jive with how my winter tire shod RWD 530i was to move up our driveway (and by up I mean up a 9% grade), even with snow up over the doorsills. No spinning of wheel, no fishtailing of the rear of the car, no nuthin.

    That's been my experience as well. My wife had a 1998 318ti that we fitted with Artic Alpins every winter. I used to disable the DSC and drive it in the nasty stuff with no problems whatsoever. Ditto for her 1997 528i. As for my 1995 Club Sport, it never sees ice or snow due to the fact that if some imbecile ran into it I'd wind up doing 20-Life for murder... That said, if all you want to do is geeze out and cruise through the nasty stuff without tapping into your reserve of driving talent, my wife's X3 truck is perfect. The Pirelli P Zero Nero M+S tires I fitted do an excellent job in the dry, wet, and wintry stuff. It even handles well enough that a Mustang GT that tried to keep up with it on a decreasing radius on-ramp came REAL close to kissing the guardrail.
    An early Christmas present from the Bavarian elves... :D
    Speaking of Christmas presents, I just found out that my old M6 is for sale:
    image
    Maybe my wife will think it just followed me home... ;)

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

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Oh NICE ride. :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,271
    Oh NICE ride.

    Thanks! It is oh so tempting to bring it home again, but my wife would kill me...

    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: 8,353
    That said, if all you want to do is geeze out and cruise through the nasty stuff without tapping into your reserve of driving talent, my wife's X3 truck is perfect.

    I never just cruise through the nasty stuff. The 330xi puts the X3 in the Mustang's place.

    BTW, that is a sweet car for sure...too bad you didn't hold onto it. I had my eye on the 635i back then.

    Regards,
    OW
  • shipo,

    Just curious if part of the difference is due to the 530i being a larger, heavier car than the 318i?

    I used to have a ''73 Alfa Spyder as my daily driver, and I could successfully navigate roads with light snow, provided there was little traffic to interfere with my momentum. For one period, my Alfa had been damaged in an accident and I had a medium sized Ford sedan as a loaner (but still huge in comparison). It was remarkably better in the snow than the Alfa, which I attributed to greater weight and higher ground clearance.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • jrw52jrw52 Posts: 2
    Hi Shipo,

    I have been following your posts with interest over the last several years and very much respect your knowledge / experience.

    I live in Central Illinois, 2 hours drive south of Chicago, where there can be a fairly strong winter, depending on the year.

    My first BMW was a 2004 330i non-sport steptronic that I bought in 2003. In 2006, I bought a 2007 530xi steptronic, both with all season tires (which slipped and slided in the winter from time to time).

    After recently test driving a manual transmission 335i, I am now considering to move back to a 3 series with a manual transmission and sport package.

    My options under consideration are manual transmission with either:

    1) 335i with sport and summer performance tires, and purchase a set of winter tires
    2) 335i with xdrive with sport and summer performance tires, and purchase a set of winter tires.

    I have read in various forums that BMW may have improved the 335i with xdrive suspension in 2009, and there are certainly more proponents of AWD now than 2 years ago.

    I humbly submit that I am not a skilled BMW driver, but I have caught the "enthusiasm bug" of driving a 335i with manual transmission, and want to fully experience the passion of what I appear to have been missing over the last 6 years.

    So my question to you is: are you still a strong proponent of a 335i SP, with a second set of tires for the winter? Or have you warmed up to the 335i with xdrive, as BMW has perhaps "tinkered" with the suspension, etc. over the last couple of years?

    Thanks,

    JRW
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hey JRW, nope, haven't warmed up to the 335xi yet and am not likely to unless I move up into the mountains. FWIW, I lived in Chicago for over 12 years and an quite familiar with Illinois weather, and I've got to say, at its worst, Illinois weather is not as severe as the 7 New Hampshire winters I've experienced, even at their mildest.

    Long story short, I guess I just enjoy RWD too much to give it up just because of a little snow. ;)

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • jrw52jrw52 Posts: 2
    Shipo, thanks I had a feeling that would be your response!

    If anyone else is still monitoring this thread who has experience with the 2009 335i with x drive, I'd be interested in hearing your perspective.

    I have heard that BMW may have improved somewhat the suspension on the 335i with x drive for the 2009 model year in response to feedback from enthusiasts.

    Thanks,

    JRW
  • I'll disagree on this. I've had and awd Infiniti FX45 with performance tires which did very well in the snow. I did skid on snowy turns when I wasn't too careful and maybe the breaking wasn't optimum, but I had no problems getting out of a foot of snow from a parallel parked spot.

    On a second note, I now have 650i with sports package (performance tires) and even though I tried to not drive it in the snow, I managed just fine (driving very cautiously of course) on a few occasions that I had to drive it in the snow. Of course I wouldn't drive it in the snow at all if I lived in a terrain with more hills.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given how bad my 5-Series (with Sport Package) was in the snow the thought running through my head while I was reading your last paragraph was, "Clearly he doesn't live where it's hilly"; and then I read your last sentence. :)

    In my case, even with practically brand new Michelin Pilot Sports on my 5er I couldn't make it up my driveway with a quarter of an inch of snow on the surface. A set of Michelin X-Ice tires (and new wheels) later and my car was all but unstoppable in up to about eight inches of snow.
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