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BMW 3-Series - AWD or RWD?

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Comments

  • getzgetz Posts: 24
    I agree generally with all your points, however, I embrace the fact that I will never, ever, be in the same league as the likes of Walther Röhrl. So with my average ability, I will almost always lap an comparably powered awd vehicle faster than a rwd vehicle. I tested both the c4/c2 on backroads of occasionally less then ideal surfacing, and to my butt dyno the traction of the awd overcame the 200 lbs of extra weight. As I live in the northwest, the saved winter headaches of having awd more then makes up for the addition of 200 lbs. Regarding the GT3, it is undoubtedtly sweet, and available in lime green to boot, enjoy.
    -Getz
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    Popularity of AWD cars revs up

    Royal Ford, Globe Staff
    September 12, 2007

    One is an American luxury sedan long associated with rear-wheel-drive muscle, the second is a zippy descendant of the German "people's car," and the third has a minivan's utility with performance that surpasses some sports cars. But the Lincoln MKZ, the Volkswagen Passat, and the Mazda CX-7 have something crucial in common: They are all available with all-wheel-drive.
    AWD passenger cars are becoming increasingly popular with drivers who want improved safety without the added weight and - usually unnecessary - off-road capabilities of a SUV. With AWD, four wheels are in full play, as opposed to just a pair. That means critical electronic safety systems, which transmit power and braking to individual wheels, have more ways to correct for driver error or sudden changes in road conditions.
    Automobile industry studies have shown that cars with electronic safety systems - such as antilock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, and antirollover protection, - are more than 40 percent less likely to be involved in an accident. And if a crash does occur, the systems cut the death rate by more than 40 percent. Although studies incorporating AWD have not been done yet, it is likely that the systems will further reduce fatalities.
    In 1985, Audi and Subaru were the only mainstream manufacturers selling all-wheel-drive passenger car models, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Ten years later, the number of all-wheel-drive models reached 50. This year, there will be 86, according to the automotive website Edmunds.com, and the market is expected to continue to expand.
    George Kang, a senior analyst for Edmunds.com, said consumers have come to see all-wheel-drive as a safety feature that offers "all weather, not necessarily all-terrain performance."
    An AWD system adds about $1,500-$2,000 to the price of a car. It is standard on Subarus and most Audis. But as more companies develop or adopt AWD systems, the cost will drop, Kang said, and AWD will increasingly be made available in midrange and economy models. As a result, many car buyers who drove SUVs because of the security they offer in bad weather, will have more lighter choices at lower prices.
    Travis Hanson, an instructor at New Hampshire's Team O'Neill Rally School, said Subaru has set a standard in low-cost AWD because all of its cars share "almost the exact same drive line," whether they are basic or deluxe models.
    Although it doesn't sell low-cost cars, Mercedes-Benz has been a recent leader in promoting the widespread use of AWD. Six years ago, the German automaker said it would make AWD available in virtually all of its models.
    In the Northeast and other parts of the country where snow and ice can make driving an endurance test, AWD's popularity is soaring among Mercedes owners. Today, about three-quarters of Mercedes sold in the Northeast come with AWD. The company's C280 passenger car leads the pack, with 96 percent of its current models selling here as AWD.
    "We are in the fortunate position to be courting this niche for a long time," said Bernhard Glaser, the Mercedes-Benz general manager of product development. "But we are not surprised to see the competition trying to catch up."
    Multiple AWD offerings are also on the market from Infiniti, Lexus, Ford, General Motors, Saab, Chrysler, BMW, Subaru, Audi, Volvo, and Volkswagen. Acura, Mazda, and Porsche each offer a single AWD model.
    While older four-wheel-drive systems used all wheels continuously - and thus more gas - today's AWD systems send power to all four wheels only as needed, making them more fuel efficient. Kang said AWD typically reduces fuel economy by "about a mile per gallon," a cost he called "very acceptable in the consumers' eyes." Some models, however, can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 4 miles per gallon.
    Part of the reason for better gas mileage is the newer systems' reduced weight. For example, the Mercedes-Benz flagship S-Class has incorporated its AWD system into the transmission, meaning it adds only 75 pounds to the vehicle's weight as opposed to 200 for its predecessor. The Lexus IS 250 AWD and Infiniti G35X each weigh only about 200 pounds more than the same models without AWD.
    In Boston Globe testing in recent years, AWD passenger cars - at costs ranging from less than $30,000 to more than $125,000 - have been pushed sideways on ice and wet gravel without breaking free, hurtled across sand at more than 175 miles per hour, and pushed through a foot of unplowed snow on hilly terrain.
    "We developed it with the thinking we would put it into other brands and tune it," said Peter Johansson, a Saab specialist in front- and all-wheel-drive technology.
    He said the company didn't want to limit AWD to only its most expensive models. For instance, Johansson said, General Motors Corp., Saab's parent company, could easily use the Saab system in GM cars.
    And it may soon have to for competitive reasons. Kang said consumers are beginning to expect AWD to be available as an option when they go car shopping.
    The relatively modest cost of increased safety and performance is "a lot of bang for the buck," he said.

    Most people do not want a set of snow tires and wheels! I would rate the 335xi as the best choice in the market at this time in the ELLPS category. Period.


    Regards,
    OW
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    Responding to post 153:

    Actually, that's not true. Here's an excerpt from an April 2006 article about extreme weather testing of the x-drive. I've provided the link for further reading.

    "Another notable feature of the system is its ability to shift power from side-to-side. This was demonstrated by situating a vehicle so that wheels on one side were on glare ice, and wheels on the other side were on dry asphalt (the manoeuvre was made more difficult by starting on a steep incline). The power distribution at each axle is then forced to the side of the vehicle with traction (dry side) via brake intervention at the slipping wheels, as directed by the xDrive/DSC system. The result was that the vehicle was able to move forward with power only available to one side."

    http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/pw/xdrive.htm

    I do find it interesting that the fastest production car to date (off the line and top speed), the Bugatti Veyron, is AWD. So are some of the best handling Porsches and Lamborghini's. Now why on earth would the world's most advanced car makers develop such amazing cars if they were secondary in every respect, according to some recent posts, to cars they had already produced so successfully for so many years?

    Don't even try to tell me it's because the buying public wanted a 200 mph sports car that could go get groceries in the dead of winter.

    I wonder…what could they possibly have been thinking? Curious how Audi ran away with Pike's Peak championships to the point where other racers complained that Audi had an "unfair advantage"!

    Kudos to you, OW. I read that Globe article, too. There's no denying that AWD is an unquestionable benefit in all conditions. RWD may be destined to go the way of leaded gas.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    xi, thanks for the kind words!

    I was going to bring up the Bugati V but I did not want to bring that AWD point into the fray since the SSC Ultimate Aero is RWD.

    At the end of the day, you drive what works for you. The xi works for me. Period, the end. On the track days I agree the challenge/fun is with RWD. I would have a hard time deciding on which 911 to buy but no problem with an ELLPS choice!.

    I need no such challenges in commuter traffic or when the weather turns nasty!

    Regards,
    OW
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Actually Xeye, it is true. Read the excerpt again...

    "The power distribution at each axle is then forced to the side of the vehicle with traction via brake intervention at the slipping wheels"

    X-Drive transfers power front-to-back only.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    X-Drive transfers power front-to-back only.

    For now...but not for long...

    Already, the system is integrated into the optional active steering technology available on its vehicles, and in the future, the company's goal of full-scale integration will be realized in its Integrated Chassis Management (ICM) technology, designed to control the longitudinal, latitudinal and vertical dynamics of a vehicle at the same time. The experience at Arjeplog suggests that this goal is close to realization.

    I just love technology and I have great respect to the advanced drivers of the world, such as yourself that have taken the time and enjoyed the experience...there just aren't that many of you that I meet on the road. As the advancements get into our future cars, I hope the fun is not lost!

    Regards,
    OW
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    Ok, now you're nitpicking.

    What's the difference how it's accomplished as long as the end result is an intelligent use of engineering and it keeps the general public's a** on the road?

    Obviously, you don't need any help, although I would argue that point.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    Yes, exactly..if the technology helps people, why not promote it?

    We can't all drive like the Andretti family!

    You need to devote your life to that. Every nuance of a car is know as soon as you get it, start it up and drive for 5 minutes. One needs to work hard for that knowing.

    Most people drive as an extension of their living rooms!!! AWD will help to some extent, so it's a good improvement is all I am saying. Add some performance that the 335xi brings and I am one happy camper.

    Regards,
    OW
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I guess I must have ADD, because without any paragraphs, that post is just too painful for me tor read in its entirety. So let me skip to the end....

    Most people do not want a set of snow tires and wheels! I would rate the 335xi as the best choice in the market at this time in the ELLPS category.

    If anyone with a 335xi thinks that their traction is better with AWD and summer tires than RWD and all season or winter tires, heaven help them. Forget the 335ix; one of my neighbors was completely stranded with an X5 4.6i with the low profile 20" wheels and tires a couple of winters ago. He had to park the vehicle a block away because it wouldn't make it up a modest hill on the street in front of his house on packed snow and ice. Short of a Cayenne S, it is the best handling SUV I've ever been in, but he immediately replaced his sport package high performance tires with all seasons the following spring.

    In the winter driving formula, tires are more important than drive wheels in my opinion and for unpacked snow, you need ground clearance as well.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I'm nitpicking?!?! You're the one who brought it up.

    And actually, there is a big difference, because there are systems on other cars RIGHT NOW that can transfer 100% torque front-to-back and side-to-side. With X-Drive, the most torque you can ever get at any single wheels is 50% (100% split between left and right sides).

    On the other hand, Acura has SH-AWD. This is from Acura's website:

    "The RL Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, introduces a whole new way to corner. Unlike other all-wheel drive systems, SH-AWD was designed primarily to enhance dry-weather handling, in addition to wet weather stability. Like conventional AWD systems, power distribution can be continuously varied between the front and rear wheels. However, with SH-AWD, the RL can send up to 100% of the available rear wheel torque to the wheel with the most traction. This effect dramatically enhances steering performance and turning precision."
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    Sorry about the lack of proper formatting. I didn't mean to blind you!

    I believe the xi comes with AS tires unless you opt for the summer performance tires.

    I agree tires are more important and summer tires commit one to change in the winter. The combo of all-seasons and awd is a very good one, IMO.

    Regards,
    OW
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    As a side note, the Jeep Quadradrive system(and derivates) can send almost 100% of available torque to any wheel. Though it is not billed as a performance enhancer because it is primarly used to keep the vehicle moving in any type of condition, even with one wheel off the ground.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Yup, Quadradrive is another good example. GM has Versatrak too, and Subaru has Symmetrical AWD.

    The simple addition of a Torsen LSD at the rear of the 335xi would basically make X-Drive the performance equal of these other systems. Why BMW stopped putting LSD's on all but their most expensive (M) cars is beyond me. They could easily make it a stand-alone option for the enthusiast buyer.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Why BMW stopped putting LSD's on all but their most expensive (M) cars is beyond me.

    Probably because most new BMW buyers think LSD is an illegal substance. Other owners actually believe that DSC works just as well as a LSD...

    They could easily make it a stand-alone option for the enthusiast buyer.

    Agreed, though I think BMW really wants to push the enthusiasts into ///M cars so that their mainstream cars can be aimed at a broader and less enthusistic audience, such as those owners who think Power Oversteer is a band that used to open for Van Halen ;)

    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: 8,380
    Ive heard that band...didn't they write "Spirit in the Sky" and that album "Overdrive"? (Sorry Norman) ;)

    I think the first song on the OD album is 4WD...pretty cool!

    BTW, all of the examples mentioned are good examples of probably better AWD systems but the "sports oriented" chassis of a 3'er by far surpasses the "on-road" capability from the added balance and capability vs. those examples.

    All of my '60's and '70's RWD cars had LSD ...wouldn't go anywhere without it! Outstanding in the snow, if I remeber correctly. Now, I have to settle for x-drive as an alternative. Hopefully by 2009, the system improves.

    I'd love to see motors on all 4 wheels soon so I can get extra trunk space up front for a GFT spare, jack and tools...and not worry about not having a dip stick!

    Regards,
    OW
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I'd love to see motors on all 4 wheels soon so I can get extra trunk space up front for a GFT spare, jack and tools...and not worry about not having a dip stick!"

    How do you figure. Something's going to have to generate the electricity to power those motors, and that something might could well have a dipstick.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    I was figuring self-regeneration and LI battery or just plug into my house power for re-charge.

    But long as there is a dip-stick I will not have to worry any longer and I am cool with a IC engine as the source.

    Regards,
    OW
  • harvtharvt Posts: 2
    If you drive in any meaningful snow. Whatever you drive, RWD or AWD, a great set of snow tire and steel rims are the way to go.

    Harv.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "If you drive in any meaningful snow. Whatever you drive, RWD or AWD, a great set of snow tire and steel rims are the way to go."

    Ummm, well, not quite. Have you ever tried to find a steel wheel that would fit any late model BMW? No, I didn't think so. Why? Nobody makes them.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    ...if we could meet without names or "handles" somewhere over a few beers and see how long it would take to identify each other. I bet if we had a controversial topic as the ice breaker and some spirited conversation (Pat, can you referee?!), I'm figuring 15 to 20 minutes, tops!

    I know O'fest is the place to be, but too far this year, too much going on at the home office to get away (gotta pay the bills, y'know!), and too many people for what I had in mind.

    O'fest in the Northeast next year? Hey OW, maybe we'd even have an early blizzard and us AWD converts could help those poor saps in the RWD's push (tow?) their cars out of the snow banks!

    Just a thought...

    xeye
  • only if fedlawman leaves his piece behind. :)
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    That would be a fun meeting Xeye. I'm up for it (though not on the wrong coast).

    I just arrived in Ft Worth today (a day late and a dollar short, I know). Enjoying a nice thunderstorm at the moment...

    I haven't seen a single BMW yet, though I'm just thrilled about driving a Saturn Ion rental for the next 5 days!

    Oh well, they tried to give me a PT Cruiser last time I was here - I'm sure you can guess what I told them to do with that repugnant pile of refuse...
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Sorry I didn't get back to you about the Warsteiner replica. The M3 pictured with the B7 is actually a replica of one of Ray Korman's Firehawk cars. In fact, it traveled in our caravan the last couple of hundred miles into Ft. Worth. However, there were still TWO Warsteiner replicas at O'fest- Mark Jon's and another one- and I never figured out whose it was... You need to come to O'fest next year; it's going to be at the Glen. Woo Hoo!!!
    Oh, and here's the car that's sorely tempting me:
    image

    And its immaculate engine- with ultra-rare Alpina parts:
    image

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

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    What a POS - I can't believe you got all worked up over that heap!

    I have a mind to speak with the owner of that rust bucket myself and chastise him for almost swindling you.

    What's his name and phone number? :blush:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "O'fest in the Northeast next year? Hey OW, maybe we'd even have an early blizzard and us AWD converts could help those poor saps in the RWD's push (tow?) their cars out of the snow banks!"

    What you don't seem to get is that with a set of winter tires mounted, a blizzard won't stop a RWD BMW from making it's appointed rounds, errr, unless the snow is so deep that the car is rendered a snow plow. :P

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    If anyone with a 335xi thinks that their traction is better with AWD and summer tires than RWD and all season or winter tires, heaven help them.

    No worries since AS tires are standard on the xi. As long as one does not opt for the Tire (summer) Performance upgrade, that is.

    I agree with you regarding tires. If I had bought my car, I would go for the 4 snows as prescribed by yourself, Shipo and the others that know the difference.

    I can tell you the AS Continental RFT's are great in the snow withe x-drive combo. I can only imagine the advantage with snows and 4 driven wheels.

    Hmm...if I go for the 335xi next year, I can justify the cost to actually get that advantage. Very tempting.

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    Great idea but be careful, these guys know how to drive in the snow regardless!

    I'll bet Habitat can whip us both in his 1995 Maxima with one hand tied behind his back during a blizzard!! ;)

    Perhaps we can have a teleconference?

    Regards,
    OW
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "a blizzard won't stop a RWD BMW from making it's appointed rounds, errr"

    Actually I've seen very few cars stopped by winter weather, even Lexus SC430 with performance tires trying to make it up the Driscoll bridge after a very bad storm at 2mph. BTW My AWD with all-seasons seconds in duty as a snow plow. And that's why I like AWD. :surprise.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    Ive seen many cars off the road in Texas after an unexpected blanketing...people forget to slow down. Any wheel drive can't stop you if your speed exceeds the traction limit in braking.

    I saw a young one leaning on his 350Z which had one of it's wheels broken off, at rest on the median of Rte 9, 2 winters ago. The car was brand new and inexperience prevailed, it seems. I assume summer tires as well.

    Regards,
    OW
  • tire rack has a winter pkg. for 335xi for $940, plus you will need tpms (sensors) also for $184.

    safe & fun driving gentleman!
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