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BMW 3-Series - AWD or RWD?

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  • To avoid being long-winded, the conversation from my patient perspective, centers around 2 issues: How does the car handle at the track, and how happy will I be, like the majority of us, driving the car every day. Forget what your stock adviser made for you last week (the stock market has dropped 800 points in 4 days).....

    Does anyone understand this? .....

    What BMW car do you drive, day in & day out, that gives you a thrill AND gets you where you need to be?


    For somebody trying to avoid being long winded, you were. And a bit antagonistic in the process.

    For me, my 2003 M5 fits the bill perfectly. And a low mileage mint condition used one will run you less than a loaded 335ix. For my nephew, the 335i works very well. We both live in the Pittsburgh area and thus know how to drive in snow. Including the occasional big dump when it's best to to leave any sports sedan, RWD or AWD, parked (and take an SUV).

    I hope your question is more rhetorical than real. I may have done pretty well over the years, but I never thought I was rich enough to buy a $50k car first and ask questions or do test drives later.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    A Lotus Exige S or Honda S2000 would give me the same level of pure, unfiltered, driving pleasure, but I still need my E30's backseat for now.

    I'm pretty much in the same situation. I've been noticing that more and more HPDE participants are driving cars like the Exige or the Radical- the reason being that most new cars have had their handling "dumbed down" and/or are fitted with overly intrusive electronic nannies. How can you learn anything about vehicle dynamics in a car like that?

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

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    For me, my 2003 M5 fits the bill perfectly. And a low mileage mint condition used one will run you less than a loaded 335ix.

    Great car. I almost picked up a 2002 but it sold the day before I went to look at it... :mad:

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

  • Hello there - just wanted to hear experiences of BMW drivers that either have RWD or FWD vehicles.

    Was the extra cost for the Xi worth it? or is it worth it to get RWD with a set of winter tires/wheels?

    I know other members (i.e. Shipo) have mentioned that its better to go with RWD with winter tires/wheels. I really can't make up my mind - I'm looking at a USED 06 BMW 330i or even an Xi, but just can't seem to make up my mind if AWD is better then RWD.

    thoughts?

    Thanks
  • howdy,

    in my opinion, i believe that the awd was worth the money, and here are my reasons.

    1) snow, because both cars with the same snow tires on them, awd much better.

    2) rain, four claws much safer.

    3) grip, so when i put in a chip & a couple of other after market goodies,the tires will GRIP and not slip or burn rubber.

    all in all for me, the 335xi is fast, sure footed, more poised in slippery conditions and when it's punching it's way out of a tight bend, oh so thrilling! :blush:

    good luck in making your decision, hope this helped.

    safe & fun driving, joe !
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    It depends on how you plan on using your car.

    Would you drive your $45,000 BMW during a blizzard to commute to work, or are you more likely to light a fire and stay home that day?

    You have relatively mild weather up there compared to cities like Montreal, Buffalo, etc. so you don't get crazy snow during the winter. I suspect RWD with all-season tires would be just fine up there, but it really boils down to your personal preference.
  • Does the same apply to the 328i vs. the 328xi too?
  • it's not just the snow for me, in the rain it hardly even bothers the xi.

    it truely is an expereance to drive in it.

    i strongly suggest to test drive both cars in wet & dry conditions, and see if you feel the same way as me.

    also, my car is a daily user. never no what the roads or weather will throw at you, rained in n.y. the last 3 of 4 days.

    good luck, cause it took me more than a couple of test drives, for me to figure which of the 2 to choose.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Would you drive your $45,000 BMW during a blizzard to commute to work, or are you more likely to light a fire and stay home that day? "

    Since you asked, I would drive the $45K BMW to work, and I have, without snow tires.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,372
    Ditto. The AS and AWD is fine for me in any snow under 2 feet!

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    I know other members (i.e. Shipo) have mentioned that its better to go with RWD with winter tires/wheels.

    Count me in with Shipo; some folks would have you believe that driving a RWD BMW in anything other than semi-arid conditions is akin to playing russian roulette with a Tec-9. In actuality, if you have anything approaching serviceable driving skills you will do just fine in a RWD BMW. BMW tacitly admits that their AWD models aren't intended to be hard-core driving machines, since they don't offer a Sport suspension on any xi. And if you don't believe me, check the quotes from Road & Track in my earlier post #215. This is not to say that the AWD Bimmers are bad cars, but the RWD models offer the purer driving experience. In my case, If I really wanted an AWD performance car I'd be deciding between an EVO or STi. In actuality, I'm waiting to see if Munich sees fit to offer a limited slip on an iteration of the 135i coupe. In the meantime, I'll continue to cheat death in my Club Sport and Mazdaspeed3... :P

    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: 8,372
    I hope you have air bags!

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    I hope you have air bags!

    The Club Sport only has front bags, fortunately. Alas, the MS3 has several, which is part of the reason it weighs too much... :mad:

    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: 8,372
    Heck, the 1-series will be a porker for you! (I need to see if I fit!) That would be an almost 800 lb. increase from the MCS!!!

    But, then again, you would be true to your screen name with the added 130HP & LB/Ft to struggle with that 135i Gorilla!

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    Heck, the 1-series will be a porker for you!

    To be perfectly honest, I'm having so much fun with the Club Sport and the MS3 that I'll probably just hold on to them and continue to build up the M1 acquisition fund.
    As an aside, this coming weekend will mark the twelfth anniversary of my trip to Chicago to take delivery of my Club Sport. Time flies when you're having fun!!!

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

  • all righty then, we have a guy with a mazda 3, giving advice to a guy from toronto, on which bimmer he should choose. :sick:

    what next, maybe we'll get classic muscle car guys telling us awd guys that, with a good pair of snows they will have no problem keeping on the road with us, or maybe even a vintage guy telling a guy in toronto that with under $5000.00 you can get a car that will stick to the road in the rain?

    i understand that a new bimmer is for more the a few somewhat priveliged, hard working and enjoys cars kind of guy, can also understand guys with M3s, M5s & classic Tii saying , what the heck is bmw thinking of putting an awd model in there beautiful handling sport sedans.

    but come on, the 335 i or xi is a sweet, fast & fun machine, and if you don't beleive that.

    k sara sara. :confuse: ;)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    k sara sara

    Isn't it Que sera sera?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Isn't it Que sera sera?

    I actually figured that one out myself, it's the preceeding paragraph that has me scratching my head. Perhaps you can give me the English translation of:

    i understand that a new bimmer is for more the a few somewhat priveliged, hard working and enjoys cars kind of guy, can also understand guys with M3s, M5s & classic Tii saying , what the heck is bmw thinking of putting an awd model in there beautiful handling sport sedans.

    I know the Edmund's rule that we are supposed to stick with discussing cars, and not nitpick on spelling and grammer, but is it really too much to ask that posts be at least semi-literate? :sick:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    These days there seem to be four different classes of BMW drivers:

    1) Those that have driven cars of all stripes through all kinds of weather and over widely varying road and track conditions and have determined RWD cars offer the best all around performance of the group.

    2) Those that live in environments with challenging terrain and frequent winter weather that cannot get to and fro with just the simple addition of winter rubber to a RWD car, and as such truly need AWD.

    3) Those that believe (correctly or otherwise, I'm thinking the latter) that an AWD car eliminates the need to mount winter rubber when the weather turns foul.

    4) The folks who've had too much AWD Kool-Aid to drink and who believe that in spite of the extra weight and drive-train complexity, the AWD version of the E90 and E92 reign supreme regardless of the road conditions.

    While I love debating this issue and have for a number of years, of late I've found that this discussion has often descended to the point of unintelligible irrelevance, so much so that the debate is now akin to arguing with a head-strong three-year old. Make an intelligent and well thought out argument or point as to why one methodology is superior and with what constraints and I'll be there for the debate. Failing that, I've got better things to do with my time. :P

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    Well said!

    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: 8,372
    Here is another category:

    5) Those #1 drivers who decide that the AWD trade-off is worth the added traction from the scarcely less performance, predominantly from the 335 turbo variant depending on the real or perceived need all year round despite the added weight, drive train complexity or with or without snows depending on conditions!

    Regards,
    OW
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    5) Those #1 drivers who decide that the AWD trade-off is worth the added traction from the scarcely less performance, predominantly from the 335 turbo variant depending on the real or perceived need all year round despite the added weight, drive train complexity or with or without snows depending on conditions!

    Your "scarcly" is my "noticably". Granted, the power of the 335i tends to mitigate the impact of the added weight and drivetrain loss on straight line acceleration. But not on steering, handling, balance and the generally nimbler feel of RWD.

    I think the very reason this AWD vs RWD issue continues to be debated in the BMW forums is a tribute to BMW. Throw 4-matic on a C class or G35 and even I might call the difference in handling "scarcely" perceptible. But the C class and G35 are NOT in the same league as the 3 series as far as driving dynamics. When you put AWD on a BMW, you aren't adding extra weight to a lumbering buffalo, you are strapping a weight belt onto a cheetah. That AWD cheetah may still be able to outmaneuver and outaccelerate just about every other animal in the jungle (and even the unladen cheetah, when there is snow on the ground). But it's hard for me to call the added weight and other assorted impacts "scarcly" noticable.

    Perhaps I've been watching too much "Animal Channel" with my daughters?
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "all righty then, we have a guy with a mazda 3, giving advice to a guy from toronto, on which bimmer he should choose.

    That Mazda3 owner knows more about BMW's and how to drive them than 95% of the people reading this forum...

    "what next, maybe we'll get classic muscle car guys telling us awd guys that, with a good pair of snows they will have no problem keeping on the road with us

    If people would spend $200 on an advanced driving school, they could learn how to handle a RWD car safely on wet and dry pavement. Then they could save $2000 and steer clear of the AWD car they don't really need.

    "or maybe even a vintage guy telling a guy in toronto that with under $5000.00 you can get a car that will stick to the road in the rain?"

    Actually, a clean E30 325ix goes for less than $4000. ;)
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,262
    driving my '65 MGB (yeah, I know, in what century) through the panhandle of Idaho (near Bonners Ferry) in January of '72. I carefully passed a slower vehicle and lost traction. There was a bit of fishtailing (as we called it, back in the day), but not much. Traction was regained (with a bit of finesse, I might add) and life went on.

    There was a time when RWD vehicles were driven in all sorts of weather and people actually survived the experience.

    Imagine.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    That Mazda3 owner knows more about BMW's and how to drive them than 95% of the people reading this forum...

    Nah, I'm just an average car geek who spends more time at the track than he should...

    If people would spend $200 on an advanced driving school, they could learn how to handle a RWD car safely on wet and dry pavement. Then they could save $2000 and steer clear of the AWD car they don't really need.

    Agreed. And some owners will spend $5000 on performance upgrades when they can't exploit even 50% of the capability of their stock Bimmer.

    Actually, a clean E30 325ix goes for less than $4000.

    And it's a great rally car too- if you don't hole the sump with a large rock... :cry:

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

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,489
    There was a time when RWD vehicles were driven in all sorts of weather and people actually survived the experience.

    Yesterday I put @100 miles on my Club Sport and it rained almost the entire time. My only traction control was the OEM LSD and the sole electronic aid was ABS. I suppose some might have found the experience terrifying, but I had a blast.

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

  • sorry for the divinci code style of writing, but here's what it means.

    1) more then a few people can afford a 3 series.

    2) old time bmw guys, can't accept the future.

    safe & fun driving. :P
  • hello shipo,

    just trying to understand you, are you saying that the 335i will win on all dry road & track conditions? ( because you know it won't in rain & snow.)

    if you are, i'll assume you know it will only be for a few tenths of a seconds either way!

    it seems to me that you think your driving a new GT-R or something, that would warrant such a ridiculous post ( sorry pal we are not 3 yrs old)

    or that it will beat or be better than the xi significantly?

    if thats the way you feel, may i suggest a few things,
    1) a big glass of awd kool-aid, 2) go to a dealer, test drive 335xi, and if that don't work, 3) go to japan and test drive GT-R so you understand your not driving one! :P
  • if infiniti figured out how to do better with the awd, how much longer ,( i feel already. ) will it take bmw?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    This is getting too personal - it's time to agree to disagree and move on. No one is going to change each other's mind with these kinds of posts.
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