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BMW 3-Series - AWD or RWD?

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  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    UJs feeilings do have some merit. It's interesting to note, and has previously been noted, the Bugatti only comes in AWD. People spending $1.2million on a car don't have a choice of AWD/RWD?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,389
    This discussion is rather simple to me. I am what RB refers to as a newbie to the Bimmer world. The driving feel between the 2 platforms is very discernible form my butt-o-meter. Both cars are excellent and on the top of the food chain in the small sedan category. I have NO remorse for my decision because even with the disadvantages that are real, this car is a trip and a half. It blows away all know US models I have been in for all around performance. As a former V-8 junkie, I never dreamed a Straight Six would even closely compete. I was dead wrong but I learn every day.

    When we talk track cars, if you plan a weekend with your daily commuter i or xi, they are both very limited. You really need to do a lot of mods to get the complete joy out of the experience on a road course as you gain experience and want to go even further.

    But for this discussion, on public roads, it's the peoples choice that matches their needs, either perceived or real. At the end of the day, there is no panacea.

    In the future, cars will be completely computerized and the speeds that we will get to/from our destinations will necessitate the need to block out any vision to the roads to reduce vascular degeneration leading to heart attack and stroke. Picture 150+MPH with 6 inches between cars a s far as you can see, 4 lanes wide!

    The place for real fun is the track after all. You get to meet people that have vast knowledge and help you get the most out of your experience just like the wise contributors on this forum

    For now, pick your tool and have your definition of fun!

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,689
    interesting to note, and has previously been noted, the Bugatti only comes in AWD. People spending $1.2million on a car don't have a choice of AWD/RWD?

    I think that's a reflection of the VAG AWD philosophy; some Lambos get saddled with AWD as well. Note that the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes SLR are both RWD. My point is and has been that BMW does not currently consider their AWD cars to be their top performance vehicles- as kdshapiro has eloquently demonstrated. Anyone who believes that the xi models represent the pinnacle of BMW performance design is either woefully misinformed or delusional.

    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: 8,389
    But Audi does consider their Quattro AWD cars in the high performance light.

    There is a real market for the performance side of the platform. BMW just does not hold AWD as the performance goal. Other brands do. Things might change, however.

    Regards,
    OW
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "But Audi does consider their Quattro AWD cars in the high performance light."

    Yeah, but Audi HAS to consider their Quattro necessary for their high performance cars. Why? Because their nose heavy FWD sleds cannot perform worth a darn without the addition of the AWD system. Slapping a band-aid (AWD in this case) on a handicapped car (FWD in this case) doesn't a superior car make (RWD in this case).

    Donning my Nomex and heading for cover. ;)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • how are you? what i;m trying to say OW said it well, these are not track cars. i own a rwd Z06 for that, and as we speak looking at the 2008 model.

    but i still stand on what i said about tenths of a second difference either way, yes i have no proof yet, but you guys don't either.

    we had some snowy weather in N.Y. today, but what a beautiful day it was.

    1) ate lunch in the sky at the rainbow room: $175

    2) xmas shopping on madison ave. in the snow: $1,140

    3) driving from long island to the city, in the snow, with wife in 335xi: PRICELESS!
  • Now that I have a second garage space available, I have been shopping for a sedan or small SUV. I will be keeping my 2007 911 C2S, but probably limiting its use to "pleasure" driving during warmer months.

    The X3, 335i and 335ix are all on the short list. Here is my take on what I've test driven so far, for what it's worth:

    335i, sport package 6-speed: great performance sedan. Short of an M3, the best BMW has to offer. Although even it, in RWD form, is no lightweight any more.

    335ix, non-sport automatic: not quite in the same handling, steering and performance league as the 335i. Added weight and additional body roll was definitiely noticable to me, but it is still very good relative to other AWD alternatives, like the Audi A4 Quatro, Infiniti G35x, etc. The all weather versitility with all season tires is attractive, given my location/circumstances.

    X3: The vehicle I would likely get, if it came with the 335 twin turbo engine. Why is BMW is putting that engine in the 1-series and NOT the X3?

    Bottom line, the X3 would be a very interesting choice if it had the twin turbo engine. It could use the extra 75 ft. lbs of torque. The 335i sport would be my no brainer choice if I still lived in North Carolina and didn't have a 911. The 335ix is a tweener - definitely a compromise between performance and all season versitility (but still not capable of serious snow, given the lower ground clearance compared to an X3/X5).

    Lastly, I asked my brother for his opinion on the AWD vs. RWD issue and, as a current/former performance driving school instructor for both Porsche and BMW, he pretty much echoed what others here have speculated. RWD in both BMW and Porsche is preferred by 99.5% of the instructors. At this point, a 911 Turbo at the track is given a ho-hum thumbs up, but the GT3 still causes a foot race to get the keys. They are all salivating over the opportunity to get their hands on the GT2. But, as my brother noted, my 911 has only made it to the track twice in it's first 14 months of life. It's had to slosh me through light snow a few more times than that. So I don't really need another performance car and the 335ix might be a good compromise. But only with a 6-speed manual. One can only compromise so much.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,689
    A very good analysis. I especially agree with your comments regarding the manual transmission. Regarding the X3, there is an outside chance that BMW NA might fit the 3.0L twin turbo diesel to the X3. 286 hp and 427 lb-ft.(!) of torque should make that truck very entertaining to drive. I'd estimate that fuel economy would average around 30 mpg. I had the chance to drive a 535d and I was very impressed. On the other hand, have you considered waiting for the 2009 X6?
    Finally, don't forget that you can always fit winter tires/wheels to a 335i; so equipped the car will be able to handle anything but deep snow.

    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: 8,389
    I know you are an enthusiast and your family is at the 99th percentile with respect to automobile savvy if I comprehend your posts correctly.

    I think your choice depends upon the snow conditions you will face in ski country and the confines of New England. I remember you also would consider the Cayenne, which would give you a little more clearance. The X3 is nice but IMO, the 335xi would be a better choice considering the level of performance you intimate from your posts.

    Given the esthetic value of the 335 coupe or sedan vs. your other choices, I assume the 335xi will be hard to put asunder..but that's getting too personal!

    Regards,
    OW
  • What's the difference between 325i and 325xi? Is it AWD on the xi and RWD on the i? Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yes, the "xi" denotes AWD. Basically they are the same cars (with the exception of the driven wheels) unless you order the Sport Package. The Sport Package on the "xi" models is pretty lame as it only includes seats and steering wheel, while the "i" models get a better suspension and wheel/tire assemblies as well.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,689
    And, although some first time BMW owners say otherwise, the RWD models handle better and most enthusiasts consider them to be more fun to drive. You might find this Road & Track article to be of interest.

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

  • first off i am not a first time bmw buyer, in fact, it is my fourth purchase of a bmw vehicle, unlike OW who i truly respect.

    this is a reality for all rwd enthusiast, like shipo, RB, H1, ect.

    when audi's awd quattro system first appeared on race cars on various, sport car series,in the 80's and started winning everything in sight, quattro was summerily BANNED from many series like, IMSA, TRANS-AM, EUROPEAN RALLYING, and the list goes on.
    audi had developed this awd system which simply left the compitition in the dust, so rather then spend the money and BRAIN power in developing thier own awd system, the other car-makers, did not have any trouble getting audi's BANNED.
    you can not really blame the sanctioning bodies, or the other manufactures, audi had developed quattro to be RACE winning traction system ready, which would eventualy trickle down to their CONSUMER round cars.

    can you blame them, if they won't let you race.

    on that note, may redsoxgirl (who should not need are opinion on chosing a winner, sorry for the loss on mondaynight, lets just hope miami gets another record). find safe & fun awd.

    forgot 1 thing, audi V12 won the 24 hr. lemans!
    but guess what?
    BANNED from racing again!
    HMMM, i wonder why.

    UJ
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,353
    yeah but Lemans is a wide open road course. They wouldn't do so well in a tight track or an oval. And one has to be careful about comparing mega-million race cars with what you get in the showroom.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • wide Open or not ( the other manufactures will not let them drive there awd beasts on the track) why would the penske team ( which is porsche),want them to be banned, and get their wish like in previous tight & oval track racing events, from other manufactures.

    this fact & i repeat fact shows that awd is superior.

    name such an event when a rwd or fwd has ever been BANNED once, unlike awd too many times, these guys from audi even tried not to win decisively, so they would not get banned.

    these are the facts, i have been driving rwd cars all my life, from american muscle to tii's, to m3's.
    when audi decides to race, they usually win.

    from a guy who is a true american (wish they made more better cars for the public, but understands the union problems ) enthusiast, & still a bmw lover.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Joe, as I mentioned to you (and linked for you), there are other discussions which include the Audi. This one is about the 3-Series. Thanks.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,389
    This first timer says the xi handles a twinge beter than the i non-SP.

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,389
    I did exactly that showroom-ready awd 2006 330 xi handled better on the exact same roads, IMHO.

    Regards,
    OW
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,353
    Thanks. I thought we were talking about AWD vs RWD, as per these two BMW models. Perhaps the connection to AWD on the track is too much of a stretch? Okay!

    Shiftright
    Visiting Host

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    AWD vs RWD pertaining to 3-Series vehicles, yes indeedy! :)

    Extending this to a general AWD vs RWD topic for other vehicles when we have other places where those conversations are taking place doesn't seem to be the thing to do; that's the point I was trying to make.

    Edit ten minutes later: This just hit me - when I said "Joe" I was replying to unlimitedjoe about Audi's quattro. Sorry if you thought I was talking to you!! :blush:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,689
    Knowing of your automotive experience as well as your connection to R&T, what is your opinion regarding the article I linked to in post #333?

    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: 8,389
    Now that the 335 has 300/300 power, I experienced "fishtailing" which a poster experienced with his 335i convertible in ice and snow with the performance tires. Only my ride had the 17" AS RFT's in the rain. The DSC light was flashing like a NYS Trooper!

    Anyone had that problem with the AWD 335?

    Regards,
    OW
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    I took my 325i in for its winter RE050A to LM-22 tire and wheel swap today. I used a 328xi with 17" EL42s for the day. Impressions: 4WD makes the front end feel much less responsive, more "pedestrian". Glad I bought a manual -- the 6spd auto hunts a lot, but in sport mode is too tenacious in holding onto a low gear. EL42s are not the greatest -- crashy on 17" rims and give a "course sandpaper" feel to the ride. Rougher at 5K miles than my RE050As at 15K and also, surprisingly, than the LM-22s. 4WD made the 328xi feel secure on the snow that fell today, but I found that my 325i had no problems on the steep snow covered hills in our PA neighborhood this evening -- it steams right up without issue. You can get the tail to step out easily but it's predictable and a snap to manage. The 16" rim size for my winter package does provide better shock absorption -- makes me wonder whether the step from 17" on the lesser RWD models to 18" on the 330i/335i might be too much of a good thing.
  • Can anyone recommenda BMW dealership in the Greater Toronto Area that will perhaps give you a good deal on the car. Looking for a '07 335i or '08 335i. Probably '08 since I want specific features and colour.
  • I'm glad this discussion got reigned if from trying to promote one or the other 3 series model from what is done with $1 million+ race cars. That seems to be a common misgiving in other areas as well. As in "Michael Schumacher's Ferrari has an SMG transmission, so this must be the better choice in my everyday BMW or VW". If the safety police followed that logic, we'd all be required to wear fireproof suits, shock resistent helmets and 5 point safety harnesses on our way to pick up a gallon of milk at the grocery store. The advantage of the Audi RS AWD system in lightweight race car capable of a hairpin 3.5 g turn with 700+ horsepower 10,000+ rpm engine bears absolutely no relationship to the disadvantage their obese A4 Quattro sedan has compared to the much nimbler, quicker and more fun to drive 335i.

    I've now had the opportunity to take a few more longer test drives of a 335i and 335ix. I am leaning towards the ix, perhaps influenced by the snow we got yesterday. But just shoot me if, after buying an xi, I would ever feel compelled to promote it as a better dry weather handling, steering, accelerating or feeling car. It simply isn't. And even though the difference is most noticable between an ix and i equiped with the sport package, the added weight and different steering feel was still a noticable enough difference from the non-sport, as well.

    The 335ix is a great car, with all season / climate versitility. It performs and handles a heck of a lot better than many so-called RWD sport sedans I've driven. But not the 335i or 335i sport. And if I get one, I won't change my tune. Nor would I advise a friend living in Palm Desert to get one.
  • ..... But just shoot me if, after buying an xi, I would ever feel compelled to promote it as a better dry weather handling, steering, accelerating or feeling car ..... The 335ix is a great car, with all season / climate versitility. It performs and handles a heck of a lot better than many so-called RWD sport sedans I've driven. But not the 335i or 335i sport .....

    Very well put. This is basically the same reasoning I used when I chose an AWD BMW, a choice that only applies to me.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,353
    Those guys like to drive like hotshots, so I'm not surprised that the combination of (to them) a low HP engine, some extra beef on the car, and the interference of various AWD controls numbed the car for them.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,389
    The 335xi is what it is. You can debate the pros and cons but to me, it is a tenacious traction-abundant luxury performance sedan that is on top of the food chain for it's class.

    I am extremely pleased to have the 330xi which is a formidable upgrade to the usual US marque offerings (Cadillac,Lincoln,Pontiac,Chrysler) I've experienced. The 335xi is the baseline for my 2009 choice.

    Regards,
    OW
  • cbanctcbanct Posts: 17
    I received my 2008 335xi in October. My impressions after driving it for 960 miles is that the suspension is a little soft. However, going around corners on roads that are rough is more secure to me in the xi compared to the i.
    BMW makes a performance suspension upgrade which is not available right now in the 335xi, but is available for the 328xi. I am hoping that it will be made for the 335 xi in the near future. With this upgrade which makes the car lower and flatter around corners the 335xi may not be as much fun around corners as the 335i but may be faster.
    I chose the 335xi after assessing a few things. The auto 335xi is heavier (3825 pounds) than the 335i (3605 pounds) by over 200 pounds. However, this amounts to only 5 percent more weight.
    Also, the 335i doesn't have a limited slip differential. The more knowledgeable on this forum can debate the pros and cons of the LSD.
    In essence I feel that you cannot go wrong with either the 335xi or 335i. I would not consider a 328xi over 328i because the performance difference is significant. For those of you who may not know, the 335xi is faster from 0 to 60 mph than the 335i according to BMW.

    cbanct
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "BMW makes a performance suspension upgrade which is not available right now in the 335xi, but is available for the 328xi. I am hoping that it will be made for the 335 xi in the near future. With this upgrade which makes the car lower and flatter around corners the 335xi may not be as much fun around corners as the 335i but may be faster."

    I'm curious, where did you hear about this suspension upgrade for the 328xi? I attempt to keep up on things like this and this is the first I have heard of such a thing. FWIW, the "Build Your Own" feature of the BMW-USA web site makes no mention of this option.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
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