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BMW 3-Series - AWD or RWD?

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  • hello RSG,
    if we are talking about an everyday driving car, on the dry roads and are keeping within, the speed limits or just above, i found no benefit with the i over xi at all.
    handling, steering & especially accelerating, but quite the reverse when on wet, snowy & even sandy roads.
    not sure what kind of a test drive you went on, i'll assume that at times you went into corners hard, lets say 20 mph over the posted limit and felt a difference, or stopped at a light and made a turn really fast and felt a difference,i did not.
    imho for everyday somewhat normal (keeping within the limits) dry road driving, just shoot me, if there is a significant difference.
    what i'm trying to say is for an everyday and who knows what the roads or weather will throw at you driving, i choose the awd bmw.

    hope we can agree to disagree on this topic, it's just my opinion.

    safe & fun driving ladies and gentleman!
    UJ
  • cbanctcbanct Posts: 17
    Hello Shipo,

    Here is the link for the performance suspension. It is an aftermarket option.

    http://accessories.bmwusa.com/Accessories.aspx?modelId=216&perf=true

    cbanct
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    cbanct, thanks for the news...I'm sure the 335xi will be next.

    Regards,
    OW
  • I don't need to drive a car like I stole it to feel what others might consider subtle differences in performance. I can easily feel the extra weight of the 335ix in "normal" driving and the differences in handling and braking. The acceleration of the i vs. ix is similar in absolute 0-60 numbers, but the i feels quicker when you don't mash the pedal to the metal. I am willing to put up the keys to my 911 that I could tell whether I was driving the i or ix within 1/4 mile of starting the car, and never break the speed limit in the process. I don't think I have any extra natural talent in this regard, just that I've been sensitized to the difference by taking performance driving courses and hanging around my brother and uncle, current and former race team and driving instructors for Porsche and Ferrari, respectively.

    I know a lot of people, perhaps even most BMW drivers, that couldn't tell much difference between the i and ix on dry pavement. And a fair number of BMW owners that couldn't tell that much difference between a 335i or ix and a C350, A4, G35 or even a FWD TL. But the fact that one person can't tell a difference doesn't mean there isn't one. I would be quick to admit that anything more than $30 / 91 rated bottle for wine is likely a waste of money on me. But I'm not about to suggest that those who can actually distiguish between a $30 bottle and a $150 / 95+ rated bottle that there is no difference and they should be just as happy with that $30 bottle.

    Remember, I did say I was leaning towards the 335ix. It is the best performing AWD sedan I've driven, compared to the A4, C350 4-matic, G35x and the RL But I CAN tell the difference between it and the RWD 335i. The fact that I may be willing to trade off superior dry weather handling for very good dry handling and all weather versitility is my personal choice. If you can't tell the difference and don't think that you have made any trade off, then all the better for you. But you don't need to persist in the suggestion that there is virtually no difference. If you want to put up the keys of your 335ix to my 911 coupe, I'll be happy to prove you wrong - and complete my garage in the process. ;)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, interesting aftermarket goodie, and at a reasonable price too. That said, since I won't have an AWD car in my garage, I won't be needing that package. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    Hmmm, interesting aftermarket goodie, and at a reasonable price too.

    I guess BMW NA has observed the success of Mazdaspeed, NISMO, and other manufacturers' performance divisions in offering performance parts. Me, I'd rather they bring over more Alpinas such as the B3 Bi-Turbo sedan:

    image

    I'll even forgive its lack of a proper -i.e. manual- transmission...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    It would seem that you're WAAAAY more forgiving that I am. :P

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    It would seem that you're WAAAAY more forgiving that I am.

    Make that WAAAAY WAAAAY more forgiving than me.

    The Alpina B3 does essentially nothing for handling over a 335i sport, gives you 20% more horsepower and torque on paper (but nominally better actual acceleration), and forces you to take a 6 speed slushbox automatic in exchange?

    Forget it. That is an entirely unacceptable tradeoff. Put the B3 next to a 335i sport 6-speed manual for exactly the same price and I'll take the latter. What happened, did a Motorsport engineer retire and Alpina recruited someone from AMG?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    In my experience Alpina does a better job than BMW at combining comfort and handling prowess. I'll be the first to admit that the B3 is certainly not as adept or as hard-edged as an M car, but that's not the car's purpose. Rather, it is a very comfortable and very competent grand tourer. I'd want a B3 for effortless long distance cruising, but I'd still need an M car for a truly sporting drive- something no E90/92 can truly provide.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    Another thoughtful and entertaining post. It's a pleasure to have another experienced driver participating in this topic. Your comments are appreciated.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I just finished my January issue of Road & Track including a nice (but brief) test drive of the new WRX STi.

    If I were looking for an AWD sports car, this is the one I would choose (and I would very possibly choose it over the RWD 335i/135i). Subaru's Driver Controlled Center Differential really is the way to go. In manual mode, the driver can select any of 5 preset front/rear torque splits, including a very RWD-like 25/75 Front/Rear split. Then, in inclement weather, the driver can simply leave it in automatic mode and let the computer send torque where it's needed.

    Add to that genuine mechanical limited-slip differentials front and rear, a no-nonsense cockpit, a time-proven bulletproof 2.5L turbo engine (with sufficient oil-cooling ability), a user serviceable drivetrain including transmission/differential drain plugs, an engine oil dipstick (!!!), and a highly usable (and good-looking) 5-door body.

    I remember poking around underneath a 2006 STi a couple years ago before a test-drive and being hugely impressed by the strength and design of the body/suspension. Very beefy components and reinforcements in all the right places - it's overengineered in an E30 sort of way. I like that.

    BMW's AWD system is perfectly adequate for a soccer mom (or dad) driving an X3 to the supermarket in Portland, but for a sport sedan, it's an embarrassment. The STi will absolutely eat up and spit out any AWD BMW on any road, in any weather.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    If I were looking for an AWD sports car, this is the one I would choose (and I would very possibly choose it over the RWD 335i/135i). Subaru's Driver Controlled Center Differential really is the way to go. In manual mode, the driver can select any of 5 preset front/rear torque splits, including a very RWD-like 25/75 Front/Rear split. Then, in inclement weather, the driver can simply leave it in automatic mode and let the computer send torque where it's needed.

    Agreed. That STi a very impressive bit of kit, as they say across the pond. I think that I will have to test drive one at the very least. You know, I bought my MS3 with the idea that it would serve as my track rat/commuter until the 135i came out and prices stabilized. It turns out that "Gojira" has proven very entertaining. Methinks I'll keep the little beast and perhaps buy a vintage M car to tinker with, such as an E28 M5 or E36 M Coupe...
    I also like the Nissan GT-R, but at its lofty $70K price point I lean towards vehicles from Garching and Zuffenhausen...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    I would opt for the Lancer Evolution vs. the STI but unfortunately, I must be a soccer Dad because I truly enjoy the xi. I can do much more with this car ALL of the time.

    It is NOT a WRC contender or a weekend track car but as I will continue to remind everyone, it's a real good sedan. Against the i, it is a different driving feel that more than makes up for itself when the weather conditions warrant.

    I did not intend to take it to the track when I got into this 330xi. The experience has been flawless quality wise and the traction is at a level that I have not experienced from any road car with the same level of fit and finish as well as solid road feel.

    If I wanted a BMW track car, M3, please. Otherwise, the future will look real good for AWD sedans with the addition of the proactive torque vectoring that will proliferate. I say " Bring It On".

    Regards,
    OW
  • Very interesting.

    I'd be curious to hear the opinions of experienced drivers comparing the 328Xi with this performance suspension to the 328i, or the same for the 335 cars if / when they offer a kit for the 335Xi.

    I would be interested in a kit like this for the 5 series Xi cars, although BMW may not go there because the sport suspension in the 5 series has active anti-roll which could be too expensive to add post production.

    Bruce
  • OW,

    If I wanted a BMW track car, M3, please

    FWIW, my wife and I own AWD BMWs, but we recently had the chance to drive a 335i sport at the BMW Performance Center. It was a screamer on the track, and really fun to drive, although I have no idea how it compares to an M3. Subjectively, it felt faster than a 650i and Z4 coupe.

    I personally liked driving the 335i sport at least as much as the M5, and felt it may have been as fast / faster, but there are caveats to this- a short course, my driving skill, and my inexperience with SMG.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    I meant the new M3. I can see the cons regarding the size weight issue with the E92 M but there must be some semblance of additional fun considering the power/suspension superiority. Against a 335i sport, I assume the added benefit must be utilized on the track at some point during ownership with the new M3 as opposed to public roads.

    The 335i sport can double duty whereas the 335xi would not see track time, IMO. If they start adding "real" sport suspension to the xi, watch out! I think you need to set up/maintain your track car more aggressively and carefully if you start to get serious. I'm talking most weekends would qualify as a serious sport.

    I am surprised you felt it (335) faster than the M5. Did you you push the "M" button when you drove the M??

    It's nice to have the option to choose your weapon based on what you need. I'd be tempted to get the M3 but at that price point, you have a lot of other options for your daily driver and weekend track car, especially when you can get a high performance AWD car the comes close to the M for almost half the price.

    Regards,
    OW
  • OW

    I am surprised you felt it (335) faster than the M5. Did you you push the "M" button when you drove the M??

    My expereince in the M5 was very brief- hopping into it for the first time at the starting position on the track, quickly trying to adjust the seating and steering wheel, and then taking off quickly so as not to hold up the other drivers.

    We only got 3 laps in it. I did not see a sport button in the M5 like I found in the 650i SMG that we had been driving, so I have no idea what mode the M5 SMG was using. It felt like the transmission was slow to downshift when I was trying to power out of a corner.

    The 335i sport that we drove once, for 3 laps, and the Z4 coupes we drove in the main class (kept switching between the Z4 and 650) had steptronic, which I kept in sport mode. I liked the steptonic in sport mode better than the SMG, but my comments should not be taken out of the context of my caveats.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    can we stop with the 5th grade mentality.

    I read redsoxgirl's posts as being fairly complimentary of both the i and ix. But somehow you seem to think that anyone who can tell the difference, and prefers the handling of the i, is a threat to the validity of your purchase decision.

    These are opinions for goodness sakes. Just get over the fact that not everyone agrees with yours. Suggesting that those articulate enough to express an opposing view in real English are the ones with a 5th grade mentality is beyond hypocritical, considering the source.

    No one here has claimed the 335ix isn't a fine car. Re-read if necessary.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    Well, I NEVER get the questions on the show correct so perhaps that's why I ended up with a 330xi!

    Just kidding. I did have a visit yeaterday from a new VP from our Corporate office in his Carrera 4 which he loves. (I must be attracting AWD from the universe!) He informed me that a company owners's son was close on closing a deal on the new Turbo. Isn't that ~ $150,000?

    All these are great cars that weren't on the radar screen that long ago.

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    If I wanted a BMW track car, M3, please.

    A REAL -E30- M Drei, I'd hope... ;) And once again, I wouldn't rule out an E28 M5. Then again, as I mentioned in another topic-
    Some poor sod up the road from me has a 1991 318i four door for sale. The guy spent a ton of money(rebuilt engine, clutch, radiator, and so on) on and now wants to get out of. The guy isn't mechanically inclined, didn't have it checked out, and wouldn't take any advice. The body has a few dents and the red paint is faded. I think I can get it for under $1500. I just might have found my new track rat- and
    I can also let my 13 year old son drive it around the farm, and if he sideswipes a tree it will be no big deal... :P

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    These are opinions for goodness sakes. Just get over the fact that not everyone agrees with yours.

    Exactly!
    I don't take your opinions personally- even though you are dead wrong about the B3...;)

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "I'll keep the little beast and perhaps buy a vintage M car to tinker with, such as an E28 M5 or E36 M Coupe."

    I would choose the e30 M3 over the E28 M5 every day of the week. I've got a thing for the E28 M5 - always have loved it. I've been tempted by a couple of clean ones over the years, but the maintenance and relative lack of factory and aftermarket support steered me to the E30 instead. I've always loved the E30 M3 too, so it's hardly a penalty box.

    E36 M Coupe?!?! Nice car, fast and rare, but not exactly "vintage."

    The Nissan GT-R looks way cool - if only it came with 3 pedals.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I don't take your opinions personally- even though you are dead wrong about the B3...

    And perhaps I'll need to revisit that opinion. I didn't realize that Alpina is more oriented towards the GT buyer (vs. the sport buyer that Motorsport targets).
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    I didn't realize that Alpina is more oriented towards the GT buyer (vs. the sport buyer that Motorsport targets).

    It took a bit of research for me to discover that as well. In fact, BMW and Alpina have agreed that Alpina will not build Alpina editions of any M car.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    in another discussion I'm sure all of you read, pictures wider than the text area have to be deleted.

    And another one bites the dust.

    I'm sorry.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    I've got a thing for the E28 M5 - always have loved it. I've been tempted by a couple of clean ones over the years, but the maintenance and relative lack of factory and aftermarket support steered me to the E30 instead.

    My years with an E24 M6 got me wired into the S38 support networks, so I would feel fairly comfortable buying one.

    I've always loved the E30 M3 too, so it's hardly a penalty box.

    I may yet follow Mark Jon's example and build a DTM replica. Though it might wind up being an E24 Jagermeister car.

    E36 M Coupe?!?! Nice car, fast and rare, but not exactly "vintage."

    One enthusiast's "vintage auto" is another's "used car"... :P

    The Nissan GT-R looks way cool - if only it came with 3 pedals.

    Agreed, but I'd still like to accumulate some seat time in one...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    Today is a great day for me and my mini-van sized 330xi. 6 - 10" inches is right in my ballpark.

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,389
    The British magazine EVO has a couple of interesting on-line articles that at least touch on our 2WD/AWD discussion.

    The first article is an update on EVO's Long Term E92 M3. Staffer John Barker found the M3 to be at its best -Horror of Horrors!- in the rain.
    Favorite quote: "... every deserted roundabout and inviting corner was fair game and I arrived home with a grin and a new respect for the M3. Brilliant though it is, an RS4 can’t give you those thrills." (emphasis added).

    The second article is a brief review of the new Subaru Impreza WRX. Here the writer evaluates the new AWD Subie in the light of current FWD hot hatches such as the Volkswagen GTI and the Renault Mégane R26.
    Favorite quote: "Rivals like the Golf GTI and Mégane R26 keep their composure much more assuredly under duress and are simply more fun. The Impreza would obviously have advantages in the wet, but I’m pretty sure that either hot hatch would pull steadily away on a tough stretch of road – particularly the incredibly grippy Mégane." (emphasis added).

    So, what can we learn from our two enthusiast brethren from across the pond?
    Simply this: AWD is just like any other powertrain or suspension configuration. How well it works depends on an AWD system's design and implementation. Just because a car feeds power to all four driven wheels does not guarantee that it will prove superior to its 2WD siblings or competitors.

    For further reading and discussion: Inside Line Long Term Test.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    Interesting...after driving both BMW power trains, the AWD version is at least as rewarding as the rwd. That's the way it feels to me.

    Regards,
    OW
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