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BMW 3-Series - AWD or RWD?

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Comments

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    AWD on a G does the same thing to the drive as AWD on the 3.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,401
    No one is going to change each other's mind with these kinds of posts.

    Exactly. Which is why this thread should be locked/closed. The following quote from post #246 by Shipo sums things up perfectly:

    "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."

    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

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Why should the thread be locked? You certainly don't have to participate.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    I understand the critiques and preferences to both power trains. The feel is different and I understand how preference to a lighter feel would be better appreciated.

    However, since I logged more time in the xi, my view is that the handling prowess of the same sedan in AWD is not hindered at all vs. a stock i. I am sure the SP/Summer Tires offer much higher handling performance on the i. No question.

    The traction delivery speaks volumes. It's a real great all-climate car. No one can claim the RWD with AS tires grips better. One driver might be better at controlling the RWD in the wet over another but bottom line is traction is at a much higher level in this set up.

    Given all of the above, the extra 50 HP and torque in the blown 335xi should be that much higher in performance. The handling differences are a wash in the E90 without SP.

    Regards,
    OW
  • FWIW,

    I tend to view the AWD issue as being analogous to the automatic transmission. Early automatics had a huge performance penalty, which I can personally attest to from driving my parents '55 Chevy V-8 with a 2 speed Powerglide! Even some of the more recent ATs left a lot to be desired, such as the 4 speed AT in my '98 Accord V-6. But over time, advances in AT technology have narrowed the performance gap such that an AT is a reasonable alternative for some, but not all, BMW buyers. The 6 speed AT in my 535Xi is a pretty decent transmission. I also think market forces require the availability of a good AT for BMW to stay competitive.

    Similar thing for AWD- My expectation is AWD technology will advance over time, and the performance gap between it and RWD on normal road conditions will be narrowed (somewhat? a lot? who knows). I also think the market trend is such that BMW needs to offer AWD to stay competitive in the marketplace.

    Independent of whether people have valid reasons to buy AWD, I think the trend is going to grow over time and a greater percentage of BMWs will be AWD.

    Rather than debating AWD versus RWD, I would be interested in seeing AWD BMWs compared to competitive AWD offerings from other makers - AWD vs AWD. My impression, just from reading, is that if you are going to buy AWD, then a BMW AWD is the best choice for performance driving.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    Well written and accurate.

    Regards,
    OW
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Agreed Bruce, good point.

    My opposition to AWD has nothing to do with the performance advantages or disadvantages vs. RWD. My continuing point is simply that:

    1. Like the Automatic Transmission, AWD saps some of the fun and challenge from a car that is supposed to be a fun and challenging driving experience.

    If a car is utterly and completely predictable by being capable of gripping the road in the same unflappable manner, on all roads, in every condition, regardless of driver skill, and without risk of going even a little sideways once in a while, then what's the point? Where's the fun in that?

    2. AWD is being overmarketed to people who really don't need it.

    Too many shoppers are being fleeced into thinking that AWD will protect their families from certain death because "4 driven wheels are safer than 2." AWD won't help prevent you from understeering into an embankment because you took a slick corner too fast. And when you are heading out of control towards that embankment, it won't help you stop any sooner either.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,842
    It all comes down, eventually, to that little 6 X 6" patch of tire that keeps your car on, or off, the road. Without any grip, 10 wheel drive doesn't matter.

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  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Actually, Audi is working on a 10 wheel drive sport sedan. It can drive upside down, backwards, on teflon-coated pavement, with the driver blindfolded and hands tied behind his back...
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    Agreed...you just get more grip with 4. Specifically in acceleration, linear or lateral. Loose2 you still have 2. Loose all, and nothing matters.

    Regards,
    OW
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,842
    You made that up.

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  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    No, he meant V-10 AWD Audi

    RS6

    image

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,401
    Too many shoppers are being fleeced into thinking that AWD will protect their families from certain death because "4 driven wheels are safer than 2." AWD won't help prevent you from understeering into an embankment because you took a slick corner too fast. And when you are heading out of control towards that embankment, it won't help you stop any sooner either.

    It's still inconceivable to me that some people have been bamboozled into thinking that AWD is a necessity to be able to drive in the rain. At first I thought those people were joking, but sadly enough they are not. Unbelievable.
    Another thing to remember is that not even Munich considers their AWD models to be the hot ticket. Otherwise you would see AWD M cars as well as an xi Sport Package that contained more than just tires, seats, and a steering wheel.
    People looking for an AWD performance car would be better served considering an EVO X or STi at the low end of the price scale, and a C4 or RS4 at the upper end.

    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
    A 330xi is not a necessity to drive in the rain. Heck, this is the first AWD car I've driven. It sticks like glue in all weather. Not really much fun if you want to sling the tail out. I DO NOT consider this car a hot ticket or even the 335xi with the added grunt.

    It's just a great handling car that stays planted no matter what. This is not a track car or even a part time track car. In fact, as I am on record as agreeing the RWD is more fun and you need more skill when burning up the roads. Your offerings are excellent for the performance minded die hard AWD'ers.

    BTW, some people can't drive in the rain or snow (or in the sun!) no matter what wheel drive.

    Regards,
    OW
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,401
    A 330xi is not a necessity to drive in the rain. Heck, this is the first AWD car I've driven. It sticks like glue in all weather. Not really much fun if you want to sling the tail out. I DO NOT consider this car a hot ticket or even the 335xi with the added grunt.

    I have to admit that there is one AWD BMW that I've seriously considered owning- An E53 X5 4.8is:

    image

    It's too big and way too heavy but for some reason it is just a blast to drive- especially in hooligan mode(kind of like the B7). The thinly disguised Alpina B10 V8 and M Sport suspension completely transform the truck. It was an unmitigated hoot on my gravel driveway/rally stage. If an E30 M3 is a scapel, than the 4.8is is a 375 hp chainsaw...

    BTW, some people can't drive in the rain or snow (or in the sun!) no matter what wheel drive.

    Agreed. What is really scary is that most of them probably think that they are great drivers.

    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
    "You made that up."

    But you were tempted. Admit it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,842
    I saw RIGHT through you. :shades:

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  • OW,

    you are one of the more, respected guy on this post, so i ask please, do not underestimate the xi sedan to the i, with a NO QUESTION ending statement.

    my take on ( both with summer tires ) the 2 cars is, there is a QUESTION.

    and that is, what road or track are we talking about?
    is it 0 to 60, 1/4 mi. or at (apg) arizona proving ground?

    as i posted before, TENTHS OF A SECOND difference either way.
  • bruce, well said, cheers.
    lawman,

    i feel ( could be wrong ) that you have not driven an xi?

    i feel that it does not take away, any SAP from the fun or challenge, from a fun & challenging car.
    understand that i do feel that there is a, difference in challenges.
    and as far as your view on families, thinking awd will save themselves from death.
    i feel you underestimate, the knowledge of the american public!
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I feel we can agree to disagree.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    UJ, both cars are fantastic. To me, it's simple. If you are looking for more traction, 335xi. If you are looking for a lighter steering feel and want more fun, 335i.

    You can debate the traction and fun factor back and forth. The fact remains both are unbelievably great cars. Racing? Different equipment. Depends upon the goal.

    Regards,
    OW
  • agreed, will not be around for a while, so happy turkey day!
  • your a good man!

    happy thanksgiving!

    UJ :)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Was driving around yesterday morning and happened to tune into "Car Talk", just as a question about AWD came up. Coincidentally, the same question was answered in the print edition of the Car Talk column in the Washington Post this morning (although they elaborated much more on the radio).

    Essentially, the message both on the radio and in the column was that buyers of AWD often don't take into account the added costs of AWD in terms of fuel economy, maintenance and repairs. They do not recommend AWD for any climate milder than their home town of Boston and, even in Boston, they think RWD with good all season tires is adequate for most "all seasoned" drivers. Between ABS, LSD, stability control systems, etc. "even my brother would have an easy time getting around compared to his 1970 Impala".

    I don't exactly consider the Car Talk guys the authority on sports cars or sports sedans, but they did chastise the caller for spending extra money on AWD in Phoenix. And they also claimed that, even in stallwarts like Subaru's, the additional mechanical parts in AWD systems will pretty much double your odds of an expensive drive train repair down the road.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    Here is the take from " Smart Motorist" on the net:

    All-Wheel Drive - All-wheel drive offers the best of both worlds. In an all-wheel drive system, power is distributed to all four of the vehicle's tires, all of the time. Subaru and Audi have built their reputations on all-wheel-drive sedans and wagons. All-wheel drive passenger vehicles handle better than most front- AND rear-wheel drive vehicles. Both 4WD and AWD improve traction for moving on ice and snow, but they don't do anything for stopping ability. For that reason, they can build a false sense of security that leads drivers to follow too closely.

    I know most RWD sports sedans handle better than AWD but some have performance tuning. There are always pro/con you will hear but I respect your view. I can only comment on the car I am driving at the moment. I called it a wash on price considering the Nav system I did not includes.

    As far as repair costs, I already paid a premium on that since I lease but all costs for premature drive train failure is covered in my case. I did consider this in advance because as systems are increasingly more complex, costs will rise on repairs.

    Regards,
    OW
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    AWD in Phoenix?!?!

    That's like selling snow tires to someone in Miami. I guess there really is a sucker born every minute.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,401
    don't exactly consider the Car Talk guys the authority on sports cars or sports sedans, but they did chastise the caller for spending extra money on AWD in Phoenix. And they also claimed that, even in stallwarts like Subaru's, the additional mechanical parts in AWD systems will pretty much double your odds of an expensive drive train repair down the road.

    But if you don't have AWD, what do you do when it rains?
    :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

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "But if you don't have AWD, what do you do when it rains?"

    I know it's kind of a new and radical thought, but in my case, I drive. :P

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Click and Clack weren't disparaging the AWD choice if you actually lived in a climate where snow was a serious consideration. But they have questioned the financial prudence of AWD, even in SUV's for mild climates.

    In a show a few years ago, they advised somebody from Atlanta that was considering the Pilot or MDX to get the Pilot 2WD version, save a bundle in price and another bundle in fuel efficiency and maintenance/repairs (and of course, send half of the savings to them for their advice). We were shopping the MDX at the time and I happened to check the Honda/Acura extended warranty prices. A 7/100 extended warranty on an AWD Pilot or MDX was substanitally more than the 2WD Pilot. They were even considerably more (+50%) over my Honda S2000, with all of it's high tech engineering.

    Click and Clacks point was simply to consider all of the costs of AWD in your decision. And not just the up front costs, but also the onging costs, at least if you plan on keeping the car for longer than a short term lease.

    On another note, I met a former Mercedes exec turned lobbyist a couple of years ago and we started chatting about cars (I had just purchased a 2004 TL 6-speed). I mentioned that if Mercedes had offered a 300CDI in a manual transmission and 4 matic, I'd have gotten one instead of the TL. His response was, you can get the manual transmission in Europe, but forget the 4-matic on a diesel E-class. He claimed that the great advantages of the E-class diesel - excellent fuel economy and 250k+ mile low cost mechanical lifespan would both be significantly compromised with 4-matic.

    Again, I don't want to sound like I'm trying to throw a wet blanket on AWD. It certainly has benefits worth considering. (We did get an AWD MDX). But, as with anything, it has costs. I'm just as quick to question the financial prudence of putting 18/19" wheels and W rated tires on a family sedan that isn't heading to Nurburgring. In 155k miles, my Maxima SE has cost me a whopping $1,300 in tire replacement. My friend's E350 Sport will cost him roughly $9,000 over the same period (he does keep his cars 10+/- years). Those AMG wheels look great on the E350, but the actual real world difference in handling, given the way each of us drives a family sedan, is almost negligable. Certainly not worth 750% more in tire replacement costs and even he admits that it was a brain fart on his part to get them.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,619
    I agree, although I ran a test yesterday over 100 miles and kept it under 80. On the Highway with light traffic, the 330xi E90 got 26 at the end of the ride. I did the same ride with the loaner 330i back in '06 and it was 28.5 MPG. (My average so far is 22 MPG combined). I assume at 55-65 I could have eeked out a bit more. I can only go so far egg-shelling the throttle before I get bored!

    Over 50,000 miles, thats about 170 gals of gas saved with RWD vs. AWD on the same car, or around $500.

    My 2003 Linclon LS clocked an average of 19 MPG so I gained in the switch. My point is that added cost of the 2 extra drive wheels was worth it in my value proposition.

    In the same vein as others get sick over even the thought of AWD, those "Bling Things" they pass off as wheels over 18" are rediculous to me.

    When I grow up and ditch the training wheels, I'll look back and wonder "What was I thinking!" In the mean time, it ain't that bad.

    Regards,
    OW
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