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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > Pretty surprised at how my 328i handled in snow



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      02-13-2008, 01:40 PM   #1
mys_iii
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Pretty surprised at how my 328i handled in snow

328i handled in the northeast snow last night. I already knew that rear-wheel drive cars require special care when driving in slick conditions, which is why I got decent all-season tires since the sport package comes with summer tires, but I didn't realise just how careful you have to be. When I was on the highway, I couldn't give the car any more than a little amount of gas because otherwise the rear got very twitchy and the car wobbled a little bit. Then, on a local road to my house, I had trouble going up a 35 degree incline hill. The car didn't just spin the tires in place like most cars but went sideways! I eventually made it up the incline 1 mm at a time but boy what a frustrating experience. I wonder if the car goes sideways like that because of the electronic nannies distributing power unevenly to the rear wheels? Given that it was 24 degrees out and the ground probably had some ice leading to all that sliding, I was wondering how much of a difference snow tires would have made in such conditions, or would they not have made much of a difference? Does anyone have experience with this? I am considering getting a set of snow tires but I don't want to do it for a marginal difference.

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      02-13-2008, 01:48 PM   #2
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Snow tires would definitely help with virtually all of the situations you encountered, except perhaps for getting up the hill. In my experience, AWD makes the biggest differnce in getting up slippery hills.

If you already have summer tires, what made you decide to buy all seasons instead of winter tires for the winter?
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      02-13-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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Driving RWD is the winter is hell, snow tires or not. They do help a little, however.
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      02-13-2008, 02:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lassaxi View Post
Snow tires would definitely help with virtually all of the situations you encountered, except perhaps for getting up the hill. In my experience, AWD makes the biggest differnce in getting up slippery hills.

If you already have summer tires, what made you decide to buy all seasons instead of winter tires for the winter?
I didn't want to spend the extra money to get a new set of rims and winter tires. Since the wheels have the TPMS sensors as well, I would have to buy those too or put up with the annoying warning on the dash. All that extra gear seemed ridiculous for the few days out of the year that I drive in the snow.
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      02-13-2008, 02:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom330 View Post
Driving RWD is the winter is hell, snow tires or not. They do help a little, however.
I really thought that the DSC, DTC, BBC, ABC and all of those aids were supposed to help prevent sudden wheel spinning, which should help in the snow, but I guess not.
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      02-13-2008, 02:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mys_iii View Post
I didn't want to spend the extra money to get a new set of rims and winter tires. Since the wheels have the TPMS sensors as well, I would have to buy those too or put up with the annoying warning on the dash. All that extra gear seemed ridiculous for the few days out of the year that I drive in the snow.
Sorry, I must have misunderstood. I thought you meant that you had the summer tires that came with the sport package, but went out and bought a good set of all seasons for winter use.
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      02-13-2008, 02:17 PM   #7
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Aww man. That was such a good hook. I was like "OOoo, what'd the BMW do?" Then I found out it was about snow. We never get enough down here in the A-Town to really matter. I can't really comment on the thread, but nice hook.

I take that back. Most of the aids are to help restore lost traction, not create traction in situations where traction is minimal. They're defensive. Something like XDrive would be more active traction, constantly clawing with four limbs to find whatever traction may be available.
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      02-13-2008, 02:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom330 View Post
Driving RWD is the winter is hell, snow tires or not. They do help a little, however.
I have the exact opposite experience.

This car with snows beats many FWD cars with all seasons.

I find my e90 328i with dunlop winter sports on 18" wheels the most predictable car I have ever driven on snow/ice. Yes there is some slippage here or there, but its rare and very controllabe with the right amount of throttle. When it does slip, DSC will straighten it out very quickly for me or I can just adjust the throttle or maybe if it calls for it, change gear. I've been through a lot of icy and deep snow conditions this year and I have not even come close to not being able to control or stop, let alone getting stuck.

In these conditions, I always moderate my speed especially when I know a light or stop sign is coming. In my town I routinely see Audi's and other 4 wheel drives cars skidding to a full stop in snow. Its more about knowing how to drive in this stuff than the cars ability to handle it. There are very few cars where you don't have to know how to drive in snow to get around safely, I had older 2 VW's that were like that. They had FWD and they would plow through anything and stop pretty well due to the narrow tires.
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      02-13-2008, 02:39 PM   #9
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decent all-season is an oxymoron

It's best to get a set of dedicated winters my friend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mys_iii View Post
which is why I got decent all-season tires since the sport package comes with summer tires,
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      02-13-2008, 02:41 PM   #10
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I agree, RWD is predictable in the snow. Does it slip? yes, slide? yes, but it's predictable.
I'm driving a FWD loaner now, and that car scared the crap outta me during yesterday's snow storm. The car was going all over the place.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmichael View Post
I have the exact opposite experience.

This car with snows beats many FWD cars with all seasons.

I find my e90 328i with dunlop winter sports on 18" wheels the most predictable car I have ever driven on snow/ice. Yes there is some slippage here or there, but its rare and very controllabe with the right amount of throttle. When it does slip, DSC will straighten it out very quickly for me or I can just adjust the throttle or maybe if it calls for it, change gear. I've been through a lot of icy and deep snow conditions this year and I have not even come close to not being able to control or stop, let alone getting stuck.

In these conditions, I always moderate my speed especially when I know a light or stop sign is coming. In my town I routinely see Audi's and other 4 wheel drives cars skidding to a full stop in snow. Its more about knowing how to drive in this stuff than the cars ability to handle it. There are very few cars where you don't have to know how to drive in snow to get around safely, I had older 2 VW's that were like that. They had FWD and they would plow through anything and stop pretty well due to the narrow tires.
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      02-13-2008, 02:52 PM   #11
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I finally bought my Blizzaks 2 weeks ago and I must say it payed off after driving in NJ last night. It made a huge difference compared to my old 17" all season tires.
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      02-13-2008, 03:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uberdude328i View Post
Aww man. That was such a good hook. I was like "OOoo, what'd the BMW do?" Then I found out it was about snow. We never get enough down here in the A-Town to really matter. I can't really comment on the thread, but nice hook.

I take that back. Most of the aids are to help restore lost traction, not create traction in situations where traction is minimal. They're defensive. Something like XDrive would be more active traction, constantly clawing with four limbs to find whatever traction may be available.
I know that the electronic aids are not "active" and can't create traction. My point was that the aids can cut power to the wheels when slippage is detected ( I may be wrong ), which effectively modulates the throttle for you in case you apply too much throttle and hence helps stabilize the car. Sudden throttle changes, as we know, do unbalance a car. Isn't that what drifting is about! (Intended drifting, that is, and not out of control drifting which you pretend was intentional )
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      02-13-2008, 03:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mys_iii View Post
I was wondering how much of a difference snow tires would have made in such conditions, or would they not have made much of a difference? Does anyone have experience with this? I am considering getting a set of snow tires but I don't want to do it for a marginal difference.

Thanks
For the conditions you encountered, there is only one option - spike tyres. Don't know if they are legal where you are or not, but spikes help on ice and that's that. All this all season tyres are good till things get serious. Then - just dont drive or be prepared to work behind the wheel.
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      02-13-2008, 03:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mys_iii View Post
I know that the electronic aids are not "active" and can't create traction. My point was that the aids can cut power to the wheels when slippage is detected ( I may be wrong ), which effectively modulates the throttle for you in case you apply too much throttle and hence helps stabilize the car. Sudden throttle changes, as we know, do unbalance a car. Isn't that what drifting is about! (Intended drifting, that is, and not out of control drifting which you pretend was intentional )
The stability/traction control stuff really works, even in very slick conditions. I grew up with RWD (before cars were FWD) and in a snowy state. The first time I drove my E90 in the snow last year, I was almost all the way home and decided to power slide around a turn up my street, just for fun -- believe me, nothing dangerous, just swing out the back on a right turn with nobody around.

I turned right and juiced the throttle enough to slide around the rear. It was at this point that I realized I grew up prior to the dawn of stability and traction control. My car started the slide, then traction control totally cut the power to the rear wheels and stability control SLAMMED the car to a stop and stopped the slide. The car obviously was braking the slipping wheels a lot more than the others; you could feel it. It was amazing how effective it was, though it was surprisingly violent how hard it kicked in.

Now I know to turn off the stability controls if I want to have fun like that!
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      02-13-2008, 06:21 PM   #15
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What all-season tires are you using? I am considering getting some but don't know which ones to get.
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      02-13-2008, 06:29 PM   #16
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      02-13-2008, 06:36 PM   #17
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I have driven RWD in snow for the past couple of years. Even with good all seasons, you can surely get around just fine.

Even more important than the tires (AS vs. winter) is the driver skill. You really need to know how to drive in snow. I grew up in NY, so I learned by practice.

I run 19 inch all season Toyo Proxes 4's on my coupe. I have driven through blizzards with 5 inches of snow already on the roads (stupid Canadian snow ) , and had no issues at all.

Could you benefit from AWD, winter tires, combinations of them? Absolutely. Strapping on winter tires will not solve all problems though.
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      02-13-2008, 06:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruinbear View Post
What all-season tires are you using? I am considering getting some but don't know which ones to get.
If your running a 19 inch setup, Toyo Proxes 4's are the way to go!!!

Just about the only 19 inch tire that is all season in the sizes we need...
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      02-13-2008, 07:27 PM   #19
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A little tail jiggle is normal. You're probably letting off the gas quickly, and DSC is subsequently not having to do too much.

DSC totally neuters my car in the snow. In fact when the roads are snow covered I usually have to tick the car into DTC mode to get moving. If not, DSC just cuts nearly all the power to the rear wheels and I don't go anywhere.

DSC does a great job at keeping the car from sliding around too much, but it can actually be a bit scary when trying to merge into traffic and your car won't let you accelerate.


Oh, and I read that winter tires on average give about 25% better grip than all seasons. That like having a fifth wheel. That's good stuff, but they don't make you invincible. All Season tires will work decent in the snow, but you must have good tread depth on them.
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      02-13-2008, 08:19 PM   #20
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I actually took delivery of my xi last night in the middle of the snowstorm. It drove exceptionally well and I'm glad I went with an xi. I have another car that's rwd and I definitely didn't want another rwd as a second car.
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      02-13-2008, 10:37 PM   #21
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I was pissed at myself for not leaving the bimmer home yesterday, but my gf's car had no gas and I was late.

It might have been fun, driving sideways and all that, but for all the idiots out. People cutting you off, flying by on the shoulders, and my personal favorite - driving 5 mph on an incline ramp and almost coming to a complete stop to merge while still on the incline. I don't get upset over moronic drivers, but I wanted to get medieval on that guy.
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      02-13-2008, 10:48 PM   #22
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I have the dunlop winter sport 3d snow tires on a rwd e92 335 and they are awesome in the snow, rain, and have great traction in the cold. I can get up decent hills but of course it's not like my 4runner at climbing the hills, stops waaaay better than the 4Runner though, which has Goodyear Fortera directional all-seasons.
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