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      11-04-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
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An Xdrive verses i: what will I lose?

Hi,

Is it just me, or are there MANY conflicting reports about how x drive handles? I've been reading reports that an xdrive model is not a good handling car in the twisties. And that I should look to an i or possibly an m3 to buy the proper sports sedan.

Something about the fact it does not have a real sports pack? Why would BMW not equip a lowered sports pack on a 335 if the buyer wanted it? The main reason I would want to buy a BMW is to have a competent car that would handle amazing and also, driving a stick shift is my only option. The whole reason BMW appeals to me is because the car is designed for the driver.

Now why would BMW produce an xdrive model, if it didn't cut the mustard? I currently have an 530i that I like, and decided against the xi three years ago. Does an 09 335xi with 18 inch sport wheels handle like crap in 3 inches of snow? Will I kick myself for going with an xi only to find it's not nearly as sporty as my old 530i sport pack equiped car?
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      11-04-2008, 10:02 AM   #2
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Ok.

The 335xi is a nice car. Honestly, in stock form, no car can compare with the M3 in terms of handling.

Now with coilovers the 335xi or 335i is probably a wonderfully handling car.

The reason that the 335xi's suspension is softer, is purely because the springs are bigger, less weight rating, and there is more clearance since the car is meant to be driven in crap weather.

In order to drive in any form of snow, DO NOT USE summer tires (aka Performance tires---whatever size)
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      11-04-2008, 10:03 AM   #3
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      11-04-2008, 10:28 AM   #4
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The xi car really is a DD car unless you add better suspension. In the winter you gotta have A/S tires at least or winters int eh snow.

It is terrific in teh snow but the summer performance is the bigger letdown.

If you drive hard hard in the summer then I'd advise against the xi.

If you intend to DD the car or just drive it normal it is okay. The RFT's still suck ass and the standard springs in the xi make for an stiff ride.

If you love the sporty nature of the BMW don't get an x, it is not the car for you. It is not a drivers car at all. It needs aftermarket help.
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      11-04-2008, 11:03 AM   #5
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Lows: Crappy suspension with limited grip and travel, unpleasant (delayed) response to steering. I haven't tested the aftermarket suspensions on my xi, but I'm still not convinced that the basic flaw of the car (not enough front suspension travel) can be fixed by lowering.

Highs: Especially the newer xi's, have great winter/wet grip, still a bmw (of sorts).
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      11-04-2008, 12:13 PM   #6
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I just came off of a Z4; arguably a typical BMW "driver's car". My 328xi drives great, but certainly different. More tire grip in corners (due to AWD), but less cornering ability due to higher suspension and less responsive steering. Am wondering how much KW V3s will help; if so (as many reports here indicate), the XI could be an awesome BMW! I would ONLY advise getting this though if you'll be driving 50%+ in inclement weather; rain and snow.
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      11-04-2008, 12:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin G View Post
I just came off of a Z4; arguably a typical BMW "driver's car". My 328xi drives great, but certainly different. More tire grip in corners (due to AWD), but less cornering ability due to higher suspension and less responsive steering. Am wondering how much KW V3s will help; if so (as many reports here indicate), the XI could be an awesome BMW! I would ONLY advise getting this though if you'll be driving 50%+ in inclement weather; rain and snow.
The xi also has heavier understeer fromt eh xi design and more body roll due to smaller sway bars and taller ride height.

The KWV3 will do a good job but someone once said something about putting lipstick on a pig.....you still have a compromise in terms of geometry and sway bars.
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      11-04-2008, 12:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OverDrive View Post
I've searched man. All of the conversations never quite equate to the answer I need. When I take a turn in the 335 xdrive, will it handle like crap and make me wish i had an i ? No one seems to want to defend the xi in the regular driving situations. Wouldn't that make one a little hesitant about purchasign an xdrive.
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      11-04-2008, 12:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkyg View Post
The xi car really is a DD car unless you add better suspension. In the winter you gotta have A/S tires at least or winters int eh snow.

It is terrific in teh snow but the summer performance is the bigger letdown.

If you drive hard hard in the summer then I'd advise against the xi.

If you intend to DD the car or just drive it normal it is okay. The RFT's still suck ass and the standard springs in the xi make for an stiff ride.

If you love the sporty nature of the BMW don't get an x, it is not the car for you. It is not a drivers car at all. It needs aftermarket help.

Sparky. So what you are sayign is if you can afford it, a jeep and m3/i is the way to go. I want more than a daily driver out of this. I am startign to think the xdrive is not for me. Good thing I lease, as i's in the north east have less appeal. Maybe it's time for me to look into an Audi s4? Sounds like those german guys know a thing or two about awd and a sports suspension. BMW are you listening, offer a sports suspension for the xdrive.
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      11-04-2008, 01:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin G View Post
I just came off of a Z4; arguably a typical BMW "driver's car". My 328xi drives great, but certainly different. More tire grip in corners (due to AWD), but less cornering ability due to higher suspension and less responsive steering. Am wondering how much KW V3s will help; if so (as many reports here indicate), the XI could be an awesome BMW! I would ONLY advise getting this though if you'll be driving 50%+ in inclement weather; rain and snow.
kevin,

I may have 10 days out of the year where snow would be an issue. Maybe a used Jeep Wrangler is the ticket for me.

You scare me with your honesty about less responsive steering. Why would I want this as a characteristic on my BMW. Thank you for being candid.
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      11-04-2008, 02:05 PM   #11
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with the Xi you lose 15 ponies to the wheel vs the I
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      11-04-2008, 02:16 PM   #12
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JK, don't do it (the XI). I sometimes regret my purchase, but I did it for my frequent trips to Tahoe in winter. Probably won't be regretting it once snowboard season hits though! Plus the SF Bay Area gets a heavy rainy season.
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      11-04-2008, 02:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jk3355 View Post
I've searched man. All of the conversations never quite equate to the answer I need. When I take a turn in the 335 xdrive, will it handle like crap and make me wish i had an i ? No one seems to want to defend the xi in the regular driving situations. Wouldn't that make one a little hesitant about purchasign an xdrive.
Why should I defend the xi to you? Obviously, I bought one, so I think it drives fine. You have your own criteria for how you want your car to handle. Drive one for yourself and come up with your own opinion.
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      11-04-2008, 04:05 PM   #14
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OP,
I don't think my XI drives like crap, but that shouldn't matter to you. Take a trip to your local dealer, drive both and then decide for yourself.
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      11-04-2008, 04:21 PM   #15
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Don't believe all the X-haters. I have not regreted my xi purchase for a second. It's a great car with the benifits of all wheel drive. Unless you drive around every corner fishtailing and want to burn off that $300 right rear tire, you will not be disapointed. Plus when you re-flash the car or add a V3 or whatever, that stupid one wheel wonder will be a huge PITA. I can hook up from a standing start at full throttle, just a hint of wheel spin from the front tires. And if anyone says you can't fishtail around corners in an xi, they have either never driven an XI 3 series or they are a shitty driver.....
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      11-04-2008, 04:39 PM   #16
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I like my XI, but I do agree on the suspension comments. When you hit a pot hole it sounds like something is going to break. That said it is a very competent car. I wouldn't qualify it as a track car stock, but then again neither is the i (sorry don't flame me it is just my humble opinion). The car doesn't handle poorly by any means. If winter driving is a concern as it is for me, the XI is a great choice. If you want to track it (or the i for that matter) suspension improvements are going to greatly improve the cars abilities. If handling performance or regular tracking is a primary concern, I would probably not choose either car. The 335 delivers a great compromise for DD and performance.
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      11-06-2008, 01:57 PM   #17
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While you probably already read my thread about the handling, I will say that I love my xi. The only thing I want is for the ride height to be lowered and to be able to get rid of that floaty feeling. I got my car back in march for 41k with 3000 miles on it with the options in my sig. The way I looked at it, I got a great deal on a car that I can definitely drive in the snow, and it has amazing pickup due to no spinning tires, so why not drop 2k more, which isn't too big of a deal, to have a car that handles great AND can take me through winter.

I know I know I shouldn't have to change ANYTHING on the car, but lets get real here we're on an enthusiast forum...almost everyone mods here.
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      11-07-2008, 04:18 PM   #18
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My car is amazing in the winter, got winter dunlop sports 3ds. Than in the summer does fine, got UUC sway bars in the front and rear, my car handles pretty well
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      11-07-2008, 06:54 PM   #19
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The XI is a great DD car. No question. Is it a drivers car that BMW sells, ehhh, prob not.

The best thing to do with an xi car, nothing. Don't touch it, leave it. Drive it as a DD and enjoy it.

It is a great car, but not an M3. It does have suspect RFT's and suspension.

I think a better car to buy is a 330xi. Good DD car, AWD, and no turbo worries. Still the benefit of an upgraded car over the 328xi.
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      11-07-2008, 07:07 PM   #20
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XI versus I

If you are concerned about driving in rain or snow, the XI is great. However, if handling is your top priority the I is the way to go. I have the XI and will tell you that the I is more perfectly balanced and handles better. If you live in winter weather you can always buy snow tires.
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      11-07-2008, 08:29 PM   #21
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+1

...or get an M3
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      11-07-2008, 10:27 PM   #22
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Well in this reposted article, the BMW stock 335xi handling stacked up nicely against the Evo and the Subie handling legends.

http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews...ancer_evo.html

I especially like the video at the end.

As I posted before, the coilovers make a huge difference in the car's steering precision, composure, and cornering speed. Oddly, I've found that absolute cornering grip seems to be a bit less with the coilovers than stock. But it is a completely different car with them.

If you have to drive your car in the winter, an M3 is an expensive car to spinout into a pole with or embarrasing to get stuck in the snow with, or have your ass handed to you in the summer at the 1/4 mile track by a modded 335xi, that never has a problem hooking up.

I was a .5 sec faster down the 1/4 than an IS-F which I assume would run the same as an M3.
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