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      01-23-2014, 12:14 PM   #1
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CO, Where the RWD Owners at?

Need some opinions gents & ladies,

Some of you guys know me but not many of you so I'll just give the short short version of what I'm coming from. I've owned 3 RWD vehicles ranging from 300-230whp. Every time it snowed when I had those vehicles I usually took my parents 4WD car/truck to get around. Never got a dedicated set of snows for them.

I've had my 328xi now for roughly 4 years and I'm planning on upgrading to a 335 or possibly an M3 if the numbers are right. The question I've got for you guys that have driven your RWD cars in our snow season: If I get a set of dedicated snow tires for a RWD 335/IS/M3 (love the DCT ), am I really going to miss Xi that much? I think the deepest I've seen my neighborhood get is 6-7 inches (but that again is my neighborhood, not the main roads) and the Xi is a tank through that stuff with blizzaks. But if its anymore than that level of snow, I don't go anywhere because it isn't worth risking it.

Opinions are greatly appreciated. I'm a very cautious driver in the snow and icy conditions and try to get out and practice control in empty lots so I get refamiliarized with my limits every season.
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      01-23-2014, 01:54 PM   #2
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My buddy had a 750 and was fine with a good set of snow tires, though he never really went to the mountains. If you don't plan on heading up the hills in inclement weather, I think you'll be fine with RWD with snow tires.
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      01-23-2014, 03:22 PM   #3
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I drive my RWD E34 as my daily driver, and with snows on it is a beast. Yes it will slip a little, but with these cars being so well balanced, you can feel instantly when it slips and correct your inputs (steering, gas, brake) accordingly. I actually have a lot of fun with that car, and love having the RWD. I use it for the mountains and around town with no problem.

The thing you will notice that varies the most vs. AWD is acceleration, which will be harder to do on the RWD than the AWD in the snow, otherwise the RWD BMW will feel similar in braking and corning as it does in your XI. With most cars having traction control these days (my E34 included) it pretty much takes care of any issues you might have in the snow.

The RWD 335 is going to be a little lower than your XI, so it could start to plow in deep snow, but honestly how often do we get big snows where you are out in it before the snow plow comes on your street?

The only place I might feel I would need an XI would be if I lived in the foothills and drove into Denver, or if I lived in the Mtns, otherwise I don't think its needed as long as you get a good set of snow tires. I have never gotten my E34 stuck for the 7 years I have owned it (and those who know me know I aim for the deep snow usually).

If you do not plan on getting dedicated snow tires, then stick with the XI. I would not want a RWD car on All-Seasons in the snow (I have driven my E34 a couple times on the AS tires where the snow came before I switched over, and it was not fun at all). That's why most feel they have to have AWD here, because they do not plan on getting a dedicated set of snow tires/wheels.
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      01-23-2014, 07:47 PM   #4
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I've had three RWD BMWs during my time in Colorado - an E46 323Ci, an E90 330i and an E90 335i. Couldn't agree more with Racey's comments - on the E46 I ran all season tires. For 360 days a year it was fine. For the other 5 it was a little dicey at times. I then bought two AWD cars (non BMW) and missed the RWD fun of a BMW, so I came back with the E90 and put winter tires on it for the winter months. Does fine - the only time it gets rough is when there is more than 4-5" of snow and a sport package E90 can plow (that much snow is very rare in Colorado Springs - even if we get that much on our lawns, the roads almost never have that much - I can probably count on one hand the number of times that has happened in 13 years out here).

But you do need to be smart - try not to stop on a super steep incline, or don't be surprised if it takes a bit to get moving (you will, just not as fast as an AWD car like Racey said). And you'll be amazed at how much faster you can stop with winter tires - I've had to go through red lights before, not because I couldn't stop, but because I could see the moron behind me in their SUV with all season tires wasn't going to be able to stop.

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      01-23-2014, 08:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raceyBMW View Post
I drive my RWD E34 as my daily driver, and with snows on it is a beast. Yes it will slip a little, but with these cars being so well balanced, you can feel instantly when it slips and correct your inputs (steering, gas, brake) accordingly. I actually have a lot of fun with that car, and love having the RWD. I use it for the mountains and around town with no problem.

The thing you will notice that varies the most vs. AWD is acceleration, which will be harder to do on the RWD than the AWD in the snow, otherwise the RWD BMW will feel similar in braking and corning as it does in your XI. With most cars having traction control these days (my E34 included) it pretty much takes care of any issues you might have in the snow.

The RWD 335 is going to be a little lower than your XI, so it could start to plow in deep snow, but honestly how often do we get big snows where you are out in it before the snow plow comes on your street?

The only place I might feel I would need an XI would be if I lived in the foothills and drove into Denver, or if I lived in the Mtns, otherwise I don't think its needed as long as you get a good set of snow tires. I have never gotten my E34 stuck for the 7 years I have owned it (and those who know me know I aim for the deep snow usually).

If you do not plan on getting dedicated snow tires, then stick with the XI. I would not want a RWD car on All-Seasons in the snow (I have driven my E34 a couple times on the AS tires where the snow came before I switched over, and it was not fun at all). That's why most feel they have to have AWD here, because they do not plan on getting a dedicated set of snow tires/wheels.
+1 I even pulled my sisters stuck z3 up a hill with my rwd 335i. Snow tires are well worth the price and can be found very cheap on Craigslist. Only time I have gotten stuck was on very steep hill. I have gone though snow drifts 3/4 of a foot higher than the bottom of my car and have not gotten stuck.
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      01-23-2014, 09:03 PM   #6
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This helps a lot guys. Appreciate the feedback. It's not that I don't like the Xi, I just feel like it might be a bit unnecessary for 99% of the driving I do all year. Not to mention its extremely difficult to find the options/color combos I like on any 335xi in the US that's for sale. Been looking for 4 months now and still haven't found the right car. RWD just opens up the door big time though.
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      01-29-2014, 07:27 AM   #7
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I have grown up driving in the snow, but I am from the east coast and winters there are a lot different. The roads are much well more maintained where as in CO the highways don't get plowed or salted and the snow just builds up and packed down as traffic goes over it. Thats where it gets very sketchy. Never again will I drive my car in the snow there, without at least a snow set up. If I were you, I would definitely keep an awd vehicle for the winters.
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      01-30-2014, 01:15 PM   #8
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Never driven anything besides RWD M3

With snow tires not a problem, here is probably ~10+"
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      01-30-2014, 01:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ar design III
Never driven anything besides RWD M3

With snow tires not a problem, here is probably ~10+"
You da man sir! I'll be visiting you guys when I get my 335 (xi or otherwise) for DP's.
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      01-31-2014, 09:50 AM   #10
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While it's certainly doable (and fun at times), I would defer to my Tacoma when it gets too bad. I'm running a set of Pilot Sport AS+ on the M3...

F: 245 35 19 (on TSW Nurburgring 9x19)
R: 275 35 19 (on TSW Nurburgring 10.5x19)

The 255 rubbed a bit on the front, so went down to 245. They perform pretty well in the snow, and had them on year round on my 328Ci. I have DCT, so I have to switch to manual and start in 2nd from a stop, and turn off traction control. I got caught in a storm last year, but made it home.
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      01-31-2014, 10:58 AM   #11
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The wider the tire, the worse they are in the snow BTW, pretty much opposite of what you want in the dry. Preferably, your snow tires should be as skinny as you can get them, that way you get more weight in a smaller area (higher pressure) so that your tire displaces the snow to get to the road below, instead of floating on top of the snow.
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      01-31-2014, 11:53 AM   #12
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The wider the tire, the worse they are in the snow BTW, pretty much opposite of what you want in the dry. Preferably, your snow tires should be as skinny as you can get them, that way you get more weight in a smaller area (higher pressure) so that your tire displaces the snow to get to the road below, instead of floating on top of the snow.

This... Also, all-seasons are actually No-Seasons. They suck in every kind of weather. Anybody that drives a Bimmer should do themselves a favor and get a dedicated set of summers and a dedicated set of snow tires.
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      01-31-2014, 11:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raceyBMW View Post
The wider the tire, the worse they are in the snow BTW, pretty much opposite of what you want in the dry. Preferably, your snow tires should be as skinny as you can get them, that way you get more weight in a smaller area (higher pressure) so that your tire displaces the snow to get to the road below, instead of floating on top of the snow.
Totally agree with this and I can attest that I wish I'd gone with a square setup for my winter tires versus the staggered (with the 255/35R18). They can be pretty floaty if it is deep. But I continue to be impressed how well winter tires work - the last few snow days it has been me and a bunch of massive trucks on the road early in the morning

-Rich
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      02-08-2014, 12:19 AM   #14
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Went completely against what I was originally looking for.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=944068
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      02-09-2014, 02:15 PM   #15
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I'll chime in:

I drive a 335i M-Sport sedan all year long. This is just my opinion, but the idea of an AWD 3 series just seems like too much of a compromise for me. The added weight, the softer suspension, and the the change in dynamics always leads me to ask "what's the point of owning a 3 series now that it no longer handles like a 3 series?". That said, I run a dedicated winter/summer set up.

Currently, I run 225/40/18 Pirelli Sottozeros at all four corners on factory M-sport 18 inch wheels. Yeah, there's a bit of a stretch in the rear, and if you're really paying attention, it's pretty obvious. The benefit, of course, is being able to rotate tires, plus run a narrower tire on the rear. When I first got them last December (2012), I drove south to Albuquerque in a horrible flash blizzard that resulted in inches of snowfall within only a few hours time. Since we were driving in it as it was falling, the roads weren't being cleared and it was just a treacherous mess. The car dealt with it like a champ. Other cars were struggling to drive 30mph on the highway whereas I was easily cruising safely at up to 60mph. This is my second season wearing these tires and while I've noticed a drop off in snow capability as tread has worn, they're still great in the snow. They'll slip a bit if the roads are slushy enough and you're accelerating from a stop going uphill, but that's fine.

Short of an absolute downpour in snow, the snow-tire equipped 335i handles it with aplomb. To me, it's absolutely silly to buy a car with capabilities you'll be lucky to use only a couple of times a year. For me, AWD is one of those features. If there was no downside to AWD, then yeah, sure, I'd be silly not to have it. But as we all know, there are very noticeable downsides to having AWD for the 95% of the time you don't actually need it. For the 5% of the time I could've gotten any use out of it, snow tires were just fine.

For me, winter tires are more about "surviving" a winter rather than flourishing in it. If you want to dominate the snow, buy a WRX. IMO, the snow here isn't nearly as bad as what I got in the NE (Buffalo), so buying a vehicle to handle the snow means dealing with AWD, it's added weight, complexity, fuel consumption and maintenance during the 8-9 months of the year where I don't need/want it. In short, I'd much rather have a RWD 335i on Michelin PSSs during the spring/summer/fall than an AWD 335i during the 3 months of the year that we have decent snowfall.

Last edited by Cgm9999; 02-09-2014 at 07:18 PM.
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      02-09-2014, 03:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cgm9999 View Post
I'll chime in:

I drive a 335i M-Sport sedan all year long. This is just my opinion, but the idea of an AWD 3 series just seems like too much of a compromise for me. The added weight, the softer suspension, and the the change in dynamics always leads me to ask "what's the point of owning a 3 series now that it now longer handles like a 3 series?". That said, I run a dedicated winter/summer set up.

Currently, I run 225 Pirelli Sottozeros at all four corners on factory M-sport 18 inch wheels. Yeah, there's a bit of a stretch in the rear, and if you're really paying attention, it's pretty obvious. The benefit, of course, is being able to rotate tires, plus run a narrower tire on the rears. When I first got them last December (2012), I drove south to Albuquerque in a horrible flash blizzard. The car dealt with it like a champ. Other cars were struggling to drive 30mph on the highway whereas I was easily cruising safely at up to 60mph. This is my second season wearing these tires and while I've noticed a drop off in snow capability as tread has worn, they're still great in the snow. They'll slip a bit if the roads are slushy enough and your accelerating from a stop going uphill, but that's fine.

For me, winter tires are more about "surviving" a winter rather than flourishing in it. If you want to dominate the snow, buy a WRX. IMO, the snow here isn't nearly as bad as what I got in the NE (Buffalo), so buying a vehicle to handle the snow means dealing with AWD, it's added weight, complexity, fuel consumption and maintenance during the 8-9 months of the year where I don't need/want it. In short, I'd much rather have a RWD 335i on Michelin PSSs during the spring/summer/fall than an AWD 335i during the 3 months of the year that we have decent snowfall.
Well said.

-Rich
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      02-09-2014, 09:24 PM   #17
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I understand everything you're saying, Cgm9999, and I agree with all the points that have been made to this point. But as you can see, I've already found my next beast. It'll be a LOOOOONG while before I go after another car to replace the one I just got (4 years or more hopefully) but it's likely my next one will be an M3.

Thanks for all the input guys!
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      03-03-2014, 03:10 PM   #18
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I ski every weekend so RWD is out of the question. RWD vs. AWD is a lifestyle choice IMO.
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      03-06-2014, 06:26 PM   #19
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Rwd since 2010- no issues including snowboarding trips- with good snow tires.
I also went square 225s on these with the stock 18s

Had many XIs as loaners and the way they put down power and pull around corners is a blast too. You just can't go wrong- I see you already made your decision anyway!
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